Best cheap car insurance in Los Angeles for 2021

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Bankrate’s insurance editorial team reviewed over a dozen auto insurance carriers across Southern California to find the best cheap car insurance in Los Angeles based on rates, customer reviews, financial standing and more. According to Bankrate’s 2021 study of quoted annual premiums, the average yearly cost of car insurance in Los Angeles is $1,061 for minimum coverage or $2,838 for full coverage. Based on our findings, Geico and Progressive are two of the best cheap car insurance companies in L.A.

Los Angeles is home to nearly 4 million residents, with an average of two vehicles per household. The millions of vehicles on the road every day contribute to the city’s frequent gridlock and high auto insurance rates. Despite Los Angeles’ high average auto insurance rates, insurance is mandatory for drivers in California. However, there are plenty of benefits that come with the cost, including added financial protection in an accident. In 2019 alone, there were 54,000 motor vehicle collisions in America’s second largest city.

Best car insurance companies in Los Angeles

Average car insurance rates in Los Angeles are considerably high, but it does not always have to be expensive. Partnering with Quadrant Information Services, Bankrate gathered current average rates from multiple auto insurers within the city to narrow down the best cheap options available. We also assessed each carrier based on their policy options, discount availability and customer satisfaction, using the 2021 J.D. Power Auto Insurance Study.

Not only do each of these insurers rank above-average for overall customer satisfaction, they also quoted rates at least $100 less than the city average. The following five carriers are among the best auto insurance companies in Los Angeles.

Insurance company J.D. Power 2021 Auto Insurance Study score Average annual premium for minimum coverage Average annual premium for full coverage
Geico 828 / 1,000 $625 $2,357
Progressive 819 / 1,000 $704 $2,527
Auto Club of Southern California Insurance Group (AAA) 830 / 1,000 $744 $2,636
State Farm 818 / 1,000 $785 $2,679
Wawanesa 853 / 1,000 $829 $2,177

Geico

Since 1936, Geico has been developing trust with U.S. drivers and has consistently been known for affordable rates and reliable coverage. This is echoed in its 2021 J.D. Power overall customer satisfaction score, as it maintained its above-average score of 828 out of 1,000 points in the California region. As the cheapest auto writer on our list, the company could be a great option for drivers looking for basic but dependable coverage from a top national insurer.

Learn more: Geico Insurance review

Progressive

Not only does Progressive offer the second-cheapest average quote on our list for Los Angeles drivers, but it also provides a host of digital tools to help its customers save even more. For example, its Name Your Price tool allows drivers to find the best coverage options within their set budget.

Learn more: Progressive Insurance review

Auto Club of Southern California Insurance Group (AAA)

The Auto Club of Southern California Insurance Group, better known as AAA, offers policyholders affordable coverage with great benefits. Several impactful discounts are available, with savings of 15% or more for bundling home and auto, or 19% or more for bundling your home, auto and life policies with the company. There are also discounts provided for being members of professional and alumni associations and those who belong to qualifying car clubs. For L.A. drivers in particular, there are dividend savings opportunities each year, though exact amounts are not guaranteed.

Learn more: AAA Insurance review

State Farm

Out of all other companies, State Farm is likely the most popular for car insurance in Los Angeles due to holding the highest percentage of the state’s auto insurance market share. It also offers some of the cheapest car insurance in L.A., based on Bankrate’s research. Its full coverage rates are just under $160 less than the city average, and its minimum coverage rates are $276 less than the city average. Additionally, there is no shortage of discounts available for even more savings, with options for loyalty, safe drivers and safe vehicles. State Farm’s high J.D. Power ranking further proves it can handle claims quickly and satisfy its customers.

Learn more: State Farm Insurance review

Wawanesa

As the highest customer-rated provider in California, Wawanesa may offer the best car insurance in Los Angeles for drivers looking for relatively basic coverage from a trusted name. Wawanesa also offers a few options for important extras like rental expense coverage and original equipment manufacturer parts replacement coverage. Policyholders can benefit from many common discounts as well, like multi-car, multi-policy, good driver and more. In addition, Wawanesa offers a discount to drivers aged 55 or older who complete a California-approved virtual defensive driving course as a unique savings opportunity.

Learn more: Wawanesa Insurance review

Cheapest car insurance in Los Angeles

The average annual cost of car insurance in Los Angeles is $2,838 for full coverage, considerably more than California’s average annual rate of $2,065 for the same amount of coverage. Compared to the national average cost of full coverage car insurance of $1,674 per year, drivers in L.A. pay an average of more than $1,100 more for coverage. However, Los Angeles’ highly congested roads and high percentage of uninsured motorists help account for the higher rate.

Still, most L.A. drivers prefer to save where they can. Fortunately, there are several options for good cheap car insurance worth considering. Namely, Geico and Progressive offer the lowest rates on average out of the providers with the largest market share in the city.

Insurance company Average annual premium for minimum coverage Average annual premium for full coverage
Geico $625 $2,357
Progressive $704 $2,527
Auto Club of Southern California Insurance Group (AAA) $744 $2,636
Mercury $777 $2,365

Geico, Progressive and Mercury Insurance are considered some of the cheapest car insurance companies that also insure high-risk drivers by providing SR-22 certificates. In our opinion, Geico has a slight edge over Progressive and Mercury because of its number of discounts. Geico offers 16 discounts, compared to Progressive’s 13 and Mercury’s eight. AAA also offers very reasonable rates among the insurance companies we looked at in the L.A. area.

Los Angeles insurance requirements

Like most states, California has laws surrounding set minimum requirements for car insurance. All drivers in Los Angeles are required to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance as follows:

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

While even minimum car insurance coverage rates in Los Angeles are more expensive than the national average, the state’s liability limits are considerably low and will likely leave extensive out-of-pocket costs following an accident. Although complete coverage of an accident is never guaranteed, purchasing higher liability limits along with collision and comprehensive coverage could help save you from a significant financial burden.

Full coverage also provides financial assistance for you if your vehicle is damaged in a non-collision-related event, such as fire, theft, vandalism or severe weather events. Because of the added vehicle protection, lenders often require you to purchase full coverage if you are leasing or financing your car.

Car insurance discounts in Los Angeles

In addition to looking for auto insurers with the lowest rates, it also helps to look for available discounts. Some of the most common discounts offered by L.A. auto insurers include:

  • Multi-car: Many Angelenos own more than one vehicle and could take advantage of special savings when insuring them together with the same company.
  • Student discounts: Los Angeles is home to several major universities and colleges, such as UCLA, USC, Pepperdine University, Santa Monica College and more. Parents with students on their policy could save considerably between good student discounts and discounts for students living away at school.
  • Paperless discount: One of the easiest discounts to qualify for tends to be for opting for electronic documents and e-billing. Many insurers make managing your policy digitally an easy switch and may offer some savings for it.
  • Bundling discount: Whether you rent or own your home, bundling homeowners, renters or condo insurance with your auto coverage at the same insurance company can often lead to premium discounts on all of your policies.

Bundling discounts tend to be the most impactful in terms of premium savings, especially when bundling home and auto. The added convenience of dealing with a single insurer instead of multiple carriers also helps make it a worthwhile discount. However, there are plenty of savings to consider, and most insurance companies offer multiple savings options. Consider speaking with your insurance professional to learn about all the discounts available to you.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best car insurance company?

There are many quality car insurance companies in Los Angeles worth considering. To find the best car insurance company for your needs, consider getting a few car insurance quotes to compare pricing and coverage before you decide. In addition to price, it may help to consider how other people in the area rate their experience with an insurer. Because each state and city is unique, knowing how well a provider operates in your ZIP code could help determine if it is the right one for you. The Insurance Information Institute recommends getting a minimum of three quotes when shopping for auto coverage.

Do you need to carry car insurance documents?

State law requires that you must always have evidence of current vehicle insurance coverage while operating your car. This is essential if you are pulled over by law enforcement or involved in a car accident. However, electronic proof of auto insurance is legal in California so you may not necessarily need to keep physical documentation stored in your vehicle. Instead, you could choose to use your electronic insurance card as proof when required, provided by your insurer through its mobile app.

While electronic auto insurance ID cards can be convenient, it may be worth carrying physical documentation as a backup. For example, you could lose cell phone service, or your device may run out of power. In either case, insurance experts recommend checking your local laws to make sure you maintain eligible proof of insurance at all times.

What if I cannot afford liability insurance coverage in California?

Operating or even parking any vehicle requires auto insurance coverage in the state of California. However, drivers of certain income levels can apply for the California Low-Cost Automobile Insurance Program if they cannot afford traditional car insurance.

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 coverages that meet 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.

Written by
Mariah Posey
Insurance Editor
Mariah Posey is an insurance writer and editor for Bankrate.com specializing in auto and home insurance. She aims to make the insurance journey as convenient as possible by keeping the reader at the forefront of her mind in her work. With a background in reporting and feature writing, she has a knack for conducting research, writing factually while incorporating compelling details, and prioritizing story intent. Mariah is originally from New Jersey and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Elon University. Prior to joining the team, she worked as a copyeditor and writing consultant at her alma mater. She has covered topics ranging from news to tech and lifestyle and has a vested interest in producing engaging content for audiences.
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