Best Car Insurance in California

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Contributor, Benzinga
February 15, 2022

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Looking for the best car insurance in California? Golden State residents face a higher-than-average cost of living compared to the rest of the nation — this includes insurance premiums. California car insurance is required on all vehicles that are operated on California roads. Insurance in CA is also known as financial responsibility and it is required to be in your vehicle at all times. You may need to show proof of insurance during various circumstances like when it is requested by law enforcement, you’re involved in a traffic collision or when it is time to renew your registration. Use our guide to find the cheapest car insurance in CA.

Best Car Insurance in California

When you need to get a California car insurance policy it is important to compare different insurance companies to find the one that works best for you. Not having insurance can cost you financially and legally. You will also need to be aware of what your California car insurance does not cover. 

1. Savvy

Savvy partners with a number of insurance carriers. It is simple to connect your insurance policy and find a new policy easily. Savvy takes care of all the hard work out of looking for a California car insurance policy. 

You can switch within a few minutes. By connecting your current insurance policy you don’t have to worry about filling out forms for each insurance carrier. The website is easy to navigate and does not have fluff or hassle. 

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2. Progressive

New drivers can find it difficult to get an insurance policy that does not break the bank and still offers protection. Progressive is a nationwide carrier and was the first to offer monthly premium options. It is best for young drivers, inexperienced drivers and drivers with good driving habits.  

It offers different policy types such as auto, ATV, campers, boats, motorcycles and more. There are also various discounts to keep your California car insurance rate low. You can get a multicar discount, homeowner, discount, safe driver discount, and bill pay discounts. 

3. Allstate

Allstate is one of the most well-known and largest best car insurance companies across the country. The company has been around for over 90 years and that has built trust and reliability from the public. It not only offers California car insurance but also other insurance policies. 

Allstate has 2 unique programs to save you money, like Drivewise, which monitors your driving habits and creates discounts personalized for you. Milewies is another program that is a pay-per-mile insurance program. Keep in mind that these programs are not available everywhere. 

Root requires you to complete a driving test for up to 1 month prior to offering a quote. High-risk drivers will not be considered for coverage. This company solely focuses on those who have a clean driving record and do not need extensive coverage. 

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California Car Insurance Laws

As previously mentioned, you are required to have and be able to provide proof of California car insurance for any vehicle in operation in California. There are different types of acceptable insurance policies the state can accept including:

  • DMV-issued self-insurance certificate
  • A surety bond of $35,000 from a licensed company in California
  • A cash deposit of $35,000 left at the DMV
  • Motor vehicle liability insurance policy

Failure to provide proof of a California car insurance policy to the DMV will mean that the vehicle registration will be suspended. This means the vehicle will not be operable on California roads. Registration can be reinstated by providing proof of insurance and paying a reinstatement fee. You can do so online, at a kiosk, through email, by phone, or through the mail. 

California State Minimum Car Insurance Requirements

Each state will have its own set of minimum requirements for insurance. California car insurance policies must meet the following minimum requirements: 

  • $5,000 for property damage
  • $15,000 for personal injury or death for 1 person
  • $30,000 for personal injury or death of more than 1 person

Having collision or comprehensive insurance does not meet these requirements and you may still be held liable for any damage or injury. These minimum California car insurance requirements relate to liability insurance. The policy will compensate an individual for personal injury or property damage to the policyholder who is not financially responsible. 

California Auto Insurance Law Explained

California’s auto insurance laws focus on protecting other parties in an accident. California requires liability insurance, which pays for the other party’s injuries or damage to their car if you’re at fault. Property damage coverage reimburses the other party for any damage you’ve caused while driving.  

You could be driving among the 15.2% of drivers in California who are uninsured — a definite risk. The purpose of uninsured motorist coverage is to help pay for damages and injuries if you’re struck by an uninsured driver. If that happened and you didn’t have uninsured motorist coverage, you’d have to pay 100% of the repairs and medical bills.

The state’s minimum insurance requirements are intended to keep other drivers on the road safe, but only uninsured coverage protects you, the driver. Consider purchasing comprehensive and collision coverage. It pays your bills if you’re in an accident and not at fault and covers damage from theft, vandalism or other non-accident related issues.  

Average Car Insurance Cost California

When choosing a California car insurance policy, you will want to consider the price as well as what comes with the price. Affordability is a major factor but you must also be sure that your insurance provider is reliable. Companies may offer discounts for good driving, bundling, or purchasing online. California car insurance costs range from $800 to $2,674. The median cost will be in the $1,000 range. These rates are based on the following factors:

  • Single driver
  • Basic liability only
  • Five to seven years licensed
  • No violations
  • Standard passenger vehicle
  • Los Angeles ZIP code

Rates will vary depending on the vehicle, years licensed, the number of drivers, and driving record. There are several other factors that go into your insurance score and can affect your rates. 

California Auto Insurance Rates per Vehicle

It’s no surprise that California is known for its traffic congestion — Los Angeles has the worst traffic in the country. Long commutes and navigating in thick crowds make Toyota, Honda and Nissan Californians’ top picks. You’ll also find BMW and Mercedes-Benz on the list of the state’s favorite vehicles, which reflect some of its residents’ love of luxury.

The type of vehicle you drive impacts your insurance rate in several ways. You’ll pay less for insurance if it scores well on safety tests and has many safety features. The reverse is also true — fewer safety features equate to a higher premium. You’ll also pay less for insurance if you own a car that isn’t stolen often or doesn’t typically roll during accidents.

A more expensive car costs more to insure. Repairs cost more, replacement costs are higher and they’re more of a target for thieves. Factor the higher cost of insurance into your buying decision and budget.

Consider trading in your existing vehicle for one that gets lower rates if you want to lower your car insurance.

Insurance for Drivers with a Clean Record

Drivers with clean driving records will pay the lowest rates for insurance. You could pay less than $1,000 for your policy if all you want is the minimum coverage required by the state. Standard coverage provides you with more liability coverage, whereas full coverage includes liability, comprehensive and collision and more.

State minimum insurance meets the state’s legal requirements for auto coverage and no more than that. Standard coverage builds on the minimum and offers liability coverage plus collision and comprehensive. Full coverage might add on additional benefits such as roadside assistance, ride-share coverage or full replacement cost, which doesn’t deduct depreciation from your car’s value if it’s totaled.  

Insurance CompanyState Minimum InsuranceStandard CoverageFull Coverage
Allstate$866$1,366$2,366
Farmers$774$1,742$2,220
Nationwide$1,975$2,231$2,377
State Farm$1,912$2,160$2,299
Travelers$1,552$1,800$1,916

Insurance Rates with Driving Infractions

Your insurance rates will rise if you get in an accident or you get a speeding ticket. You’re a higher risk because the insurance company has proof that you don’t always drive safely. A speeding violation won’t cause your rates to increase as much as an accident where you were at fault. Your rates will jump by $2,000 to $3,000 more if you’re caught driving while under the influence.

Insurance CompanyAt-Fault Accident Speeding Violation DUI
Allstate$3,001$2,338$5,241
Farmers$3,263$2,850$4,053
GEICO$2,185$1,762$3,368
Nationwide$3,173$3,173$5,923
Progressive$2,614$2,050$3,022

Then, the app creates a custom quote for you based on how well you drive.

Root doesn’t offer policies to everyone — the company avoids reckless drivers and those who have a long history of driving infractions so the company can keep premiums low. You may be able to save more when you switch to Root. 

Begin Your Search for California Car Insurance Today

Find the best car insurance company for your needs with our guide and reviews. You should shop around to find the best insurance rate for you that offers the appropriate coverage. We have helpful tools to help you do just that. Find the best California car insurance policy today so that it fits into your budget. 

Selecting the right amount of auto insurance requires you to find a balance between often-competing needs. You want to get the cheapest auto insurance but you also want good coverage if you’re in an accident. Good claims servicing matters, too.

Don’t forget to consider whether you can afford the deductible as you shop for cheap auto insurance, If not, your policy could cost you more than you expect. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q
What kind of discounts are usually available?
A

The most common discounts available are multi-policy and auto-pay, but every company is different. Other discounts that are widely available are loyalty, good student and anti-theft device discounts. See our top providers with the best discounts and get a unique quote.

Q
How do I ensure that I’m properly covered?
A
Q
I drive for a rideshare company, am I covered by my auto insurance?
A

A standard auto insurance policy doesn’t provide coverage for business use of your vehicle, including the transport of passengers. Major rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft offer some coverage when you have a passenger in the vehicle, but there can still be troubling gaps in coverage like when you are waiting for a passenger. Many auto insurers now offer a rider that extends your coverage to fill the gaps between your standard policy’s coverage and the rideshare company’s coverage. Compare companies here for the best rideshare coverage.

*Quotes were obtained using the following profile: base 2015 Toyota Camry, male, 40-years-old. Policies reflect state minimum coverage options. We make every effort to provide the most accurate quotes based on the profile above. Due to the many combined variables involved in insurance quotes, the only way to get an accurate quote is to enter your own information through our partners' secure websites.