Average cost of car insurance in California for 2021

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Drivers in the Golden State pay an average of $2,065 per year, or about $172 per month, for full coverage car insurance, according to Bankrate’s 2021 survey of quoted annual premiums. To determine the average cost of car insurance in California, our insurance editorial team reviewed average rates provided by Quadrant Information Services for metro areas across the state.

Compared to the national average cost of full coverage car insurance, which is $1,674 per year, California auto insurance rates are quite a bit higher. Knowing the average cost of auto insurance for various cities in California, auto insurance companies, age groups and driving histories may help you understand if your policy is competitively priced. Bankrate’s research could also help you find ways to lower your premium, which could potentially save you hundreds of dollars per year.

Key takeaways
  • According to Bankrate’s analysis, Grange offers the cheapest average minimum coverage auto insurance premium on our list at $520 per year, while Capital offers the most competitive rates for full coverage at $1,582 annually.
  • Drivers in Los Angeles pay the most by far for auto insurance, according to our research, with an average rate for full coverage insurance of $2,838 per year, 37% above the state average.
  • California parents adding a 16-year-old driver to their full coverage auto insurance policy can expect an average annual increase of $3,744 per year.

How much is car insurance in California?

Full coverage car insurance costs an average of $2,065 per year in California. The average cost for state minimum coverage is $733 per year. While the average auto insurance rates in California could help you determine if you are overpaying for coverage, keep in mind that your premium will vary based on nearly a dozen individual rating factors like the type of car you drive, your motor vehicle record, claims history and how many miles you drive per year. Where you live in the state and the coverage types and limits you choose will also greatly affect your rate.

California car insurance rates

Average annual minimum coverage premium Average annual full coverage premium
$733 $2,065

California car insurance rates by city

Car insurance rates in California vary by city. Drivers in densely populated areas tend to have higher rates. Having more vehicles on the road could mean a greater chance of an accident. Other factors, such as the costs for vehicle repairs, parts and medical expenses can also impact how much drivers in a given city pay for coverage.

City Average annual full coverage premium % difference from state average annual premium
Los Angeles $2,838 37%
San Diego $1,898 -8%
San Jose $2,020 -2%
San Francisco $2,441 18%
Fresno $2,006 -3%
Sacramento $2,236 8%
Long Beach $2,245 9%
Bakersfield $1,984 -4%
Oakland $2,380 15%
Anaheim $2,136 3%

California car insurance rates by company

Car insurance companies in California use their own proprietary rating methods to determine premiums, so rates will vary between insurers. Bankrate analyzed premiums from the top 20 California auto insurance companies by market share to help you see how various carriers stack up against each other.

Car insurance company Average annual full coverage premium
AAA $3,850
Alliance United $2,115
Allstate $2,119
AmTrust Financial $2,152
Capital $1,582
Chubb $2,987
CSE $2,209
Farmers $2,164
Geico $1,615
Grange $1,886
Infinity $1,859
Kemper $2,564
Mercury $1,636
Nationwide $2,155
Progressive $1,808
PURE $4,176
State Farm $1,943
The Hartford $2,328
Travelers $1,794
Wawanesa $1,599

Cost of living in California and car insurance

When shopping for the best car insurance rates in California, you may want to view your insurance premium alongside your other expenses to help get a clear picture of your overall living costs. The graph below shows the average annual cost of living in California, including the average cost of car insurance. Use this graph as a guide to help determine your overall expenses so that you can decide what insurance rates fit in your budget.

California car insurance rates by age

A driver’s age often contributes to the cost of annual premiums, as it can indicate how statistically risky a driver is. Teen drivers are hit the hardest. 16-year-old drivers in California typically increase their parents’ premium by $3,744 per year. Fortunately, California auto insurance rates typically drop in price as drivers age (starting at age 20) — as long as they avoid accidents and citations.

Age Average annual full coverage premium
Age 16* $3,744
Age 18* $6,062
Age 20* $3,984
Age 25 $2,668
Age 30 $2,284
Age 40 $2,065
Age 50 $2,022
Age 60 $1,991
Age 70 $2,152

*16-year-old calculated on parent’s policy disclosure; 18- and 20-year-old are renters

California car insurance rates by gender

California prohibits the use of gender as a rating factor for auto insurance policies. If all other factors are the same, your gender should not influence your car insurance premium.

California car insurance rates by credit score

In many states, your credit-based insurance score will affect how much you pay for car insurance. This is because drivers with low credit scores statistically tend to file more claims than drivers with higher credit scores, according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I). However, California bans the use of credit scores to rate auto insurance policies. Your credit rating should not impact your premium in the Golden State.

California car insurance rates by driving record

Your motor vehicle record is one of the biggest influences on your car insurance premiums. In California, a single speeding ticket could increase the cost of your auto insurance by 40%. The table below demonstrates the average premium increases for a speeding ticket, an at-fault accident and a DUI conviction. Any one of these infractions could cause you to be viewed as a high-risk driver. If you have multiple incidents on your driving record within a three- to five-year time period, your rates will likely be even higher.

Driving incident Average annual full coverage premium % increase in average annual premium
Clean driving record $2,065 0%
Speeding ticket $2,885 40%
Accident $3,412 65%
DUI $4,988 142%

If you are worried about how an accident could affect your insurance premium, you may want to choose an auto insurer that offers accident forgiveness. If you have this program on your policy before an accident, it could help you avoid surcharges for at-fault losses.

California car insurance rates by vehicle type

The type of vehicle you drive also impacts your car insurance premium. Different vehicle makes and models have different statistical accident rates, different safety features and different prices for parts and labor, all of which can affect auto insurance costs. Below is a table showing the average California car insurance rates for some popular vehicle makes and models. Keep in mind that rates will also vary by the year of your vehicle, since updates to models can bring changes in safety features and the price of parts and labor.

Vehicle Average annual full coverage premium
Toyota Camry $2,065
Ford F-150 $1,811
Honda Odyssey $1,743

Frequently asked questions

How much is car insurance in California per month?

Full coverage auto insurance costs an average of $172 per month and minimum coverage costs $49 per month, on average, in California. Your rates may be higher or lower depending on your individual rating factors, according to the Triple-I.

What is the average cost of minimum coverage in California?

Minimum coverage costs an average of $733 per year in the Golden State. California drivers are required by law to purchase liability insurance with coverage limits of at least $15,000 for bodily injury per person, $30,000 for bodily injury per accident and $5,000 for property damage. However, the Triple-I recommends you consider purchasing coverage levels above the state minimums for fuller financial protection. It is important to note that the state’s minimum coverage does not include any coverage for your vehicle if you are at fault in an accident. If you have a leased or financed car, you will likely need to carry full coverage, which includes comprehensive and collision. Buying the cheapest car insurance in California could help keep your premium down, but also increases your risk of hefty out-of-pocket expenses if you cause a serious accident.

What are the cheapest car insurance companies in California?

Bankrate’s analysis of the cheapest car insurance in California rank Geico, Grange and Mercury as the top three insurers for minimum coverage. Capital, Wawanesa, Mercury and Geico offer the lowest rates for full coverage auto insurance on our list. However, your rates will vary based on your individual rating factors. The cheapest company for you could be much different compared to another driver, which is why getting quotes from several carriers can be helpful when purchasing auto insurance.

What is the best car insurance company in California?

Based on our research, Geico, Progressive, State Farm and Wawanesa are among the best car insurance companies in California. However, the best company for your needs will depend on what you want and need from an auto insurer. Understanding your preferences and getting quotes from several different carriers could help you find the right fit for your circumstances.

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverage that meets each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2019 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.

Age: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the ages 18-60 (base: 40 years) applied. Depending on age, drivers may be a renter or homeowner. For teens, rates were determined by adding a 16- or 17-year-old teen to a 40-year-old married couple’s policy. The rates displayed reflect the added cost to the parents’ policy. Based on quoted annual premiums, it does not appear Hawaii uses age as a contributing factor.

Gender: Seven states prohibit using gender as a determining factor in calculating auto insurance premium: California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

Credit: Rates were calculated based on the following insurance credit tiers assigned to our drivers: “poor, average, good (base) and excellent.” Insurance credit tiers factor in your official insurance-based credit scores but are not dependent on that variable alone. Five states do not allow credit to be used as a factor in determining auto insurance rates: California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan and Washington.

Incident: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the following incidents applied: clean record (base), at-fault accident, single speeding ticket, single DUI conviction and lapse in coverage.

Written by
Cate Deventer
Insurance Writer & Editor
Cate Deventer is a writer, editor and insurance professional with nearly a decade of experience in the insurance industry as a licensed insurance agent.
Edited by
Insurance Editor
Reviewed by
Director of corporate communications, Insurance Information Institute