Best Auto Insurance Rates in California

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Local Insurance Information
  • Oakland
  • Los Angeles
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco

Compare Auto Insurance Quotes in California

California is called The Golden State, and with the useful insurance information that QuoteWizard has gleaned from industry and regulatory sources, you’ll be able to spend a little less gold.

This page will show you which types of coverage are legally required in California, provide cost of driving data including average rates, and share some insights about insurance risk to help protect you and your family.

Average California Car Insurance Rates

How much is car insurance in California? Depending on where you live, many California drivers pay less for car insurance than the national average. On average, auto insurance in California costs $814.82 a year. The national average cost is $866.31.

Prices may vary depending on your zip code and the total number of claims filed.

California Average Annual Car Insurance Rates
Coverage Rates
Liability $482.18
Collision $374.31
Comprehensive $98.73
Total Cost Per Year $814.82
Price Per Month $67.90

Shopping around and comparing auto insurance quotes is important, but who has the time and energy for it? Well, if you're a Californian driver and you use QuoteWizard, you won’t have to worry about time or energy.

That’s because QuoteWizard will connect you to multiple companies so you can compare car insurance rates and get coverage that fits your needs.

Last year, 239,583 people used QuoteWizard to get an auto insurance quotes comparison in California from top companies, and find the cheapest rates.

Top 10 Vehicles in California

These are the most common vehicles owned by California drivers requesting car insurance quotes through QuoteWizard in the past year.

  1. Honda Accord EX/LX
  2. Honda Civic DX/EX/LX
  3. Ford F150
  4. Toyota Prius
  5. Toyota Camry LE/XLE/SE
  6. Chevrolet C1500 Silverado
  7. Ford Mustang
  8. Ford Ranger
  9. Ford Explorer
  10. BMW 328i
Get a quote for your vehicle. Request Quote Get a Quote For Your Vehicle

Best Car Insurance Companies in California

This is our list of the most common car insurance companies reported by QuoteWizard users living in the state of California last year. Out of the 239,583 California drivers that used QuoteWizard to request insurance quotes last year, 32,764 had no car insurance.

California State Auto Insurance Laws

Car Insurance Minimum Coverage

If you drive a vehicle registered in California, you must maintain a minimum level of insurance coverage of 15/30/5. This means that you must have a policy with at least the following:

  • $15,000 of coverage for bodily injury liability per person
  • $30,000 of coverage for bodily injury liability per incident
  • $5,000 of coverage for property damage liability per incident
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Required Proof of Auto Insurance

Any time you drive in California, you must be prepared to show your proof of insurance card to law enforcement upon request. You’ll get this card from your car insurance company when you buy a policy. You’ll also need to show proof of insurance when registering your vehicle or renewing your registration. California also accepts the following as proof of insurance:

  • A proof of insurance card issued by your insurer
  • A letter from the DMV issued for cash depositors and the self-insured
  • An SR-22 form
  • Evidence that the vehicle is publicly owned
  • A Notification of Alternative Forms of Financial Responsibility (REG 5085) form for a vehicle covered by commercial or business policies that is being registered for the first time
  • A Statement of Facts (REG 256) form certifying that the motor carrier has evidence of insurance on file with the Public Utilities Commission or DMV


Operating a vehicle without the required coverage is a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of between $100 and $200 for a first offense. After your first offense, each subsequent offense within 3 years of your first carries a penalty of between $200 and $500.

California State Distracted Driving Laws

The state of California has taken steps to curb the epidemic of distracted driving on its roadways. These steps include some of the nation’s strongest rules against cell phone use by drivers. Many of these laws are primary and allow law enforcement to pull over and ticket drivers without any other infraction taking place.

SR-22 Requirements

California residents that have had their driver’s licenses suspended must provide proof of financial responsibility by filing an SR-22 form with the state. “SR” stands for safety responsibility and it certifies that a driver has the minimum amount of insurance required by state law.

Situations which may require an SR-22 after loss of driving privileges:

  • DUI or “Wet-Reckless” conviction
  • Having an accident without the required minimum insurance coverage
  • Being declared a “negligent driver” with too many points accrued within a timeframe<?li>

In most cases, California state law requires you to carry an SR-22 for three years for a first offense. Drivers involved in accidents without insurance may need to carry an SR-22 for as many as 4 years.

If you cancel your insurance or allow it to lapse within either of these periods, your insurer is required to contact the California DMV who will suspend your license.

State of California Traffic Safety Laws

Implied Consent Law

California’s Implied Consent law requires that any driver submit to testing to determine the alcohol or drug content of their blood, breath, or urine when arrested by law enforcement for suspicion of driving while under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol. Refuse the test and you’ll face the following penalties in addition to the penalties for a DUI:

  • First Offense: 6-month driver’s license revocation, $125 fine
  • Second Offense: 2-year driver’s license revocation, $125 fine
  • Third Offense: 3-year driver’s license revocation, $125 fine

DUI Law and Penalties

If you drive or operate a motor vehicle in the state of California with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher, you are guilty of driving while under the influence (DUI).

The penalties for a first offense DUI conviction are:

  • Between 4 days and 6 months in jail
  • A fine of up to $1,000
  • 30 days to 6-month suspension of driver’s license
  • Some counties require installation of an ignition interlock device

The penalties for a second offense DUI conviction are:

  • Between 10 days and 1 year in jail
  • A fine of up to $1,800
  • 2-year suspension of driver’s license (Can be reduced to 1 year)
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device

The penalties for a third offense DUI conviction are:

  • Between 120 days and 1 year in jail
  • A fine of up to $1,800
  • 3-year suspension of driver’s license
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device

The penalties for a fourth offense within 10 months of a third DUI conviction are:

  • 16 months in jail
  • A fine of up to $1,800
  • 4-year suspension of driver’s license
  • Installation of an ignition interlock device

And the fun doesn’t stop there. Your insurance rates will climb with each DUI conviction, that is, if you can find someone willing to insure you.

Child Restraint Law

California takes the safety of children on its roadways seriously. To protect them the following rules must be followed to maximize their safety:

  • Children must ride in an appropriate child safety seat or booster seat located in the back seat of a vehicle until they’re 8 years old
  • Children less than 8 years old, who measure 4 feet 9 inches or taller may use a seatbelt, but are still required to ride in the back seat of all vehicles
  • Children older than 8 must use appropriate child passenger safety equipment or seat belt
  • Any passenger 16 years of age or older must obey California’s Mandatory Seat Belt Law

Graduated Driver’s License

The road to obtaining a driver's license in California is a 3-step process that can begin once you reach 15 ½ years of age. Once teens reach that age, they can apply for a 6-month learner's permit and begin their driver’s education classes. This education must include at least 50 hours of supervised driving, with at least 10 of hours occurring at night, with a licensed driver in the vehicle. When applying for a full driver’s license, a parent or guardian must certify that the minimum supervised driving requirement has been met. In addition, young drivers with learner’s permits must obey the following rules:

  • Only a parent or guardian, adults over 25, or licensed professional instructors are allowed to be in the vehicle
  • New drivers must complete a 6-hour driver training course
  • A clean driving record must be maintained
  • New drivers must obey the Zero Tolerance law, which prohibits drinking and driving, until their 21st birthday
  • All cell phone use, both handheld and hands-free, is banned

Once the first step is completed, teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 18 are allowed to apply for a provisional license if they have: passed a driving test and a parent or guardian signs their learner’s permit stating that the required driving practice is completed. A provisional license requires young drivers to abide by the following rules:

  • For the first 12 months or until the driver is 18, no one under 20 years of age may ride in the vehicle unless accompanied by a licensed driver 25 years of age or older
  • For the first 12 months, new drivers may not drive between the hours of  11 pm and 5 am unless accompanied by a licensed driver 25 years of age or older

Once the first two stages are completed, drivers will receive their full driving privileges.

Senior Drivers in California

California requires all drivers to renew their driver licenses every 5 years. Drivers 70 years of age and older can no longer renew their driver’s licenses by mail.

Seat Belt Laws

California requires that all drivers and passengers in moving vehicles wear seat belts. The maximum penalty for failing to comply is $162 for the first offense.

Vehicles Registered in Another State

When you drive a vehicle in California that’s required to be registered in another state, you must have the type of insurance required by that state. You must be able to provide proof of this insurance to law enforcement upon request.

The Cost of Driving in California

Average California Car Insurance Rates

The average cost of car insurance in California in 2014, the most recent year for which data was available, was $814.82 compared to a national average of $866.31. California is the 23rd most expensive state for car insurance.

Fuel Taxes

The state of California taxes gasoline at 40.62 cents per gallon. This is in addition to the Federal fuel tax of 18.4 cents per gallon on gasoline, making the total gas tax Californians pay at the pump 59.02 cents a gallon.  California taxes diesel fuel at 34.30 cents a gallon. Federal taxes add another 24.4 cents per gallon bringing the total tax on diesel fuel to 58.70 cents a gallon.

Car Insurance Risk in California

California Cities With the Worst Drivers

We ranked the most populous cities in California on how bad their drivers are. Using data from our quote tool, we compared drivers in each city based on accidents, speeding tickets, DUI's, and citations.

  1. Oakland
  2. Sacramento
  3. Anaheim
  4. Irvine
  5. San Diego
  6. Bakersfield
  7. San Francisco
  8. Riverside
  9. Fresno
  10. Los Angeles
  11. Santa Ana
  12. Long Beach
  13. San Jose
  14. Chula Vista
  15. Stockton

Traffic Fatalities

In 2014, there were 3,074 traffic fatalities in California, which was 1% lower than the state’s 3,107 traffic fatalities in 2013.

  2010 2011 2012 2013 2014
Total Fatalities 2,720 2,816 2,857 3,107 3,074

Vehicle Thefts

California had 151,852 vehicle thefts reported in 2014. This is an 8% decrease compared to the 165,292 vehicles were reported stolen in 2013. In 2014, the vehicle theft rate was 391.3 per 100,000, a decrease of 9% from the 2013 rate of 430.1 per 100,000.

The vehicle theft rate in California is far above the overall US vehicle theft rate, which was 216.2 per 100,000 in 2014.

Top 10 Most Stolen Vehicles in California

Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau - Hot Wheels Report 2014

  1. 1996 Honda Accord
  2. 1998 Honda Civic
  3. 1991 Toyota Camry
  4. 2003 Chevrolet Pick-Up (Full Size)
  5. 1994 Acura Integra
  6. 2006 Ford Pick-Up (Full Size)
  7. 2013 Toyota Corolla
  8. 1994 Nissan Sentra
  9. 1997 Nissan Altima
  10. 1996 Nissan Maxima

Uninsured Drivers

The percentage of California residents estimated to be driving without insurance is 14.7%. That ranks California as #13 among US states and the District of Columbia, much higher than average.

Top 10 California Auto Insurance Companies - Market Share

Source: Insurance Information Institute
Rank Market Share Company
1 12.7% Farmers
2 8.9% Allstate
3 8.5% Mercury
4 8.2% Auto Club
5 7.2% Berkshire Hathaway (Geico)
6 6.7% CSAA
7 4.4% USAA
8 4.2% Progressive
9 3.5% Liberty Mutual

California Department of Insurance

Insurance Commissioner:
Dave Jones
Consumer Hotline:
1-800-927-4357 (HELP)
Licensing Hotline:
California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program:

CDI Headquarters Offices

  • Sacramento Office
  • 300 Capitol Mall, Suite 1700
  • Sacramento, CA  95814
  • San Francisco Office
  • 45 Fremont Street, 23rd Floor
  • San Francisco, CA 94105
  • Los Angeles Office
  • 300 South Spring Street, South Tower
  • Los Angeles, CA 90013

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