Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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The lowdown...

  • You can get quotes for auto insurance and then submit an application for coverage when you want to proceed
  • When you submit your application, you must select the effective date that you want your coverage to take effect
  • You can select either the date that you’re applying or a future date for your insurance coverage to start
  • The insurance company will issue a temporary binder while the application is being underwritten
  • If you get a temporary binder the same way, it’s still possible that your carrier could cancel your coverage

You can’t get insurance in the blink of an eye. Buying car insurance is a process and the process starts with getting quotes.

The entire purpose of auto insurance quotes is to help you determine how much you’ll pay for insurance through some of the carriers that you’d like to do business with. A quote doesn’t provide you with any type of protection.

You won’t have coverage until you apply for car insurance through one of the carriers you receive quotes from. If you haven’t filled out a detailed application and submitted your first payment, you should assume that you’re not protected.

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As you apply for coverage, you’ll be asked when you’d like it to take effect. Here’s what you need to know about applying for same-day car insurance coverage:

Why do you have to submit an application to buy an auto insurance policy?


When you’re buying auto insurance, you’re not buying a basic product that you can find on any store shelf. Not just anyone can call an insurance company and say they want coverage on their car.

Buying auto insurance means the company is entering into a contract with you. Since contracts are binding, companies must be careful who they do business with.

In order to buy insurance, you have to qualify for the coverage based on the guidelines that have been set by the insurer. These guidelines are called underwriting guidelines and they are very straightforward for a reason.

When you get a quote for coverage, you’ll be asked to fill out an application just so that an underwriter can review your information and determine whether or not you actually qualify for coverage.

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What do underwriters do when they review your application?

You provide a lot of the same information on quoting forms and applications. The main difference is that you’ll have to provide information that can be verified by the company so that the insurer can check your records.

You’ll have to provide your license number, your date licensed, dates of tickets, dates of claims, and other information requested.

After you provide the information that the insurer asks for, the underwriter’s job is to plug the numbers in to run your personal reports. They will run a motor vehicle report to see if you have tickets and when your license was issued.

They will also run a Claims Loss Underwriting Exchange report to find out if you have accidents. After this is done, your final rate quote will be set.

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What is a policy effective date?

Before you submit your application to your agent or online, you need to select an effective date.

The effective date is the day that your carrier will start to provide you with coverage. If you choose a six-month policy with an effective date of April 1st, you’ll have protection from April 1st to October 1st.

When can your coverage take effect?


The soonest that your policy could take effect is on the day that you submit your application. If you need coverage as soon as possible, you can select a same-day effective date.

When you choose to buy auto insurance coverage on the same day, the policy will protect you as of the time that you submitted your payment. Any claims you’ve had that day before submitting your application won’t be covered.

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What does it mean when you get a temporary binder?

If you do ask that the policy takes effect on the same day, you’ll be issued a temporary binder instead of the actual policy. Exclusive agents and independent agents are able to issue binders to you when you make a payment.

If you apply for coverage through a broker, the broker will have to contact the company to get a 30-day binder.

A binder is a document that says you’re covered while the policy is being underwritten. It’s not until the policy is issued that the rates are official.

Your rate can change and if that happens your bills will be different from what you were quoted. When you get the issued documents in the mail, you’ll get everything from your declarations page to your ID cards.

What happens if you don’t qualify for insurance when the application is reviewed?


One of the risks of having your insurance take effect on the same day that you apply is that you could lose your coverage once the reports have been run. This happens when you’ve been found guilty of fraud, when you fail to list serious infractions, or when you have a long list of tickets and accidents.

If you don’t qualify for coverage when the policy is issued, the policy will either be canceled or rescinded.

Most of the time you’re given notice that the policy will be canceled within 10 to 30 days. If you purposefully lied on your application, the carrier could rescind the coverage and it will be as if you never had coverage at all. Always be honest.

Can you ever apply for coverage on a past date?

You can apply for insurance on the same day but you can’t ask the provider to provide coverage on a past date. Requesting this is known as backdating.

Backdating a new insurance policy is against the law in most states because it’s seen to be an act of fraud to say that a client had coverage before they really did. Any company that would backdate a policy for you should be avoided.

If you don’t have auto insurance right now, you should shop for a policy that you can afford. You don’t have to wait until all of your reports are run to get coverage.

You can get coverage the same day through a temporary binder if you get quotes and apply. If you need to compare rates quickly, use an online quote tool and then you can see what the leading providers will charge you in just a few minutes.

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