California State Minimum Car Insurance

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Contributor, Benzinga
February 18, 2020

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CoverageMinimum AmountCompany12-Month Policy Rate
Bodily injury per person $15,000Mercury $480
Bodily injury for all persons $30,000Sun Coast $516
Property damage liability $5,000Clearcover $636
Uninsured motorist bodily injury$15,000Workmen’s $648
Uninsured motorist property damage$3,500Infinity $672

Are you exploring the Golden State without exploring California state minimum car insurance? If you don’t have insurance, you could put yourself and your financial health at risk. Finding cheap car insurance in California is now easier than ever before. 

Let’s take a look at the minimum car insurance level you’ll need in California, as well as some of the best car insurance companies that offer affordable state minimum coverage. 

Best State Minimum Car Insurance in California:

State Minimum Rates in California

Each state has its own requirements when it comes to minimum state coverage. Let’s take a look at what you might expect to pay for insurance in California from a few different insurance providers

Company12-Month Policy Rate
Sun Coast$516

*Quotes were obtained using the following profile: 40-year-old female, 2015 Ford Taurus, excellent driving record. For an accurate quote based on your metrics, please get a custom quote.

California State Minimum Car Insurance Requirements

There are multiple types of car insurance protection, and not every type of coverage is required by law in each state. Let’s take a look at some of the most common types of car insurance and what’s required in California. 

  • Bodily injury per person per accident: Bodily injury liability coverage compensates anyone you injure during a collision. For example, if you’re involved in a car accident and the other driver breaks his arm, your bodily injury liability coverage will help the other driver pay for his medical bills. Bodily injury liability coverage doesn’t compensate you as the policyholder for any bills you incur. In the state of California, you must have at least $15,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person.
  • Bodily injury for all persons per accident: Insurance companies sell bodily injury liability coverage on a per-person and per-accident basis. The minimum level of bodily injury liability coverage you must have in California is $30,000 per accident.
  • Property damage liability: Property damage liability coverage is a type of protection that compensates another driver if you damage or destroy property after an accident. For example, if you’re involved in an accident and you crack the other driver’s headlight, your property damage liability coverage will pay to have it repaired or replaced. Like bodily injury liability coverage, your property damage liability coverage won’t compensate you as the policyholder for damage to your vehicle. You must have at least $5,000 of this coverage as a California driver.  
  • PIP (personal injury protection): PIP is a type of coverage that helps you pay for your own medical bills and sometimes lost wages after an accident. California is an at-fault state, which means that you must collect compensatory damages from the other driver’s insurance company after an accident. California car insurance companies don’t sell PIP, and no level of PIP is required for California residents. 

California Driving Laws

You’re responsible for knowing and obeying local traffic laws whenever you get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Let’s take a look at some unique California-state traffic laws you should know before you hit the road.

  • Headlights: You must turn your headlights on at least 30 minutes after sundown and leave them on until 30 minutes before sunrise.
  • Towing: The maximum speed you may drive in California if you are towing a vehicle is 55 miles per hour. If the posted speed limit is lower than 55, you may only drive up to the limit.
  • Cellphone usage: It’s against the law to text and drive in any capacity in California. You may use a cellphone to make calls only if you’re calling through a hands-free device. 

Car Insurance Premiums in California

There are many unique factors that play a role in how much you’ll pay for car insurance. Some of the data that California car insurance companies might consider when they calculate their premiums include:

  • Your driving history: If you’ve been involved in an accident in the past, you’re more likely to file a claim in the future — and you’ll pay more for coverage.  
  • Years of experience driving: By law, California insurance providers cannot consider your age when they calculate premiums. However, they can look at the number of years of experience you have driving — and extend the lowest rates to the most experienced drivers.
  • Gender: Stereotypes say that women are worse drivers than men — but the statistics tell a different story. Male drivers are statistically more likely to speed, drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol and skip their seat belts than their female counterparts. This means that men pay more for car insurance than women.
  • Your location: You’re more likely to be involved in an accident if you live in an area with more vehicles on the road. This means that Los Angeles car insurance companies charge more for state minimum coverage than companies that offer coverage to residents of Laguna Beach.

Every car insurance company uses its own formula to determine what you’ll pay for insurance. The best way to ensure that you’ll find the most affordable state minimum coverage is to collect quotes from at least 5 competing insurance companies. Get started by using our quick and easy rate comparison tool here

Best Car Insurance in California for State Minimum Coverage

Now that you understand how car insurance in California works and the type of coverage you need, let’s take a look at some of the best car insurance companies that offer state minimum coverage in the Golden State.  

securely through Clearcover's website

1. Best Overall in California: Clearcover

Clearcover is a comprehensive car insurance company that offers multiple coverage choices. Finding a policy and enrolling with Clearcover is easy — just log onto the company’s website or mobile app, request a quote and choose your coverage. Filing a claim is just as simple.

You don’t need to call any representatives or deal with endless paperwork — just create a claim and upload photos through Clearcover’s mobile app. This streamlined process helps the company pay your claims faster.

Combining a simple application and claims process with some of the most affordable rates in California, Clearcover is our top choice for state minimum coverage.    

2. Cheapest in California: Mercury

Want to get coverage without overpaying? Consider a policy from Mercury. In our review, Mercury offered some of the most affordable rates in California.

A driver with a clean driving record and plenty of experience behind the wheel can get state minimum coverage for as little as $40 a month through Mercury.

Its no-frills policies and cheap coverage mean that Mercury is a top choice for drivers on a budget. 

Infinity Auto
securely through Infinity Auto's website

3. Best Mobile App: Infinity

Looking for the company with the easiest signup and claims handling process? You’ll love Infinity’s intuitive and simple insurance app that makes getting coverage easy. You can enroll in a new policy, track your claims and upload photos after an accident through Infinity’s mobile app.

Infinity also offers a wide range of discounts, including savings if you have a clean driving record and if you insure more than 1 vehicle. Infinity is a smart choice for drivers — it combines savings and simplicity.  

Best For
  • Drivers with consistently good driving habits

4. Best for Drivers with DUIs: Progressive

Los Angeles County has 1 of the highest DUI rates in the country. About 1.91% of drivers who live in Los Angeles have at least 1 DUI on their record, which is 8% higher than the national average. A DUI can make it significantly harder to find affordable car insurance coverage, as many insurance providers won’t issue a policy to a driver with a DUI on his or her record.

If you have a DUI, consider a policy from Progressive. Progressive offered some of the most affordable rates in California — the company offers policies to drivers with DUIs on their records. They also offer affordable, comprehensive policies for drivers with multiple accidents and a high number of violation points. Having trouble finding insurance from other providers? Make a call to (855)-582-1971. 

5. Best for Confident Drivers: Sun Coast

If you’re an ace on the road or you don’t use your car very often, you may want to consider a DriveSure policy from Sun Coast. DriveSure is Sun Coast’s usage-based car insurance.

You’ll receive a small, easy-to-install device that records your driving speeds and tracks things like acceleration, speed, time spent on the road and more when you sign onto a DriveSure policy. At the end of your trial period, Sun Coast calculates your rate based on your actual driving skill — not a set of nebulous factors.

Drivers who choose a DriveSure policy can save up to 31% on coverage. 

Get the Coverage You Need

Every car insurance company uses its own unique formula to determine what you’ll pay for coverage. This means that it’s possible to find the exact same state minimum coverage from 10 different insurance companies at 10 different price points.

The best way to make sure that you aren’t paying more than you need for coverage is to collect quotes from multiple insurance providers online before you choose a provider. Getting quotes for insurance coverage has never been easier. Begin by entering your ZIP code into our quote calculation tool and learn more about how much you can save. You won’t know the best deal until you see what’s available! 

About Sarah Horvath

Sarah is an expert in the insurance, investing for retirement and cryptocurrency space.