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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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?
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 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$75940.65%
No Accidents$1,41275.64%
Good Credit$00.00%

 

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
AgeAverage 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 FactorAnnual Rate% Increase
At-Fault Accident$3,25177.98%
DUI$4,864167.11%
Speeding Violation$2,58742.06%
Bad Credit$00.00%

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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 CenturyN/AN/AExcellentN/A
AllstateAbove averageAverageSuperior4.3 / 5
California CapitalN/AN/AExcellentN/A
EsuranceAverageN/ASuperiorN/A
GEICOAverageAverageSuperior4.4 / 5
MercuryPoorPoorGoodN/A
NationwideAbove averagePoorSuperior4.3 / 5
ProgressiveBelow averageBelow averageExcellent4.3 / 5
State FarmAbove averageAbove averageSuperior4.5 / 5
USAAExcellentExcellentSuperior4.6 / 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.

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

 

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.

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 Questions:

I was injured after an accident. How can I get compensation for this?

Compensation is normally paid by the insurance company of the at-fault driver if you have to go to the doctor/hospital or if you have to miss work. You'll need to contact their insurer to begin the process unless you don't plan on getting medical attention for your injuries.
Dec 1, 2017 Sacramento, California

How can I get an affordable car insurance rate in California with no credit?

California does not allow credit to be used for car insurance purposes so you won't have to worry about that impacting your rate. Finding an affordable rate is all about shopping with as many companies as possible to find your best insurance option.
Jan 30, 2017 Loma Linda, CA

If someone hits my uninsured vehicle, will their insurance pay for a rental car?

Liability coverage pays for damage caused to another vehicle and usually a rental to cover that other driver's loss of use of their vehicle. I would recommend contacting your neighbor's insurance provider to confirm the details of coverage since the claims process can vary by company.
Nov 2, 2016 Bloomington, CA

Do vehicles that have the IIHS's "Top Safety Pick Plus" award get discounted auto insurance or any other benefits?

Here is how the IIHS defines the rating differences between TSP and TSP+, according to the info found here. "To qualify for 2019 TOP SAFETY PICK, a vehicle must earn good ratings in the driver-side small overlap front, moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests, as well as an acceptable or good rating in the passenger-side small overlap front test.
Aug 12, 2019 San Francisco, 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 has been quoted by CNET, iDriveSafely.com and Kin Insurance, and his work has been cited by Car and Driver.