Cheapest car insurance in California for 2021

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California is one of the most desirable places to live, but it is also one of the most expensive. If you own a car in the Golden State, be prepared to pay a hefty amount for your car insurance. The average cost of a car insurance policy in California is $733 per year for minimum coverage and $2,065 per year for full coverage. That is quite a bit higher than the national average of $565 per year for minimum coverage and $1,674 per year for full coverage.

Every car insurance company charges a different rate, so you may need to do some research to find the best price for your specific policy. To help you get started, we put together a list of some of the cheapest car insurance companies in California.

The cheapest car insurance companies in California

When you are shopping for car insurance, you may be looking for the best rate possible. Below you will find a comparison of the five cheapest car insurance companies in California.

Insurance company Average annual rate minimum coverage premium Average annual full coverage premium
Geico $521 $1,615
Grange $520 $1,886
Wawanesa $652 $1,599
Mercury $624 $1,636
CSE Insurance Group $647 $2,209

Geico

Geico is a popular choice for cheap car insurance in California. The average cost of a full coverage policy with Geico in California is $1,615 per year, and minimum coverage costs an average of $521 per year. In addition, Geico offers a long list of auto insurance discounts. Geico has discounts for safe drivers, good students, federal employees and military members. You may also get a discount for having certain safety features installed in your vehicle, taking a defensive driving course and insuring multiple vehicles.

Grange

Grange offers customized policies for each driver. The company understands that insurance needs often change over time, and so its car insurance policies are designed to meet your needs and adapt to the stages of your life.

Grange has various coverage options and add-ons for you to get extra protection. The company also has an extensive list of discounts to help you save money on your premiums. Some of the featured car insurance coverage options include roadside assistance, full glass repair, pet injury coverage and identity theft. Grange has discounts for being a safe driver, paying in full, insuring more than one vehicle and more.

Wawanesa

Wawanesa offers competitive rates, but there are limitations regarding who is eligible for its auto insurance policies. You must have your license for at least three years and have a relatively clean driving record to apply. If you qualify for its coverage, you are eligible for customized protection at a great price. Optional coverages include medical payments, rental car insurance and vehicle manufacturer replacement parts protection.

Mercury

If you are looking for straightforward coverage, Mercury may be a great fit for your insurance needs. Mercury offers a robust online portal, where policyholders view policy information, print ID cards and pay bills. If you need more support, local agents can help you find the right coverage and answer questions. Mercury also offers some optional coverages to help tailor your policy to your needs, such as ridesharing coverage.

CSE Insurance Group

CSE promises customizable coverage at affordable prices, and it does not disappoint. Along with standard auto insurance protections, like liability coverage, collision coverage and comprehensive coverage, CSE also offers optional coverage to help policyholders create a policy unique to their needs. These options include OEM coverage, which may ensure your vehicle is repaired with original manufacturer parts, and medical parts and accessibility coverage, which allows policyholders to insure specialized medical alterations to vehicles, such as wheelchair lifts.

Affordable coverage for California drivers

In California, drivers are required to carry a minimum amount of coverage. If you are a driver in California, here is the minimum amount of coverage you are legally required to have:

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

If you choose to buy the minimum amount of coverage in California, you may pay among the lowest rates. However, choosing minimum coverage is not always the best option. Car accidents can be expensive. If you cause an accident and the cost of vehicle damages and medical bills are higher than your coverage limits, you could be left with out-of-pocket expenses. Talking to an agent or licensed insurance professional about your insurance needs can help you determine how much coverage you should purchase.

How to get cheap car insurance in California

If you are on a budget, there are several ways to get cheap car insurance in California.

  • Raise your credit score: Your credit score is one of the variables that impacts your insurance rate. Because insurance companies view low credit as an indication that someone might file more claims in the future, people with a low credit score tend to pay more for their insurance. If you can raise your credit score, you may get a cheaper premium.
  • Choose a higher deductible: Your deductible is the amount of money you have to pay after a loss before the insurance company will begin to pay for your damages. Choosing a higher deductible means paying a lower monthly rate. However, it is important to make sure you can afford to pay a higher deductible before you update your policy.
  • Take advantage of discounts: Most insurance companies offer discounts that can help drivers lower their premium. Every company offers different discounts, but some common ones are paying your premium in full, bundling your policies and insuring multiple vehicles.
  • Get multiple quotes: To make sure you are paying the lowest rate, it might be a good idea to shop around and get quotes from a few providers. If you find a lower rate, you might even get a discount for switching to a new company.

These techniques might be able to save money, but price is not the only factor when it comes to auto insurance. Finding a company who offers coverage to fit your needs, has good financial strength and good customer service scores are also important things to consider.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best car insurance in California?

There is not one car insurance company in California, since every driver is different. Some drivers want the lowest rates, some want the best coverage and others want great customer service. It is important to find a car insurance company that meets your specific needs. You can check out our review of the best car insurance companies in California as a starting point.

How much does car insurance in California cost?

The average driver in California pays $733 per year for minimum coverage and $2,065 per year for full coverage. However, you may pay more or less than the statewide average based on factors like your zip code, age, credit score, type of vehicle and driving history.

What type of car insurance is required in California?

In California, drivers are required to carry minimum levels of bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage. However, many drivers choose to purchase additional coverage for more protection. Talking to a licensed agent about your insurance needs may be a good way to determine how much coverage is right for you.

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 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 coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our sample drivers own a 2018 Honda Accord, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

These are sample rates and should be used for comparative purposes only. Your quotes may be different.