Cheap California Car Insurance

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Here's what you need to know when driving in California

The average cost of car insurance in California is $1,868 per year — 20% more than the national average.

Car insurance rates are impacted by more than just your location. Auto insurance rates comprise myriad factors, including a driver's age and driving history. The Zebra's experts analyzed average California car insurance rates for each of the most common rating factors.

Read on to learn how much auto insurance costs in California based on these variables, or submit your ZIP code above to receive personalized quotes from top insurers.


 

Affordable Insurance Premiums in California

What's the cheapest car insurance in California?
RankCompany NameAvg. Annual Premium
1Esurance$1,164
2Progressive$1,568
3California Capital$1,621
4Mercury$1,643
521st Century$1,665
6USAA$1,666
7Allstate$1,694
8State Farm$1,980
9Nationwide$2,114
10Bristol West$2,267

See rates from over 50 insurance companies in California by entering your ZIP code below to start comparing quotes.

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Cheap insurance for good drivers in California

Good drivers can save money on car insurance by avoiding at-fault accidents, speeding tickets, and DUIs. Insurance companies use your driving record as a way to predict what kind of risk you will pose to them. So, by not having any of these violations you are less risky and therefore a cheaper customer for them. In addition to having a cheaper premium, some companies offer a safe driving discount. While the amount varies based on your company, it can range between 5 and 10%. If we’re looking beyond just average rates and at individual companies, Nationwide offers some of the cheapest rates for good drivers in California.

 

CALIFORNIA CAR INSURANCE RATES FOR GOOD DRIVERS
Rating Factor$ Savings% Savings
No Traffic Tickets$75940.65%
No Accidents$1,41275.64%
Good Credit$00.00%

 

Insurance rates by age bracket in California

Young drivers between the ages of 16 and 25 pay the highest car insurance premiums of anyone in the US. Because of the risk presented by inexperienced drivers, teen drivers pay more than three times the national average for car insurance. Historically the most expensive drivers to insure, The Zebra found Allstate, GEICO, and Progressive are the cheapest companies in California for teenagers.

 

CALIFORNIA AUTO INSURANCE RATES BY AGE GROUP
AgeAverage Yearly Premium
16$7,186
17$6,784
18$6,185
19$4,481
20s$2,636
30s$1,817
40s$1,765
50s$1,678
60s$1,678
70s$1,932

 

Average auto insurance rates in California by marital status

One benefit of getting hitched — aside from the honeymoon — is the better deal you may receive on your car insurance policy. In the state of California, married drivers save $77 per year on car insurance policies. This is less than the average national savings of $98.

 

CALIFORNIA AUTO INSURANCE RATES BY MARITAL STATUS
Marital StatusAverage Annual Rate
Single$1,868
Married$1,791
Divorced$1,868
Widowed$1,816

Car insurance coverage for divorced drivers in California is the 8th most expensive in the nation. If you are paying too much for your car insurance policy, don't be afraid to shop around. You never know what savings you'll find!

 

Average auto insurance premiums in California by credit score

Car insurance companies often use drivers' credit scores to get an idea of potential customers' reliability. Data trends show drivers with good credit histories are often more dependable car insurance customers: they are less likely to file claims covered by auto insurance.

California, however, outlaws the use of credit score as an insurance rating factor, meaning you'll pay the same car insurance rate no matter your credit history.

Best Car Insurance Companies in California

Every car insurance company emphasizes its low premiums. But as with any service, the cheapest car insurance isn't always the best. Considering the stakes, it's worthwhile to do your research to purchase an auto policy that covers your car adequately after a collision. Consider shopping around to find the best value, rather than settling for the cheapest auto insurance available.

Compare top insurance companies' financial strength and claims satisfaction ratings to better understand the level of service they'll provide. Claims satisfaction — assigned by J.D. Power — is ranked on a scale of 2 to 5, with 5 being "among the best" and 2 being "the rest." Financial strength — calculated by A.M. Best and running from "Poor" to "Superior" — assesses an insurer's financial strength and ability to satisfy its policy and contractual obligations.

 

Insurance CompanyClaims Satisfaction (J.D. Power)Financial Strength (A.M. Best)
21st Century3Excellent
Allied3Superior
Allstate3Superior
California CapitalNot RatedExcellent
Esurance2Superior
Farmers3Excellent
GEICO3Superior
Liberty Mutual3Excellent
MetLife3Superior
Nationwide3Superior
Progressive3Superior
State Farm3Superior
Travelers3Superior
USAA5Superior
WawanesaNot RatedExcellent

 

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What is the best car insurance coverage in California?

The legal auto insurance minimum in California is $15,000 Bodily Injury per person, $30,000 Bodily Injury per accident, and $5,000 Property Damage per accident.

For the legal minimum coverage level in California, expect to pay about $648 per year. This is more than the national average by 4%. If you choose a higher level of car insurance coverage, you can purchase a policy with comprehensive and collision coverage, which will protect against damages caused by car-vs.-car crashes, theft, or weather incidents. It's worth noting that better auto insurance coverage comes at a cost: in California, a comprehensive policy with a $1,000 deductible costs $1,626, 151% more than basic liability-only coverage. For a comprehensive policy with a $500 deductible, you can expect to pay 161% more than for a basic liability-only policy.

Compare average annual rates for liability-only and comprehensive car insurance tiers below.

LocationLiability-OnlyComprehensive — $1,000 DeductibleComprehensive — $500 Deductible
California$648$1,626$1,694
National Average$621$1,373$1,868

California Auto Insurance Laws

State minimum insurance requirements in California

In California, the state minimum coverage requirement is liability insurance, with limits of:

  • Bodily Injury $15,000 per person
  • Bodily Injury $30,000 per accident
  • Property Damage $5,000 per accident
Optional coverage in California (varies by carrier):
  • Comprehensive
  • Collision
  • Loan/Lease Payoff
  • Medical and Funeral Services
  • Rental Car Reimbursement
  • Roadside Assistance
  • Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury
  • Uninsured Motorist Property Damage

Learn more about car insurance requirements in the state of California

Ticket Impact on Auto Insurance Rates in California

If you get a ticket, your auto insurance rates may rise. How much your rates rise depends on the violation, your insurance company's pricing strategy, and differing local insurance risks and regulations. That's why tickets may have a different impact on insurance in your state compared to the national average.

Below is a look at average auto insurance rates in California after a few common citations.

ViolationAvg. Annual Auto Insurance Rate% Insurance Rate Increase$ Insurance Rate Increase
Hit and Run$5,038170%$3,170
Refused Breathalyzer/Chemical Test$4,937164%$3,069
DUI$4,937164%$3,069
Racing$4,936164%$3,068
Reckless Driving$5,038170%$3,170
Driving with a Suspended License$4,807157%$2,939
At-Fault Accident$3,28076%$1,412
Driving with an Open Container$2,75247%$884
Operating a Vehicle Without Permission$3,46385%$1,595
Passing a School Bus$2,65442%$786
Improper Passing$2,65442%$786
Following Too Closely$2,65442%$786
Speeding$2,62741%$759
Failure to Stop at a Red Light$2,65442%$786
Illegal Turn$2,65442%$786
Driving Wrong Way/Wrong Lane$3,02762%$1,159
Failure to Yield$2,65442%$786
Speeding in a School Zone$2,66042%$792
Driving Too Slowly$2,66042%$792
Distracted Driving$2,67443%$806
Driving with Expired Registration$1,9313%$63
Failure to Show Documents$1,9313%$63
Not-at-Fault Accident$1,8680%$0
Failure to Use Child Safety Restraint$2,11513%$247
Failure to Wear a Seat Belt$2,0067%$138
Driving Without Lights$2,0067%$138

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California Car Insurance FAQs

Can undocumented immigrants get car insurance in California?

Undocumented immigrants can get car insurance without a license but it may be difficult and expensive. However, the consequences of driving without insurance are much more costly.

Who has the cheapest car insurance in California?

Esurance has the cheapest rates in California at $582 for a full coverage policy. Progressive and 21st Century also have cheap rates. Get started to see options for all the top companies in CA.

What is the average cost for car insurance in California?

In 2019, our data showed the average for car insurance in CA was $847 per policy period, or $141 per month.

Why is car insurance so expensive in California?

Car insurance in California is about 20% more expensive than average. This is due to population size, number of uninsured drivers, and insurance companies' revenue loss via claims.

 

How much does car insurance cost in California cities?

Car insurance companies calculate your rate based on many factors, location of the vehicle being an important one. The cheapest car insurance is found in Chula Vista, California, and the most expensive in Glendale, California.

RankCityAvg. Annual Premium
1Glendale$2,755
2Los Angeles$2,632
3San Francisco$2,257
4Oakland$2,243
5San Bernardino$2,126
6Sacramento$2,121
7Long Beach$2,052
8Santa Clarita$2,026
9Garden Grove$2,004
10Fontana$1,998
11Stockton$1,978
12Santa Ana$1,954
13Riverside$1,945
14Anaheim$1,943
15Moreno Valley$1,931
16Modesto$1,880
17Fresno$1,876
18Irvine$1,868
19San Jose$1,863
20Huntington Beach$1,860
21Bakersfield$1,839
22Oxnard$1,816
23San Diego$1,773
24Fremont$1,754
25Chula Vista$1,705

Recent California Car Insurance Questions and Answers

I got in an accident the same day I reinstated my lapsed policy. Will it be covered?

It depends on how the policy was reinstated. If they reinstated with no lapse, then you are free to file a claim.

What kind of insurance do you need if you'll be using your personal car for work?

If she plans on using a vehicle for business-use and transport people to and from different locations, most personal auto plans will not accept the risk if they know the vehicle was used for work purposes and not disclosed. She'll need to look into a commercial policy or, if available, adjust her current personal auto policy.

How do I get insurance if I'm not the owner of the car I'm driving?

Many companies will still insure you even if you're not the owner of the vehicle. However, they will likely want your father to be listed on your policy as an additional interest since he is the owner.

Does renters insurance include pet coverage?

Unless specifically stated, renters insurance extends liability coverage to your pet. This also applies to situations outside of your home.


California Tour Guide Scholarship

At The Zebra, we know better than most just what a pain buying car insurance can be. We also know that students suffer from higher-than-average policy rates. Talk about a double-whammy. That’s why, this year, we’ve decided to continue The Zebra’s annual scholarship with the goal of helping to alleviate the financial pressures of college-bound students in the California area, while also getting an insider view of the Golden State.

Prompt

So, students, we want to see your favorite road trip destination(s) in your state— from your unique perspective. If it makes sense to hit the open road and be our virtual tour guide, that's great! But there are no limits to what we're looking for: a narrated animation, a slideshow of memorabilia, an illustrated map of the best roadside attractions on the way. This is a chance for you to showcase any place you love in as an original way as possible.

How do I choose a location?

The length of the road trip to your feature destination is inconsequential. So if you have an awesome spot in mind that's just two miles from home, we want to see it.

Qualifications

Applicants must be currently enrolled at or planning to attend a four-year university, graduate program, community college, or trade school located in the continental United States. Upon notification, winner(s) must supply a current proof of enrollment or letter of acceptance.

How to Apply
1. Create a video

Your original video should not exceed 2 minutes

2. Post online

The video must be hosted on YouTube or Vimeo

3. Submit by email

Email your submission to scholarships@thezebra.com

4. Please include...

your name, address, and phone number when you submit

Details
Award

Selected winner(s) will be awarded a check for $1,000

Deadline

Applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. CST on December 31st, 2020

Notification

Winner(s) will be selected and notified by email by January 31st, 2021

Judges: The Zebra

The winner will be selected based on creativity in the content and presentation

*Upon notification, winner(s) must also supply a current proof of enrollment at a four-year university, graduate program, community college, or trade school located in the continental United States.


Fine Print

By participating, entrants represent that the video submitted is their sole and original work and does not infringe the intellectual property rights of any other party. In other words, no copyrighted music or images may be used.

Employees of The Zebra and their immediate family members are not eligible to participate in the contest.

Written credits for any technical or talent positions (e.g., editor, director, actors) should be included with your submission, along with any sources used to create the video.