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California Car Insurance

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

Across the Golden State, there are 386,604 miles of road just waiting to be driven. We’ll get you prepped, then you take the wheel.

Car Insurance Laws

Minimum insurance requirements in California

In California, the minimum coverage requirement is liability 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

Liability coverage is legally required in California and pays for injury and lost wages that you cause to another driver or their passengers as well as damage to the other driver’s vehicle in the event that you are considered “at fault” in an accident. The coverage limits are determined by each individual state and normally split into three categories. In California, the minimum is listed as 15/30/5 and explained below:

$15,000 bodily injury coverage per person. This is the maximum dollar amount that pays for a single person that you injure in an auto accident.

$30,000 bodily injury coverage per accident. This is the maximum dollar amount that pays for all injuries that you cause in an accident if more than one person is hurt.

$5,000 property damage per accident. This is the maximum dollar amount that pays for damage that you cause in an accident.

These numbers reflect the minimum limits required in California but higher coverage amounts are available with most companies.

Top California Car Insurance Companies

The Zebra compares over 200 companies & 1,800 products, so you can save way more than 15%.

Car Insurance FAQs

Are digital insurance cards accepted in California?


What does this mean for you?

If you happen to find yourself pulled over by a police officer in California you won't have to rifle through your glovebox wondering if you remembered to replace that expired insurance card last month. Instead, you can provide proof of coverage with your smartphone.

Do I need uninsured motorist coverage in California?

Uninsured Drivers in California




Did you know?

Uninsured motorist coverage protects you from damage caused by other drivers without insurance and hit-and-runs.

How much does car insurance cost in California cities?

Rank City Avg. Annual Premium
1 Los Angeles $2,125
2 Glendale $2,100
3 San Francisco $1,728
4 Oakland $1,721
5 Sacramento $1,686
6 San Bernardino $1,612
7 Long Beach $1,594
8 Stockton $1,572
9 Santa Clarita $1,564
10 Fontana $1,550
11 Garden Grove $1,539
12 Moreno Valley $1,521
13 Modesto $1,517
14 Riverside $1,512
15 Fresno $1,487
16 Santa Ana $1,468
17 Anaheim $1,459
18 San Jose $1,409
19 Huntington Beach $1,388
20 Fremont $1,375
21 Bakersfield $1,367
22 Irvine $1,357
23 San Diego $1,354
24 Oxnard $1,331
25 Chula Vista $1,324

More questions?

Check out other FAQs and ask your own California car insurance questions here.
Driving Laws

California Texting and Driving Laws

  1. Ban on hand-held cell phones
  2. Ban on all cell phones for school bus drivers and novice drivers <18 years
  3. Ban on text messaging for all drivers
Alcohol Related Fatalities


Per Year in California
Annual DUI Arrests
US Average
DUI Legal Limit


Blood Alcohol Content
Average DUI Cost


Nationally, For First Offenders
What does this mean for you?

Driving with a blood alcohol content higher than the number above will put you at risk of being arrested for driving under the influence. If arrested you’ll face harsh consequences and may face varying degrees of jail time, fines, driver’s license suspensions, and reinstatement requirements.

If convicted of a DUI, you can expect the financial obligations to extend beyond the DUI ticket to court costs, attorney fees, higher insurance rates, and potentially the installation of a Ignition Interlock Device to serve as a breathalyzer test each time you start your vehicle.
Cheap Car Insurance

It's expensive to get car insurance in California!

Dang! California is definitely not one of the cheapest states for car insurance. Dont worry, we got your back!
At The Zebra we're all about helping you save money on car insurance. Since California might have cheaper premiums that makes our job a breeze! It's easy to get started—we just need some basic information.
What's the cheapest car insurance in California?
Rank Company Name Avg. Annual Premium
1 USAA $1,132
2 Wawanesa $1,169
3 Century National $1,202
4 CSAA $1,210
5 Nationwide $1,238
6 21st Century $1,352
7 Grange $1,462
8 Mercury $1,518
9 Progressive $1,527
10 Allstate $1,528
11 GEICO $1,544
12 Allied $1,572
13 The Hartford $1,607
14 MetLife $1,622
15 State Farm $1,716
16 Unitrin $1,716
17 Esurance $1,722
18 Bristol West $1,813
19 Travelers $1,824
20 Farmers $1,986
21 California Capital $2,109
22 Liberty Mutual $2,241
23 Safeco $2,292
24 Auto Club $2,526
25 Arrowhead N/A
26 Auto Club (AAA) N/A
27 Dairyland N/A
28 Foremost N/A
29 Infinity N/A
30 Kemper Specialty N/A
31 Multi-State N/A

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.

Click here to learn more.


So, California 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.

Please Note:

  • This is not a traditional video essay. We do not want an extended selfie of your face (as lovely as it is) speaking to the camera. Make sure your video includes creative visual elements.
  • 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.

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:
  • Entrants should create an original two to five minute video. Each video submission must be hosted on YouTube or Vimeo, and should be submitted by email to
  • With your submission, please include your name, address, and phone number.
  • Selected winner(s) will be awarded a check for $1,000.
  • Applications must be received no later than 11:59pm CST on December 31, 2016.
  • Winner(s) will be selected and notified by e-mail by January 15, 2017.
  • Submissions will be judged by The Zebra and 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.