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If you’re looking to get car insurance in Los Angeles, you likely have many questions: how much will it cost? Why does vehicle type influence how much I pay? What are the insurance benefits of electric cars in LA? This article aims to answer the most common questions about car insurance to give you the insight you need to buy car insurance with confidence. Let’s get started.
Overview: Car Insurance in Los Angeles, California
The price you pay for car insurance in Los Angeles depends on several factors. Everyone understandably wants to know how to save the most money, and what the state minimums for liability are. To answer these questions:
- Number of vehicles: You may get a discount on your Los Angeles car insurance if you are insuring multiple vehicles. This is known as a multi-car discount, and it applies to every vehicle, but the discount does not increase as you add more cars to your policy.
- Minimum state insurance requirements: The minimum civil liability requirements for private passenger vehicles include,
- $15,000 for the injury or death of a person
- $30,000 for the injury or death of more than one person
- $5,000 for third party property damage
Liability insurance is designed to compensate someone (not the policyholder) for personal injury or property damage should an accident occur. Keep in mind that comprehensive insurance or collision insurance do not meet these requirements of financial responsibility. These two (2) specific coverages apply to your car.
There are different ways that you can meet this financial responsibility, including:
- A civil liability insurance policy for motor vehicles
- A $35,000 cash deposit with the DMV
- A security bond of $35,000 from a company that’s authorized to do business in the state of California
- A self-insurance certificate from the DMV
Los Angeles Insurance Minimum Explained
The minimum liability coverage required in Los Angeles is known as the 15/30/5 rule. This means that, at a minimum, the policy you choose must cover:
- Individual bodily injury liability of $15,000 - this is the maximum amount the insurer pays for a person injured in a car wreck
- Total bodily injury liability of $30,000 - the total the insurance company pays for every person injured in a car accident
- Property damage liability of $5,000 - the most the insurer pays for damage to property.
Although it may seem like a good idea to buy only the minimum, it’s a good idea to pay extra for better coverage: at least $100,000 in individual bodily injury liability, $300,000 in total bodily injury liability and $100,000 in property damage liability. Having higher limits ultimately protects you financially in the long run.
Keep in mind that only legal minimum coverage also doesn’t cover comprehensive or collision insurance. Collision pays for damages to your car itself after an accident while comprehensive pays for damages from certain natural disasters (things that don’t involve another vehicle), like falling tree branches, vandalism, and theft.
Depending on the severity of the injury or damage, it’s very easy to exceed the minimum coverage levels from the least amount of insurance possible.
Driving Laws You Should Know
Every city has its own specific driving laws, so it’s a good idea to be informed if you’re driving in Los Angeles. Below are some laws to know when driving in Los Angeles:
Smoking. Although medical marijuana is legal in California, it is illegal to smoke marijuana while driving or use marijuana before driving. You may smoke cigarettes when driving, provided that there is no one under the age of 18 years old in the car with you.
Using your phone while driving. If you’re over the age of 18, you may not touch a smartphone, tablet or other devices for any reason unless you’re making a quick swipe or tap, and it must be mounted on the dashboard or windshield. The exception to this rule is in the case of an emergency.
If you’re under the age of 18, you may not use either handheld or hands-free devices in any way with the exception of an emergency. You also cannot do these things while stopped at a red light.
Teen driving. For the first 12 months after obtaining a license, drivers under the age of 18 must be chaperoned if they are either carrying passengers that are 20 years old or younger or if they are driving between 11:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m.
Suitable chaperones include:
- An instructor
- A licensed parent or guardian
- Another licensed driver that’s at least 25 years old
Average rate with a clean driving record
Generally speaking, insurance rates are lower for women than men, even if you have a clean driving record. The average person in Los Angeles pays about $3,656 annually for car insurance.
The amount you’ll pay depends on the type of insurance you want (collision, comprehensive or liability) as well as the type of vehicle you drive. With that being said, there are low-cost insurance programs available and several discounts that you may qualify for.
Insurance Rates Per Vehicle
You may be surprised to learn what, precisely, impacts how much you pay for your car insurance in Los Angeles.
Things like the year, make and model of your car can affect your insurance rates. Certain safety features will reduce the rates you pay for your car insurance.
Typically speaking, foreign cars cost more to insure than American-made cars. This is because it may be harder for shops to acquire foreign parts and many mechanics lack the experience or ability to work on foreign models of cars as a result.
In addition, specialized models (denoted by SE, SEL, and GT) may be more expensive to insure than your typical base model four-door vehicle of the same model.
Los Angeles is one of the few cities that has wholly embraced the use of electric cars and clean driving. To help encourage more people to buy electric cars, there are currently incentives from several major insurance companies, offering electric car owners discounts of up to 5% on their policy if they add an electric vehicle.
Insurance Rates by Credit Score
You may not realize it, but there are other factors other than your car itself that affect how much you’ll pay for car insurance. Every car insurance company has a different formula for how they create their rates, but financial stability is one such indicator as to how much you’ll pay. The better your credit score, the more financially responsible you are, the better your insurance rate will be.
Insurance for Drivers With a Clean Record
If you’ve got a clean driving record, you’re rewarded with great insurance rates. Good driving habits are more than just putting down your cellphone and keeping your eyes on the road. It also means turning on your headlights when you need to and maintaining a safe distance of 2-3 seconds behind the car in front of you.
Good driving habits go beyond the driver themselves, too. Check your tire pressure, oil and water often, you can do this when you fill up at a gas station. Having enough oil prevents friction to the engine. Making sure you have enough water and tire pressure is an important part of any car maintenance routine, whether you’re driving just down the street or across the country.
Your good driving habits can save you some serious money on your insurance and some companies will even give you money back for a specific time period that you go without an accident. See the table below for details:
Insurance with Driving Infractions
Of course, nobody is perfect, which is why you may be wondering what you’d pay for car insurance. Common driving infractions that could raise the cost of your insurance, include simple things like speeding, running a red light, or failing to use your signal appropriately. But more serious offenses, such as failing to stop for a school bus or pedestrians can also add to your insurance rates if you receive a ticket for one or more of these traffic violations.
So what could you expect to pay for car insurance in Los Angeles? See the table below for some examples:
Benzinga's Car Insurance Recommendations for Los Angeles
The best insurance providers in Los Angeles are going to depend on several factors, including your driving record, the number and type of vehicle(s) you want to insure, the type of coverage and more, but generally speaking, we’ve chosen some of the best in our unbiased reviews below:
1. Best Overall: Farmers Insurance
With affordable rates even if you have less-than-perfect credit, Farmers is a top-rated car insurance company in Los Angeles.
Although they may not be the absolute cheapest in every given situation, they are nevertheless a reputable and reliable choice with a solid financial foundation.
2. Car Insurance in LA For Multiple Cars: Allstate
As a company with a long history and one of the first to offer discounts for multiple cars and multiple types of policies, Allstate is a great option for the busy family that has multiple cars.
Even if you’re adding a young student driver to your insurance, you’ll be glad to know that Allstate provides discounts for good students or students that have taken a certified driver’s education course, helping you to save money on multi-car policies.
3. Best Premium Car Insurance in Los Angeles: Allstate
If you need car insurance that truly goes the extra mile to cover your luxury vehicle.
Additional insurance coverage is better for protecting your premium car from things like theft, vandalism and other instances not covered by traditional car insurance.
4. Best for Safe Drivers: Root
Root is a unique new car insurance provider that offers policies based on your driving habits. You’ll install an app on your phone that monitors your speed, how often you make sudden turns and stops and mileage.
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.
Choosing The Right Car Insurance in Los Angeles
As you can see, there’s no “one size fits all” approach to buying car insurance in Los Angeles. But it also means that with so many options to choose from, you can now customize your insurance to fit your needs and your budget.
Many car insurance companies offer discounts for bundling multiple policies together or insuring multiple cars and also have discounts available to help make coverage more affordable.
Looking for more affordable car insurance in California? Check out Benzinga's guides to the best cheap car insurance in San Jose, San Diego and San Francisco, the best home insurance in California and the best cheap life insurance.