How long to get car insurance?

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Whether you have bought a new car or a used car, you are always stuck on this question;” How long does it take to get car insurance?” Actually, there is no straight answer because of many factors associated with car insurance duration. However, prior knowledge about car insurance can help you to reduce car insurance length.  

Think: how long can you stop driving the car on the road after buying it? It is like you feel thirsty and have water in front of you, but you are waiting for permission to drink. You can consider this permission with car insurance that you must have before driving on the road. 

Do you want to learn those steps to know how quickly you can get car insurance?

If the answer is yes, then this article is for you. 

This blog article is all about how long car insurance takes to get, with a detailed analysis of each step so that you can make your car insurance process faster. Let’s start with the following:

Key takeaways:

  • In the US, most insurance companies offer same-day car insurance.
  • Online is the faster way to get car insurance, whereas in-person could take longer time than online. 
  • Some car insurance companies have a waiting period. If you want to buy this type of coverage, then it will take more time.
  • A driver with a clean record will get faster car insurance than a driver who has a past traffic law violation record.
  • You can attach your credit card with the insurance premium. This payment system will reduce your car insurance duration.
  • It could take 1 week to 1 month to get car insurance after purchase. 
  • The underwriting process could take up to 7 days to 2 months based on car model & driving record. Sometimes, bad car conditions delay the insurance process.

How long does it take to get car insurance?  

Few hours to more than 1 month. The time could vary depending on several factors, such as your advanced preparedness. 

Below are the steps that describe how much time it will take to get car insurance. 

Estimating coverage needs:

Choosing an insurance package that will cover essential & unprecedented car damage could take 5 to 10 minutes. 

You can select based on your budget & car condition. It is difficult to calculate the exact liability insurance amount for a car because it varies depending on states, inflation & many other economic factors.

To speed up the process, I have given an overall idea about car liability insurance based in California.

Liability insuranceCoverage
Minimum $15,000Per person bodily injury or death
$30,000Bodily injury for more than one person per accident
$5,000Property damage for one accident
Car insurance liability coverage limits

Collecting information:

Gathering relevant information could take from 10 to 15 minutes

The insurance provider needs some information to activate car insurance. Usually, they want to know about your driving history or if you have a driver, then his license details, parking conditions, i.e., do you park your car in a public street or garage, how do you buy your car, i.e., completely buy, partial finance, or lease, car condition, car registration, and car Identification Number (VIN). 

Quotes comparison

Shop for insurance or quote comparison could take up to 30 minutes to 1 hour

Finding out suitable rate could be problematic if you don’t know the right methods. Therefore, you should compare quotes from different insurance providers to analyze rates. You can analyze this over the phone, in person, or online; you can even call local insurance agents.

Choose insurance providers:

Choosing an insurance company process could take from 15-30 minutes

Before buying coverage, analyze customer reviews, quotes, and prices under your affordable range. Then, choose that company which offers everything that your car needs.

Fill up the application form:

The coverage application process could range from 20 to 30 minutes

You have to fill up the usual information such as your personal information, car details, driving history & bank details. 


The underwriting process could take from a few hours to 2 days

Here, the insurance provider will carefully review your credit score, driving history, risk profile, any odd conditions associated with the car & your overall application.   

Finalize quotes:

After underwriting, insurance providers will send you a final quote to approve. This quote finalizing process could range from 1 to 2 days

Pay your premium:

Car insurance premium payments last for 5 to 15 minutes

You have to pay insurance premium money for the car after accepting quotes. You can pay monthly, semi-annually, or annually by using a credit card, check, or online funds transfer system. 

Insurance proof: 

The proof of insurance process occurs immediately after paying the premium. Usually, the insurance company will give you an insurance card or digital proof of your insurance.

Car registration:

Vehicle registration could take up to 30 days after obtaining car insurance. Before driving on the roads, you have to register your car with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). 

Maintain Coverage:

Maintaining coverage doesn’t have any specific timeframe. It is an ongoing process that lasts with the duration of your insurance policy. Usually, the duration of your insurance policy ranges from 6 to 12 months.

Policy renews:

This process could be varied, but typically it takes 6 to 12 months. You have to renew your policy to maintain continuous coverage.

Not clear, need more clarification? Let’s read the following questions:

How long does underwriting take for car insurance?

Minimum 7 days to a maximum of 60 days based on your driving history, car insurance policy, & readiness for application. Usually, a clean driving record takes less time than an application with inaccurate information.

Say Mia has a clean driving history & gathered all the required authentic information for the car insurance application. 

So, how long will underwriting take to activate Mia’s car insurance? Let’s see:

Day 1: Mia submits her insurance application by filling up the necessary information. If someone fills up an insurance application with inaccurate information or isn’t ready with all the required information, then it can delay the underwriting process. 

Day 2: The insurance company will start their initial review after sending a confirmation e-mail to Mia.

Day 3: The insurance provider checks every piece of information that Mia provides on the application.

Day 4: Since Mia has accurate information with clean driving data, the insurance company will not ask for additional information to assess risk. So, they proceed to the next level. If someone provides insufficient information to estimate the risk profile, then it will delay the underwriting process.

Day 5: This time insurance company will give Mia a final premium quote in the form of an insurance coverage policy offer.

Day 6: If Mia agrees with the premium, she will pay premium amounts online. If you disagree, then it will take extra time for underwriting work.

Day 7: After accepting premium money, the insurance company will activate Mia’s car insurance policy.

So, the underwriting process for car insurance will take 7 days for Mia because of her clean driving record & ready information. 

Now, you may be thinking about underwriting guidelines because insurance companies use this to assess risk profiles. 

Auto insurance underwriting guidelines?

Auto insurance underwriting guidelines are a set of factors that use insurance companies to evaluate the risk of insurance applicants. Underwriting guidelines can vary based on the insurance company, but below are some common factors that insurance companies consider:

Personal information: The insurance company will evaluate the driver’s driving license, how many years drive, age, gender, marital status, & occupation. 

Past driving record: Usually, insurance companies will check traffic violations like speeding tickets, DUI convictions, claim history & at-fault accidents. 

Car information: how the car will be used, i.e., personal, business, or commuting, safety features such as airbags, anti-lock brakes, anti-theft systems, make, model & age.

Location: Here, the insurance provider will check where you drive & park your car, accident data, and local crime rate.

Coverage & deductibles: Your coverage type & deductible amount.

Credit history: Do you have a good credit card score or a lower score? Insurance companies will charge lower insurance rates for higher credit scores.

Previous insurance record: What is your past insurance claiming history, and whether you had continuous coverage without any gaps?

Eligible for discount: The insurance company gives discounts based on some factors, such as a clean driving history if you did the safe driving course and buying multiple policies from the same company.

Let’s see an example.

Auto insurance underwriting guidelines examples

Auto insurance underwriting guidelines examples:

Applicant-1: Low risk profile

  • Over 30 years old driver (more than 25 years considered lower risk)
  • Clean driving history (lower risk)Drive the car with safety features (lower risk)
  • Drive in a safe zone where accidents & crime rate is lower (lower risk).

Applicant-2: Moderate risk profile

  • Over 20 & below 25 years old driver (higher risk)
  • One at-fault accident driving history (higher risk)
  • Drive a Honda or car without safety features (higher risk)
  • Drive in a populated area where accidents & crime rate is moderate (high risk).

Applicant-3: High risk profile

  • Under 20 years old driver (very high risk)
  • Two at-fault accident driving history & many traffic law violations in the past 2 years (very high risk) 
  • Drive a Nissan Maxima or car without safety features (very high risk).
  • Drive in a city area where accidents & crime rate is high (very high risk).

In this phase, you may be interested to know how the underwriting process works. The following question will give you a clear idea about it.

What is an underwriting review for car insurance?

Underwriting review for car insurance is a system to assess the risk of issuing a driver or car. Insurance companies thoroughly analyze a driver’s age, driving history, credit score & many associated factors to determine risk level, premium amount & eligibility. 

Let’s see a mathematical example to understand how the car insurance underwriting process works

  • Car insurance underwriting process:

Scenario-1: The insurance company wants to underwrite to estimate the premium amount of Mary, who is 22 years old. Below are the details:  

Annual base rate (B): $800

Risk level under 25 years driver (R): 1.5 (higher risk)

Accident risk (A): 1.4 (for more than one accident in the past 3 years)

Average car risk for F-150 (V): 1.2

So, premium=B× R ×A ×V

=$800× 1.5×1.4 ×1.2


Scenario 2: The insurance company wants to underwrite to estimate the premium amount of Henry, who is 30 years old.

Annual base rate (B): $800

Risk level over 25 years driver (R): 1.4 (lower risk)

Accident risk (A): 0 (no accident record in the past 3 years)

Average car risk for Ford Mustang (V): 0.8

So, premium=B× R ×A ×V

=$800× 1.4×0 ×0.8


After the underwriting assessment, the insurance company will charge a $2,016 premium amount for Mary, whereas Henry has to pay $0 because he bears less risk compared to Mary. 

Ok, you have purchased auto insurance but could not understand which date your insurance will be due. So, your next question should be the next one. 

When is my car insurance due?

Your car insurance due date will be the next month based on the policy document date or the day when your car insurance is activated. You will receive an insurance renewal reminder e-mail before it runs out, or you can direct call the Insurance agent to know the due date.

Say Ella buys car insurance with an annual premium of $2,000 on 15th July. Her policy document states that the insurance premium due will be the same day, 15th July, for the following year.  

car insurance due calculation formula

So, Ella has to pay a $166.67 monthly premium due on the 15th day of each month, i.e., August 15, September 15, October 15 & so on. 

Quotes are an important part of vehicle insurance & most new policyholders have many questions about it. If you are one of them, then the following questions are for you.

How long does an insurance quote last?

Most insurance companies offer 30-day to 60-day quotes, while some insurance companies only offer 24-hour quotes. Usually, insurance companies charge lower quote rates for early purchases than later. After the quote’s expiration date, the insurance provider will give you a new quote with another rate.

Say Lucas received a car insurance quote on December 1 for $1000, whose validity period is 30 days. After analyzing the quotes, Lucas agreed to buy it on December 31, so he contacted the insurance company. But the insurance company informed him that the quote had expired & if he wanted, then he had to pay a 10% increased price.

So, new price=$1,000+$1,000×0.10



So, Lucas has to pay an extra $100 ($11,00-$1,000) for new car insurance quotes.  

Still asking yourself this question: how long are car insurance quotes valid for

Below is the short answer:

Short-Term Quote Validity: 1-14 days

Medium-Term quote Validity: 15-30 days

Longer quote Validity: Over 30 days

This time, your mind could ask, “Does car insurance start instantly? If yes, then the following question is for you.

How long does it take to get an insurance quote?

5 to 15 minutes. You can get car insurance quotes in three ways: online, by phone, & in person.

Online will take minimum time, while in-person could be longer than 15 minutes because you need an appointment to discuss details about insurance quotes. But, most insurance companies offer online quotes to speed up the process, which can be completed within a few minutes.

Say you cannot understand online quotes by self-reading, so you want to consult with an insurance agent. This consultation could take several days if your car needs extra coverage or you don’t understand which types of quotes will be best for your vehicle.  

Below is the short answer:

Online quotes: this is the fastest way to get car insurance quotes that take a few minutes.

Phone quotes: this could take some time because the insurance agent will need some car information, which takes between 10 to 15 minutes.

In-person quotes: this could take up to 7 days because it depends on you & insurance agent’s schedule.

You may understand the car insurance quote duration. If yes, then your next question could be the following one. 

How soon does car insurance take effect?

Car insurance takes effect within 48 hours. Usually, car insurance takes effect immediately after your first payment. But it could take more time if you choose a coverage that has a waiting period. 

Surprised, perhaps you know there is no waiting period for car insurance. If you think so, that is completely wrong. Let’s understand it in detail:

  • Is there a waiting period for car insurance?

Yes, there is a waiting period for collision coverage, reimbursement, gap insurance, & comprehensive coverage. Usually, the waiting period for car insurance ranges between 30 days to 60 days.

Let’s see an example of how the waiting period for car insurance works:

Waiting period example:

Oliver buys a car insurance coverage with the following conditions:

Premium payment: Oliver paid the premium amount on June 1, 2024.

Waiting period: The policy has 30 30-day waiting period for comprehensive coverage.

With the above condition, collision coverage will effect immediately after Oliver’s payment, i.e., June 1. That means if Oliver is involved in an accident that falls under collision coverage, he will get coverage from day one. 

However, things are going to opposite for comprehensive coverage. Oliver has to wait 30 days after premium payment then he will be eligible for insurance coverage. Below are the details:

June 1, 2024: Oliver pays the premium.

June 30, 2024: The waiting period will end.

July 1, 2024: Comprehensive coverage becomes effective to claim.

The waiting period may remind you of your insurance card. If yes, then you are going to ask the following question. 

How long does it take to get an insurance card?

It could take 7 to 10 business days, depending on the policy & insurance company. 

Let’s see an example to understand it clearly,

Benjamin purchases car insurance & wants a physical insurance card.

Business day 1 (morning time): After submitting the insurance application, Benjamin receives a confirmation email from an insurance company with access to his electronic insurance card. 

Business day 1 (afternoon time): Now, Benjamin can download an insurance card by logging into his online account. This downloadable insurance card works as an alternative to a physical card, i.e., if needed, Benjamin can use it as a car insurance proof. 

Business day 5 (morning): The insurance company will send physical car insurance to the mailing address of Benjamin.

Business day 5 (afternoon): In this phase, Benjamin will check the information on the insurance card to see whether it matches the given information. If not, then he can inform the insurance representative to correct that error part. Usually, this doesn’t happen & if it occurs, then the insurance provider will take extra time depending on the type of error.

Need more clarification, below are the concise answers:

New policy: you will get a car insurance card within a few days after making the first payment.

Renewing policy: if you want to renew an existing policy, then Renewing could take a few weeks before expiring your policy.

Online or phone: If you buy car insurance over the phone or online, you will get immediate access to download or print insurance cards.

Agent: It could take a few business days to process your application & send the card.

Specific insurance company: Some insurance companies could send you a fast insurance card. For this, you have to contact them.

Perhaps you bought car insurance but couldn’t find the policy number. If you face difficulty, then the following questions will guide you in detail to find out it quickly.  

How to find my car insurance policy number?

New policyholder often faces difficulty in finding out insurance policy number. If you are one of them, then below are the ways to find out your insurance policy number.  

Check your insurance card: Usually, the insurance policy number is listed on the insurance card. So, first, check your proof of insurance ID.

Check your policy document: Check the declaration page or policy booklet that the insurance provider gave you. These documents include details about the coverage, including the policy number.

Check your account: If you have created an online account, then visit your site by login. You can get the policy number on the account details or policy summary page.

Check billing document: Sometimes, insurance companies include the policy number on the billing statement. If you received billing documents, then check them.

Contact with a broker: If you buy insurance in person, then you can get your policy number from them. Usually, agents keep auto insurance records, so they know your policy number.

Contact with insurance provider: If you still cannot find your insurance policy number, then you need to contact with insurance company via direct phone. Insurance providers may ask you for some information to identify your policy then they will tell you your policy number.

I have less patience & don’t want to spend a lot of time buying auto insurance. Are you belonging to this class & asking how to get car insurance fast? Then, the following question will guide how quickly you can get car insurance.  

How fast can I get car insurance?

Minimum 20 minutes to maximum 2 hours depending on insurance policy & complexity of the application.

Below are the steps that will fast your car insurance process:

Gather necessary information: The following ready information can speed up your car insurance process.

  • Driving license number of you or your driver.
  • Date of birth (you & your driver if you drive both)
  • Social Security numbers (SSN)
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Driving history
  • Credit card history
  • Your address & car parking address
  • Estimated driving miles per year
  • Previous car insurance declaration page: if you have multiple insurance, then the most recent one.
  • Car details

Estimate required coverage: Prior calculated necessary car insurance coverage can make your car insurance process faster. Therefore, figure out which coverage fits your car’s needs.

Shop online: You can compare quotes from reputable insurance company in online to determine a perfect rate for your car. Sometimes, the insurance company offers a discount rate that could be best fit for your car needs.

Check customer reviews: You can select an insurance company by analyzing their customer review. 

Instant coverage: You can choose a company that offers immediate coverage after payment. You can pay using a credit card or any supported money transfer system.

Online submission: You can submit documents online to smooth the process.

Review your policy: Carefully review coverage details, policy limits, deductibles, terms, and conditions to finalize your insurance coverage. This review will speed up your car insurance process.

Call customer support number: If you have additional questions, you can call the customer care number to understand it in detail.

Payment options: You can set up auto payment with your credit card to save time. 

Concluding Thought

Driving a car without insurance is illegal in the USA. You need to understand your car needs & compare insurance coverage to pick the best one. Therefore, you should have a basic understanding of car insurance policies to speed up the insurance process. 

Keep in mind that car insurance duration could vary based on states & policy. Some policy needs information to activate car insurance, where a policy for bad driving history will take longer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How long does it take to set up car insurance? 

15 minutes to 24 hours, depending on how you are going to purchase, the complexity of your policy & whether you need extra information. Usually, you can set up car insurance within 1 day if there are no risk issues.
For example, a high-risk policy will take longer time to set up than a clean driving policy.

Is there a grace period for car insurance?

Yes, there is a grace period for car insurance of 10 to 30 days. Within the grace period, your coverage remains active, but if you don’t pay within the grace period, the insurance company will cancel your policy. 
For example, John has an annual car insurance premium of $1080 & his insurance company gave him 10 10-day grace period. He has a due date of the first day of each month.
Other details:
Due date: August 1
Monthly premium: $90 ($1080÷12)
In this condition, if John missed August 1 to pay the premium due, then the insurance company will give an extra 10 days to pay it. The insurance company will not cut his policy, but if he doesn’t pay within August 11, then the insurance provider will conceal the policy.
Usually, a grace period is an extended period for a policyholder by an insurance company to pay the premium due.  

What time do insurance companies open?

The weekday office starts at 9:00 AM and closes at 5:00 PM from Monday to Friday. But it could vary based on the insurance company & location.  
For example, some insurance companies start at 7:00 AM & closed at 7:00 PM. 
I can understand that a businessman or corporate professional has a tight schedule; therefore, it is hard to manage time to consult with an insurance agent. So, you may be curious to know: Are Insurance Companies Open on Weekends?
The straight answer is no. But insurance companies provide 24/7 insurance service online & phone. That means you can get their service without visiting the office. 
But if you still have questions or if you need a face-to-face meeting, then what will happen? Usually, the insurance company fully closes on Sunday, but some insurance companies open from morning to early afternoon on Saturday. So, you can meet within this time, but again, not all insurance companies open on Saturday. So, it is wise to call their customer service number to confirm.

What Is a Car Insurance Policy Number?

Car Insurance Policy Number is an 8-to-10-digit number or maximum 13-character longs associated with a car insurance policy. The insurance company uses this number to find out your detailed information if needed.
Let’s understand the car insurance policy number format:
Consider a Car Insurance Policy Number: SAN-123456-ABC. In this example, SAN means insurance code, 123456 means policy identification number, & ABC represents your car insurance coverage type. This insurance number works as a password to exchange essential information between the policyholder & insurance company.

What Is a Car Insurance Policy Number


The information provided in this article is just the author’s view & only for educational purposes. By reading this, you agree that the information is not car insurance advice. Do your research before buying car insurance. Therefore, if you make any types of financial loss, will not be liable for it.

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