How Long Does It Take to Get Car Insurance? A Consumer Guide

Lindsay Frankel
Written by
Lindsay Frankel
Photo of an Insurify author
Written by
Lindsay Frankel
Insurance Writer
Lindsay Frankel is a content writer specializing in personal finance and auto insurance topics. Her work has been featured in publications such as LendingTree, The Balance, Coverage.com, Bankrate, NextAdvisor, and FinanceBuzz.
John Leach
Edited by
John Leach
Photo of an Insurify author
Edited by
John Leach
Insurance Content Editor at Insurify
John Leach is an insurance content editor who has worked in print and online. He has years of experience in car and home insurance and strives to make these topics easy to understand for everyone. He has a linguistics degree from UC Santa Barbara.

Updated July 12, 2021

Reading time: 5 minutes

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Why you can trust Insurify

Insurify is America's highest-rated insurance comparison platform. We partner with the nation's top insurance companies and are licensed as an agent in all 50 states. However, the insurance experts writing our content operate independently of our partners, and you can learn more about how we make money by viewing our advertising disclosures. Also check out reviews from over 3,000 satisfied customers, our data methodology, and our editorial standards.

Whether you’re buying a car for the first time or looking to switch auto insurance providers fast, you may be wondering how long it takes to get car insurance coverage. Many insurance companies can provide coverage the same day you apply, but you’ll need to have some information ready to go and understand your coverage needs before you can get a policy.

Before you formally apply for a car insurance policy, you’ll also want to compare rates across auto insurers to save money on your car insurance coverage. An easy way to get quotes from a handful of providers in one spot is to use an online comparison tool such as Insurify. After you provide some information about your vehicle and driving record, you’ll be able to view quotes from several car insurance companies in your area, and you can sign up for most policies instantly.

So, how long does it take to get car insurance?

Once you’ve decided how much coverage you need and compared car insurance rates, you can apply for a policy online or over the phone with an insurance agent. You may need to speak to an agent to discuss certain policy discounts, such as good student discounts and low mileage discounts, which could help you get lower rates.

How much time does it take to get car insurance?

While the process varies from insurer to insurer, you can typically complete an application for car insurance in 30 minutes or less, and many insurance companies offer the option of same-day car insurance, wherein a policy will begin taking effect the same day that it's approved.

Once I get car insurance, how long will it take to get effect?

Once you pay your car insurance bill, your coverage will typically go into effect the same day. You can usually apply for a policy online and pay your auto insurance premium with a credit card.

However, some driver discounts may not immediately apply. For example, if your auto insurance provider offers a safe driver discount, you’ll need to enroll in an app-based or telematics program that will reward you with a discount based on your actual driving habits.

Getting Car Insurance: 4 Steps to Take

Here are some steps to take if you’re in the process of seeking out a new car insurance policy.

1. Research How Much Coverage You Want––or Need

At the very least, you’ll need to purchase enough coverage to meet the minimum liability insurance requirements in your state. But if you lease your car or have an outstanding auto loan, you’ll also need to purchase full-coverage insurance, which includes collision insurance and comprehensive coverage.

You might also choose to purchase other types of coverage. It’s wise to purchase uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage since about one in eight drivers doesn’t have insurance coverage. You can also create a more robust policy by adding riders, such as roadside assistance or new car replacement coverage.

And finally, you’ll want to choose the appropriate deductible for your auto insurance policy. A higher deductible means lower premiums, and vice versa. Whatever amount of money you choose, you should ensure you have enough stashed away in an emergency fund to pay your portion of the financial responsibility.

2. Compare Car Insurance Quotes

Every insurance company is going to weigh individual information, such as your credit score and driving history, a little differently. And some will offer more attractive car insurance discounts than others. That’s why it’s a good idea to compare car insurance premiums from multiple providers.

Getting a Quote through the Internet

Most insurance company websites have an online quote tool that you can use to estimate your car insurance costs. But you can save time and money by using Insurify to compare customized quotes from multiple car insurance companies in one place. You’ll be able to see results from large insurers like GEICO and State Farm in addition to smaller local companies, and you’ll only need to enter your information one time. It’s the easiest way to save money on car insurance.

Getting a Quote over the Phone

While most insurance companies offer online quotes, some people prefer to talk to an insurance agent. Most insurers give you the option of speaking with an agent. When you call, you should have certain information ready to go, such as:

  • Driver’s license numbers for all drivers on the policy

  • Social Security numbers for all drivers on the policy

  • Your car’s VIN number

  • Information about your last car insurance policy

You’ll also need to provide your occupation, the number of miles you drive, details about moving violations and at- fault accidents, and other individual information that will affect your car insurance rates.

Getting a Quote in Person

Some insurance companies have physical locations you can visit to get a quote in person. You’ll need to bring the required information with you to get an accurate quote.

3. Negotiate with Your Potential Insurer

Once you get your quote, you should ask your potential insurer about any discounts you may be eligible for. For example, ask about safe driving discounts, anti-theft device discounts, discounts for teen drivers with good grades, safety feature discounts, and discounts for bundling your auto policy with your homeowners insurance, life insurance, or renters insurance.

4. Finalize Your New Policy and Cancel Your Old Plan

To finalize your policy, you’ll need to pay your premium. You can usually save money by paying for the entire year up front. Make sure your new policy is in force before you cancel your old plan, or you’ll have a lapse in coverage, which can raise your insurance rates. When you’re ready to cancel your old policy, you’ll typically need to call your insurance agent.

Tips and Tricks to Get Car Insurance Fast

  • Gather all required information and documents: Print a copy of your declarations page from your last car insurance policy, which will give your new insurer important information about your previous coverage. You should also have identifying information for yourself and your vehicle ready to go.

  • Know your coverage needs: Deciding what you need from your policy ahead of time will speed up the application process.

  • Use an online comparison tool: You could spend a lot of unnecessary time researching quotes on different insurance company websites. To speed up the process of getting a new policy, use Insurify to compare quotes in one place.

Same-Day Car Insurance

Many insurance companies offer same-day car insurance. As long as you provide your information, upload any required documents, and pay your premium, your coverage can start as soon as the same day.

Find the Best Deal on Car Insurance with Insurify

Not only will comparing quotes with Insurify help you find a policy faster, but it can also save you a ton of money. In fact, Insurify users save an average of $585 per year on car insurance just by switching to a new provider. That’s because every provider will offer a different rate, and you won’t know which company can give you the best deal until you compare quotes.

See more: Best Car Insurance Companies

Insurify makes the whole process really easy. Once you answer a few questions, our artificial intelligence technology will dig up quotes from up to 20 different insurers. You can toggle between deductible amounts and coverage limits until you get a premium you’re comfortable with. After narrowing down your options, you can check the Insurify Composite Score for your top choices. This will ensure you find the cheapest and most reputable insurance company.

Quick Questions: How long does it take to get car insurance?

How long will it take me to get car insurance?

Most insurance companies can provide coverage the same day you apply. Just be ready to answer some necessary questions and pay your premium before your policy takes effect.

I need to get car insurance right away. What should I do?

If you need car insurance right away, you can save yourself some time looking up quotes by using Insurify to compare rates in one spot. From there, you can click on the insurance company you like and apply online. In most cases, you’ll get instant coverage after paying your premium.

What is the quickest way for me to find cheap car insurance?

The fastest way to find cheap car insurance is to use Insurify to compare quotes across multiple providers. It takes just a few minutes, and you could potentially save up to $996 annually. We’re the top-rated, most-rated insurance comparison site around, so you can trust that you’ll have a good experience scoring those savings as well.

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  • Data scientists at Insurify analyzed over 40 million auto insurance rates across the United States to compile the car insurance quotes, statistics, and data visualizations displayed on this page. The car insurance data includes coverage analysis and details on drivers' vehicles, driving records, and demographic information. With these insights, Insurify is able to offer drivers insight into how their car insurance premiums are priced by companies.

Lindsay Frankel
Written by
Lindsay Frankel

Insurance Writer

Lindsay Frankel is a content writer specializing in personal finance and auto insurance topics. Her work has been featured in publications such as LendingTree, The Balance, Coverage.com, Bankrate, NextAdvisor, and FinanceBuzz.

Learn More
John Leach
Edited by
John Leach

Insurance Content Editor at Insurify

Photo of an Insurify author
Edited by
John Leach
Insurance Content Editor at Insurify
John Leach is an insurance content editor who has worked in print and online. He has years of experience in car and home insurance and strives to make these topics easy to understand for everyone. He has a linguistics degree from UC Santa Barbara.