FIND THE CHEAPEST INSURANCE IN YOUR AREA
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Auto insurance rates in California tend to be among the more expensive half of the nation, but not all rates have to be high. Our team of analysts analyzed cost data to provide drivers in California with information in their search for car insurance quotes and the cheapest companies.

Our analysis found that depending on where you live, the cost of insuring a car can range quite widely from company to company. This is why to get low rates, consumers should shop around and compare quotes. Read more by jumping to each section below. Enter your zip code now to start shopping for great auto insurance rates among top U.S. insurers in your area, or read more by jumping directly to each section in our study.

Find The Cheapest Auto Insurance In Your Area
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Cheapest Auto Insurance in California

We averaged rates for single and married men and women, ages 19, 27, 31, 43, and 65, with varying combinations of credit and driving histories across 210 cities to arrive at annual premiums by company. Here are the top forty car insurance companies with the best rates in the Golden State, in order from lowest to highest.

Rank Company Annual Premium
1 USAA* $647
2 Amica Mutual 834
3 Sterling Casualty 905
4 Affirmative 913
5 Western General 921
6 Progressive West 929
7 Loya 937
8 Alliance United 978
9 Mercury 978
10 Horace Mann* 987
11 California Capital 990
12 AAA 1008
13 GEICO 1015
14 Financial Indemnity 1018
15 California Casualty* 1037
16 Workmen's Auto 1038
17 Access General 1063
18 Hillstar 1069
19 Victoria Fire 1072
20 Metropolitan Direct 1105
21 Unitrin Direct 1105
22 Coast National 1111
23 Safeco 1115
24 Permanent General 1164
25 Anchor General 1192
26 Viking 1205
27 QBE 1237
28 United Financial Cas (Progressive) 1240
29 Allstate 1241
30 21st Century 1250
31 Kemper 1276
32 GMAC/Integon Preferred 1278
33 Esurance 1314
34 Transguard/Occidental 1361
35 Infinity 1394
36 Safeway 1408
37 Nationwide 1492
38 Farmers/Mid-Century 1508
39 Federal Ins (CHUBB) 1630
40 Pacific Specialty 1928

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*USAA, Horace Mann, and California Casualty are specialty insurers. USAA serves military members and their families. Horace Mann specializes in insurance for educators. California Casualty is limited to insuring teachers, safety officers, firefighters, and nurses.

Cheapest Car Insurance in California: By City

We reviewed auto insurance quotes for thirty driver profiles and forty companies in the largest cities to report on the insurers with the lowest and most affordable rates. Even in some of the most expensive cities such as Glendale, Inglewood, and Los Angeles, cheap car insurance can be found if you know where to look. 

City   Cheapest Insurer #1* Cheapest Insurer #2 Cheapest Insurer #3  
Los Angeles Amica Mutual $1,074 Sterling Casualty $1,232 Western General $1,251
San Diego Amica Mutual 765 California Capital 798 Progressive West 810
San Jose Horace Mann 695 Amica Mutual 755 AAA 795
San Francisco Amica Mutual 850 Loya 893 Horace Mann 906
Fresno Loya 789 Affirmative 811 Western General 825
Long Beach Amica Mutual 834 Progressive West 990 Sterling Casualty 1,041
Sacramento Loya 876 Horace Mann 910 Amica Mutual 929
Oakland Amica Mutual 748 Loya 773 AAA 908
Bakersfield Workmen's Auto 716 Loya 728 Affirmative 738
Anaheim Amica Mutual 885 Horace Mann 895 Affirmative 960
Santa Ana Horace Mann 895 Amica Mutual 927 Western General 952
Riverside Loya 803 Amica Mutual 823 Sterling Casualty 861
Stockton Workmen's Auto 750 Affirmative 794 Horace Mann 805
Chula Vista Progressive West 714 Amica Mutual 740 Alliance United 777
Fremont Workmen's Auto 704 Amica Mutual 705 Loya 752
Irvine Alliance United 831 Amica Mutual 846 Loya 867
San Bernardino GEICO 812 Loya 814 Amica Mutual 846
Modesto Horace Mann 805 Workmen's Auto 805 Affirmative 818
Oxnard Loya 771 Western General 807 Workmen's Auto 822
Fontana Loya 814 Sterling Casualty 878 Amica Mutual 905

*USAA was the cheapest insurer we found in the top cities in Los Angeles, but as they only serve military families, we've excluded them from our rankings. Horace Mann caters to educators only. 

Los Angeles, CA

The cheapest auto insurance rates in Los Angeles were found at USAA, Amica Mutual, Sterling Casualty, Western General, and Mercury. Car insurance in LA can cost on average $1,623 and $1,546 for single and married drivers, respectively, from the northernmost reaches of Sylmar down to San Pedro at its southernmost tip. That places LA as the second most expensive city in our study. However, if you go with quotes from our five cheapest companies in LA, then rates are about 28% cheaper than the average. Note that while USAA generally had the best rates in our study, they only serve military members and family. Here are rates for the top three excluding USAA:

 

Within our LA city study sample, the greatest difference in rates was found between San Pedro, at the southernmost tip of LA, and East Hollywood, in Central LA (East Hollywood cost $581, or 44% more, vs. San Pedro). Even jumping one or two zip codes over within Los Angeles can make a difference for Angelenos. Moving the primary garage or parking spot from Historic South Central LA to East Los Angeles, for example, can reduce annual car insurance premiums by $349, or 20%. Changing addresses from Panorama City to Sylmar would also cut premiums by about 14%, or $240 a year. There are other cities that are just as expensive as certain pockets of LA. For example, insuring a car in San Pedro costs about the same as insuring a car in Canyon Country, 60 miles away; or Anaheim, 30 miles away. Rates in East Los Angeles are comparable to those in South Gate or Bell. Auto premiums in Mar Vista is almost the same as those in Burbank or Compton. 

San Diego, CA

Cheap car insurance rates can be found at USAA, Amica Mutual, California Capital, Progressive West, and Horace Mann. Across these five insurers, annual rates cost as low as $747 on average, compared to $1,038 city-wide. With 1.3 million residents, America’s Finest City is home to the University of California at San Diego system, as well as a number of naval bases. A 19 year old single male or female driver can see rates in San Diego of $1,799 and $1,580, respectively. USAA, which caters exclusively to military members and their families, has annual premiums as low as $875 for a married couple in their late 20s. Below are rates for the top three (we've excluded USAA since they're specialty insurers):

San Jose, CA

Drivers looking for low car insurance costs in San Jose should start with quotes from USAA, Horace Mann, Amica Mutual, AAA, and Loya. The mean annual premium from these five insurers was $741 based on our data, which is about 30% cheaper than the overall average in San Jose. Citywide, the cost of car insurance is about $1,060 a year, which places the Capital of Silicon Valley at the 100th cheapest spot in our survey of Californian cities. It can cost single 43 year old men and women about $527 a year to insure their cars here. Given that USAA and Horace Mann are specialty insurers, we've excluded them from the graph below. 

San Francisco, CA

To get the cheapest car insurance rates in San Francisco, start with USAA, Amica Mutual, Loya, Horace Mann, and AAA. In aggregate, these companies charge an average of $852 a year to insure a car in San Francisco - about 36% less than the city composite. Car insurance premiums are about $1,322 in SF, which ranks the Golden Gate City as the 20th most expensive city in California. Citywide rates for 30 year old single men can cost about $953 a year, decreasing to $896 a year for 43 year olds. With over 963 miles of public roads and the beautiful 49-Mile Scenic Drive, there is a lot of territory for San Fran’s 805,000 residents to drive. Since USAA and Horace Mann only insure a subset of people, we've excluded them from our Top Three graph below:

Fresno, CA

We found the most affordable car insurance rates in Fresno at USAA, Loya, Affirmative, Western General, and Amica Mutual. $779 was the mean annual cost across these five insurers for multiple driver profiles we surveyed. This amount represents a 29% discount to the market rate in Fresno of $1,102. Fresno’s 495,000 residents are just a short day trip’s drive of less than 80 miles from Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks. Young married couples in their late 20s in Fresno can see annual premiums of $1,168, while older senior citizen couples see lower rates of $903. Rates for the top three cheap insurers are as follows (USAA excluded since they only insure military members and family):

Long Beach, CA

If you’re looking for cheap auto insurance in Long Beach, we direct your attention to quotes at USAA, Amica Mutual, Progressive West, Sterling Casualty, and Mercury. These companies had the lowest rates for Long Beach in our data; their composite rate of $918 was a 27% reduction from the citywide average of $1,251. As the second largest campus in the California State University system, Long Beach has a large student population. Based on our research, sample rates for teenagers can cost $1,902 and $2,171 for young women and men, respectively. Excluding USAA, which only underwrites military members and their family, rates from the top three cheapest insurers in Long Beach are:

Sacramento, CA

USAA, Loya, Horace Mann, Amica Mutual, and Affirmative Insurance Company had the lowest auto insurance costs in Sacramento. In aggregate, the five companies had an average quote of $880 in Sactown, or 30% cheaper than the citywide average. Once the center of the California Gold Rush and the westernmost end of the Pony Express, Sacramento today is the capital of California, and its average cost of insurance reflects that. It’s $1,252, about 14% higher than the state average, which ranks it as the 41st most expensive in California. Rates for a married couple in their late twenties run at $1,469 a year, dropping to $858 for a 65 year old married couple. For rates from Sactown's three cheapest companies (ex USAA and Loya due to their specialty coverage):

Oakland, CA

We found the cheapest car insurance rates in Oakland at USAA, Amica Mutual, Loya, AAA, and Sterling Casualty. In total, annual premiums in Oakland at these five companies averaged $797 – 33% lower than the overall cost in the city. With a population of 391,000, Oaktown is California’s eight largest city. The mean annual premium here is $1,195, about 8% higher than the state average. Rates for single 31 year old men and women cost about $869 a year. Here are the average rates for the three cheapest companies in Oakland (ex USAA since they only insure military members):

Bakersfield, CA

The most affordable rates in Bakersfield, CA can be found at USAA, Workmen's Auto, Loya, Affirmative, and California Capital according to our data. With an overall city auto insurance average of $998, the city ranks as the 60th cheapest in California. However, if you look at the subset of the five insurers in Bakersfield, whose annual costs average $707, then you’d be paying even less than residents in our cheapest city – Calexico, CA. A single 43 year old man or woman can see average rates in Bakersfield of $692. The top three companies in Bakersfield (excluding USAA, which only caters to military members) are:

Anaheim, CA

The five companies with the most inexpensive auto insurance rates in Anaheim are USAA, Amica Mutual, Horace Mann, Affirmative, and Western General. These five insurers charge an average of $885 a year for auto insurance, which is a 29% reduction compared to Anaheim’s citywide cost of $1,244. 30 year old single males in Anaheim pay $905 a year for auto insurance, while married couples in their late 20s pay $1,312. Beyond auto insurance, the city is the hometown of Disneyland, the Anaheim Ducks hockey team, and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Here are rates from the top three auto insurers in Anaheim (excluding specialty insurers such as USAA and Horace Mann):

The Best Rated Auto Insurers in California

Using complaint and exposure data from the California Department of Insurance, we calculated the justified complaint ratio for auto insurance companies in California. We've listed them from the best (lowest complaint index) to the worst (highest complaint index). If a company has an index of 1.05, then that means it has 5% lower share of complaints compared to its share of underwriting exposure.

Rank Company Index
1 California Automobile Insurance Company 0.00
2 Essentia Insurance Company 0.00
3 Garrison Prop & Cas Insurance Company 0.00
4 GEICO Ind Co 0.09
5 Allied Prop & Cas Insurance Company 0.23
6 Wawanesa Gen Insurance Company 0.29
7 USAA Cas Insurance Company 0.32
8 Progressive Direct Insurance Company 0.32
9 Foremost Insurance Company Grand Rapids Mi 0.39
10 United Serv Automobile Assn 0.39
11 Amco Insurance Company 0.49
12 Progressive Choice Insurance Company 0.50
13 California Cas Ind Exch 0.52
14 Interins Exch Of The Automobile Club 0.53
15 Mercury Insurance Company 0.54
16 Mercury Casualty Company 0.55
17 Government Employees Insurance Company 0.57
18 GEICO Gen Insurance Company 0.60
19 State Farm Mut Auto Insurance Company 0.69
20 Mid Century Insurance Company 0.69
21 CSAA Ins Exch 0.77
22 Allstate Insurance Company 0.79
23 Allstate Ind Company 0.80
24 Progressive West Insurance Company 0.85
25 Farmers Ins Exch 0.87
26 Esurance Prop & Cas Insurance Company 0.91
27 Standard Fire Insurance Company 1.01
28 Amica Mutual Insurance Company 1.06
29 Alliance United Insurance Company 1.21
30 Safeco Insurance Company Of Amer 1.22
31 Viking Insurance Company Of WI 1.25
32 IDS Prop Cas Insurance Company 1.29
33 GEICO Cas Company 1.31
34 Financial Ind Company 1.34
35 Infinity Insurance Company 1.35
36 Integon Natl Insurance Company 1.49
37 Loya Cas Insurance Company 1.51
38 California Capital Insurance Company 1.54
39 Coast Natl Insurance Company 1.70
40 Explorer Insurance Company 1.86
41 Access Insurance Company 2.01
42 Hartford Underwriters Insurance Company 2.02
43 Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company 2.04
44 National Gen Insurance Company 2.14
45 21St Century Insurance Company 2.18
46 Metropolitan Drt Prop & Cas Insurance Company 2.45
47 Companion Prop & Cas Insurance Company 2.93
48 Anchor Gen Insurance Company 3.05
49 Nationwide Insurance Company Of Amer 3.29
50 Commerce W Insurance Company 4.61
51 Victoria Fire & Casualty Company 5.22

Average Cost of Car Insurance in California

How much do people pay on average for car insurance in California? Based on our data, that figure is $1,147. This takes into account sample rates from forty major insurers in California, two hundred and ten cities, and thirty driver profiles with a variety of backgrounds ranging from clean driving records and good credit to poor credit and one accident and violation on their records. 

Rank City Singles Drivers Married Drivers % Change vs. Avg
1 Calexico $866 $841 -23%
2 Lewiston 871 822 -23%
3 Yreka 875 816 -23%
4 Bishop 875 833 -23%
5 McKinleyville 878 824 -22%
6 Crescent City 880 832 -22%
7 Quincy 881 833 -22%
8 Paso Robles 881 844 -22%
9 Alturas 883 836 -22%
10 Santa Maria 884 845 -22%
11 Lompoc 885 844 -22%
12 San Luis Obispo 892 852 -21%
13 El Centro 891 867 -21%
14 Loyalton 897 847 -21%
15 Ukiah 896 852 -21%
16 Lakeport 897 851 -21%
17 Susanville 905 857 -20%
18 Willits 906 859 -20%
19 Mammoth Lakes 910 866 -19%
20 Red Bluff 912 866 -19%
21 Eureka 918 874 -19%
22 Orland 922 876 -18%
23 Ridgecrest 937 887 -17%
24 Colusa 945 900 -16%
25 Pioneer 946 900 -16%
26 Mariposa 947 896 -16%
27 Hanford 949 899 -16%
28 Markleeville 949 907 -16%
29 Monterey 956 900 -16%
30 Seaside 956 915 -15%
31 Watsonville 958 908 -15%
32 Hollister 962 908 -15%
33 Salinas 961 921 -15%
34 Grass Valley 966 909 -15%
35 Chico 967 912 -15%
36 Porterville 964 923 -15%
37 Santa Barbara 971 927 -14%
38 Redding 974 926 -14%
39 Santa Cruz 978 918 -14%
40 Valley Springs 983 939 -13%
41 Sonora 988 930 -13%
42 Jamestown 988 932 -13%
43 Woodland 988 933 -13%
44 Visalia 987 939 -13%
45 Wasco 994 954 -12%
46 South Lake Tahoe 1,000 952 -11%
47 Davis 1,004 939 -11%
48 Livermore 1,005 942 -11%
49 Madera 1,006 957 -11%
50 Indio 1,004 967 -11%
51 Napa 1,009 957 -11%
52 Placerville 1,010 959 -11%
53 Delano 1,008 971 -11%
54 Chula Vista 1,011 972 -10%
55 Banning 1,013 972 -10%
56 Vacaville 1,017 966 -10%
57 Merced 1,017 973 -10%
58 Marysville 1,018 990 -10%
59 Reedley 1,026 978 -9%
60 Bakersfield 1,025 984 -9%
61 Barstow 1,026 983 -9%
62 Encinitas 1,035 978 -9%
63 Cupertino 1,040 974 -8%
64 Redwood City 1,041 980 -8%
65 Twentynine Palms 1,039 993 -8%
66 Carlsbad 1,042 993 -8%
67 Campbell 1,046 982 -8%
68 Tracy 1,043 992 -8%
69 Lincoln 1,047 981 -8%
70 Yuba City 1,043 998 -8%
71 Poway 1,047 986 -8%
72 Santa Rosa 1,050 991 -7%
73 Del Mar 1,051 993 -7%
74 Walnut Creek 1,052 987 -7%
75 Fallbrook 1,051 998 -7%
76 San Marcos 1,050 1,004 -7%
77 Petaluma 1,054 989 -7%
78 San Mateo 1,053 996 -7%
79 Oceanside 1,052 1,003 -7%
80 Suisun City 1,053 1,004 -7%
81 Fairfield 1,054 1,005 -7%
82 Cathedral City 1,053 1,011 -7%
83 Sunnyvale 1,058 996 -7%
84 El Cajon 1,059 1,003 -6%
85 Palo Alto 1,062 999 -6%
86 Santa Clara 1,064 1,003 -6%
87 Fremont 1,066 1,012 -6%
88 Murrieta 1,069 1,009 -5%
89 San Diego 1,068 1,017 -5%
90 Ramona 1,071 1,017 -5%
91 Lakeside 1,071 1,019 -5%
92 Temecula 1,074 1,014 -5%
93 Spring Valley 1,073 1,028 -5%
94 Escondido 1,076 1,022 -5%
95 Desert Hot Springs 1,073 1,048 -5%
96 Camarillo 1,083 1,032 -4%
97 Yucaipa 1,084 1,033 -4%
98 National City 1,082 1,042 -4%
99 San Clemente 1,089 1,032 -4%
100 San Jose 1,090 1,035 -4%
101 Turlock 1,091 1,038 -3%
102 Vallejo 1,093 1,041 -3%
103 Mill Valley 1,099 1,035 -3%
104 Roseville 1,101 1,046 -3%
105 San Rafael 1,103 1,040 -2%
106 Oxnard 1,105 1,064 -2%
107 Folsom 1,111 1,046 -2%
108 Pacifica 1,111 1,047 -2%
109 Concord 1,111 1,054 -2%
110 Adelanto 1,114 1,074 -1%
111 Hemet 1,117 1,068 -1%
112 Hesperia 1,118 1,070 -1%
113 Big Bear Lake 1,121 1,060 -1%
114 Union City 1,124 1,064 -1%
115 Clovis 1,124 1,065 -1%
116 Antioch 1,127 1,059 0%
117 Laguna Niguel 1,124 1,070 0%
118 Redlands 1,124 1,074 0%
119 Fresno 1,131 1,085 0%
120 Corona 1,134 1,079 0%
121 Victorville 1,133 1,089 0%
122 Riverside 1,140 1,084 1%
123 Perris 1,140 1,092 1%
124 Lake Elsinore 1,143 1,099 1%
125 Colton 1,146 1,103 2%
126 Thousand Oaks 1,154 1,090 2%
127 Mission Viejo 1,160 1,102 3%
128 Hayward 1,164 1,100 3%
129 Lake Forest 1,164 1,105 3%
130 Stockton 1,162 1,117 3%
131 San Bernardino 1,166 1,112 3%
132 Laguna Beach 1,167 1,114 3%
133 Moreno Valley 1,166 1,123 3%
134 Chino 1,173 1,115 4%
135 Irvine 1,175 1,115 4%
136 Running Springs 1,176 1,118 4%
137 Modesto 1,177 1,124 4%
138 Yorba Linda 1,183 1,117 5%
139 Tustin 1,185 1,128 5%
140 Fontana 1,186 1,136 5%
141 Rancho Cucamonga 1,190 1,130 5%
142 Chino Hills 1,190 1,131 5%
143 Ontario 1,189 1,139 5%
144 Upland 1,193 1,132 6%
145 Richmond 1,193 1,138 6%
146 Orange 1,200 1,129 6%
147 Simi Valley 1,198 1,136 6%
148 Alameda 1,199 1,138 6%
149 Newport Beach 1,199 1,140 6%
150 Placentia 1,203 1,134 6%
151 Costa Mesa 1,220 1,158 8%
152 Oakland 1,221 1,155 8%
153 Glendora 1,224 1,154 8%
154 Daly City 1,229 1,158 9%
155 Huntington Beach 1,229 1,171 9%
156 Berkeley 1,236 1,167 9%
157 Fair Oaks 1,238 1,168 9%
158 El Segundo 1,246 1,174 10%
159 Pomona 1,251 1,195 11%
160 Rancho Palos Verdes 1,254 1,184 11%
161 Carmichael 1,258 1,171 11%
162 Lakewood 1,254 1,193 11%
163 Azusa 1,254 1,197 11%
164 Lancaster 1,256 1,198 11%
165 Monrovia 1,266 1,191 12%
166 La Habra 1,267 1,205 12%
167 Torrance 1,271 1,195 12%
168 Palos Verdes Peninsula 1,279 1,200 13%
169 Redondo Beach 1,286 1,212 14%
170 Sacramento 1,284 1,221 14%
171 Long Beach 1,285 1,218 14%
172 Santa Ana 1,283 1,228 14%
173 Pico Rivera 1,285 1,224 14%
174 Fullerton 1,289 1,224 14%
175 Santa Clarita 1,294 1,212 14%
176 Anaheim 1,289 1,241 14%
177 Palmdale 1,292 1,241 15%
178 Buena Park 1,299 1,230 15%
179 Norwalk 1,301 1,243 15%
180 Bellflower 1,306 1,250 16%
181 West Covina 1,311 1,245 16%
182 La Puente 1,310 1,254 16%
183 Fountain Valley 1,317 1,253 17%
184 Montebello 1,318 1,257 17%
185 Canyon Country 1,330 1,258 18%
186 Stanton 1,329 1,277 18%
187 Baldwin Park 1,335 1,273 18%
188 Cerritos 1,341 1,269 19%
189 Westminster 1,342 1,275 19%
190 Garden Grove 1,347 1,290 19%
191 San Francisco 1,355 1,274 20%
192 Pasadena 1,361 1,282 20%
193 Temple City 1,363 1,288 20%
194 South Gate 1,367 1,312 21%
195 Bell 1,368 1,317 21%
196 Altadena 1,379 1,303 22%
197 Carson 1,376 1,320 22%
198 Rosemead 1,395 1,333 24%
199 Gardena 1,402 1,325 24%
200 Huntington Park 1,396 1,352 24%
201 Monterey Park 1,415 1,342 25%
202 Hawthorne 1,455 1,382 29%
203 Alhambra 1,469 1,403 30%
204 Compton 1,476 1,413 31%
205 Burbank 1,481 1,406 31%
206 Santa Monica 1,537 1,445 36%
207 Culver City 1,556 1,492 38%
208 Inglewood 1,593 1,512 41%
209 Los Angeles 1,623 1,546 44%
210 Glendale 1,823 1,740 62%

Methodology

Data was sourced from the California Department of Insurance to calculate the average insurance costs and rankings in our study. Sample data consisted of a mixture of married couples and single individuals with varying credit and driving backgrounds across two hundred and seventy zip codes, fifty two companies, and thirty driver profiles. City boundaries were sourced from Wikipedia.

All drivers were quoted for basic liability coverage for the limits in the below table. Single drivers were assumed to operate a 2012 Toyota Camry LE for 8,000 miles. Young married couples (Male 29, Female 27) drove a 2012 Honda CR-V LX and a 2012 Toyota Camry LE for 15,000 miles, and a mature married couple drove a 2012 Mercedes-Benz C300 and a 2012 Toyota Camry LE for 7,000 miles. 

Basic Liability Coverage  Limits
Bodily Injury $15,000 / $30,000
Property Damage 5,000
Medical Payments 2,000
Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist 15,000 / 30,000
Property Damage - Uninsured / Underinsured 3,500

These sample premiums are for illustrative guide purposes only. Actual auto insurance rates will differ based on the policy limits, vehicle driven, place of resident, driving record, and other factors in the underwriting guidelines of the car insurance company.

Information current as of March 2014