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1. When do I have to add my teen to my insurance -- when he or she gets a learner's permit, or a driver's license?

Your insurance company’s guidelines and your state's insurance rules determine when you are required to add a teen to your insurance policy.

Some insurers require you to add a teen to your policy once your child has a learner’s permit, but most insurers allow you to wait until your teen is fully licensed, according to Penny Gusner, consumer analyst at CarInsurance.com.

A learner's permit allows your teen to drive only when a licensed adult is in the car. Once your child is licensed, most states require him or her to have at least a minimum amount of car insurance. So it's best to contact your insurer to find out the specific requirements.

The sooner your child gains valuable driving experience, the sooner he or she will become eligible for driving discounts.

"In California, you can get your learner's permit at age 15 ½," says Steve Lehman, owner of Lehman Insurance Agency in Dublin, Calif.

Lehman notes that in the Golden State, teens who go three years without accidents or tickets qualify for a good-driver discount of 20 percent. So assuming a teen driver obtained a license at age 16, by age 19 he or she could be eligible for a California good-driver discount “because the clock ticks from the time you first add them to a policy" as a licensed driver.

Insure.com’s Don’t hide your teen driver from your insurance company explains why it’s important to add teen drivers in your household to your policy.

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