Cheap Same-Day Car Insurance

  • Buy car insurance online from GEICO, Progressive, Liberty Mutual and more. Instantly and for free.
  • No sales pitch. No phone number. No junk mail.
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Why you can trust The Zebra

  • We never sell your information — we can earn money by helping you find insurance
  • We don’t pick favorites — our content is written and reviewed by an independent team of editors and licensed agents.
  • Want to dig in more? Reference our data methodology and learn about how we make money.
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Kristine Lee

Manager, Content and Data

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Kristine is a licensed insurance agent who joined The Zebra in 2019 as an in-house content researcher and writer. Before joining The Zebra, she was a…

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Mark Friedlander

Director, Corporate Communications, Insurance Information Institute

Mark Friedlander has over 30 years of experience in the insurance industry. He is the Director, Corporate Communications, at the Insurance Informatio…

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Susan Meyer

Senior Editorial Manager

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Susan is a licensed insurance agent and has worked as a writer and editor for over 10 years across a number of industries. She has worked at The Zebr…

How to get cheap auto insurance online

Most auto insurance policies could be described as “same day," "instant" or "free." You can shop around for car insurance online and buy it when you're at the dealership — all in one day and free of charge.

What can take time is finding auto insurance within your budget right when you need it. That's where The Zebra comes in. Our online app only requires one quick form to see your options from big and little companies across the US. You can sort by price or by coverage level to find the right car insurance for you. Instantly and for free.

Key takeaways
  • The easiest way to get same-day car insurance is to purchase a policy online
  • Shopping for cheap insurance online is perfectly safe and reliable
  • Almost every major carrier offers online quotes
  • Our data indicates Travelers, USAA and Nationwide are the cheapest online insurance providers

Average rates from top online car insurance providers

For those looking for the best auto insurance rates online, take a look at the average premiums from auto insurers offering same-day car insurance in the U.S.

Company Avg. Annual Premium Avg. Monthly Premium
Travelers $1,342 $112
USAA $1,365 $114
Nationwide $1,476 $123
GEICO $1,542 $129
American Family $1,568 $131
State Farm $1,569 $131
Farmers $1,786 $149
Progressive $1,882 $157
Allstate $2,413 $201
Updated: 09/21/23.

Dynamic auto insurance data methodology

Methodology: The auto insurance rates displayed above and throughout this page are dynamic, meaning the data will refresh when the most recent information is made available. Rates are based on a sample driver profile — a 30-year-old single male driver with a Honda Accord and full coverage. This profile was adjusted based on common pricing factors used by major car insurance companies, like age, coverage level, driving record and others.

Need insurance now? Get it today with The Zebra!

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Is it safe to buy car insurance online?

Yes! Most insurance shoppers tend to buy their coverage over the phone or online. While you should always exercise caution with online purchases, it is generally safe and convenient to buy your car insurance online.

If you need car insurance immediately but also for the cheapest price, your best bet is to use comparison sites like The Zebra. We partner with big and little insurance companies across the US to instantly provide customers with options based on coverage, price and company.

Learn more about how insurance comparison websites like The Zebra work.

how to buy auto insurance online

Don't just take our word for it

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We don't send you spam or call you.

The Zebra is an insurance comparison site, not a lead generator or an insurance company. You won’t receive spam from either us or are partners when you use our tool.

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We keep your personal information secure.

You can trust us to handle your personal information securely. We never sell your information – our bottom line is to keep your insured. See our Privacy Policy for more information.

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We do the searching for you.

Rather than jump from site to site in order to find the best deal, we’ve streamlined the research process. With us, you fill out one quote to see multiple options at the same time. 

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We partner with the most trusted insurance companies.

Not only do we work with most of the biggest names in the insurance industry, but we also partner with regional and non-standard providers to help get you insured today.

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Save your quotes and return when you're ready.

No pressure or sales pitch here. You can save your quote and return when you're ready to buy. 

If you need more assistance, we are always here to help! Call 1-888-244-4364 if you would like more guidance at any stage of your insurance shopping experience.

Get auto insurance online now!

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How long does it take to get auto insurance online?

Once you're ready to start looking at car insurance rates, it can be a fairly quick process.

If you're getting a new quote from a car 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.

If you have an established policy, it should only take a few minutes to get an online 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. If you've been with the same car insurance company for a while, it can still be a great idea to shop around to check for a lower rate. You can also inquire about any car insurance discounts you might be eligible for, especially if you've moved, changed careers or added more vehicles to the household, which could help lower your 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. It's good to check on this before you start looking for auto insurance rates to accurately compare the coverage options.

Buying or financing a car through a dealership

Buying or financing a car through a dealership often requires full coverage car insurance to be bought in advance. It’s a good idea to check with the dealership to see what coverage they require before you begin to compare quotes. In fact, any time a lienholder is involved, you will likely need a policy in place before you can drive off.

Buying from a private dealer

Private dealers may not require you to immediately add insurance. In these situations, you may have a small time allowance to add the car to your current policy. Some insurance policies have a grace period for coverage extensions for newly acquired vehicles, meaning, the highest level of coverage you have on your current vehicle(s) can be extended for a short period of time.

Buying a car without a current policy

As you will be required to carry a certain amount of coverage in most states, it's a good idea to start the insurance-shopping process early if you know what kind of car you are going to be buying. Remember that the underwriting process isn't instant, so getting the process started early can help speed things along. As soon as the sale has gone through you will want to contact your insurer to get your policy bound. 

What information is needed to get online car insurance quotes?

Of course, there is not a set-in-stone list of information needed to receive a car insurance quote. However, most insurers will require roughly the same types of information to get the process started. If you're at a dealership and need car insurance immediately to drive off the lot, you might be able to simplify the process by having your information ready beforehand (especially if you have multiple drivers).

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

  1. Driver's license number, date of birth, address, 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.
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Reasons why you may not be able to get car insurance immediately

When drivers get quotes, insurance companies use the information submitted to generate pricing. The biggest reasons you may not be able to get same-day car insurance are if some of this crucial information is missing, or if circumstances require that insurer to assess whether it can provide coverage for you. Some examples that could prevent you from getting same-day car insurance include:

  • Not having a permanent address: Insurance companies use your location as a factor in your quote, so may not sell you a policy if the insurer can't verify your address.
  • Having too many accidents or citations on your record: This is a sign of liability to insurance companies, meaning you could be too risky of a client. It could be more difficult to find car insurance coverage depending on the state of your driving history, but some companies will offer you a policy - it just might require more research. Learn more about how to find insurance as a high-risk driver.
  • You drive a unique, rare or classic car: If you drive a vehicle that isn't listed in a company's database, it could require more work to find a policy. Not all car insurance companies will sell you a policy for a rare or classic car; you may need to get quotes from insurers that specialize in classic cars, like Hagerty.
  • Poor credit: Your credit score is one of many factors that are evaluated when getting quotes for car insurance. Depending on your score and the information available, this could lead to a delay if an insurer needs more information.

If you can't get a car insurance quote online, we recommend calling the insurance company and getting personalized help from one of the company's representatives.

The risks of "one-day" auto insurance

Technically, all car insurance is "one-day" car insurance, as you can activate your policy and terminate it at any point. Remember that any policy will require an underwriting period, meaning it won't technically be "instant." Also worth remembering is that being covered by an insurer for only a single day can land you in trouble for several reasons.

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.

Car insurance is required by law unless you live in New Hampshire, where proof of insurance is not a requirement. By canceling your policy after leaving a dealership, you run 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 costly citations that could tarnish your driving record.

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 saddled with forced insurance - where a bank or lender pays the auto insurance bill before passing along the costs to you. Forced insurance coverage is typically much more expensive than getting an auto insurance policy yourself. By shopping around and comparing car insurance rates, you can make the choice for yourself when it comes to the best car insurance for your needs, without the extra costs being passed on.

If you're found as the at-fault driver after an accident without an active car insurance policy, you will most likely be ticketed, face license suspension and can even be sued for property or liability damages.

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 is typically far worse than the auto insurance rate you will pay. There are affordable options, and you can easily compare car insurance rates to make sure you're getting the best deal. Many companies also offer a variety of car insurance discounts that you may be eligible for.

Instant car insurance quotes: what to consider

Instant car insurance quotes are easy to obtain. However, remember that the underwriting process for putting your new policy in place will take longer. Most major car insurance companies should be able to provide same-day 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. 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 rates from national and local insurance providers.

Quickly find the right policy online today!

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Affordable same-day auto insurance: FAQs

Several major insurance companies offer competitive auto insurance rates online. USAA, Travelers and Nationwide are the three most affordable auto insurance companies with policies available online, according to The Zebra's research. If you're in need of quick same-day auto insurance quotes, use The Zebra to compare quotes for free from these top insurance companies.

Buying online is certainly easier but not always the cheapest way to get insured. The best way to get cheap car insurance is to shop around. Comparing car insurance quotes online allows you to explore all of your options — from major insurers to smaller local companies — and to find the best deal for your particular driving profile. The Zebra does the searching for you so you can pick the cheapest policy and buy when you're ready. We even have licensed agents on hand to help you find the best policy.

Many car insurance companies sell policies online. We recommend using our free and instant comparison tool to get quotes from national and regional insurance companies. Buying auto insurance online gives you the opportunity to do in-depth research before purchasing.

Car insurance companies don't charge you extra just because you want your policy active immediately. However, you could potentially save more money by buying in advance. Some insurers offer a small discount for buying a policy in advance.

Related Questions

Read or submit your own question about instant car insurance!

Do I have a legal three-day window to drive to NY in my new car without plates?

There is no legal window where you can drive without the plates. If you are buying through a dealership they should be able to assist you on behalf of the state of Virginia in obtaining a temporary plate. You would likely just need to show insurance at the point of sale to get that done. If you are…
Nov 1, 2020 Fredericksburg, VA

Is there a temporary non-owners car insurance for foreign drivers?

As an international student, you do have some options. The Zebra can offer Non-Owner's policies for drivers with a foreign license. We can't quote that online because a car is required, but you can give us a call at 888-807-3823. We will quote you with several companies at once. To qualif…
May 13, 2019 Durham, NC

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.