Do You Need Insurance To Take a Driver’s Test?

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Most driving test locations will require you to have insurance that meets the state’s minimum insurance requirements in order to take the driving test to earn your driver’s license. In addition to ensuring that all drivers stay legally compliant with auto insurance laws, this requirement also helps the testing facility minimize the risk of financial responsibility if a test applicant is responsible for injuring another party during the test.

Keep reading to learn what auto insurance you’ll need to have for your driver’s test.

Key Takeaways

  • In most states, you will need an auto insurance policy that meets your state’s minimum insurance requirements before you can take your driving test.
  • Some DMVs will require you to show physical proof of auto insurance and will not accept an electronic copy.
  • Since auto insurance policies follow the car, you may not need to buy your own auto insurance policy if you borrow your parent’s insured car.
  • If you need to buy your own policy and don’t want to be locked into a 12-month policy, many insurers sell policies with six-month terms.

What Are the Insurance Requirements To Take a Driving Test?

Each state will have its own requirements on how much auto insurance you must have before you can take your driving test. For example, in California, you need a liability insurance policy with $15,000 of liability coverage per person in a single accident and $30,000 for all persons in a single accident and $5,000 per accident for property damages.[1] Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, it is possible to legally drive without auto insurance if you meet certain conditions and so it may be possible to take your driving test without being insured.[2][3]

In some states, providing physical proof of insurance is required for your driving test, so ensure you check with your local DMV to see if you need to bring your physical insurance policy card or a printout copy. For example, in Oregon, you will need to bring either a valid insurance card, your current vehicle liability policy or binder or a DMV Certificate of Self-Insurance proving that you are the vehicle owner.[4] In North Carolina, an electronic version of your insurance card will not be accepted.[5]

Do I Need Insurance if I’m Using My Parent’s Car for a Driving Test?

If you’re using your parent’s car for the driving test and you live with them, you generally won’t need to buy your own auto insurance policy because car insurance policies typically follow the insured vehicle, not the driver. This means that even if you’re not shown as a listed driver on your parent’s car insurance policy, it should still cover you when you borrow the car for the driving test.

However, keep in mind that in some states like North Carolina, your parents will need to actually add you to their auto policy so that your name is noted as a listed driver on the policy before you can take the driving test.[5][6] Even if this is not required, in either case, you will likely still need a licensed driver to accompany you while driving to the test site (just as you would during behind-the-wheel training).

While there is no age restriction to remaining on a parent’s policy, if you live independently or are the sole owner of your vehicle, you likely won’t be able to stay on your parent’s policy and will have to purchase your own.

Can I Get Temporary Insurance for My Driving Test?

If you’re not able to get coverage through a parent’s policy, it is possible to buy temporary car insurance for a limited period to cover your driving test insurance requirements. While many auto insurance plans cover a 12-month period, many insurers offer six-month increments as well. This shorter increment would allow you to purchase the minimum coverage you’d need for your test without locking yourself into paying a larger premium for as long.

After the driving test, you can still cancel your plan mid-policy and switch to another insurance company if you find another plan that offers better value. Just be aware of the timing of when your old plan ends and your new one begins, as letting your car insurance lapse even for a day could result in higher insurance rates in the future or potential legal issues if you’re pulled over during the lapse.

How To Get Car Insurance for Your Driver’s License Test

If you don’t have the option to join a parent’s existing policy or prefer to buy your own car insurance for your driving test, you’ll want to shop around and compare quotes from several car insurance companies to determine the best premiums and coverage benefits. Generally, you’ll want to get quotes from three to five insurers to understand your options. Note that you’ll need to provide information about the car you’re insuring, such as its make and model, alongside personal information, such as your age and location, to each insurer you speak with.

Repeating the same information just to get a quote can be time-consuming and repetitive, but there may be a faster way by using an insurance marketplace like SmartFinancial. We can help you speed up the process by having you answer only a few questions before connecting you with one of our licensed insurance agents to help streamline getting a policy from an insurance provider that best meets your needs. Click here to compare auto insurance quotes at no cost today.

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Do DMVs have insurance for driving tests?

The DMV does not sell insurance policies, meaning that you must have your own insurance policy in effect in time for your driving test.

Can I get auto insurance without a license?

Yes, it is possible to get auto insurance without a driver’s license. However, some insurers may be hesitant about insuring you and can deny your application unless you purchase the policy with another licensed driver who lives with you as the primary policyholder.

Can I get car insurance if I only have a learner’s permit?

You can usually get your own insurance with a learner’s permit, but it’s often more expensive than joining a parent’s policy. Minors typically need an adult to sign a new insurance policy, as many insurers require a cosigner over the state’s legal age for minors to enter contracts.

Do I need car insurance if I use a rental vehicle for my driving test?

You typically don't need proof of car insurance to rent a car, as rental car companies provide coverage, but you do need a valid driver's license and sometimes be of a certain age, though this varies by company. Some state DMVs, like in Oregon, allow you to use a rental car for a driving test if you're named on the rental agreement or have a letter from the rental company extending their insurance coverage.[7]


  1. California Department of Motor Vehicles. “Auto Insurance Requirements.” Accessed June 19, 2024.
  2. New Hampshire Insurance Department. “New Hampshire Insurance Department 2022 Automobile Insurance Consumer Frequently Asked Questions.”Accessed June 21, 2024.
  3. NH Division of Motor Vehicles. “Driver Licensing Testing Requirements.”Accessed June 21, 2024.
  4. Oregon Department of Transportation. “Get a Driver License - Under 18.” Accessed June 19, 2024.
  5. North Carolina DMV. “New Adult Drivers.” Accessed June 21, 2024.
  6. North Carolina Department of Transportation. “Proving Liability Insurance.” Accessed June 19, 2024.
  7. Oregon Department of Transportation. “Oregon Department of Transportation: Get a Driver License - Over 18.” Accessed June 19, 2024.

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