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Cheapest car insurance in California in 2023

Updated Feb 02, 2023
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The cheapest car insurance companies in California

The cheapest car insurance company for you may depend on individual factors such as your age, annual mileage, driving record, location and vehicle type. In our analysis, we found several insurers that may offer low average premiums for specific types of motorists.

Cheapest company for minimum coverage

Average monthly minimum coverage premium Average annual minimum coverage premium
Geico $35 $415

Cheapest company for full coverage

Average monthly full coverage premium Average annual full coverage premium
Capital $129 $1,548

Cheapest company for adding a teen driver

Average monthly minimum coverage premium Average annual minimum coverage premium
Grange $67 $798

Cheapest company for getting a speeding ticket

Average monthly minimum coverage premium Average annual minimum coverage premium
AAA $47 $564

Cheapest company for being in an at-fault accident

Average monthly minimum coverage premium Average annual minimum coverage premium
AAA $47 $564

Cheapest company for drivers with a high-risk incident

Average monthly minimum coverage premium Average annual minimum coverage premium
Grange $64 $762

The cheapest car insurance companies in California by coverage level

When it comes to cheap car insurance in California, drivers need to carry at least state required minimum levels of liability coverage to drive legally. On average, minimum coverage car insurance in California costs $636 per year. Rate data obtained from Quadrant Information Services indicates that Geico offers some of the cheapest average rates for minimum coverage premiums in California.

Based on our study, full coverage California car insurance costs an average of $2,291 per year. This is higher than the national average of $2,014. However, our research revealed that regional carriers Capital and Wawanesa may offer lower average full coverage premiums in California. Here's a deep dive into low-cost car insurance in California from some of the cheapest average carriers:

Geico
Rating: 4.4 stars out of 5
4.4
Bankrate Score
Info
Average monthly minimum coverage premium
$35
Average annual minimum coverage premium
$415
Annual savings vs. State average*
- $221
AAA
Rating: 2.9 stars out of 5
2.9
Bankrate Score
Info
Average monthly minimum coverage premium
$38
Average annual minimum coverage premium
$454
Annual savings vs. State average*
- $182
Grange
Rating: 2.9 stars out of 5
2.9
Bankrate Score
Info
Average monthly minimum coverage premium
$41
Average annual minimum coverage premium
$486
Annual savings vs. State average*
- $150
Travelers
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
4.0
Bankrate Score
Info
Average monthly minimum coverage premium
$44
Average annual minimum coverage premium
$532
Annual savings vs. State average*
- $104
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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.

*Based on policies with minimum coverage for 2023

Capital
Rating: 2.7 stars out of 5
2.7
Bankrate Score
Info
Average monthly full coverage premium
$129
Average annual full coverage premium
$1,548
Annual savings vs. State average*
- $743
Wawanesa
Rating: 3.1 stars out of 5
3.1
Bankrate Score
Info
Average monthly full coverage premium
$134
Average annual full coverage premium
$1,612
Annual savings vs. State average*
- $679
Mercury
Rating: 3.23 stars out of 5
3.2
Bankrate Score
Info
Average monthly full coverage premium
$151
Average annual full coverage premium
$1,817
Annual savings vs. State average*
- $474
Geico
Rating: 4.4 stars out of 5
4.4
Bankrate Score
Info
Average monthly full coverage premium
$153
Average annual full coverage premium
$1,841
Annual savings vs. State average*
- $450
Powered by Coverage.com (NPN: 19966249)
Advertising Disclosure
This advertisement is powered by Coverage.com, LLC, a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 19966249) and a corporate affiliate of Bankrate. The offers and links that appear on this advertisement are from companies that compensate Coverage.com in different ways. The compensation received and other factors, such as your location, may impact what offers and links appear, and how, where and in what order they appear. While we seek to provide a wide range of offers, we do not include every product or service that may be available. Our goal is to keep information accurate and timely, but some information may not be current. Your actual offer from an advertiser may be different from the offer on this advertisement. All offers are subject to additional terms and conditions.

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.

*Based on policies with full coverage for 2023

Cheapest cities in California for car insurance

Densely populated areas of California like Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Diego generally have higher average auto insurance premiums. This is in part due to more congested roadways and higher instances of theft and vandalism in bigger cities. On the other hand, some smaller cities have average car insurance premiums below the state average. The following cities have some of the cheapest average full and minimum coverage car insurance rates based on Bankrate’s analysis:

City City average annual minimum coverage premium Cheapest car insurance company Company average annual minimum coverage premium
Forest Falls $542 Geico $323
San Bruno $614 Geico $324
Alameda $598 Geico $330
South San Francisco $603 Geico $331
Pope Valley $554 Geico $334
Bakersfield $565 Geico $338
Brisbane $571 Geico $339
Grizzly Flats $546 Geico $340
City City average annual full coverage premium Cheapest car insurance company Company average annual full coverage premium
Twin Peaks $2,144 Capital $1,385
Brisbane $2,137 Capital $1,388
Pinole $2,178 Capital $1,399
City of Industry $2,212 Capital $1,407
Union City $2,177 Capital $1,409
Elverta $2,152 Capital $1,423
Guasti $2,150 Capital $1,423
March Air Reserve Base $2,162 Capital $1,426

Factors that impact cheap rates in California

Getting a speeding ticket, having an at-fault accident on your record, adding a teen driver to your policy or changing your marital status may all potentially impact the price you pay for auto insurance. Every car insurance company rates the following scenarios differently, so comparing quotes from different companies could help you find cheap insurance in California for your specific situation.

Insuring a teen driver

Car insurance for teen drivers can be expensive. Teen drivers have the highest accident rate of any age group, so insurance companies typically charge higher premiums to account for this risk. However, there are cheap car insurance companies for teen drivers and many carriers offer student discounts to help you potentially reduce your rate. The rates below are for a single teen driver added to their married parents' policy.

Car insurance company Average annual minimum coverage premium Average annual full coverage premium
Grange $798 $3,731
Travelers $963 $4,641
CSE Insurance $991 $3,545
State Farm $1,071 $3,839
The Hartford $1,106 $3,750

Getting a speeding ticket

Insurance companies typically view speeding tickets as indicators of unsafe driving habits. As such, even a single speeding ticket could increase your premium. If you receive a speeding ticket conviction in California, your rates may increase for three to five years, depending on the carrier, making the search for cheap auto insurance in California more difficult. Fortunately, some carriers offer more affordable average rates for drivers with a speeding ticket than others. The rates below are for a driver with a single speeding ticket conviction.

Car insurance company Average annual minimum coverage premium Average annual full coverage premium
AAA $564 $3,146
Geico $602 $2,565
Grange $610 $2,850
Travelers $703 $2,847
Kemper $709 $1,999

Getting into an at-fault accident

At-fault accidents generally increase your premium for three to five years, depending on the carrier. Affordable car insurance in California may be harder to find because of this. If you have been involved in an accident, you can usually expect to receive a surcharge on your premium unless you have a first-time accident forgiveness program on your policy. The following carriers may offer the lowest rates for drivers with a single at-fault accident on their record.

Car insurance company Average annual minimum coverage premium Average annual full coverage premium
AAA $564 $3,146
Grange $610 $2,850
Geico $676 $2,722
Travelers $781 $3,137
Capital $814 $2,262

Being deemed a high-risk driver

High-risk drivers in California may include drivers with one or more speeding tickets, at-fault accidents or a DUI conviction on their record. While you will likely pay more for coverage as a high-risk driver, there are steps you may be able to take to lower your premium. The following companies offer some of the lowest average rates for drivers with a high-risk incident, like a single DUI, on their record. Please note that not all companies will extend coverage to drivers with a DUI. You could contact a carrier directly to inquire about quotes for drivers with DUIs.

Car insurance company Average annual minimum coverage premium Average annual full coverage premium
Grange $762 $2,562
National General $777 $2,182
Mercury $895 $2,998
Geico $950 $4,008
Kemper $962 $2,715

Minimum coverage requirements for California drivers

Like most states, California designates the minimum amount of car insurance that drivers must purchase to drive legally. Based on our research, California minimum coverage costs an average of $636 per year. If you live in California, you must carry at least the following minimum coverage type and levels:

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

According to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), the estimated uninsured motorist rate in California is 16.6 percent. As a result of this high rate, auto insurers in the Golden State are required to offer you uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage, although you can decline these options in writing.

California residents who do not want to purchase an auto insurance policy can also satisfy the state’s “financial responsibility law” by providing a $35,000 cash deposit or surety bond to the DMV.

Although state minimum coverage is all that is required to drive legally, most insurance experts recommend that you purchase higher levels of liability if you can afford to do so. If your vehicle is leased or financed, your lender may require you to carry full coverage.

How to get the cheapest car insurance in California

Finding cheap California car insurance may seem overwhelming, but there are a few steps you could take to begin your search. Asking friends or family may be helpful, but personal rating factors impact your premium, so a friend’s favorite provider might not offer the best coverage or price for you.

Compare quotes from multiple providers

If you’re wondering how to save on car insurance in California, the first step is likely to request quotes. Reviewing quotes from several insurers could show you which carriers offer the best rates for the coverage you need. After comparing quotes, you may want to also look for relevant discounts that may help you save even more on your policy.

Maintain a clean driving record

Even if you had a clean driving record when purchasing your policy, infractions such as accidents and speeding tickets could increase your rate when your policy renews. Companies typically review your driving record from the past three to five years, so even if you have a ticket or accident on your record, maintaining safe driving habits may help you avoid further surcharges and eventually bring down your rate, depending on the carrier.

Car insurance discounts in California

Auto insurance companies may offer a wide range of discounts to help lower your premium and save on car insurance in California. However, it is important to understand that discounts vary by insurer and some providers offer more discounts than others. Some common discounts you could ask about when requesting quotes include:

  • Bundling discounts: When you purchase a car insurance policy and another insurance policy, like homeowners, from the same carrier, you may qualify for a discount.
  • Good driver discounts: Some carriers extend discounts to drivers who demonstrate safe driving habits. These are often extended via a telematics program.
  • Loyalty discounts: Some carriers may extend a discount to policyholders who renew their policy year after year.
  • Mileage discounts: Your annual mileage may impact your auto insurance premium. Demonstrating low mileage, usually through a telematics program, may earn you a discount.
  • Safety and security device discounts: Some insurance companies offer discounts on vehicles equipped with devices such as airbags, anti-lock brakes and anti-theft systems.
  • Youthful driver discounts: Policyholders with a young driver on their policy may be able to reduce their premium with discounts for teen drivers who maintain good grades or demonstrate safe driving habits. Some insurers also offer a discount to college students who move away for school but leave their vehicle at home.

Bear in mind that discount eligibility can change over time. For example, you might not qualify for a discount when you purchase a policy, but after a few years, you may be eligible for a good driver or loyalty discount. Before renewing your car insurance policy, you could ask your agent if you qualify for additional discounts.

Frequently asked questions

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Written by
Michael Evans
Contributor

Michael Evans is a contributor to Bankrate and has worked in numerous industries, including education, finance, government, insurance and journalism. He began writing professionally while working for the world’s first online mortgage brokerage in San Francisco, California. His writings have appeared in print and online publications, including Fox Business, International Living, Motley Fool and Yahoo Finance. He and his family divide their time between residences in Northern California and Colombia. When Michael is not writing, he enjoys working in his photography business and playing with his cat, Cyndi Lou.

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