There are a number of situations where a driver may need to purchase same-day car insurance — which is simply car insurance coverage that goes into effect the moment you purchase a policy. Car insurance coverage not only makes good financial sense so you are not responsible for outrageous out-of-pocket expenses in case of an accident, but it is legally required in almost all states. Fortunately, multiple insurance providers offer policies for almost all drivers and quickly enough for same-day coverage in most cases. Bankrate has pulled together a list of providers offering same-day car insurance and what to expect throughout the process of purchasing the policy.

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How does same-day car insurance work?

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 obligation and choose to put your policy into effect immediately. Once you have paid, you will be able to download your policy ID cards, which are generally recommended to be kept in your vehicle.

If your insurance company has an online customer portal, you will be able to view your policy documents and make changes to your coverage online. Some insurance companies also have a mobile app where you can access your insurance ID cards, file a claim, request roadside assistance and more.

Where can you get car insurance immediately?

Most carriers offer same-day insurance coverage. Car insurance rates vary by provider, so it is important to get multiple quotes and compare them to see which carrier is the best car insurance company for you. The table below includes the 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
State Farm $1,397 $456
Geico $1,297 $365
Progressive $1,561 $542
Allstate $2,438 $558
USAA $1,209 $354

When choosing a car insurance provider, drivers should also consider factors like coverage options, discounts, customer service and financial strength ratings. 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.

Who can get same-day car insurance?

There are certain situations where you may need to purchase car insurance immediately. Driving a new vehicle off the car lot is one of the most common examples, since you may go to the dealership or private party unsure if you are making a vehicle purchase on the same day or not. Whether it’s for this reason or another, almost anyone can get same-day car insurance coverage.

Online portals are now the industry standard, which has helped make same-day car insurance easier than ever to purchase. You can also work with an agent or customer service representative or even an app if you need additional guidance during the purchase process. Before you make a final decision on an insurance policy, you can obtain quotes from multiple providers without having to make a final purchase. This shows you which provider is offering the most competitive rates for the coverage options you are looking for.

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
  • Your driver’s license number
  • Your claims history
  • Your social security number
  • Your prior or existing insurance provider
  • The type of vehicle you drive
  • The vehicle’s mileage
  • The vehicle’s date of purchase

When do you need instant car insurance?

Car insurance is legally required in almost all states. Auto insurance is used to protect your financial responsibility in the event of an at-fault accident. When you purchase same-day car insurance, you get to choose what type of coverage and how much coverage you want, as long as you must meet the state’s minimum insurance requirements.

Every state has different minimum coverage requirements, and every state charges a different rate for car insurance. While it is possible to find a cheap auto insurance policy, it is important to buy insurance as soon as possible. Driving without car insurance is illegal in most states, even if you just purchased a new vehicle or switched to another provider.

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 insurance 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 and property damage liability coverage. Bodily injury coverage pays for another driver’s medical bills if you are at fault in an accident, and property damage liability coverage covers damage you cause to another person’s property, such as their vehicle.
Comprehensive Comprehensive insurance is an optional coverage that pays to repair your car’s damage caused by incidents 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 coverages like accident forgiveness or new car replacement require a waiting period for the insurance company to confirm that you are a safe driver.

When is same-day car insurance not necessary?

Same-day auto insurance is not always necessary. For instance, if you already have car insurance, but want to switch carriers or are preparing to buy a vehicle that you do not yet own, you have more time to purchase an insurance policy. You might also want to take more time buying insurance if you prefer to work with an agent or have questions about the coverage available. Another instance is when your policy automatically renews at the end of its policy term.

Tips for finding the best same-day car insurance

Although you are making a purchase for the same-day, you can still find the right policy to fit both your coverage needs and budget. To find the best policy, keep this in mind:

  • Be careful when purchasing the first quote you receive: Rates and coverage options vary widely from one provider to another, so it’s important to review a few quotes if possible so you know you are receiving the best value and policy.
  • Consider potential discounts before purchasing your policy: Discounts vary from one company to the next, so there may be additional ways to save.
  • Pay attention to the purchase experience: Examples of an easy-to-use online portal or app or helpful customer service may be a good indicator of whether or not you like working with a company.

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.

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2022 rates for all 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 2020 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.