You need car insurance now. Right now. Here's some good news for you: most companies sell "same day" car insurance, or car insurance that goes into effect the same day you buy it.

So, whether you need immediate car insurance coverage because your old policy just lapsed, or because you're about to buy a new car, you should be able to find it today with a little legwork.

In this article, we'll tell you what you have to do to get instant car insurance. We'll also discuss:

How can I get same-day car insurance?

The quick and easy way to get same-day car insurance that kicks in immediately is to buy it online or through a company's mobile app.

A few things to keep in mind about buying same-day insurance online or via an app:

  • You may be able to get auto insurance that takes effect the same day you buy it by calling an insurer, too.
  • Whether you get same-day auto insurance online, using an app or over the phone, you should compare quotes first. And to do that, you need to have certain pieces of personal information on hand. (Keep reading for more information about this.)
  • All of this can be done while you're at the dealership, so don't worry about waiting until then to buy same-day coverage for a new car.
  • If you're having a tough time finding a company that will sell you same-day car insurance coverage, focus on larger ones such as Allstate, GEICO or Nationwide. Smaller companies are more likely to make you call or go into an office to buy a policy.

Which companies sell same-day car insurance?

Most of the biggest and best car insurance companies offer same-day coverage. That means insurers like:

  • Allstate
  • American Family
  • Amica
  • Farmers
  • GEICO
  • Progressive
  • State Farm
  • USAA

Given that, if you want or need cheap same-day auto insurance, check out several companies' websites and apps before settling on the one that gives you the best quote or provides the coverage you need for your best price.

Does same-day car insurance cost more than other kinds of car insurance?

No, same-day car insurance doesn't cost more than car insurance that takes effect a week or more after you buy it. Or at least it shouldn’t cost more.

To put it another way, you will almost always pay the same rate for a same-day insurance policy as you will pay for a policy you buy in advance.

One exception is that you might pay up to 10% less for an auto insurance policy you buy in advance if you get it from a company that offers discounts for thinking ahead.

What do I need to buy same-day car insurance online?

Before you can buy a same-day insurance policy online or otherwise, you have to get a rate quote from an insurance provider. And to get a quote from an insurance provider, you typically need to give them some information about yourself and any other driver you plan to name on the policy, including:

  • Your name, address and occupation.
  • Your driver's license and Social Security numbers, although the latter is often optional.
  • Your commute distance.
  • Your car's vehicle identification number (VIN) as well as its make, model and year.
  • Details on any recent driving violations, tickets or accidents.
  • Details on any recent insurance claims you’ve filed.
  • Details on current car insurance coverage, if you have a policy.

Insurers use this and other information, like your credit score, to determine your rate and produce a quote. If you like that quote, you can agree to buy the policy and have it start right away.

Let us help you find same-day car insurance

How long does it take to get same-day car insurance?

Buying same-day car insurance should only take a few minutes if you’re already a customer of the company selling it to you.

If this is your first time working with a particular company, buying same-day car insurance might take as long as an hour.

This assumes you want to insure a standard or typical vehicle. If you need specialized insurance for a classic or collector car, the process could take even longer — to the point where you may not be able to get same-day coverage.

The same is true if you can't provide an insurer with the information listed above when you contact them about a same-day policy. In that case, it will probably need more time to set your rate and come up with a quote.

Why can't I get same-day car insurance?

There are a few reasons a company may not sell you same-day auto insurance. They include:

  • The company is small. Larger ones are more likely to offer instant auto insurance coverage.
  • You want to insure a collector or classic car.
  • You want to insure an especially expensive car.
  • You want to insure a heavily modified car.
  • You didn't give the insurance company all the information it needs to prepare a quote.

Is same-day car insurance retroactive?

No, you can't backdate car insurance. That means you can’t buy car insurance the same day as an accident and expect it to cover the crash. That’s assuming the crash happened before you bought your policy.

Even same-day insurance only covers you from the moment it kicks in — and not a minute before then.

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