Best Auto Insurance Rates in California

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Compare Auto Insurance in California

California is called The Golden State. With our useful insurance information, you’ll spend a little less gold.

This page shows which types of coverage are legally required in California. It will cover the best insurance companies for different California drivers. It also has cost of driving data including average rates. Finally, it shares insights about insurance risk to 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. For others, car insurance rates can be expensive. On average, auto insurance in California costs $841.45 a year. The national average cost is $889.01.

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

California Average Annual Car Insurance Rates
Coverage Rates
Liability $489.66
Collision $396.55
Comprehensive $100.54
Total Cost Per Year $841.45
Price Per Month $70.12

The graph below shows the most recent year rate data is available. According to the III, California's car insurance rates increased from $740 in 2011 to $841 in 2015, a jump of $101, or 13.66 percent.

California average car insurance rates

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.

QuoteWizard connects you to multiple companies so you can compare car insurance rates. Find coverage that fits your needs at a great price.

Last year, 239,583 people used QuoteWizard to get an auto insurance quotes comparison in California from multiple companies.

Best Car Insurance Companies in California

These are the most common car insurance companies reported by QuoteWizard users living in California last year. Out of the 239,583 California drivers that requested quotes through QuoteWizard last year, 32,764 had no car insurance.

What company suits your needs best? You can study them side by side on our compare page. We've compiled guidelines for the 30 biggest insurance companies in America. Getting educated is the first step to getting the right policy. What better way to compare auto insurance quotes in California?

If you're looking for cheap California car insurance and you're on a budget, there's good news. California offers a low cost insurance program known as CLCA. This plan began in 1999 with a goal to help low-income drivers obtain legally required coverage. It's only available to drivers who meet certain income requirements.

Top 10 Vehicles in California

These are the most common cars owned by Californians using 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 High-Risk Insurance Companies

Drivers with tickets or accidents may struggle to qualify for standard auto insurance plans. Fortunately, there are several options for California drivers who need high-risk insurance.

Normally, high-risk drivers may have trouble finding car insurance coverage. Many companies refuse to cover high-risk drivers, or they charge very high premiums. Because of this, California created the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan (CAARP).

CAARP stipulates that insurers must accept a certain percentage of non-standard drivers. That percentage is supposed to be equal to their market share. So, if GEICO covers 8 percent of California's drivers, they must also cover 8 percent of the state's high-risk drivers.

Insurers don't like to cover high-risk drivers because they can lose money. But the assigned risk plan ensures that the risk is shared equally by all the insurance companies.

Aside from CAARP plans, there are private companies that offer insurance for California high-risk drivers:

Best Teen Driver Insurance Companies

As many parents know, insuring a teen driver is extremely expensive. Teenagers are more mistake prone behind the wheel than any other age group. Their propensity for tickets and accidents means insurers charge extra to cover them.

Our research shows that teen drivers pay an average of $438 a month for a personal policy. That number goes down to $278 for teens joining their parent's policy. Either way, insuring a teen is extremely expensive.

These insurance companies offer good policies for California teen drivers:

California drivers saved up to $383 on their car insurance policies by comparing rates through our simple form.
Ready to see if you're eligible?
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California Car Insurance Laws

Car Insurance Minimum Requirements

If you drive a car 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

Recommended Coverage Levels

Buying a policy with California's minimum required coverage is tempting. After all, it's the cheapest option. But driving with minimum coverage is extremely risky. It can end up costing you substantially more if you get into an accident.

Minimum coverage only pays for damages that you cause to other drivers. That means that you won't receive money for your damages or injuries. That's why we recommend that you buy more than the minimum coverage.

To protect yourself and your car, you need collision and comprehensive coverage. Collision pays for damages to your car after an accident. Comprehensive pays for damages outside of an accident, like falling tree branches, theft, or vandalism.

  • Individual Body Injury Liability: $100,000
  • Total Bodily Injury Liability: $300,000
  • Property Damage Liability: $100,000

If possible, add comprehensive and collision coverage. Pick a reasonable deductible. Also consider uninsured/underinsured coverage. This covers damages caused by drivers who have little or no insurance. Finally, medical payment coverage and personal injury protection covers medical costs after an accident.

Required Proof of Auto Insurance

You must be ready to show your proof of insurance card in California. 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. There are several other documents accepted when registering a vehicle.

Driving without insurance is punishable by a fine of between $100 and $200 for a first offense. Each additional offense within 3 years of your first carries a penalty of between $200 and $500.

SR-22 Requirements

Californians with penalties or suspended licenses must show proof of liability insurance. They can do so by filing an SR-22 form with the state. “SR” stands for safety responsibility. It certifies that a driver has the minimum amount of insurance required by state law.

Drivers may need an SR-22 in these cases:

  • DUI or “Wet-Reckless” conviction
  • Having an accident without the required minimum insurance coverage
  • Being declared a “negligent driver” with too many driver's license points

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 let it to lapse within these periods, your insurer will contact the California DMV. They, in turn, will suspend your license.

State of California Traffic Safety Laws

Distracted Driving

California has taken steps to curb distracted driving on its roadways. That includes some of the nation’s strongest rules against cell phone use by drivers. Many of these laws are primary infraction. This means law enforcement can pull over and ticket drivers without any other infraction taking place.

Implied Consent Law

This California law requires that drivers submit to alcohol or drug testing. It tests blood, breath, or urine from drivers arrested for suspicion of driving while under the influence (DUI). Refuse the test and you’ll face license suspensions and fines.

DUI Law and Penalties

 If your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is 0.08% or higher, you're guilty of driving while under the influence (DUI). Also, California recently legalized recreational weed. Marijuana DUIs are increasingly common.

The penalties for a first offense DUI conviction in California 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 an ignition interlock device

With each subsequent DUI, California drivers face stiffer penalties. The fine jumps to $1,800, while license suspension and jail time increase. Drivers with multiple DUIs will also need an ignition interlock device.

And the fun doesn’t stop there. Your insurance rates will climb with each DUI conviction. Our research shows that drivers can expect to pay $830 more per year for car insurance after a DUI. That is, if you can find someone willing to insure you.

Senior Drivers in California

California requires all drivers to renew their driver licenses every 5 years. Drivers ages 70 and older cannot renew their licenses by mail.

Vehicles Registered in Another State

Do you drive a vehicle registered in another state? If so, you need the minimum insurance coverage required by that state. You must also be able to provide proof of this insurance to law enforcement upon request.

Car Insurance Risk in California

California Cities with the Worst Drivers

California drivers have an unfortunate reputation – especially in Los Angeles. QuoteWizard conducted a study on the best and worst drivers in America, and the results are far from good. We combined 2 million data points from our users with FHA fatality data.

According to our study on the best and worst drivers by state, California is the worst driving state in America.

Our study on the worst driving cities in America featured several California cities. In fact, the number one worst driving city in America is Sacramento. These are the California cities featured in the worst driving cities study with their rankings:

Bad news for California drivers. People in cities with lots of bad drivers often pay more for car insurance. That's because a high percentage of bad drivers raises the chances of car accidents.

Traffic Fatalities

In 2015, there were 3,176 traffic fatalities in California. That's a 2.4 percent increase from 2014, and nearly a 17 percent increase from 2010.

California Traffic Fatalities 2012-2015
  2012 2013 2014 2015
Total Fatalities 2,857 3,107 3,074 3,176

Vehicle Thefts

Unfortunately, California leads the nation in car theft. In 2016, 186,857 vehicles were stolen in California. Thefts are most common in these areas:

  • 6 percent of thefts occurred in Southern California
  • 3 percent of thefts occurred in the Bay Area
  • 4 percent of thefts occurred in the Central Valley
  • 7 percent of thefts occurred throughout the remainder of California

Top 10 Most Stolen Vehicles in California

Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau - Hot Wheels Report 2016

  1. Honda Civic 1998 26,972
  2. Honda Accord 1996 25,065
  3. Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size) 2004 7,152
  4. Toyota Camry 1991 5,196
  5. Ford Pickup (Full Size) 2006 5,193
  6. Acura Integra 1994 3,579
  7. Toyota Corolla 2015 3,508
  8. Honda CR-V 1999 2,944
  9. Nissan Sentra 1997 2,614
  10. Nissan Altima 2015 2,599

If you drive one of these vehicles, expect to pay higher rates.

Uninsured Drivers

According to the III, 15.2% of drivers in California are uninsured. California has the 12th highest rate of uninsured drivers in the country. A high percentage of uninsured drivers raises insurance costs across the board. That's because the other drivers (with insurance) must pick up the slack for the uninsured drivers.

Save Money With Discounts

Want cheaper car insurance? There are many auto insurance discounts for California drivers. Get a quote and find potential discounts.

  1. Buy a new car. You can earn a new car discount from many insurance companies.
  2. Drivers 55 and up can qualify for age discounts.
  3. Drop comprehensive coverage from your policy.
  4. Did you get married? Insurance companies often offer discounts to married drivers.
  5. Avoid tickets or accidents. People with clean driving records earn lower auto insurance rates.
  6. Live in a safe area with low crime rates. Drivers in neighborhoods with bad crime and lousy driving conditions file more claims.
  7. Get a car with modern safety features or anti-theft devices.
  8. Bundle your auto policy with homeowners or renters insurance. Bundling can earn you discounts of 15%.
  9. Enroll in a defensive driving course at a certified driving school.
  10. Shop around and compare cheap car insurance quotes in California.

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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