How to get instant auto insurance

Technically, every auto insurance policy could be described as “same-day car insurance.” You can shop around for car insurance, find a rate you like, and buy it when you're at the dealership — all in one day. Furthermore, any auto quote you receive should come free of charge. Insurance companies advertise “free and instant auto insurance quotes,” implying other sites or companies charge for them. Quotes are complimentary across the board and won't impact your current premium, making it easy to buy cheap car insurance online. Don't hesitate to compare insurance rates and weigh your options.

If you're looking for same-day free car insurance quotes, The Zebra's insurance experts have some tips. Below are average insurance rates from companies offering same-day car insurance in the U.S. (methodology here).

Car Insurance Company6-Month PremiumMonthly Premium
Allstate$1,011$169
Farmers$822$137
GEICO$602$100
Liberty Mutual$863$144
Nationwide$714$119
Progressive$809$135
State Farm$647$108
USAA$545$91


Enter your ZIP code below to get personalized online car insurance quotes. If you're in search of more information, keep reading.

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Despite the easy availability of same-day car insurance quotes, you can streamline this sometimes-tedious process in one of a few ways.

 

Same-day auto insurance — table of contents:

  1. What info do I need to provide to get an instant car insurance quote?
  2. Can I get cheap one-day car insurance?
  3. Should I buy car insurance before I get a car?
  4. How long does it take to get car insurance?
  5. Instant car insurance quotes: additional resources

 

What information is required to get an instant car insurance quote?

To get an accurate insurance quote as quickly as possible, have the following information available.

  1. Driver's license numbers, date of birth, addresses, living situation, marital status, and other information for any driver on the policy.
  2. The vehicle identification number (VIN) of the vehicle for which you're getting a quote. Every vehicle, regardless of whether it’s from a private seller or still at a dealership, has a VIN. This number is unique to every vehicle, tracking its history. If you can’t provide a VIN, be sure you can provide the year, make, and model. Most insurance companies will not issue a policy from a quote without a VIN.
  3. Mileage on the car.
  4. Date of purchase of the vehicle.
  5. Name of the registered owner.
  6. Recent driving history of any motorist(s) listed on the policy, including accidents, citations, claims, or completed driving courses.
  7. Details on your car insurance coverage background — some companies require at least six months of continuous coverage prior to issuing a policy.

Of course, this is not a set-in-stone list of information needed to receive a car insurance quote. If you're at a dealership and need car insurance immediately to drive off the lot, you might be able to simplify this list by just including your information (for example, if you have multiple drivers). Remember to call your insurance company at a later date and update this information. This list will be helpful to have handy if you're wanting instant proof of insurance for your new vehicle.

 

Understanding "one-day" insurance

Technically, all car insurance is "one-day" car insurance, as you can terminate your policy at any point. However, being covered for a single day can land you in trouble for several reasons.

  1. You may not get your down payment back. Most insurance companies require a down payment — at a cost of 30 to 45 days worth of premium. If you cancel your insurance policy the day after it was issued, you won't be guaranteed to get your money back for that month. Learn more about auto insurance with no down payment.
  2. You are legally required to have insurance unless you live in New Hampshire, where proof of insurance is not a requirement. By canceling your policy in order to leave a dealership, you run of the risk of being ticketed for driving without insurance. While rules vary by state, common consequences of driving without insurance include having your vehicle impounded, license suspension, and expensive citations that will tarnish your driving record.
  3. Leased and financed vehicles often stipulate contractually that insurance coverage is a requirement. If you're leasing or financing your vehicle through the dealership or a bank, they typically require you to maintain full coverage (collision and comprehensive coverage) on your vehicle in addition to liability insurance. By canceling your policy, you are putting your vehicle in danger of repossession if they (your bank or dealership) find out. Moreover, you could be penalized with what's called forced insurance — where your bank or other lender pays the insurance bill for you, which is then passed on to you. Most of the time, forced coverage is much more expensive than getting insurance yourself.
  4. If you're found at-fault after an accident without insurance, you will most likely be ticketed, have your license suspended, and could even be sued for the property or liability damages you caused.

Although car insurance can be expensive, it’s cheaper than the world of trouble you can get yourself into if you’re caught driving uninsured or get into an at-fault accident without insurance. The financial responsibility you could face in those circumstances — costs for bodily injuries and property damage can get steep depending on the accident's severity — is typically far worse than the insurance premiums you will pay. There are affordable options but finding an affordable policy may require comparing car insurance rates.

 

Should I get car insurance before I buy a car?

It depends. If you buy or finance your vehicle through a dealership, a full coverage auto insurance policy may be required in order to drive the vehicle off the lot.

This may change if you buy from a private dealer. Some insurance policies have a grace period for coverage extensions for newly acquired vehicles, meaning, the highest level of coverage you have on your vehicle(s) can be extended for a short period of time. If the private dealer does not require you to immediately add the vehicle to your insurance policy, you could buy the vehicle prior to insuring it. As long as there's no lienholder and you're the sole owner of the vehicle you purchase, you are free to choose your own coverage options.

 

How long does it take to get car insurance?

If you're getting a new policy with an insurance company, you should be able to get a car insurance policy in less than an hour. Because you are starting an entirely new policy, you are required to make a down payment in order for your policy to be considered active. The amount of your down payment will depend on your insurance company and your auto insurance coverage level.

If you have an established policy with an insurance company, it should only take a few minutes to get an auto insurance quote — either online or with the help of an experienced insurance agent. Be sure to have all the necessary information on hand to streamline this process.

 
Instant car insurance quotes: what to consider

Every major insurance company should be able to provide same-day or instant car insurance. If you're looking for car insurance in order to legally drive your new vehicle off the lot of the dealership, make sure you have all the information ready to make the process as painless as possible. If you opt to forgo car insurance — or only purchase it temporarily before dropping coverage — you risk being caught driving without insurance, and the consequences you will face will be much more costly than an elevated insurance premium. Enter your ZIP code below to see cheap car insurance quotes from national and local insurance providers.

 

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Related articles

If you're looking for more information on instant car insurance or ways to save on car insurance, consult our additional resources.

 

Methodology

In order to find same-day car insurance quotes, we used a 30-year-old male driver with a Honda Accord — a considerably common vehicle in the US. Next, we used every ZIP code across the US — over 50,000 of them in order to find an average rate. For our coverage, we selected 50/100/50 liability rates with $500 comprehensive and collision coverage limits. These coverage limits are based on the average preferences most consumers have in the US. For more information, see our State of Insurance analysis. 

 


Recent Questions:

Same-Day Car Insurance

How do I get insurance after buying from private seller in CA?

In order to legally drive and register the vehicle, you will need to get insurance - so, yes, you will need to get insurance "on the spot" if you chose to buy it. You can compare prices with us here or call us at 888-444-8949 to get a quote today.

Is there a site where I can enter my information and it will show me different quotes from various companies?

Absolutely! That's exactly what we do at thezebra.com. Feel free to check out our site and get quotes.

Are car insurance quotes free?

You should never have to pay for a car insurance quote. Since auto insurance is so specific to each person, it would be impossible for companies to advertise a set price to take out a policy.

Can I buy auto insurance through The Zebra completely online?

Yes, many of the insurance companies allow you to purchase and bind your policy entirely through their online experience. The purchasing process typically happens after you compare and make a selection on TheZebra.com.

Ava Lynch LinkedIn

Ava worked in the insurance industry as an agent for four-plus years. Currently providing insights and analysis as one of The Zebra’s resident property insurance experts, Ava has been featured in publications such as U.S. News & World Report, GasBuddy, and Yahoo! Finance.