Best cheap car insurance companies in California
To help you get the best cheap auto insurance in California, our editorial team compared quotes in every ZIP code for the top car insurance companies in California. We ranked the best California companies based on customer service, convenience and coverage availability. We also rated the best companies based on affordability for different drivers.
To find the cheapest companies, we averaged quotes for liability only coverage, which meets California's state minimum requirements of $15,000 in bodily injury liability per person and $30,000 per accident plus $5,000 in property damage coverage. Quotes for full coverage policies included higher liability limits than state minimums plus collision and comprehensive coverage.
Cheapest minimum liability car insurance quotes in California: Geico
Geico has the cheapest car insurance for most drivers in California. The company charges $390 per year on average for a minimum liability policy. That's 35% cheaper than the statewide average.
The average cost of minimum-coverage car insurance in California is $604 per year, or $50 per month.
Find Cheap Auto Insurance Quotes in California
California drivers may also find affordable car insurance from AAA of Northern California (AAA NorCal) or Progressive. Both auto insurers offer cheap rates that are substantially cheaper than average, and AAA has some of the best customer support scores in the state.
AAA offers car insurance to residents of Northern California through AAA of Northern California, also called AAA NorCal or CSAA, while The Auto Club of Southern California (AAA SoCal) covers Southern California drivers.
Cheapest full-coverage car insurance company in California: Mercury
On average, full-coverage car insurance costs $2,148 per year in California — or $179 per month.
Minimum-coverage car insurance quotes meet California's minimum legal requirements, which includes $15,000 in bodily injury liability per person and $30,000 per accident and $5,000 in property damage coverage.
Unlike full coverage, minimum coverage doesn't include comprehensive and collision insurance, which protect you from vehicle damage following a collision, theft, vandalism or natural disaster — regardless of who's at fault.
Although full coverage costs more, purchasing higher liability coverage limits and adding comprehensive and collision coverage is a good idea for most drivers and people who own a newer car. It's also required if you have a car loan or lease.
Cheapest car insurance for California drivers with prior incidents: Mercury
Overall, Mercury offers the most affordable rates for drivers with recent tickets or driving infractions.
Just one accident and claim on your driving record can increase your car insurance quotes by hundreds of dollars. Drivers with incidents on their records, such as accidents, speeding tickets and DUIs, often pay more expensive premiums than other drivers.
Cheapest car insurance quotes for California drivers with a speeding ticket: Mercury
Mercury has the best rates for full-coverage auto insurance for California drivers who have received a speeding ticket.
Full-coverage policies from Mercury average $2,293 annually, which is 28% cheaper than the state average of $3,200 for drivers with a speeding ticket.
Drivers typically pay more for car insurance after they receive a speeding ticket because they are statistically more likely to get in a crash. ValuePenguin found that a full-coverage policy in California is $1,052 more expensive annually ($88 more expensive monthly) after a speeding ticket. That's a 49% increase.
Cheapest auto insurance for California drivers after an accident: Mercury
Mercury offers the cheapest full-coverage car insurance quotes for California drivers with an accident on their driving record.
The company's average annual rate after an accident is $2,604 per year, or 40% cheaper than the California average of $4,330.
California drivers with an accident history typically pay 102% more for car insurance than drivers with no previous accidents.
Cheapest car insurance rates after a DUI: Mercury
If you have a DUI in California, you can get a good deal on auto insurance from Mercury. Its typical rate of $2,867 per year is about half as expensive as the average price overall.
A DUI conviction usually means a substantial increase in your car insurance rates. The average cost of DUI insurance in California is $5,839 per year, a 172% jump compared to a driver with a clean record.
Cheapest car insurance quotes for young California drivers: Geico
The cheapest auto insurance company for young drivers in California is Geico. Its typical rate of $1,167 for minimum coverage is 26% less than average.
For full coverage, State Farm is slightly cheaper than Geico, at $3,949 per year, versus Geico's average rate of $4,306.
Young California drivers pay more than two and half times as much as older drivers for auto insurance. Insurers charge 18-year-old drivers an average of $1,577 per year, compared to just $604 for 30-year-olds, for a minimum-coverage policy.
While young drivers' high rates might discourage them from purchasing full coverage, consider the extra value of full coverage. The added protection of collision and comprehensive insurance is particularly useful to young drivers, who are more likely to get in more accidents than more experienced drivers.
Cheapest car insurance for young California drivers with a speeding ticket: Geico
In California, 18-year-old drivers could receive the best quotes from Geico after a speeding ticket.
Geico's rates average $1,312 per year for a minimum-coverage policy, which is 38% cheaper than the California state average of $2,107 for young drivers with a speeding ticket.
Overall, rates for young drivers in California increase by 34% after a speeding ticket. That's an additional $44 per month.
Cheapest for teen drivers in California with an accident history: Geico
Geico and Mercury offer the most affordable auto insurance coverage for young California drivers after an at-fault accident. These companies both offered rates below $1,700 per year, far less than the typical price of $2,305 annually.
Teenagers pay more for car insurance after an accident because their lack of driving experience indicates a statistical likelihood to get in another crash — about 46% more. However, because teens are already more likely to get into a crash than older drivers, the relative increase is smaller. Older California drivers typically pay 102% more after a crash.
Cheapest car insurance quotes for married California drivers: Progressive
The best price for married drivers in California is from Progressive, which offers a typical rate of $1,448 per year, or 26% less than average across all insurers. Progressive also has the biggest discount for married drivers, at 27%.
The average rates California insurers charge married drivers are 9% lower than the rates they charge single drivers. Most insurers offer slightly cheaper rates to married drivers because there's a correlation between being married and getting into fewer car accidents.
The best car insurance companies in California
AAA is the best auto insurance company in California because of its affordable rates and dependable coverage and support.
State Farm is another top contender for good insurance. State Farm also offers a wide variety of different coverage types and is a great choice for bundling with other types of insurance, such as home or renters insurance.
Average cost of car insurance rates in California by city
The most expensive city in California for car insurance is Beverly Hills, at $3,474 per year. The cheapest city, Mount Shasta, has an average rate of $1,579 per year.
The average cost of a full-coverage car insurance quote in California is $2,148 per year, or $179 per month. But the cost of car insurance varies based on where you live. You might have a higher insurance rate if there's a lot of car theft in your area, roads are poorly maintained, or — as may be the case in Beverly Hills — the average car price is high. If your neighbors all drive Teslas, a liability claim will be higher because the cost to repair the vehicle is higher.
Average annual rate
Percent from average
Minimum auto insurance requirements in California
California requires minimum liability limits of 15/30/5 for bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverage.
- Bodily injury (BI): $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident
- Property damage (PD): $5,000 per accident
While this is the lowest amount of insurance coverage you can have, we recommend tailoring your coverage limits to suit your driving habits and personal financial situation. We recommend adding collision and comprehensive coverage if your car is worth more than a few thousand dollars. You'll probably be required to have both if your car is loaned or leased.
On the other hand, if you're a college student with an older car who doesn't drive often, you could consider lower liability limits.
If you own a house in one of the most expensive ZIP codes in California and have significant savings and investment accounts, we recommend that you increase your liability limits and consider adding umbrella coverage to protect your assets.
Possible increase to California minimum insurance requirements
The California Legislature has proposed, but appears unlikely to pass, a bill that would increase the minimum required amount of liability coverage for drivers in the state to 30/60/15.
California's current minimums (15/30/5) are among the lowest in the country — only three other states have the same or lower required liability limits. The change would catapult California to one of the most heavily insured states in the country: Only eight states have requirements that high or higher.
If the bill is passed, drivers with minimum coverage will likely see an increase in their rates the next time they renew. Increasing your limits from the current to the proposed minimums would result in an average price increase of 16%, or $96 a year, if you have a clean driving record. But the increases may differ because the extra coverage would be spread across every insured driver.
The bill has passed the state Senate and is with an Assembly committee. If the bill is passed, the increase will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2025.
Affinity group car insurance discounts in California
The California Department of Insurance has recently proposed regulations to mitigate the effect of affinity group discounts on insurance prices. Policyholders in California and elsewhere can often get discounts for being part of an affinity group. Affinity group discounts can apply to a policyholder's occupation — such as lawyers and teachers — or their membership in an organized group, such as an alumni association.
Among the largest affinity group discounts for some of the biggest insurance companies in California, the biggest discount was from Farmers, which discounted policies by 14% for a variety of professionals.
|21st Century (Farmers subsidiary)||American Medical Association membership||4%|
|Allied (Nationwide subsidiary)||Accountants, dentists, educators||10%|
|Farmers||Accountants, aerospace engineers, dentists, educators, scientists||14%|
|Geico||Accountants, dentists, educators, scientists||11%|
|Progressive||Aerospace engineers, dentists, educators, scientists||5%|
Frequently asked questions
What's the average cost of car insurance in California?
The average cost of car insurance in California for a minimum-coverage policy is $604 per year, or about $50 per month. The average cost for a full-coverage policy is $179 per month.
Is insurance expensive in California?
Yes, California has the 13th most expensive average quotes for a full coverage policy compared to other states. However, the average cost for a minimum coverage policy is about average, ranking as the 27th most expensive, with an average rate of $604 per year. The average cost of car insurance remained roughly the same compared to the previous year.
Which company has the cheapest car insurance in California?
The cheapest car insurance in California is Geico, based on our analysis of thousands of quotes from ZIP codes across the state. Geico has the cheapest rates for minimum coverage, at $390 per year. Mercury has the best rates for full coverage, at $1,731 per year.
Which car insurance company is the best-rated in California?
AAA is the best-rated car insurance company in California in terms of customer satisfaction. It received strong ratings for service, coverage options and price. It's also one of the most popular options statewide.
We collected thousands of rates from ZIP codes across California for the largest insurers. We used a sample driver with the following profile:
- 30-year-old male
- Drives a 2015 Honda Civic EX
- Average credit
For all quotes with a minimum-coverage policy, we used the minimum required limits in California.
The base policy for full-coverage quotes had the following limits:
|Bodily injury liability||$50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident|
|Personal injury protection||$10,000|
|Property damage liability||$25,000 per accident|
|Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury||$50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident|
|Comprehensive and collision||$500 deductible|
AAA insurance is available from two companies in California: Auto Club of Southern California (AAA SoCal) and AAA Northern California/CSAA (AAA NorCal). These are two separate companies with different rates. You'll only be able to buy insurance from one or the other based on where you live.
ValuePenguin's analysis used insurance rate data from Quadrant Information Services. These rates were publicly sourced from insurer filings and should be used for comparative purposes only — your own quotes may be different.