In all but two U.S. states (Virginia and New Hampshire), car insurance is legally mandated. As necessary as this task is, it’s still not something many enjoy doing. Luckily, with a little preparation and an internet connection, a future policyholder can gain coverage within 20 minutes of applying for a quote.
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How Long Does It Take To Get Car Insurance?
Getting car insurance can be a pretty quick process. If the customer is ready to buy the policy right after it’s quoted, they can enroll in their new policy in under an hour. For those familiar with the internet, gaining auto insurance is as easy as searching for insurers with coverage in your region, providing your information on their website, and allowing their algorithm to work its magic.
For those who have a trusted insurance agent and would prefer to buy through them, getting car insurance is typically a matter of scheduling an appointment and speaking with them about the right policy for their needs. From there, the agent formulates a quote, and if you’re satisfied with it, you can enroll right there on the spot, with the whole process taking 1-3 hours. Even if you don’t have a preferred agent, many larger insurers have a brick-and-mortar location you can visit.
However, regardless of how you shop, you’ll still need to be prepared to purchase a policy. This includes (but is not limited to) knowing what your budget is, having the necessary documentation, and understanding your options before applying.
How to Quickly Get Car Insurance
Having all the pertaining information available to your potential future insurer will improve your ability to get an insurance policy quicker. Make sure to pay attention to the following steps.
Have all your Personal Information Ready
- Provide your basics: You will be asked to disclose your home address, and other personal characteristics (age, disability, seeing impairment, etc.) The insurer will ask you to provide your home address, social security number, and the full names and similar information on all other drivers included on the policy
- Provide information about your driving habits: These questions will likely include information about whether you commute, how far, and whether the car is a work or personal vehicle. Answering these questions honestly is essential as the purpose of the vehicle will dictate policy limitations, specifically around coverage of other drivers.
- Provide information on the vehicle itself: Specifically, the insurer will want to know about the vehicle’s accident history, mileage, and whether the car is considered a salvage title. They determine this information by checking your vehicle’s VIN with your state’s DMV, so it’s also essential to have that information on hand.
- Provide information on your current insurance policy: The insurer may request information on your current auto insurance policy.
- Provide a Payment Method: You’ll want to give your potential future insurers your preferred method of payment, usually a credit or debit card.
While this may seem like a lot of information to provide upfront, remember the more of this documentation you have on hand, the quicker the process will go.
Tips for Getting the Best Possible Policy
As always, going into the process with a plan will help expedite the process as much as possible. In order to enjoy the best possible outcome, we recommend the following preparations.
Select the Right Policy for your Needs
Because car insurance is highly personalized, different insurers may provide a wide range of rates, some of which may fit your budget, some of which may not.
Further, try to select identical coverage amounts and deductibles for each company you quote. Even if the policies cost the same, there may be nuances in the details that could leave you with gaps if you are unaware of them.
Getting the Right Amount of Coverage for your Location
States typically require policyholders to carry coverage for the other driver’s bodily injury and property damage, but the car insurance minimums required vary from state to state. One of the states with the highest limits is Michigan which requires a $50,000 minimum. In contrast,
New Hampshire and Virginia don’t require coverage at all.
While the minimum amount of insurance mandated by the state is enough to keep you on the road, it may not be all the coverage you need. For example, should you cause an accident that totals someone’s car or injures someone else, you may not have enough coverage to pay for the other person’s expenses. This could open you up to lawsuits and other legal issues.
Understanding your Options
Research the companies that you plan to get quotes from. Websites like J.D. Power and the Better Business Bureau score companies based on customer reviews. Agencies like AM Best track a company’s financial score and inform customers of the company’s financial stability. The higher a company’s score, the more likely the company is to fulfill its obligations, such as paying claims and is less likely to become insolvent.
Compare Insurance Quotes
Once you receive your quotes, put them in order based on the most important criteria. The order can feature the price, the customer service rating, or the J.D. Power rating. Eliminate quotes as you see fit until you have a single quote standing.
Does Car Insurance Go Into Effect Immediately?
Often those looking for car insurance need coverage for a newly purchased vehicle. As driving without insurance is illegal in 47 states, you’ll want to ensure your coverage activates as soon as possible.
The policy start date depends on the company. Some policies can become effective immediately, but others go into effect at midnight the following day. You should keep in mind that insurance policies aren’t retroactive. If a driver gets a ticket for driving without insurance and enrolls in a policy that same day, they’re still responsible for not having insurance when they received the ticket.
Can You Drive Without Insurance?
Technically a person can drive without car insurance. Still, it’s illegal in most of the U.S. You risk getting your license suspended and your car impounded by being on the road without proof of active insurance. The only two states that don’t require proof of insurance are New Hampshire and Virginia. But any driver that causes an accident in those states is still required to pay for the damages.