How long does it take to get homeowners insurance?

It can take anywhere from five minutes to a few days to get homeowners insurance. If you have more complicated coverage needs, the process may take longer.

Kara McGinley

By

Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley is a senior editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she writes about homeowners and renters insurance. As a journalist and as an insurance expert, her work and insights have been featured in Kiplinger, Lifehacker, MSN, WRAL.com, and elsewhere.

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Michael Reynolds, CSRIC®, AIF®, CFT-I™

Michael Reynolds, CSRIC®, AIF®, CFT-I™

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Michael Reynolds, CSRIC®, AIF®, CFT-I™, is a financial advisor, principal and founder of Elevation Financial, host of the weekly personal finance podcast Wealth Redefined®, and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius.

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When purchasing homeowners insurance, you'll need to provide your insurer with information about yourself and your home. You can often get instant or same day homeowners insurance quotes online, over the phone, or in person at the insurance company's local office.

But the amount of time it takes to finalize your policy will ultimately depend on the type of property you're insuring and whether or not you have all the information you need to complete the quote.

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How long does it take to get a homeowners insurance quote?

Before buying your homeowners insurance policy, the insurance company will send you a quoted estimate of how much your homeowners insurance will cost. Most major homeowners insurance companies provide free and instant quotes online. After getting your quote, it can take a few days for the insurance company to process your application. 

To ensure a fast application process, make sure you’re ready to provide the following information:

  • Legal name and date of birth

  • Residence address

  • Coverage start date

  • Email address

  • Number of people living in your household full-time

  • How you occupy your home (is it your main residence or a vacation home?)

  • If you conduct any business at your residence (like a daycare)

  • How much coverage you need

You should also know the following details related to your home:

  • Build characteristics. You'll need to provide information about your home itself, including its square footage, the year it was built, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, its roof type, and more.

  • Protective features. Providing information about safety features of the home can lead to policy credit and discounts. Make sure to note if the home has deadbolt locks, fire alarms, sprinkler systems, security systems, or any other protective devices.

  • Additional coverage needs. If you live in a high-risk flood zone or in an earthquake-prone area, you'll need to purchase flood insurance or earthquake insurance. Make sure to mention any additional coverage needs to your insurance agent.

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How long does it take for homeowners insurance to go into effect?

After you’ve shopped around and decided on a policy, you’ll go through underwriting before your coverage and rates are finalized. Depending on whether your insurance company considers your home to be a high risk for property damage or not, this process can take minutes, hours, or days.

Some lenders may require proof of insurance

If you need proof of insurance in a hurry to close on a mortgage, talk to your insurer about getting it processed as quickly as possible. You should be able to provide them with an insurance binder or copy of your policy’s declarations page ahead of the closing date. 

Before you pay your first home insurance premium, your insurance company will ask for a loss payee, payment information, a policy start date, and you’ll finalize certain details like your deductible amount.

Once your billing and policy dates are set and your lender approves the policy, your coverage is good to go. Keep in mind that most lenders require you to pay one full year of homeowners insurance premiums upfront, so you should be prepared to make one lump sum payment.

You may be required to complete a home inspection

Some insurers may also require a home inspection, however most inspections happen after your policy has already gone into effect. During a home inspection, your home insurance company will send an inspector to your house to make sure everything in your application is accurate. The insurance company may adjust your coverage and rates based on the results of the inspection.

How to get homeowners insurance fast

The best way to get homeowners insurance fast is to understand the components of a homeowners insurance policy and to have all the documents and information that your insurance company requires. 

  • Know your residence and property information - You are going to need to provide your insurance company with details about your house to ensure the recommended coverage amounts are accurate. Before getting quotes, know your home’s square footage and home specs, like its foundation type, the style and type of roof, and whether or not the garage is attached to the home or a separate structure.

  • Know how much coverage you need - Homeowners insurance is made up of six main coverages, but there are several optional add-ons that may be worth considering. Shopping around makes it easier to compare coverage and rates.

  • Have the right personal information ready - Make sure you have personal information on hand, like your social security number, insurance claims history, and property history.

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Frequently asked questions

How soon before closing should I get homeowners insurance?

To be on the safe side, you should start looking for home insurance at least three weeks before your closing date. Most mortgage lenders require proof of homeowners insurance a minimum of three days before closing, so you'll want to give yourself plenty of time to compare companies and policy options.

How soon does home insurance take effect?

Homeowners insurance can take anywhere from five minutes to a few days to a few weeks to take effect. If you don't have any past claims on your record and your home is at relatively low risk of damage or loss, you can expect to get approved much quicker than someone with a higher-risk home.

Does homeowners insurance take effect immediately?

Your homeowners insurance generally takes effect once you've reached your agreed-upon effective date, or policy start date, and your first premium payment has fully processed.

How long does it take to get flood insurance?

Flood insurance generally takes longer to go into effect than homeowners insurance. This is because flood insurance policies come with a designated waiting period before the policy is officially active. Insurance companies enforce flood insurance waiting periods to prevent homeowners from only purchasing coverage in the leadup to a major flood event. The waiting period for FEMA flood insurance is 30 days, and generally two weeks or less for private market flood insurance.

Author

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

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Kara McGinley is a senior editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she writes about homeowners and renters insurance. As a journalist and as an insurance expert, her work and insights have been featured in Kiplinger, Lifehacker, MSN, WRAL.com, and elsewhere.

Expert reviewer

Michael Reynolds, CSRIC®, AIF®, CFT-I™, is a financial advisor, principal and founder of Elevation Financial, host of the weekly personal finance podcast Wealth Redefined®, and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius.

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