Cheap California Car Insurance

Find affordable auto insurance that works for you in California. Compare quotes from over 100 top companies.

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The Zebra partners with some of the companies we write about. However, our content is written and reviewed by an independent team of editors and licensed insurance agents, and never influenced by our partnerships. Learn more about how we make money, review our editorial standards, reference our data methodology, or view a list of our partners.

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 companies in California

What's the cheapest car insurance in California?
Rank Company Name Avg. Annual Premium
1 Esurance $1,164
2 Progressive $1,568
3 California Capital $1,621
4 Mercury $1,643
5 21st Century $1,665
6 USAA $1,666
7 Allstate $1,694
8 State Farm $1,980
9 Nationwide $2,114
10 Bristol 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 auto 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 $759 40.65%
No Accidents $1,412 75.64%
Good Credit $0 0.00%

 

Cheap auto insurance for young drivers 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
Age Average Yearly Premium
16 $7,186
17 $6,784
18 $6,185
19 $4,481

 

Cheap auto insurance for bad drivers in California

If you have a clean driving record in California — no at-fault accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs, or other recent citations — you'll probably pay less for car insurance. Conversely, a bad driving record will cause your rates to skyrocket: car insurance premiums typically increase by 167% after a DUI, 78% after an at-fault accident, and 42% after a speeding ticket in California. Luckily for drivers with poor credit, California outlaws the use of credit score as an insurance rating factor.  This means you'll pay the same car insurance rate no matter your credit history as reflected in the table below. If you have a clean driving history, be sure to inquire about your insurer's safe driver discount.  

CALIFORNIA AUTO INSURANCE RATES BY VIOLATION
Rating Factor Annual Rate % Increase
At-Fault Accident $3,251 77.98%
DUI $4,864 167.11%
Speeding Violation $2,587 42.06%
Bad Credit $0 0.00%

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Top rated car insurance companies in California

Every car insurance company emphasizes its low premiums. But as with any service, the most affordable 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.

Use the table below to better understand the quality of service you'll receive. You'll see reviews for popular auto insurers' financial strength, claims satisfaction, and customer satisfaction including an internal satisfaction score from The Zebra's customers. 

 

Insurance Company

Claims Satisfaction

(J.D. Power)

Customer Satisfaction

(J.D. Power)

Financial Strength

(A.M. Best)

Customer Satisfaction

(The Zebra)

21st Century N/A N/A Excellent N/A
Allstate Average Average Superior 4.3 / 5
California Capital N/A N/A Excellent N/A
Esurance N/A N/A Superior N/A
GEICO Average Average Superior 4.4 / 5
Mercury N/A Poor Good N/A
Nationwide Average Poor Superior 4.3 / 5
Progressive Below average Below average Excellent 4.3 / 5
State Farm Above average Above average Superior 4.5 / 5
USAA Excellent Excellent Superior 4.6 / 5

 

California auto insurance laws

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

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.

Learn more about car insurance requirements in the state of California

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How tickets change 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.

Violation Avg. Annual Auto Insurance Rate % Insurance Rate Increase $ Insurance Rate Increase
Hit and Run $5,038 170% $3,170
Refused Breathalyzer/Chemical Test $4,937 164% $3,069
DUI $4,937 164% $3,069
Racing $4,936 164% $3,068
Reckless Driving $5,038 170% $3,170
Driving with a Suspended License $4,807 157% $2,939
At-Fault Accident $3,280 76% $1,412
Driving with an Open Container $2,752 47% $884
Operating a Vehicle Without Permission $3,463 85% $1,595
Passing a School Bus $2,654 42% $786
Improper Passing $2,654 42% $786
Following Too Closely $2,654 42% $786
Speeding $2,627 41% $759
Failure to Stop at a Red Light $2,654 42% $786
Illegal Turn $2,654 42% $786
Driving Wrong Way/Wrong Lane $3,027 62% $1,159
Failure to Yield $2,654 42% $786
Speeding in a School Zone $2,660 42% $792
Driving Too Slowly $2,660 42% $792
Distracted Driving $2,674 43% $806
Driving with Expired Registration $1,931 3% $63
Failure to Show Documents $1,931 3% $63
Not-at-Fault Accident $1,868 0% $0
Failure to Use Child Safety Restraint $2,115 13% $247
Failure to Wear a Seat Belt $2,006 7% $138
Driving Without Lights $2,006 7% $138

 

California car insurance FAQs

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.

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

 

Recent Questions:

Can I get AAA roadside assistance without having insurance with them?

You should be able to purchase roadside assistance with AAA without switching your insurance coverage to AAA. Their roadside coverage is actually offered separate from their insurance policies for this specific reason.
Feb 14, 2017 Yuba City, CA

If I hit two vehicles during the same accident, will I be charged with two at-fault accidents?

Since both of the damaged vehicles were a result of the same incident then it's likely that your insurance company will only consider the entire claim one accident. Our State of Insurance report shows that at-fault accidents have an average impact of $899 per year in additional premium in California.
Jun 30, 2017 Fairfield, CA

Can an excluded driver claim bodily injury if they're at fault?

I would file a claim on their insurance. Excluded drivers are exempt from coverage.
May 12, 2020 Los Angeles, CA

If the cost to repair a vehicle I hit is more than the car is worth, can I just pay for the value of the car?

If you aren't going to be filing a claim for the accident then the two of you will have to settle on a final dollar amount. Unfortunately, the other driver's insurance status does not impact fault in the accident so he could potentially file a claim with your insurance company if you can't come to a resolution.
Apr 8, 2017 Oakland, CA

Ross Martin
Ross MartinManager, Content Quality

As a licensed insurance agent, Ross researches and writes insurance content intended to help users make informed decisions.

Ross's background is in writing and education. He holds a master's degree from Royal Holloway, University of London.

Ross's work has been cited by The New York Times, Investopedia, The Simple DollarThe BalanceCar and Driver and Fox Business. He has been quoted by CNET, I Drive Safely and Kin Insurance

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.

  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.

  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.