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How Long Does It Take to Get Car Insurance?

·9 min read

It doesn’t usually take very long to get car insurance. If you have all the information you need to get started, you can often get a policy in just one day. And it usually takes only a few minutes to get a quote from several different car insurance companies so you can compare policies and prices.

Whether you’re purchasing your first policy or trying to secure insurance to drive a new car off the sales lot, the process should be fairly easy.

How long does it take to get car insurance?

There are a few different ways to purchase car insurance. Some of them are faster than others. Consider which option works best for your situation.

Get a quote and buy a policy online

One of the fastest ways to get car insurance is to request a quote online. Many insurance companies allow you to plug in key information about the car you need to insure and receive a quote the same day. This is a good option for many people, especially if you want to compare multiple policy options at once.

How to complete the online quote process:

  • Choose an insurance company to request a quote from, or use a comparison website to see several companies’ offers in one place. If you’re not sure which company to choose, check out our best car insurance article for recommendations.

  • Fill in the requested information on the company’s website. This typically includes your personal information as well as some information about your vehicle.

  • Choose your policy. The insurance company could offer several policy options to choose from, including coverage options such as comprehensive, liability, collision, and underinsured/uninsured.

  • Choose what type of coverage best suits your needs. Then, choose the amount of coverage you want to purchase.

  • Get a quote. The website should give you details about the premium as well as terms and conditions so you can decide if you want to complete the transaction.

If you decide to accept the quote, you could have your insurance policy in place the same day you applied for it. If you need proof of insurance right away, this is a good option because it allows you to get a policy with a start date as soon as the same day or the next day, depending on what the insurance company offers.

Talk to an agent on the phone

The online quote process doesn’t work for everyone. Perhaps you have additional questions or just don’t want to use an online quote tool. You might also need something extra from your insurance policy or you want detailed information about extended coverage options. In this case, you may want to call a local agent to get a quote.

How to call an insurance agent for a quote:

  • Use your preferred insurance company’s website to identify agents in your area.

  • Call the agent’s office. They might be able to help you immediately, or they may ask to call you back later.

  • Provide all of the same information to the agent as you would for an online quote, e.g., personal information, vehicle information, and what kind of coverage you need.

  • Get a quote. The agent might be able to provide a quote immediately over the phone, or they may call you back later with more information.

  • Use email or an online portal to help with viewing and signing documents. Sometimes agents can mail documents to you as well, but that will take significantly longer than using a digital option.

If you decide to move forward calling an agent, you could still have a policy in place the same day. That depends on how quickly the insurance agent provides you with the information you need and how soon you sign the paperwork.

Meet an agent in person

If a phone call wouldn’t work for you, you could also meet with an insurance agent in person at their office to set up a new policy. If you have extensive questions, need specific accommodations, or just want a more personalized experience, choose this method.

How to meet an insurance agent in person to set up a new policy:

  • Find local agents in your area for your preferred insurance company. You can do this online.

  • Call to set up an appointment with the agent.

  • Visit their office at the scheduled time, fill out an insurance application, and define your coverage needs. The agent will need the same basic information you’d enter online or give on the phone, including personal information, vehicle information, and coverage needs.

  • Get a quote. The agent will likely be able to give you a quote upfront and go over the details with you in person.

From there, you can decide to move forward with the process or not. In this method, you could have insurance in place the same day as your meeting with the agent, or it could take a few days to process and activate.

What documents do you need to apply for car insurance?

To get insurance quickly, the insurance agent needs all of the available information on the vehicle as well as your personal information.

Common driver information:

  • Your full name and address

  • Your date of birth

  • Your driver’s license number and state of issue

Common vehicle information:

  • Make, model, year, and VIN of the vehicle, including any details about body style or special features

  • Address where the vehicle is located

  • Mileage on the vehicle

  • Name of the current registered owner

  • Date of purchase

  • Any prior insurance information you had in place

In addition to this, the insurance company could ask about your driving history, accident and claims history, and any license suspensions you had in the past.

How soon after buying a car do you need car insurance?

How long you’ll have to obtain car insurance depends on a few things. Typically, if you are buying a car with a loan, you’ll need to obtain car insurance before you can drive off the lot with your car. Lenders require this to protect their investment.

If buying from a private seller, you could have a bit of leeway. If you currently have auto insurance on an existing car you own, there might be a grace period that covers the new car purchase for a bit. Before you buy, call to verify this with your current insurer.

Tip

Avoid driving without insurance coverage

Remember that an accident could occur at any time — even on your way home with your brand new vehicle. It helps to have coverage in place right away to protect against potential losses. You should try to get car insurance as quickly as possible and avoid driving without coverage.


Is there anything that could delay your car insurance coverage?

Inaccurate information could cause delays in your car insurance process. Double check everything from the spelling of your name to your driver’s license number is correct. You should also check to make sure the VIN is accurate.

If you’re buying a new (or used) car, you might also want to contact your lender to find out what its insurance policies are. The dealership may verify that you have coverage before they allow you to drive off with the car. Typically, that means making sure you have the required insurance. Verify your coverage before you try to take your new car home to minimize any risk of problems later.

Keep in mind that some insurers require payment for multiple months upfront. Check with your insurer to find out when (and how much) you have to pay for your policy at one time.

How can you add a vehicle to an existing policy?

You might be able to add a new car to an existing policy, if you have one. The easiest way to do this is to log in to your existing car insurance provider’s website. Once you access your account, you might be able to add a new vehicle to your policy (depending on the insurance provider). Some insurance companies require you to speak to an agent directly.

You could also call your agent’s office to add a new vehicle to your existing policy. The insurance company gathers all of the necessary information, approves the added coverage to the new vehicle, and issues the new, updated policy. It might be possible to get all this done in a single day.

FAQs

Can I get same-day car insurance?

It could be possible to get car insurance coverage the same day with some insurance companies. Many companies provide same-day quotes and let you activate your policy immediately after signing up. Other companies require more processing time, and it could take a bit of time to finalize your paperwork.

Generally speaking, one of the fastest ways to get insurance coverage is by getting a quote online.

Is car insurance coverage retroactive?

No, not typically. Car insurance companies don’t generally issue backdated policies because you can’t use new coverage to cover a past accident. If you’re unsure about when your coverage will start, be sure to ask the insurance company for the details.

How do I add a vehicle to an existing policy?

To add a vehicle to an existing policy, either go to your insurance provider’s online portal or call your agent directly. Most often, it’s necessary to provide the VIN and other details of the new car. You’ll also need to select what types of coverage you want.

It typically doesn’t take long to get a car added to your policy. You can usually complete the process in a single day.


Can I get same-day car insurance?

It could be possible to get car insurance coverage the same day with some insurance companies. Many companies provide same-day quotes and let you activate your policy immediately after signing up. Other companies require more processing time, and it could take a bit of time to finalize your paperwork.

Generally speaking, one of the fastest ways to get insurance coverage is by getting a quote online.

Is car insurance coverage retroactive?

No, not typically. Car insurance companies don’t generally issue backdated policies because you can’t use new coverage to cover a past accident. If you’re unsure about when your coverage will start, be sure to ask the insurance company for the details.

How do I add a vehicle to an existing policy?

To add a vehicle to an existing policy, either go to your insurance provider’s online portal or call your agent directly. Most often, it’s necessary to provide the VIN and other details of the new car. You’ll also need to select what types of coverage you want.

It typically doesn’t take long to get a car added to your policy. You can usually complete the process in a single day.

Bottom line

How long does it take to get car insurance? Typically, it is possible to purchase coverage the same day you start the process. Online quote tools take just a few minutes to complete. You can also call a local agent directly.

This article How Long Does It Take to Get Car Insurance? originally appeared on FinanceBuzz.