The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate, we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. To help readers understand how insurance affects their finances, we have licensed insurance professionals on staff who have spent a combined 47 years in the auto, home and life insurance industries. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation of . Our content is backed by Coverage.com, LLC, a licensed entity (NPN: 19966249). For more information, please see our .
Driving a car without insurance is illegal in most states, so needing same-day car insurance isn’t entirely unusual. Luckily, many insurers offer policies that go into effect as soon as you make payment. Here’s a list of providers offering same-day car insurance and what to expect when purchasing a policy.
What is same-day insurance coverage?
Same-day car insurance means you select the coverage options you need for a car insurance policy, agree to the quote provided, make the necessary payment and choose to put your policy into effect immediately. Once you have paid, you will be able to download your insurance ID cards, which you can print and store in your vehicle or keep on your smartphone for easy access.
If your insurance company has an online customer portal, you may be able to view your policy documents the same day and make changes as needed going forward. Some insurance companies also have a mobile app where you can access proof of insurance, file a claim, request roadside assistance and more.
Can you get car insurance the same day?
Yes, vehicle owners can secure car insurance coverage the same day they start shopping for it. In fact, most carriers offer a same-day insurance option. So if you’re at the dealership and the only thing standing between you and driving your new ride off the lot is getting insurance, you’re in luck.
Note that car insurance rates vary by provider, so experts recommend getting quotes from multiple insurers and comparing them in order to identify the best car insurance company for you. The table below includes average annual premiums from five of the largest car insurance providers based on market share.
|Car insurance company||Average annual premium for full coverage||Average annual premium for minimum coverage|
When choosing a car insurance provider, drivers may want to consider factors beyond price, though. Coverage options, discounts and company reviews are also worth looking into. Reviews can give you a sense of how easy it is (or isn’t) to work with an insurer and whether (or not) any companies offer unique features that appeal to you. And if you are buying insurance for the first time, you might choose to talk to an agent in person to learn more about the company and find out what type of coverage is right for you.
Do you need insurance the same day when buying a car?
The TL; DR? Yes.
If you’re buying a car and don’t currently carry coverage on any vehicle, you’ll need to purchase car insurance before you drive your new (or new-to-you) vehicle off the lot. The good news is that these days, it’s pretty easy to buy coverage quickly thanks to the rise of online insurance portals.
If you already have auto insurance for another vehicle, many insurers offer a grace period upon buying a new vehicle. For example, your carrier might give you seven to 30 days to update your insurance policy to include your new car. You’ll be covered during the grace period but only up to your policy’s existing level of coverage, which might not be sufficient for a new car — especially if you’re financing it.
Don’t forget that you can also shop for insurance ahead of time. If you know that you’re planning to switch carriers or buy a car in the next few weeks or months, there’s no need to leave it to the last minute and wind up buying a same-day policy. You can take the time to shop around and compare options or work with an agent.
How to get same-day car insurance
When you apply for a car insurance quote, you will be asked to submit some basic information about yourself and your vehicle, which is no different than purchasing a policy starting at a later date. The insurance company uses this information to estimate your rate. Here is brief overview of the information needed to get a quote:
- Your personal information, such as your name, birth date and address
- Your driver’s license number
- Your claims history
- Your Social Security number
- Your prior or existing insurance provider
- The type of vehicle you drive and its vehicle identification number (VIN)
- The vehicle’s mileage
- The vehicle’s date of purchase
Car insurance requirements
Car insurance is legally required in almost all states. Auto insurance is used to fulfill your financial responsibility in the event of an at-fault accident. When you purchase same-day car insurance, you get to choose which types of coverage and the coverage limits you prefer, as long as you meet the state’s minimum insurance requirements.
Keep in mind that minimum coverage requirements vary depending on where you live, and insurers price policies differently. For those reasons, getting several quotes is the best way to find a cheap auto insurance policy. Regardless, it is important to buy insurance as soon as possible because driving without car insurance is illegal in most states.
Most states require drivers to purchase a liability-only policy, which is the cheapest option. However, many drivers may choose to upgrade to a full coverage policy, which includes liability plus collision and comprehensive insurance. The table below includes the standard types of coverage available with same-day car insurance:
Car insurance coverage types
|Liability||Liability insurance includes bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverage. Bodily injury pays for others’ medical bills if you are at fault for an accident, and property damage covers harm you cause to another person’s property, such as their vehicle.|
|Comprehensive||Comprehensive insurance is an optional coverage that pays to repair your car if it’s damaged in an incident other than an accident. Comprehensive insurance will cover things like falling objects, hail storms, fire, flooding, theft and vandalism.|
|Collision||Collision insurance is an optional coverage that pays to repair your car’s damage following a covered accident. It also applies to accidents with stationary objects, like a fence, mailbox or utility pole.|
Most insurance companies offer other types of coverage, but they might not be available immediately. For example, some coverage types like accident forgiveness or new car replacement require a waiting period for the insurance company to confirm that you are a safe driver.
Tips for finding the best same-day car insurance
If you’re shopping for a same-day car insurance policy, timeliness is likely of the essence. Still, you should do your best to buy the right policy for your needs. Consider these tips:
- Compare multiple quotes. Don’t just get a single quote from an insurer and purchase the coverage. Take a few extra minutes to get quotes from multiple companies so you can make sure you’re not overpaying.
- Look for discount opportunities. Many insurers will offer discounts if you meet certain requirements. For example, if you buy auto insurance and home or renters insurance from the same company, earn good grades, buy a car with safety systems or take a defensive driving class, you could land a lower premium.
- Consider the user experience. When you’re shopping for same-day insurance, consider customer reviews and the company’s website and/or app. If an insurer seems difficult to work with, you may want to take your business elsewhere.
- Choose the right coverage. You can lower your premium by skipping unnecessary coverage. For example, if you’re buying a second car, getting rental car reimbursement coverage may not be necessary since you have a backup vehicle.
- Adjust your deductible. A higher deductible can help you lower your insurance premiums, making coverage more affordable. However, it also means spending more out of pocket if your car is damaged, so make sure your savings can handle the deductible you choose.
Frequently asked questions
You can often find and buy cheap auto insurance policies online. The cheapest car insurance company is different for every driver because car insurance rates are personalized. Insurance companies typically look at factors like your ZIP code, age, credit score, claims history and your vehicle’s mileage to determine your rate. It’s important to note that different states have different regulations on which factors insurance companies can use to calculate your premium. You should check your state’s laws to see what might factor into your rate.
It depends. Most car insurance companies will sell you a policy even with bad credit, but your rate will likely be higher than average. In some states, car insurance companies are not even allowed to consider your credit when calculating your premium. If you are concerned about getting approved for instant car insurance with poor credit, you could consider getting a policy from a non-standard insurance company that specializes in insuring high-risk drivers.
Yes, you can generally purchase an instant auto insurance policy if you visit an agent in-person, though it is more common for larger providers to have this option available. To ensure the process goes smoothly, you will want to make sure you have all the required pieces of personal and vehicle information. The application and quote process are the same, but many drivers find that purchasing car insurance online is a faster and more convenient option.
You may struggle to get same-day insurance coverage for the same reasons you’d have trouble buying insurance in other scenarios. For example, if you have a poor driving history, some insurers may deem you too risky to insure. You could also have trouble finding an affordable premium if you’re young, if you buy an expensive car or in certain other scenarios.
Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2023 rates for ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Rates are weighted based on the population density in each geographic region. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:
- $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $50,000 property damage liability per accident
- $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
- $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
- $500 collision deductible
- $500 comprehensive deductible
To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverage that meets each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2021 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.
These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.