Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Written by Rachael Brennan
Licensed Agent for 15 Years Rachael Brennan

Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: Jun 21, 2022

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Key takeaways...

  • You need to compare quotes for auto insurance premiums as you’re shopping for a car to find a good deal
  • If you’re buying a car or you need immediate coverage, you can buy a policy that will start right away
  • For same-day coverage, you’ll have to submit an application and select the current date as your effective date
  • When you get coverage on the same day, you’ll be issued a temporary binder letter until everything is processed
  • You have to submit either the first month’s premiums or the minimum deposit due to bind coverage right away

You should never drive a car without insurance. If you’re borrowing a vehicle, renting a car, or buying a car, you should have protection in place so that one car wreck doesn’t land you in court.

While car insurance isn’t legally required in all scenarios, when you’re driving a car that’s registered in your name car insurance is both necessary and mandatory.

If you currently don’t have insurance, don’t procrastinate. You should price policies and apply for coverage as soon as you can.

It’s necessary so that you can have peace of mind the next time that you drive and so that you can comply with the law.

If you’re worried about the process taking too long, it’s possible that you can secure the coverage same day.

Start comparison shopping today for better auto insurance rates! Enter your ZIP code above!

Why is auto insurance mandatory in most states?


Auto insurance is mandatory in most states. It’s been like this ever since automobiles became the primary means of transportation.

Since tort laws are common in cases where personal injury occurs, state officials deemed it necessary to require everyone who owns a car to carry motor vehicle liability insurance.

Tort law says that anyone who injures someone is required to pay for the damages that they are liable for. Liability includes the medical bills and the property damage that’s incurred after a car-related accident.

Since no one can guarantee that someone would be able to pay for these costs on their own, a majority of states mandate that vehicle owners must carry third-party coverage that pays for medical and property damages.

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What happens if you don’t have auto insurance?


If you ignore the law or you’re just not familiar with it, you could face some serious penalties enforced by the state. Borrowers can also be penalized with monetary charges by their lender if the car doesn’t have continuous full coverage.

These penalties might include:

  • Citations for no insurance
  • Fines issued by a judge
  • Suspension of your registration
  • Requirement to file an SR-22
  • Charge to buy forced-placed insurance on auto loan
  • Suspension of your driving privilege
  • Mandatory tow and impound
  • Reinstatement fees
  • High-risk auto insurance rates

Why should you wait until you get auto insurance to drive again?


If you’ve gotten away with driving without insurance for weeks or even months, you might feel like you’ve beaten the system. You don’t have to pay premiums and you’re not getting charged any type of penalties.

Even if you’re not caught by law enforcement, doing this is extremely risky.

The biggest risk of driving your car without insurance is that you’ll have an accident.

Without the liability insurance to lean on, the vehicle owner is left to pay for thousands of dollars of damages out of their own account. Those who can’t pay will be taken to court.

People who aren’t hurting for money won’t have issues doing this, but most people who are financially comfortable don’t have issues paying their auto insurance premiums.

If you have an uninsured loss, it won’t just go away. You could lose any assets you have and you could get stuck paying wage garnishments for years until your liabilities are paid off.

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Can you get auto insurance right away if you’re uninsured?

If you’re uninsured at the moment, you can get coverage today if you have all of the information that you need and you’re able to make the first payment.

Your insurance won’t actually be issued right when you apply for coverage but it will still protect you as long as you’re honest on your application.

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What do you need to complete a car insurance application?


You can’t get coverage unless you can fill out an application with all of the information that the insurer needs. Some of the information can be pulled off the top of your head but not all of it.

Here are some of the details that you’ll have to provide to complete your application:

  • Driver name, date of birth, current license number, and old license numbers from other issuing states
  • Vehicle year, make, model, VIN, and odometer reading
  • Loss payee clause for all financed and leased cars
  • Prior insurance policy number and expiration date
  • Dates of any moving infractions drivers in the home have been convicted of
  • Dates of any accidents that people in the home have had
  • Vehicle usage and annual mileage for each of the vehicles in the home

How much money do you have to pay to start your auto policy?

The completed application must be accompanied by money. In the world of contract law, the money that you submit is called consideration and it’s required to make an insurance contract official.

How much you’ll be asked to pay depends on the insurer’s policy. Some carriers only charge a one-month payment and others ask for a percentage of the total premium.

What does it mean when you get a binder letter?


Since your application must be reviewed, you’ll only get a binder letter that confirms that you have coverage.

This letter says that coverage is bound for the next 30 or 60 days while your file is being assessed and reviewed.

It’s a temporary confirmation of coverage that is used to replace your auto insurance ID cards during the underwriting phase.

It’s very risky for auto insurance carriers to offer their customers same-day coverage when they don’t know about a driver’s past.

The contract isn’t fully in effect until after the underwriting period is over. If everything is true on the application, you won’t have any issues.

Get online quotes for coverage right now so that you are able to compare rates today before you get your immediate coverage.

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