If you have your eye set on a particular insurer and have all your personal information ready, you can get a personal quote from most major insurers in just 10 to 15 minutes. However, if you aren’t sure which company to purchase from or how much coverage you need, it’s best to take time to research and determine what you need. To make the process easier, MoneyGeek outlined the steps people typically take to purchase a policy.

Key Takeaways

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If you have all your personal information ready, it can take just 20 minutes to a few hours to get auto insurance through an online quote tool.

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You can shop around for quotes through an agent or a broker on the phone, but note that this method can take longer than getting a quote online.

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Make sure to do your research before purchasing a policy — know what companies you want to compare and how much insurance you need.

How Long Getting Car Insurance Takes: Step by Step

Getting your car insured can be done in just three steps, but how long it takes depends on a few factors. For instance, you can get insurance in less than half an hour if you know what you want. However, if you still need to compare car insurance quotes from several providers and determine your coverage limits, the process can take up to a few hours.


Collect Your Personal Information | Estimated Time: A Few Minutes

To get the most accurate and realistic quote, you need to provide insurers with three pieces of information: your car’s details, your driving history and your personal information.


Decide How Much Insurance You Need | Estimated Time: A Few Minutes to Several Hours

If you already know how much insurance you need, you can immediately proceed to the next step. Otherwise, researching can take up more of your time.


Compare Insurance Quotes | Estimated Time: 15 Minutes to an Hour

It takes just 10–15 minutes to get an online quote from a single company. The process of comparing quotes can take longer but save you hundreds of dollars in the end. MoneyGeek recommends comparing quotes from at least five companies to get the best deal. An insurance agent or broker can also help you assess your options, but that process can be time-consuming.

Keep in mind that these are only basic steps to purchase car insurance — there are many factors to consider to enroll in an affordable, protective policy. For instance, you have to decide if you want to buy online or with an agent and what level of coverage you need. How will you balance affordability with quality service and coverage? These are all factors we recommend you keep in mind before purchasing coverage.

What You Need to Get Car Insurance Fast

You may be wondering: “How fast can I get car insurance?” If you want the process of purchasing insurance to be as quick as possible, it’s important to be prepared. Here are a few tips to keep in mind if you want to speed up the process:

  1. Prepare your personal information, car details and driving and insurance history to present to any online quote tool.
  2. Decide how much insurance you need and what type of coverage you want.
  3. Limit the number of companies you get quotes from.
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While you may want to rush the process, there are benefits to taking your time and planning for car insurance. Research allows you to compare quotes and find the cheapest auto insurance company for your needs, as it can differ from person to person. You may also decide you value excellent customer service and set out to find the best car insurance company available. Not rushing the process gives you time to understand what you value in a policy and find a company that can provide it.

Having Personal Information Ready Helps You Get a Quote Fast

To apply for a quote online, you need information about your car, driving history, insurance history and personal details readily available, including your car’s make and model or any past traffic violations.

However, if it makes you uncomfortable to share these details online, you can use MoneyGeek’s anonymous car insurance calculator to get a rough estimate instead.

Auto Insurance Calculator

See how the Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates vary with the options chosen.


Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates

Click the section of the wheel in your price range to see options.

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Click an insurer below to visit their review page or continue to your personalized quote.


Knowing How Much Insurance You Need Can Get You Car Insurance Quickly

If you know how much car insurance you need or are renewing a policy, you can quickly fill in the appropriate limits and coverages in an online quote tool. However, if it’s your first time purchasing car insurance, you might want to do some additional research on what liability limits you want, the benefits of comprehensive and collision insurance and more.

Comparing Only A Few Companies Speeds Up Your Search

If you have an insurer in mind, you can get a quote in 10–15 minutes, but this process may take longer if you want to compare multiple companies. While you can narrow down your list of auto insurance companies to compare, it’s best to take your time researching — especially if you haven’t done much research before. Compare at least five quotes to find out what insurers cover and who offers the best rate.

Does Car Insurance Go Into Effect Immediately?

After getting a quote online, you can purchase a car insurance policy within the same day. How long it takes for car insurance to take effect will depend on you, as online quote tools ask for the start date of your new policy. If you’re renewing your car insurance policy, make sure your new policy starts when your previous one ends so that there’s no lapse in coverage. Even brief lapses can have a significant impact on your insurance rates.

Read More About Car Insurance

About Mark Fitzpatrick

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Mark Fitzpatrick is a senior content director at MoneyGeek with over five years of experience analyzing the insurance market, conducting original research and creating content that can be personalized for every buyer. He has been quoted on insurance topics in several publications, including CNBC, NBC News and Mashable.

Mark earned a master’s degree in Economics and International Relations from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree from Boston College. He is passionate about using his economics and insurance knowledge to bring transparency around financial topics and help others feel confident in their money moves.