How to get same-day insurance for your car – MarketWatch

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Before you drive your new car off the lot, it needs to be insured. The good news is that you can get same-day insurance from almost any leading auto coverage provider today. It’s not too complicated — you just need to provide some basic information.

In this article, we’ll show you exactly how to get same-day insurance to stay legal on the road. Even if you’re short on time, we recommend comparing quotes from a few different providers. We’ve reviewed the best car insurance companies nationwide, and all of our top picks offer same-day coverage. Use our free tool below to compare multiple quotes at once.

In this article:

  • Can you get same-day insurance?
  • How to get same-day auto insurance
  • Why you may not be eligible for same-day insurance
  • Our recommendations for car insurance
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Our methodology
Can you get same-day insurance?

Yes, you can get same-day insurance from almost any large national car insurance company on the market today. Once you call or go online to receive a quote, most companies let you purchase a plan that begins on the same day. You also might be able to get same-day insurance from smaller regional providers.

How to get same-day auto insurance

You don’t need to do anything special to get same-day car insurance. All it takes is requesting a quote with your complete, accurate information and signing up for the policy. Being able to provide all of your information is important, because quotes depend on the vehicle details and driver profile you submit. You should prepare the following information ahead of time.

  • Vehicle ownership information
  • Vehicle year, make, model and mileage
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Address where you garage or park the vehicle
  • Name, birthdate and driver’s license number for every driver on the policy
  • Information on your current insurance policy, coverage limits and expiration
  • Information on any tickets and accidents in your driving history

You should also have an electronic payment method ready in case you need to put a deposit down or make an initial payment to start coverage. Most often, this can be done with your banking information or debit card.

Buying same-day insurance doesn’t cost any more than buying a plan before you need it. However, if your specific company offers a discount for purchasing a plan ahead of time, you’ll miss out on that. For example, Allstate offers an Early Signing Discount® if you buy an auto insurance policy at least one week before you need to use it. A same-day plan from Allstate wouldn’t include this discount.

There’s another downside to same-day car insurance. When you need insurance immediately, you don’t have as much time to compare car insurance options. That means you could miss out on a lower rate from a different company. If you just get one quote, it may or may not be the most affordable insurance premium for you. Using a quote tool like the one above can help you save time on quote comparisons.

Why you may not be eligible for same-day insurance

In some cases, you might not be able to get same-day insurance. For example, most car insurance providers will ask for your social security number to verify information in your application and calculate a risk score based on your credit history. If you don’t have a social security number or can’t provide one at the time, the insurance company will need more time to process your application or it can deny coverage.

One piece of information that needs to be verified is your home address. Insurers can use your credit record for verifying this. If you recently moved, the insurance company might not be able to verify your address as quickly, and that could lead to delays in approval. Or, if you’re living in one location but your permanent address is listed as another, that can slow things down, too.

Auto insurers will also pull your full driving record based on your driver’s license number. It’s important to be completely honest when reporting things like car accidents, tickets and other traffic convictions. If you leave anything out, the company will be able to see that discrepancy, and it will need to spend more time reviewing your application.

Be aware that it’s possible for a company to sell you car insurance and then cancel your policy within the first 30 to 90 days for providing incomplete or incorrect information, also called material misrepresentation. Cancellations for material misrepresentation or nonpayment go on your record, and this can make it harder to get same-day coverage (or any auto insurance) in the future.

Finally, if you’re buying an especially expensive car, an underwriting officer may need to review your insurance application, as some quote tools are not able to accurately assess rare or exotic cars and specialty vehicles.

Our recommendations for car insurance

Just because you need car insurance today doesn’t mean you have to settle for the first provider that pops up online. You should take as much time as you can to compare coverage and quotes from different providers, then get same-day insurance from the company with the best deal.

We recommend starting your search with State Farm and Geico, both of which have strong reputations and affordable coverage. You can compare prices from a number of top providers at once by using the free quote tool below.

Geico: Best Overall

We rank Geico as the Best Overall provider because it offers cheap auto insurance for many drivers and provides extensive coverage with great service. As the second-largest insurance provider in the country, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Geico can cover a wide range of drivers and vehicles with same-day insurance.

The company also offers a good range of discounts that many drivers qualify for. Geico has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best, which shows the insurer works to resolve customer issues and has a superior ability to pay out claims.

State Farm: Best for Students

In our industry-wide review, we named State Farm the Best for Students because it offers a generous student discount of up to 25% for maintaining good grades. Drivers under 25 can also take advantage of the Steer Clear® educational program to save another 20%. Because of this, State Farm can be a good option for families with students.

State Farm has a reliable insurance claims service according to the J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction StudySM. The company also has a strong reputation, with an A+ rating from the BBB and an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best.

Frequently asked questions

What is the cheapest online insurance?

Based on our research, Geico generally has the cheapest online insurance for the average driver. USAA is affordable for military families, State Farm has great rates for students and Progressive caters to high-risk drivers. Compare multiple auto insurance quotes to ensure you find the lowest prices.

Can I drive a car I just bought without insurance?

No, you can’t drive a car you just bought without insurance. It is illegal to drive without insurance at any time, even if you just purchased a used car from someone down the street. Dealerships won’t let you drive home without proof of insurance, either. The good news is that it’s easy to get same-day insurance from top companies online.

How quickly can I get auto insurance?

As long as you have information about your vehicle and the drivers included on your car insurance policy, you can get auto insurance in as little as one hour or less. Most drivers can get same-day car insurance from top-rated insurers without a problem.

Our methodology

Because consumers rely on us to provide objective and accurate information, we created a comprehensive rating system to formulate our rankings of the best car insurance companies. We collected data on dozens of auto insurance providers to grade the companies on a wide range of ranking factors. The end result was an overall rating for each provider, with the insurers that scored the most points topping the list.

Here are the factors our ratings take into account:

  • Reputation: Our research team considered market share, ratings from industry experts and years in business when giving this score.
  • Availability: Auto insurance companies with greater state availability and few eligibility requirements scored highest in this category.
  • Coverage: Companies that offer a variety of choices for insurance coverage are more likely to meet consumer needs.
  • Cost: Average auto insurance rates and discount opportunities were both taken into consideration.
  • Customer Experience: This score is based on volume of complaints reported by the NAIC and customer satisfaction ratings reported by J.D. Power. We also considered the responsiveness, friendliness and helpfulness of each insurance company’s customer service team based on our own shopper analysis.