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California Car Insurance – Cheapest Auto Insurance in California

Shopping for the cheapest car insurance in California can be confusing with so many insurance companies claiming to offer the best quotes. With, consumers have the opportunity to compare car insurance quotes in California and find the best companies with the cheapest rates.

However, before you go ahead and buy an auto insurance policy, it is important to learn about California car insurance rates, laws, regulations, and minimum coverage requirements.

Average Car Insurance Rates in California

In 2018, the average cost of car insurance in California was $180 per month or $2,150 per year, which was more expensive than the national average of $135/month, or $1,625 annually. If your premiums aren’t cheaper than the state average, you may want to consider comparing car insurance quotes from the best companies in California.

California Car Insurance Requirements

California car insurance requires drivers to buy at least $15,000/$30,000/$5,000 coverage. These minimum liability coverage requirements mean that your insurer will cover you up to $15,000 for an accident involving the death or injury of a single person, including medical expenses, and up to a total of $30,000 for an accident involving the death or injury of multiple people. Property damage liability coverage requires a minimum of $5,000 and includes coverage of public and private property repairs and claims.

Since California’s car insurance requirements are some of the lowest in the country, most experts recommend buying a policy with 100/300/100 coverage. These higher liability limits can protect your personal assets, including your home, business, savings, etc.

California Car Insurance Coverage

  • Minimum Bodily Injury Liability: $15,000/$30,000 Limit
  • Minimum Property Damage Liability: $5,000 Limit

California car insurance companies also offer optional uninsured or under-insured motorist coverage to protect you from other drivers who don’t have auto insurance or are minimally insured. Any difference between the insurance coverage and the total damages is the responsibility of the at-fault driver.

California Car Insurance Laws

Because California is an at-fault insurance state, you must carry liability auto insurance that will protect other drivers in the event of an accident that’s your fault. This means that the driver who caused the accident will be accountable, along with their auto insurance company, for any and all damages. Failure to comply with California minimum car insurance laws can result in stiff penalties from fines to license suspension.

Proof of Insurance

In California, all vehicles on public roads must maintain proof of insurance and keep the certificate with the vehicle at all times. The penalty for no proof of insurance carries a fine of up to $500 and can result in the suspension of your driver’s license and court fees. If there is a lapse in car insurance, auto insurance companies are required to report the lapse in coverage.

Once you have purchased a car, you have 30 days to buy auto insurance. When changing or canceling a policy, there is a 45 day grace period to obtain a replacement policy. If these deadlines are not met, your car’s registration can be revoked and penalties may apply. If the owner of the vehicle gets into an accident during this time, they are responsible for all damages and may not submit a claim or ask for reimbursement from a previous car insurance company.

Good Driver Discount Policy

Due to the passage of Prop 103, California law requires insurance companies to offer all good drivers a 20% discount. To qualify for a Good Driver Discount in California, you must:

  • have been licensed to drive for the past 3 years;
  • have no more than one point on your driving record during that time; and
  • not have been the at-fault driver in an accident that resulted in injury or death.

Cheap Car Insurance in California

Here is a list of the best car insurance companies in California with the lowest rates. Finding cheap car insurance from the best insurer is especially important when you live in expensive cities such as Los Angeles, Glendale, San Diego, Sacramento, San Francisco, or Long Beach.

RankCompanyAverage Annual Rates
2Amica Mutual$834
3Sterling Casualty$905
8Horace Mann*$987
11California Casualty*$1,037
12Metropolitan Direct$1,105
13Unitrin Direct$1,105
1621st Century$1,250
24Federal Ins (CHUBB)$1,630
25Pacific Specialty$1,928
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Please note that USAA, Horace Mann, and California Casualty are specialty insurers; USAA serves military members and their families, Horace Mann specializes in insurance for educators, and California Casualty is limited to teachers, police officers, firefighters, and nurses.

Cheapest Auto Insurance in California By City

Below is a breakdown of the cheapest car insurance rates in California by city and company.

CityCheapest Insurer #1Cheapest Insurer #2Cheapest Insurer #3
Los AngelesAmica Mutual$1,074 Sterling Casualty$1,232 Western General$1,251
San DiegoAmica Mutual$765California Capital$798Progressive West$810
San JoseHorace Mann$695Amica Mutual$755AAA$795
San FranciscoAmica Mutual$850Loya$893Horace Mann$906
FresnoLoya$789Affirmative$811Western General$825
Long BeachAmica Mutual$834Progressive West$990Sterling Casualty$1,041
SacramentoLoya$876Horace Mann$910Amica Mutual$929
OaklandAmica Mutual$748Loya$773AAA$908
BakersfieldWorkmen's Auto$716Loya$728Affirmative$738
AnaheimAmica Mutual$885Horace Mann$895Affirmative$960
Santa AnaHorace Mann$895Amica Mutual$927Western General$952
RiversideLoya$803Amica Mutual$823Sterling Casualty$861
StocktonWorkmen's Auto$750Affirmative$794Horace Mann$805
Chula VistaProgressive West$714Amica Mutual$740Alliance United$777
FremontWorkmen's Auto$704Amica Mutual$705Loya$752
IrvineAlliance United$831Amica Mutual$846Loya$867
San BernardinoGEICO$812Loya$814Amica Mutual$846
ModestoHorace Mann$805Workmen's Auto$805Affirmative$818
OxnardLoya$771Western General$807Workmen's Auto$822
FontanaLoya$814Sterling Casualty$878Amica Mutual$905
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*In most California cities, USAA was the cheapest insurer, but since the company only serves military families, we excluded them from our rankings, so keep that in mind when comparing auto insurance quotes.

Largest Car Insurance Companies in California

While bigger isn’t always better, here is a list of the largest auto insurance companies in California ranked by market share.

RankCompanyMarket Share
1State Farm14.0%
5Auto Club (AAA)8.5%
6CSAA Insurance6.6%
10Liberty Mutual3.60%
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