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Car Insurance in California

Compare the best and cheapest car insurance options in California (Updated June 2024)

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Car Insurance Premiums in California

Californians benefit from a moderate climate, but the state's high population density, particularly in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas, makes car insurance more expensive. On average, California drivers pay $192 monthly for their policy, compared to the nationwide average of $189. Other factors, such as driver age and history, consumer profile, vehicle type, and available discounts, can influence rates. We considered those elements in our analysis, along with others. 

If you're considering a policy change, requesting several California car insurance quotes is wise. Read on to learn how to find an affordable car insurance policy in California.

California Car Insurance Laws

Car insurance is required for all cars operated or parked in the state of California. The state offers several insurance alternatives to meet the state’s minimum insurance criteria. You can purchase a motor vehicle liability insurance policy, make a cash deposit of $35,000 to the DMV, obtain a self-insurance certificate, or procure a surety bond of $35,000 from a licensed California company.

All drivers are expected to have minimum coverage that meets California requirements. ” 

Liability coverage applies only to others who sustain injuries or property damage due to the insured’s actions. You must buy comprehensive or collision insurance to insure yourself and your vehicle.  

What is the minimum car insurance coverage in California

California liability coverage requirements are less than those in other states. Driver's who opt for liability coverage must obtain a policy that meets the following minimum requirements:

  • $15,000 for the injury or death of a single individual
  • $30,000 fort he injury or death of two or more people
  • $5,000 for property damage

California doesn’t specify a new car insurance grace period in its laws. All drivers are expected to have minimum coverage that meets California requirements. However, if you purchase a car using a loan or financing, the lender may stipulate additional coverage requirements, including collision or comprehensive policies. 

What happens if I drive without car insurance in California?

A first conviction of driving in California without insurance can result in a fine between $100 and $200, while subsequent convictions within the next three years may result in a $200 to $500 fine. A court may also order your vehicle to be impounded

How much is car insurance in California?

State Minimum
Full 50/100
Full 100/300

It costs about $58 per month to insure your car with minimum state coverage requirements. The number ranges from as low $37 to as high as $93 depending on your city and insurance provider. When considering additional coverage, this cost range expands even further, with car owners in Beverly Hills paying an average of $300 per month to insure their car.

Auto Insurance Cost Methodology
Premiums are sourced from over 30,000 zip codes across 200 insurance companies. We estimate premiums based on policies seeking 50/100 in liability with $500 deductibles for collision and comprehensive coverage. Rates are based a 35-year-old single female with a good credit score and no history of accidents or violations driving a 2023 Toyota RAV4 LE. We assume no unique benefits or discounts are applied for these rates. Your own rates may be different.

Car Insurance Savings in California

Who has the best price for car insurance in California?

California has no shortage of car insurance providers to choose from. However, for affordability, there are a few carriers that consistently seem to offer lower rates than others. What ultimately decides the cost of your policy is your unique profile, so to adjust for that, we decided to use a typical profile seeking 50/100 coverage and created this top 10 list of the most affordable providers in California:

Rank Insurance company Average monthly premium
2Wawanesa General$143
621st Century$159
8Auto Club$199
Avg. monthly premiums are weighted by zip code population sizes

What Californian city has the cheapest car insurance?

Like most large states, the cost of car insurance in California is determined heavily by the specific city and ZIP code you reside in. To give a sense of how prices differ, here's a look at prices across the 15 largest cities in the Golden State: 

Rank California city Average monthly premium
1Chula Vista$170
2San Diego$170
6San Jose$184
9Santa Ana$191
12Long Beach$201
13San Francisco$220
15Los Angeles$252

Chula Vista and San Diego residents are clearly paying the lowest for car insurance amongst the Golden State's largest cities. However, our research shows that smaller cities like Mount Shasta are paying even lower, with some residents paying as low as $94 per month for full coverage - that is nearly a $1,000 per year in savings compared to those living in more densely populated areas. This shows how important location is in determining the final price you have to pay for car insurance. Rates are often fluctuating amongst carriers these days, so the best way to avoid overpaying is to just compare options for your specific ZIP code often.

Fast, Free Auto Insurance Quotes

What's the cheapest car to insure in California?

Your car's characteristics, such as its make, model, and manufacturing year, significantly impact your insurance costs. Insurance companies examine these factors, in addition to any added safety features, to determine your final coverage cost. For pre-owned automobiles, the vehicle's history can also affect your final premium. Focusing on newer models from 2023 models, we have compiled the 10 most economical cars to insure in California:

RankMake and ModelAverage monthly premium
1Dodge Grand Caravan$173
2Subaru Forester$180
3Honda Cr-V$181
4Honda Odyssey$189
5Kia Sedona$191
6Toyota Rav4$192
7Toyota Corolla$194
8Kia Sol$195
9Ford F-150$198
10Jeep Cherokee$201

What's the best insurance company in California?

Determining the "best" coverage isn't straightforward and will differ based on factors such as the driver, the vehicle, and the desired coverage level. However, if you're in the market for affordable options that cater to your personal needs, here are some of the leading choices we discovered through our research:

  • For Overall Affordability: Progressive
  • For Young Drivers: Wawanesa General
  • For Retirees: Wawanesa General & 21st Century
  • For Full Coverage: USAA
  • For Homeowners: Progressive
  • For Married Couples: Progressive & Wawanesa General
  • For Drivers Without Violations: Progressive
  • For Low Mileage Drivers: Mercury
  • For Active Military or Veterans: USAA

The difference between researching and getting an actual personalized quote could mean thousands of dollars of savings every year. Hit continue to get some custom quotes - absolutely free!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the quickest way to reduce my insurance premium in California?
The quickest and easiest way to reduce your insurance premium is to take advantage of discounts related to your account setup. Depending on the insurance provider, setting up Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), signing up for Paperless billing, and paying your policy in-full can reduce your cost by 4% to 9% instantly.
What is the most common insurance discount in California?
The most common insurance discount is signing up for Paperless billing. We have seen discounts range from 3% up to 11% depending on the policy. It is important to note that not all carriers offer this discount and those that do might have rules of when it can be applied (usually around the start of your policy term).
How much will I save switching insurance providers in California?
How much you can save by switching carriers can vary widely by location, time of year, and your driving record. While some carriers offer a median discount of 6 - 7% for policy renewals, recent research suggests that you can save anywhere between 10 - 20% by switching to a new carrier. The best way to secure the highest savings on your policy is by shopping often and connecting with a licensed agent.

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