If you live in one of the 48 states that require car insurance, you likely need to purchase a minimum amount of liability coverage before hitting the road, based upon state requirements. Taking time out of your busy schedule to secure car insurance can feel like a hassle. Thankfully, with proper preparation, you can insure your vehicle in 10 to 15 minutes or less. Read on to learn how long it takes to get car insurance, how to get a car insurance card, and when your coverage period begins. 

How Long Does It Take to Apply for Car Insurance?

Applying for car insurance is typically a straightforward process that takes around 20 minutes or less. However, consolidating your personal information, researching coverage options, and comparing quotes can take a little longer. We’ve estimated how much time you’ll need to complete each of the following steps, below: 

  • Choosing your coverage—a few minutes to several hours. In addition to your state’s minimum insurance requirements, decide if you want to add any additional coverage options, such as comprehensive and collision, to protect you from financial loss in the future. If you already know what type of insurance you want, you can proceed to the next step quickly. However, it’s worth comparing different policies to make an informed decision. 
  • Gathering your personal information—a few minutes. You’ll need to provide your insurer with your personal and vehicle history to secure an accurate quote. Gathering the materials you need beforehand is the best way to ensure the process goes smoothly. This shouldn’t take more than a few minutes if you know where your documents are. 
  • Comparing quotes from different companies—15 minutes to an hour. Since every insurance carrier has its own formula for generating quotes, prices can vary greatly between companies. To make sure you’re getting the best deal, it’s important to compare quotes from a minimum of three to five potential insurers. 

What Do I Need to Apply for Coverage?

When you’re getting quoted for car insurance, make sure to have the following documents for everyone on the policy: 

  • Name 
  • Date of birth 
  • Driver’s license number 
  • Social Security number 
  • VINs (Vehicle Information Numbers) for all vehicles 
  • Address 
  • Declarations page from your last car insurance carrier 

How long does it take to get car insurance - couple in car ready to drive

When Does Your Coverage Period Begin?

Your coverage period should begin shortly after you finish the application. Some insurers can issue you a policy that begins on the same day you apply, and all you need to do is pay your premiums on time to stay covered. 

How Long Does It Take to Get an Insurance Card? 

After purchasing car insurance, you’ll usually receive your insurance card in the mail within 7-14 business days. However, many insurance companies offer electronic insurance cards that you can print or save to your phone immediately after purchase. If you need an insurance card quickly, ask your insurer if they offer digital cards to speed up the process of receiving proof of insurance. Most states require physical proof of insurance if you get pulled over, so keep a printed copy of your insurance card in your vehicle just in case. 

How to Get Car Insurance Quickly 

While shopping for car insurance isn’t usually time-consuming, there are some things you can do to save time during the application process. Having the necessary information on hand before getting quoted helps you save time and generate accurate quotes. Heading into the application process with a clear idea of the type of coverage you want will also buy time. However, this isn’t recommended for first-time buyers who want to weigh their options before making a purchase. 

Comparing quotes from fewer insurance companies is another way to get car insurance quickly. You can get quoted then proceed to the next step in less than ten minutes if you’ve already chosen your insurer, but experts recommend comparing multiple quotes to ensure you’re getting the best deal. 

Here at The General, we believe that everyone deserves quality insurance at an affordable price. If you’re looking for fast quotes and coverage, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ll give you a free, no-commitment car insurance quote in under two minutes. No need to speak with a representative—our entire application process can be completed online. You can also receive your car insurance card as soon as you start your policy! We specialize in high-risk insurance, which means we offer policies to drivers with less-than-perfect credit scores and driving records. Want to learn more? Read some five-star reviews from happy customers or explore more articles about insurance 101 on our blog.