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How Long Does It Take To Get Car Insurance?

Last modified: Jul 24, 2023

While you can regard vehicle insurance as just another expense, there are excellent reasons to have it. Some include making sure you don't need to pay out after a car accident, accidentally damaging your car, or (hopefully not) hitting a pedestrian. After establishing its necessity, you may be wondering how long does it take to get car insurance?       

Well, the answer depends on certain factors, such as:  

  • Available information and documents.
  • The operator's process.
  • Whether online or over the phone.
  • The types of policies on offer.
  • Your affordability.
  • How many providers you contact.

Before contacting any insurance provider, you must have all of your personal details at hand. Additionally, you will need all your vehicle documentation with further information like make, model, and registration number. Some providers can process your data quickly, and others might take a little longer while doing their checks.     

But you should be able to search for, apply, and get cover in less than an hour. However, you might not be covered right away, and it can take up to 48 hours for your policy to come into effect.   

Common Car Insurance Concerns

Insurance is always required before you can legally drive a vehicle. If you don't have cover, you will incur a fine, and your vehicle can be taken from you by the police.  

You should be aware that the police can quickly insurance-check your details using Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) systems installed in their cars. Using front and rear-mounted cameras, an AI program reads your plate. Then, it sends your details to the in-car police computer, including insurance status.   

Therefore, you must ensure you are covered before setting out in your car, even if you are popping out for essentials. Additionally, anything can happen; you never know when you will get into a car accident, and without insurance, you will find yourself in a heap of legal trouble. So always wait for your policy to begin before getting into your car. Your insurer should notify you how long this is likely to take.

Does Car Insurance Take Effect Immediately?

Depending on your provider, your insurance license can kick in immediately after your application is processed, or it can take up to 24 hours. Always enquire about this when you are making a new policy application.Your provider should tell you how long before you are insured to drive. 

Some providers take longer than others to process information. However, you will be covered immediately following your first payment in most cases. You should receive a text as soon as your policy begins.    

How Long Does It Take To Get Car Insurance?

Depending on your provider's processes and available information, you could get car insurance relatively quickly. However, the entire start-to-finish process might take longer.    

Using the internet is the fastest way because you can use our list of best car insurance providers to view multiple providers at once. From there, you can begin the process of contacting individual insurance providers. 

Can You Get Insured on a Car the Same Day? 

Most car insurance policies take up to 48 hours to come into effect. However, technically you are insured after your first payment. But it isn't advised that you drive until your application is fully processed. This is because you might not show on national registers such as the Motor Insurance Database (MID) used by official organizations such as the police. Your contact will advise you concerning timelines and will read your legal requirements. However, you can get a temporary 24-hour insurance without taking out a permanent policy.  

How Long Does Car Insurance Take to Show on MID? 

When you apply for car insurance, you may get cover pretty much immediately. However, your details and legal insurance status can take some time to show on the official Motor Insurance Database (MID). MID gets updated every 48 hours, so it stands to reason that you are safe to drive with all necessary cover after two days.  

However, in some instances, your details might not be recorded to MID for up to a week even though you are insured. You can check your MID status with the askMID website:  https://www.askmid.com/askmidenquiry

How Long Does It Take To Get Added to Car Insurance? 

Adding someone to car insurance is more straightforward than applying for a new policy. Because you already hold a policy with an insurer, they can add someone else immediately. For example, another family member. 

The process is quicker because there are no checks and just the addition of another person. However, you will need to provide detailed information such as name, address, DOB, and driving license number.     

A Step-By-Step Guide to Getting Car Insurance

For the most part, getting car insurance is quick and easy. Providing all your information is accurate and correct, you should have no issues. However, things can become complicated if you have made many insurance claims in the past or a previous policy has been voided.     

That aside, you can find the best car insurance online. However, keep in mind that cheap car insurance isn't possible, but you can find the best car insurance deals for your circumstances if you work at it.   

But where do you start getting an insurance update, new car insurance, or even car insurance without a car? It is recommended you switch to a new insurer three weeks before your existing policy expires. This way, you avoid problems that take time, such as a MID update. If you are new to insurance, things can take a little longer, and you might need more details and checks as your chosen provider verifies your details. 

You should also be aware that lying to an insurance provider is considered fraud and carries harsh legal penalties in most nations.  

What Are the Steps to Apply for Vehicle Insurance?

Applying for vehicle insurance isn't challenging. However, it can take some time. First, you need to find a suitable provider using a reputable comparison service. Then you must:  

  • Use the provider website to enter your details.      
  • Alternatively, call the application number.
  • Enquire what insurance policies they can offer as a new or existing driver.
  • Answer all questions honestly and provide accurate information.
  • Listen to the legal information they will express.  
  • Listen to your rights as a consumer that will be explained. 
  • Ask as many questions as you need to.
  • Make sure you know exactly when your policy kicks in.
  • Confirm you want to go ahead with your new policy.

What Do I Need to Know Before Getting Car Insurance?   

Applying for car insurance is easy. But there are many aspects to it that you may not know about. Legal jargon like range of cover, excess, and interest can be confusing. Insurers always offer a basic plan, covering car accidents and theft. But they can add on more cover as part of a comprehensive plan.    

These are designed for specific scenarios, and you probably don't need them. However, one or two might appeal to you. For example, you might live near a river that floods each year. So it might be a good idea to insure against it.  

What Is the Process of Vehicle Insurance?  

When you contact an insurance provider, they will ask you many questions. Mostly, so they can perform a risk assessment. Then, based on complex calculations, car insurers decide how much to charge you. 

How much you pay is called the premium; your premium is affected by many things like your area's crime rate, your model of car, and your driving experience. During your application, the provider will tell you your premium. Then, your provider will finalize the process and update the necessary MID data.

How Do I Get Insurance for My New Car?  

Before you can drive your new pride and joy from the dealership, you need insurance. You can contact an insurer while at the dealership premises for a new policy or update an existing one.    

Applying for insurance for the first time with a new provider will take some time, but updating your current policy can be very quick. Once you can provide insurance cover to the dealership, you can drive off in your new car. 

How to Get Car Insurance Faster

How long does it take to get car insurance when you apply? The answer to this can vary. There are many reasons for this, including deciding what you are looking for, working out the most suitable policy, and how your provider operates.      

However, you can also spend a significant amount of time looking for a provider. Therefore, using an insurance comparison website is often the quickest way to find a provider. 

Comparison sites collect information most suited to your specific situation and provide you with a list of the best providers. Typical metrics include pricing, customer service quality, complaints ratios, options, and discounts. 

Additionally, calling is always an option, but you risk being on hold, relaying your details to an operator, and even the call going dead. Therefore comparison sites, apps, and online applications are much quicker.

Have Your Personal Information at Hand

Once you have found a car insurer you are happy with, you need to give them all the necessary details for calculating your premiums and making a decision. There's a ton of information they require if you are a new applicant. At the very least, you need the details of your car, such as make, model, and VIN. 

You also need your driving and insurance history for online tools and apps. Then, rudimentary details such as your name, address, and contact details are also required.

Assess What You Can Afford

Almost all car insurance providers offer numerous packages and policies. But you won't need all of them, and your premium price can increase quickly with add-ons. Before applying, carefully assess how much you can reasonably afford to pay for your car insurance each month. For the most part, basic cover will be enough. And you can always add a more comprehensive cover later on if needed.

Decide on the Type of Cover You Need 

Fully Comprehensive is the best cover you can get for everything mentioned and protection for your car, yourself, and passengers.  However, it would be best to consider what cover you will require. For example, basic cover is adequate for everyday tasks like going to work or shopping. However, the basic cover (also known as Third-Party) only covers accidental damage or injury to someone else. Additionally, this cover is more expensive although it offers the least benefits. Third-Party, Fire, and Theft offers the same but also covers your vehicles.   

Don't Contact Too Many Providers

Comparing quotes from at least three or four companies will help you find the best and cheapest car insurance. However, reporting agencies collect information about insurance claims and your previous providers. Getting too many quotes could be flagged against you since insurers use a soft pull credit check for identity verification and suitability for paying back premiums.

Finding a Suitable Provider

Insurance companies advertise cheap rates and good customer service on their websites, so it's hard to tell what's good. So at PolicyAdvice, we made it easier to search for the best car insurance. 

To do that, we ranked more than 50 major US insurers according to how well they performed in critical categories. We also judged them on customer service, online tools, financial strength, and the number of discounts and optional coverages they offered. 

Also, we've got a handy list of tips and tricks that will cut your premium by as much as 50%, no matter who you choose. Last but not least, we explained and clarified the often convoluted terms in insurance so you can make your policy work for you.

How to Compare Quotes

We offer a unique service that compares the best car insurance providers based on key metrics. Based on these metrics, all the work is done for you. We've sorted and listed the best car insurance providers through a comprehensive review system. Customer service and features are among some of the indicators used. 

Still, we also include options with the cheapest quotes, temporary car insurance, and claims satisfaction. So, whether you're looking to get the best car insurance deal or a faster insurance payout after an accident, we got you covered.

In Conclusion

When wondering, how long does it take to get car insurance? The answer is always the same. You are covered straight away. But the question means much more than how quickly your policy kicks in. For example, you can spend hours researching insurance providers, then more time on the phone. And you can never be sure exactly when your coverage begins officially; but you can save tons of time with comparison websites.

Policy Advice is a website devoted to helping everyday people make, save, and grow money. While our team is comprised of personal finance pros with various areas of expertise, nothing can replace professional financial, tax, or legal advice.

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