Do I need to plug in the Pulse before my insurance can be effective?

No. There is a grace period of 10 days in IL/NJ/OR/PA/VA/WA before you must connect the Pulse. You will not be charged for miles you drive before your effective date or before plugging in the Pulse (during the grace period). In CA, there is a 7 day grace period, and you will not be charged for any miles during this time.