How long does it take for car insurance to start? Do all policies start as soon as you sign up?

January 30, 2017 · Posted in FAQ 
car insurance
Teddy Y asked:

A friend of mine was in an accident but their insurance doesn’t start til December. Is this possible? Do car insurance companies actually allow a driver to be uninsured for a month before starting their policy?

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10 Responses to “How long does it take for car insurance to start? Do all policies start as soon as you sign up?”

  1. Worldly25 on March 29th, 2009 9:53 am

    Your friend did not conduct business in an intelligent manner.
    Coverage normally commences once you pay the bill and your old coverage is over. So when your friend applied he was not paying attention.

  2. oracleofohio on March 29th, 2009 8:27 pm

    Coverage usually starts the day you sign the papers and hand them a check….

  3. Michael S on March 30th, 2009 10:39 am

    All states do not allow you to drive unless you have current and valid insurance. Therefore, you can get insurance immediately – within hours. Something is fishy. Either he told the insurance company that he has a current policy somewhere else and they are waiting for his “current” policy to end in December or he is paying them in installments and they are waiting for his initial check to clear.
    Unless your friend is very dumb, he is not telling you the whole story.

  4. EvilWoman0913 on April 2nd, 2009 6:37 am

    All the insurance companies I’ve used have started the coverage on the day I told them to start. I’ve never been without insurance and every policy I’ve had since 1978, started on the 6th of November because when I changed companies I asked them to start the coverage the day the old policy expired. Did your friend have insurance prior to getting this new policy? If so, then more than likely he’s covered on the old policy. If not, then he should check with his agent because the coverage should have started the day he signed the papers and paid the premium (or at least a down payment).

  5. boosta on April 2nd, 2009 10:14 am

    what the heck ive never heard of that
    someones confused tell her to call her agent

  6. Insurance Geek-ette on April 4th, 2009 10:55 pm

    If you go to a local agent with binding authority, then the policy starts instantly.

    Theoretically, it’s possible to set up a policy now to start next month. Practically, that only happens if you currently have a policy with a different company, and don’t want to start the new policy until the old one expires.

  7. src50 on April 8th, 2009 3:28 am

    If that is true, then your friend was dumb to drive uninsured. It’s up to him/her to know the effective dates of the policy.

  8. car253 on April 9th, 2009 2:56 pm

    Did you friend ask for a future date? Usually coverage starts immediately unless you ask otherwise. If your friend did not ask for a future date they need to tell that to the claims rep.

    If your friend did ask for a future date he must have insurance somewhere else that covers him until Dec. If he doesn’t he made a big mistake. Insurance companies do not make you wait to cover you.

  9. Sophie B on April 12th, 2009 5:36 pm

    Coverage usually starts when the agent agrees to insure you..

    When I insured my hotrod I asked that question.. the agent said ” Why.. did you have an accident?”

  10. RAP Q on April 15th, 2009 10:23 pm

    I have only heard of that if they currently have insurance with another insurer. Ussually you tell the insurance company when you would like to have your policy start, but if you do not have insurance on your vehicle, it is not legal to drive it until your insurance has started. If your friend gets into a accident before the policy starts, then they will not get covered. Better be careful.

    I’ve had good info about it here:

    Take care.

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