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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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

UPDATED: Nov 3, 2020

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Key takeaways...

  • There are multiple steps involved with getting an auto insurance policy
  • It’s possible for a policy to begin on the same day of receiving quotes
  • Insurance is obtainable quickly and insurance cards are offered digitally

Knowing when car insurance starts is of the utmost importance. If it doesn’t start when you think it does, it could result in a lapse of coverage.

If something happens when you’re not covered, claims are denied and accidents and other damage can end up costing you a significant amount of money.

Make sure you have the coverage you need for the best price. Enter your zip code above to begin comparing prices.

Steps for Getting an Auto Insurance Policy


It’s imperative that you know about the steps needed to get an auto insurance policy. If you do things out of order or skip a step, it will take longer for your car insurance coverage to start.

  • Get quotes
  • Choose an insurance provider
  • Set the amount of coverage
  • Provide all information as requested to insurance company
  • Pay for the coverage, either in full, with a down payment, or by providing bank information for auto debit
  • Get confirmation of your auto insurance policy (by mail or by email)

These steps are in place regardless of what insurance company you choose to work with. They are a part of the timeline as it will take some time to complete each of these areas. You won’t be able to start coverage until each of these steps are done.

The longer it takes to complete each step, the longer it will take for coverage to begin.

You want to get through all of the steps as quickly as possible to ensure you are able to get your insurance to start as quickly as possible.

If you have insurance currently, you need information from your policy, as well. The more insurance facts you know, the easier it will be to get a new policy.

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Options for When a Policy Starts

You get to determine when your car insurance coverage starts. Once you get the quotes and have chosen the provider, you can have the insurance company start the coverage immediately.

You can have the coverage within 10 minutes of getting everything set up with the company.

In order to get insurance to start immediately, you need to make sure you provide payment details. You also need to have a policy number so you can show proof of insurance. Most insurance companies will be able to email you a temporary card.

Other companies might also have a smartphone app and you will get a login where you can access a digital copy of your insurance card.

If you already have insurance, you might decide to let that policy expire first. This means that if it expires on July 1, you want your new coverage to begin on July 1 so there is no lapse in coverage.

If you have a specific date you want the coverage to begin, you simply identify this with the new insurance company.

If you are in the process of shopping for a new car, you might be getting insurance quotes each time you look at a new car. This process will tell you what the cost will be to insure the car.

You won’t have to worry about the insurance coverage starting until you buy the car. Once financing has gone through and you are assured that you will walk out of the dealership with the car, you can get the car insurance.

The coverage will start before you drive out of the dealership later that day.

How to Get a Fast Insurance Policy


You don’t want to wait a long time for your car insurance coverage to start. One of the best things for you to do is have information at your fingertips to be able to provide online for getting quotes:

  • your driver’s license number to check for driving history
  • your car’s VIN number to check for specifications

The online quotes will show you what company has the best deal for the coverage that you desire. If you are leasing a vehicle, the lienholder will identify coverage that is required.

This coverage might be above and beyond state requirements. Online, you will get quotes from multiple companies.

If you choose a company different than who you are currently insured with, you can still start coverage before your other policy expires. You will go forward with the policy and provide payment details.

Then, once you have the new insurance policy, call the old insurance company. Let them know you have obtained a new policy. They will then cancel your existing policy and issue you a refund for any premiums that you have already paid in the future.

Car insurance coverage starts as quickly as you desire. As long as you have all of the information that an insurance company needs, you can have a policy created in minutes – and it starts the moment you have verified the details and provided payment.

You also have the opportunity to change insurance companies at any time to get a lower premium.

Compare car insurance quotes by entering your zip code below.