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Best car insurance in California for 2022

Updated Dec 02, 2022
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California requires drivers to carry at least a minimum amount of car insurance, so a car insurance policy is a necessary expense for drivers in this state. That said, there are dozens of car insurance carriers to choose from, which can make it difficult to know where to start on your search for the best car insurance companies. The good news is that Bankrate’s team researched the options and may be able to help California drivers narrow them down.

Auto Insurance
Key takeaways
  • As of 2022, the average cost of car insurance in California was $2,190 per year for full coverage car insurance and $619 for minimum coverage car insurance.
  • Our research found that Geico, State Farm and Mercury are among the best car insurance companies in California.
  • On average, full coverage car insurance in California is 24% higher than the national average rate and minimum coverage is 14%, according to our research.

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How Bankrate chose the best car insurance companies in California

To choose the best car insurance companies in California, Bankrate analyzed average rate data from Quadrant Information Services, along with third-party financial strength ratings from AM Best, customer service rankings from the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Auto Insurance Study for the California region, available coverage options, discounts and digital tools. This information was combined to determine a Bankrate Score, which was awarded to each company with a maximum of 5.0. By using our Bankrate Score, you may be able to more easily assess which carriers are the best fit for your unique situation.

Best car insurance companies in California

Bankrate’s insurance editorial team determined that Geico, State Farm, Progressive, Mercury and Wawanesa are among the best car insurance companies in California. We first analyzed average annual quoted premiums, provided by Quadrant Information Services, for the largest insurance companies by market share in the Golden State. Based on our research, you might want to get quotes from the following national and regional companies if you are looking for the best auto insurance in California:

Geico
Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5
4.7
Bankrate Score
Info Hover for more
J.D. Power
824
/1,000
Average annual full coverage premium
$1,721
Average annual minimum coverage premium
$400
State Farm
Rating: 4.7 stars out of 5
4.7
Bankrate Score
Info Hover for more
J.D. Power
817
/1,000
Average annual full coverage premium
$2,069
Average annual minimum coverage premium
$510
Mercury
Rating: 4.1 stars out of 5
4.1
Bankrate Score
Info Hover for more
J.D. Power
827
/1,000
Average annual full coverage premium
$1,699
Average annual minimum coverage premium
$539
Progressive
Rating: 4.4 stars out of 5
4.4
Bankrate Score
Info Hover for more
J.D. Power
803
/1,000
Average annual full coverage premium
$1,960
Average annual minimum coverage premium
$542
J.D. Power
879
/1,000
Average annual full coverage premium
$1,562
Average annual minimum coverage premium
$574
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Coverage.com, LLC is a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 19966249). Coverage.com services are only available in states where it is licensed. Coverage.com may not offer insurance coverage in all states or scenarios. All insurance products are governed by the terms in the applicable insurance policy, and all related decisions (such as approval for coverage, premiums, commissions and fees) and policy obligations are the sole responsibility of the underwriting insurer. The information on this site does not modify any insurance policy terms in any way.

Best car insurance company for digital policy management

J.D. Power:
824 /1,000
AM Best:
A ++
Avg. annual premium for minimum coverage:
$ 400
Avg annual premium for full coverage:
$ 1,721
Get a personalized quote

Answer a few questions to see personalized rates from top carriers.

Best car insurance company for local agencies

J.D. Power:
817 /1,000
AM Best:
A ++
Avg. annual premium for minimum coverage:
$ 510
Avg annual premium for full coverage:
$ 2,069
Get a personalized quote

Answer a few questions to see personalized rates from top carriers.

Best car insurance company for supporting a local company

J.D. Power:
827 /1,000
AM Best:
A
Avg. annual premium for minimum coverage:
$ 539
Avg annual premium for full coverage:
$ 1,699
Get a personalized quote

Answer a few questions to see personalized rates from top carriers.

Best car insurance company for discounts

J.D. Power:
803 /1,000
AM Best:
A +
Avg. annual premium for minimum coverage:
$ 542
Avg annual premium for full coverage:
$ 1,960
Get a personalized quote

Answer a few questions to see personalized rates from top carriers.

Best car insurance company for customer satisfaction

Wawanesa

J.D. Power:
879 /1,000
AM Best:
A
Avg. annual premium for minimum coverage:
$ 574
Avg annual premium for full coverage:
$ 1,562
Get a personalized quote

Answer a few questions to see personalized rates from top carriers.

Average car insurance cost in California

The average annual cost of car insurance in California is $2,190 for full coverage and $619 for minimum coverage, according to 2022 premium data obtained from Quadrant Information Services. This is 24% higher than the national average premium for full coverage, which is $1,771 per year. California drivers pay more on average than drivers in many other states, including neighboring states like Oregon, which may be due to the state’s heavily congested roadways, leading to denser traffic and a higher likelihood of accident claims.

Keep in mind that these rates are averages. There are many factors that influence car insurance rates, and your premium will likely vary based on your personal rating factors, like your motor vehicle record, claims history and the make and model car you drive. California regulations prohibit insurers from using credit, gender or ZIP code as factors to determine your auto insurance premium.

Average annual premium for minimum coverage in California Average annual premium for full coverage in California
$619 $2,190

How to find the best car insurance in California

The best car insurance policy looks different for everyone and will depend on your needs, lifestyle and financial responsibilities. To see which car insurance company might provide the best fit and options for you, here are some steps you can take.

Consider minimum insurance requirements in California

California requires drivers to carry at least minimum levels of liability insurance coverage on their vehicles to drive legally in the state. This includes the required minimum amounts of bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverage. California also requires that insurance companies offer you uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage, along with uninsured motorist property damage, but you can decline in writing if you do not want to have them. Understanding California’s car insurance laws can help you understand if you need additional coverage or higher limits.

Consider lender requirements

If you finance or lease your vehicle, you may need to purchase a car insurance policy that complies with your financial institution’s requirements. For example, collision and comprehensive insurance are typically optional coverage types, but if your car is financed, most lenders will require you to purchase them. This is commonly known as a “full coverage” policy. Your financial institution may also require you to purchase higher liability limits, especially if you lease your vehicle. You might also want to consider gap insurance, which is designed to pay the difference between your vehicle’s actual cash value and the loan or lease amount if your car is totaled or stolen. According to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), it is typically cheaper to purchase gap insurance from your insurer instead of from an auto dealer.

Consider your individual needs

Every driver has a different set of auto insurance considerations. You might live in an area where traffic and tourism are heavy, like Los Angeles or San Francisco, have a teen driver to insure or maybe have a few accidents or moving violations on your driving record. Based on your unique needs, it could make sense to have collision coverage and comprehensive coverage, uninsured motorist coverage or towing and rental reimbursement. Understanding your individual coverage needs might help you narrow down the companies you request quotes from. Households with teen drivers might look for companies with specialized young driver discounts, for example.

Car insurance discounts in California

Most car insurance companies offer discounts to help you save money on your car insurance premium. Common car insurance discounts in California include:

  • Young driver discounts: If you have a young driver on your policy, there could be several ways to save on your annual premium. For example, if you insure a full-time student under the age of 25, you may be able to take advantage of a good student discount. Talk to your company about potential savings for young drivers.
  • Safe driver discounts: If you have not been in an accident or had a moving violation for a certain number of years, usually three to five, you may qualify for a good or safe driver discount. Avoiding incidents and maintaining a clean driving record  also helps you avoid costly surcharges, which can stay on your policy for several years.
  • Other discounts: Carriers that offer multiple insurance products, like auto, home, umbrella and life policies, often give you a discount on each policy that you buy. And if you belong to certain organizations, like membership clubs or alumni associations, you might qualify for a discount with some insurance carriers.

Discounts vary by provider, so talking with your insurance agent or a company representative might be helpful in determining what savings opportunities are available. Unlike most other states, California does not permit usage-based telematics insurance programs, so this will not be a discount opportunity for drivers to save money on car insurance in CA.

Frequently asked questions

Written by
Cate Deventer
Insurance Writer & Editor
Cate Deventer is a writer, editor and insurance professional with over a decade of experience in the insurance industry as a licensed insurance agent.
Edited by Insurance Editor
Reviewed by Senior wealth manager, LourdMurray