California Car Insurance


California to bring you a list of the top five providers that offer affordable coverage in the state. Below, you’ll find rate estimates for different driver profiles as well as key information about car insurance requirements in California


Cheap California Car Insurance

Car insurance rates in California are far above the national average. However, that doesn’t mean that drivers can’t find affordable car insurance in the state. We’ll look at the cheapest car insurance companies and coverage options in the Golden State below.

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in California

Our top picks for the cheapest car insurance in California are Geico, Wawanesa, USAA, State Farm and Mercury Insurance. Each of these providers offers reliable car insurance coverage and customer service.

California Car Insurance CompaniesOverall RatingCost RatingNumber of Discounts Available
#1 Geico9.19.216
#2 Wawanesa Insurance6.476
#3 USAA9.29.810
#4 State Farm9.39.29
#5 Mercury Insurance7.46.68

*Our research team considers nationwide factors when scoring providers. The ranking of providers in this table is specific to car insurance in California.

Since no car insurance company is the same, we recommend comparing quotes from multiple companies if you want to find the cheapest car insurance in California.

Cheapest Car Insurance Coverage in California

The coverage level you purchase as part of your car insurance policy can affect how much you pay for insurance overall. Most estimates you receive from providers in California will include minimum liability and full coverage car insurance quotes. Minimum liability coverage is typically required in most states, but doesn’t provide protection to yourself or your passengers in the event of an accident. Consider buying a full coverage policy if you want to be protected on the road.

Below, we explore the cheapest car insurance coverage options in California for both coverage types.

Cheapest Liability Insurance California

According to our cost research, Geico provides the cheapest minimum liability insurance in California, costing $33 per month or $398 per year on average. USAA, Progressive, CSAA Insurance and Mercury Insurance are also affordable insurance options.

Cheapest Liability Car Insurance in CaliforniaEstimated Monthly RateEstimated Annual Rate
CSAA Insurance$39$471
Mercury Insurance$45$541
Auto Club Enterprises$52$628
State Farm$68$819

*All drivers in California are required to have minimum liability coverage, which is the cheapest car insurance coverage level.

Cheapest Full Coverage Car Insurance in California

At $117 per month or $1,408 per year, USAA is the cheapest full-coverage car insurance provider in California on average. Motorists can also find affordable coverage through Progressive, Geico, Mercury Insurance, and Kemper.

Cheapest Full Coverage Car Insurance in CaliforniaEstimated Monthly RateEstimated Annual Rate
Mercury Insurance$135$1,625
CSAA Insurance$198$2,372
Auto Club Enterprises$214$2,572

Cheap Auto Insurance Quotes California

Several factors will determine the final price you pay for car insurance coverage in the Golden State. Insurers use your age, location, driving history and credit score to determine the cost of your car insurance.

Below, we provide cost estimates and information on how different situational information affects car insurance rates.

Cheapest Car Insurance California for Young Drivers

Age is one of the factors that typically impacts car insurance rates the most. Younger drivers can pay hundreds of dollars more for car insurance coverage than other age groups.

Cheap California Car Insurance for 16-Year-Olds

Sixteen-year-old California drivers pay some of the highest car insurance costs in the state, but that doesn’t mean affordable coverage can’t be found. Our research shows USAA tends to offer the cheapest auto insurance in the state, costing $3,867 per year or $322 per month on average.

Cheapest Car Insurance in CaliforniaEstimated Monthly RateEstimated Annual Rate
Mercury Insurance$416$4,991
State Farm$420$5,036

Cheap California Car Insurance for 17-Year-Olds

In California, 17-year-old drivers can typically find cheap car insurance through USAA and Geico. Our research shows USAA costs an average of $3,520 per year or $293 per month, while Geico prices average $4,335 per year or $361 per month.

Cheapest Car Insurance in CaliforniaEstimated Monthly RateEstimated Annual Rate
Mercury Insurance$369$4,434
State Farm$390$4,676

Cheap California Car Insurance for 18-Year-Olds

According to our research, USAA and Mercury Insurance tend to offer the cheapest auto insurance for 18-year-old California drivers. Geico, State Farm, and Progressive can also be good choices for affordable coverage.

Cheapest Car Insurance in CaliforniaEstimated Monthly RateEstimated Annual Rate
Mercury Insurance$352$4,220
State Farm$375$4,503

Cheap California Car Insurance for 21-Year-Olds

California drivers in their early 20s may find cheaper car insurance prices than teen drivers. On average, we found that USAA provides the lowest rates for 21-year-old drivers in the state, costing an average of $2,046 per year or $171 per month.

Cheapest Car Insurance in CaliforniaEstimated Monthly RateEstimated Annual Rate
Mercury Insurance$247$2,966

Cheap California Car Insurance for 25-Year-Olds

Our research shows USAA offers cheap auto insurance for 25-year-old drivers. Based on our rate estimates, motorists in their mid-20s pay $1,739 per year or $145 per month on average with the insurance provider.

Cheapest Car Insurance in CaliforniaEstimated Monthly RateEstimated Annual Rate
Mercury Insurance$180$2,154
CSAA Insurance$214$2,559

Cheapest California Car Insurance for High-Risk Drivers

Motorists with a recent accident, speeding ticket or DUI pay more for car insurance because they are considered high-risk drivers by insurers. The sections below provide estimates for the cheapest car insurance rates for drivers who may fall into one of these categories.

Cheap California Car Insurance for Drivers With a Speeding Ticket

The average rate for drivers in California with a speeding ticket is $3,560 per year, or about $297 per month. USAA typically offers the cheapest full coverage policy for these drivers, with an average rate of $1,560 per year, or $130 per month. Most insurers will charge higher premiums if you have a speeding ticket on your record.

Cheapest Car Insurance in CaliforniaEstimated Monthly CostEstimated Annual Cost
Mercury Insurance$235$2,819
CSAA Insurance$252$3,021

Cheap California Car Insurance for Drivers With a Recent Accident

The average auto insurance rate for California drivers with a recent accident is $5,052 per year, or $421 per month. At an average rate of $2,484 per year, or $207 per month, USAA offers the cheapest full coverage policy for drivers in California with a recent accident on their record. Accidents happen, and they happen to raise your car insurance premiums.

Cheapest Car Insurance in CaliforniaEstimated Monthly CostEstimated Annual Cost
Mercury Insurance$267$3,204
CSAA Insurance$404$4,847

Cheap California Car Insurance for Drivers With a DUI

A DUI on your record means you’ll face much higher premiums for auto insurance coverage, and California drivers with a DUI pay an average of $6,978 per year or $581 per month. The cheapest full coverage policies for California drivers with a DUI tends to come from Mercury Insurance, which charges  an average rate of $3,525 per year or $294 per month.

Cheapest Car Insurance in CaliforniaEstimated Monthly CostEstimated Annual Cost
Mercury Insurance$294$3,525
Farmers Insurance$435$5,224

Car Insurance Deals in California

California drivers can expect to find an array of car insurance discounts and deals from car insurance companies in the state. The table below compares the discounts offered by the best cheap car insurance companies in the Golden State, which we’ll discuss in further detail below.

California Car Insurance DiscountsGeicoWawanesaUSAAState FarmMercury
Safe driver✔️✔️✔️✔️✔️
Defensive driving✔️✔️✔️
Driver training✔️✔️✔️
New vehicle✔️✔️
Car safety equipment✔️✔️✔️

*These are the standard car insurance discounts offered by each company. Discount availability can vary by state, so you’ll need to speak with an insurance agent to find out which car insurance discounts you may qualify for.

Car Insurance Discounts in California

The cost of car insurance in California is far above the national average, which is why drivers should look into car insurance discounts to lower their premiums. If you’re shopping around for auto insurance, look for providers that offer the best discounts for your situation. You can also speak with your current insurance agent to see if there are any discounts you can take advantage of.

Here’s further information on common discounts provided by reputable car insurance companies.

  • Multi-policy: Bundling two or more insurance policies with the same company, such as adding a homeowners insurance policy with your auto coverage
  • Multi-vehicle: Insuring multiple cars under the same policy or combining auto insurance policies with others
  • Military: Applies whether you’re a veteran or active military member
  • Senior: Typically applies to policyholders who are 55 and older
  • Homeowners: If you own a home, you may qualify for this discount
  • Good student: Generally for college and high school students under 25 years old who maintain a B average in their courses
  • Good driver: Applies to drivers with a clean driving record (no at-fault accidents, DUIs, or speeding tickets in the last three years)
  • Defensive driving: Those who take a defensive driving course tend to qualify for this discount
  • Driver training: Get a discount by taking a driver education training course
  • New car: Given to drivers who purchase a new car, typically three model years or newer
  • Safe car: Applies if your vehicle has safety features like anti-theft technology
  • Paperless: Receive a discount by opting to receive your documents through email
  • Pay-in-full: Save on your car insurance premium by paying your policy in full upfront

Top Car Insurance Companies in California

The cheapest car insurance companies in California aren’t just affordable, each one also provides comprehensive insurance options for drivers in the Golden State. The sections below give further details about our top car insurance companies in California.

#1 Geico: Affordable for Most Drivers

J.D. Power regional rating828/1,000
AM Best financial strength rating: A++
Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating: A+

Geico’s rates are among the cheapest in the state for minimum and full coverage car insurance policies. The company offers a number of discounts for things like keeping a clean driving record, having vehicle safety features and getting good grades.

Beyond standard coverage, you can add options like roadside assistance, rental car reimbursement and classic car coverage. Geico also offers mechanical breakdown insurance, which is similar to an extended warranty and can cover your car if you experience a part failure due to normal use.

#2 Wawanesa Insurance: Top Regional Provider for Basic Coverage

J.D. Power regional rating: 853/1,000
AM Best financial strength rating: A-
BBB rating: A+

Wawanesa Insurance is based in Canada and sells auto insurance in Oregon and California. The company scores about average in some states and provinces, but in California, it has one of the best customer service reputations among auto insurers. It came in first place for the California region in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Auto Insurance Study℠, which measured overall customer satisfaction in claims, coverage, pricing and more.

Wawanesa provides the standard types of auto coverage, but it doesn’t offer a usage-based app or other extras. If you want basic coverage from a customer-first provider, Wawanesa is a good choice for car insurance in California.

#3 USAA: Low Rates for Military

J.D. Power regional rating: 870/1,000
AM Best financial strength rating: A++
BBB rating: A+

Auto insurance policies from USAA are available to members of the military, veterans and their families. If you qualify, it can be a smart choice to get a quote from USAA. USAA tends to offer some of the cheapest car insurance rates whether California drivers are looking for minimum or full coverage.

Discounts are available for good students, good drivers, low-mileage drivers, and more. USAA also offers extra types of coverage, such as accident forgiveness and car replacement assistance.

Keep readingUSAA insurance review

#4 State Farm: Editor’s Choice

J.D. Power regional rating: 818/1,000
AM Best financial strength rating: A++
BBB rating: A+

State Farm is a great option for students and teens looking for auto insurance in California. The insurer offers a generous student discount of 25%, which lasts until the driver turns 25. Teen drivers and other high-risk drivers can also take advantage of State Farm’s Steer Clear® program to save on car insurance. The auto insurance company also offers a telematics app called Drive Safe & Save™ that monitors driving habits and adjusts rates accordingly.

Keep readingState Farm Insurance review

#5 Mercury Insurance: Low Rates for High-Risk Drivers

J.D. Power regional rating: 816/1,000
AM Best financial strength rating: BBB+
BBB rating: A+

Mercury Insurance can be found in California and 10 other states. Our research found that the insurer is generally one of the cheapest options for policyholders who have an accident or DUI on their record. If you’ve had trouble finding affordable car insurance coverage from other providers due to your driving record, you may find more favorable rates from Mercury.

The company also offers eight car insurance discounts and additional insurance options, including mechanical protection coverage.

Average Car Insurance Cost California

The average cost for full coverage car insurance in California is $2,089 per year or about $174 per month. That’s nearly 21% more expensive than the national average, according to our research. These estimates are based on the profile of a 35-year-old driver with a clean driving record and a good credit score.

Minimum coverage rates for that same driving profile average $627 per year or $52 per month, making it just 1% less expensive than the national average of $635. The table below shows the providers that offer the cheapest rates for minimum coverage in California.

Cost of Car Insurance in California by Age

Younger drivers have a much higher likelihood of being involved in car accidents, which is why they typically pay higher insurance costs than drivers in other age groups. We found that 16-year-old drivers pay an average of $6,077 per year for full coverage car insurance compared with 30-year-old drivers whose car insurance costs are an average of $2,229 per year.

AgeEstimated Monthly RateEstimated Annual Rate

Cost of Car Insurance in California by City

While rates vary from state to state, they differ based on where you live within California as well. Drivers in urban areas like San Diego and San Francisco tend to pay higher rates on average than those in more rural parts of the state. This table shows the average rate for a full coverage policy in each city, based on the profile of a 35-year-old driver with a clean driving record and a good credit score.

City in CaliforniaEstimated Monthly RateEstimated Annual Rate
Chula Vista$178$2,138
San Diego$180$2,157
San Jose$184$2,203

*Average rates above apply to the top three companies in each city

Factors that Affect California Car Insurance Rates

Car insurance companies set their rates based on several variables about you and your vehicle. That’s why the rates you receive will most likely be different from the estimates you see in this article.

factors that determine your car insurance rates

The variables California insurers consider when determining your rates include:

  • Your age
  • The age, make, model, and mileage of your vehicle
  • Your location in California
  • Your driving history
  • The deductible you choose

California State Insurance Requirements

Each state has financial responsibility laws that dictate what type of car insurance is required. According to the California Department of Insurance, these are the state’s required coverages and minimum coverage limits:

  • $15,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $30,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $5,000 property damage liability

Compared to other states, these requirements are low. California allows even lower limits for people who can’t afford standard insurance, too. However, it’s a good idea to go beyond state minimum liability limits since accident claims can easily exceed these amounts. 

For example, if you’re in an accident and the other driver’s car repairs total more than $5,000, you’ll have to pay the difference out of your own pocket. In big cities like Los Angeles, where sports cars and luxury models are common, this may not be a risk you want to take.

Additional California Auto Insurance Worth Considering

Be aware that California only requires liability insurance, which covers other drivers’ damages after an accident but does not cover your own costs if you’re at fault. Besides liability coverage, there are other types of auto insurance that can be smart to have:

  • Collision coverage: Covers your own vehicle repair bills after an accident for which you are found at fault
  • Comprehensive insurance: Covers your own vehicle repair bills after a non-collision incident such as a fire, flood, theft or vandalism
  • Medical payments (MedPay): Covers medical bills for you and your passengers after an accident, regardless of fault
  • Uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM): Covers your medical and vehicle repair bills if you’re in an accident with a driver who does not have enough insurance to cover your claim

Collision and comprehensive coverage may be required by your lender if you are financing your vehicle.

Is It Illegal Not To Have Car Insurance in California?

Like most states, California requires drivers to have car insurance. However, drivers in the state of California have the option to comply with the law by depositing $35,000 cash into an account with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or by proving they have the financial means to self-insure.

It’s illegal to operate a motor vehicle in California without having car insurance, making the deposit with the DMV or proving your financial means. If caught, you can be fined up to $250, have your car impounded and have your driver’s license suspended on your first offense. On your second offense, you can be fined up to $500 plus additional penalties and, again, have your vehicle impounded by the state.

How To Get Car Insurance in California

Today, it’s easy to compare car insurance quotes from multiple providers with online tools. Just be prepared to provide basic information about your vehicle and anyone who drives it. Shop around regularly to make sure you’re getting the best deal, especially if your current insurance rate increases.

Cheapest Auto Insurance in California: Conclusion

Overall, Geico offers the best and cheapest car insurance in California for most drivers. The company has the right combination of low prices, coverage and customer service, plus it offers some extras that can come in handy. That said, you’ll only know if you’ve found the best rate for you by comparing multiple companies.

Cheapest Car Insurance California: FAQ

Below are frequently asked questions about the cheapest car insurance in California:

QUS: How much is car insurance in California monthly?

ANS: According to our rate estimates, the average cost of car insurance in California is $174 per month. However, you may be able to find cheaper rates depending on your driving experience and the coverage level you are looking for.

QUS: What is the cheapest insurance for new drivers in California?

ANS: Based on our research, USAA tends to offer the cheapest car insurance in California for new drivers. Our rate estimates show that 16-year-old motorists pay an average of $3,867 per year or $322 per month with USAA.

QUS: Is car insurance in California expensive?

ANS: Car insurance in California is, on average, 21% more expensive than the national average. That makes California one of the most expensive states in the country for car insurance.

QUS: Is it better to pay car insurance in full or monthly?

ANS: You may get a discount for paying for your car insurance in full. But if doing so would put you in a tight financial spot, you might be better off paying your insurance premiums on a monthly basis.

QUS: Can you pause your car insurance?

ANS: In most cases, you can’t “pause” your car insurance. Most states require you to maintain continuous coverage. The only times you can legally end and restart your coverage is when you are switching policies or changing cars.


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