Cheapest minimum liability car insurance quotes in California
The average cost of minimum coverage car insurance in California is $614 per year, or $51 per month.
Geico has the cheapest car insurance for most drivers in California. The insurer charges $433 per year on average for a minimum liability policy. This is 30% cheaper than the statewide average.
Drivers may also find affordable coverage from AAA of Northern California (AAA NorCal) or Progressive. Both auto insurers offered rates that were within $50 of Geico's annual rate and were still substantially cheaper than the statewide average.
Find Cheap Auto Insurance Quotes in California
AAA of Northern California, also called AAA NorCal or CSAA, is only available to residents of Northern California. The Auto Club of Southern California (AAA SoCal) provides car insurance to its customers through a separate company.
Minimum coverage car insurance meets California's minimum legal requirements.
Unlike full coverage, minimum coverage doesn't include comprehensive and collision insurance, which protects 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 can offer useful financial protection after an expensive accident.
Cheapest full coverage car insurance companies in California
On average, full coverage car insurance costs $1,817 per year in California — or $151 per month.
Geico had the cheapest car insurance for full coverage in California. However, you may find affordable coverage from Mercury and Progressive, too. These three car insurance carriers offer auto quotes of $1,509 on average, or 17% less than the state average.
Full coverage car insurance policies include comprehensive and collision insurance, which reimburse you for damage to your car after most accidents, thefts, natural disasters and vandalism.
Cheapest car insurance for California drivers with prior incidents
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. Mercury had the cheapest full coverage car insurance for drivers without a perfect driving record.
Cheapest car insurance for California drivers with a speeding ticket: Mercury
Mercury, Geico and AAA NorCal had the best rates for full coverage auto insurance for California drivers who received a speeding ticket.
Full coverage policies from these three insurers average $2,213 annually, which is 18% cheaper than the state average of $2,699 for drivers with a speeding ticket.
Rate without ticket
Rate with ticket
ValuePenguin found that a full coverage policy in California was $882 more expensive annually ($74 more expensive monthly) after a speeding ticket. That's a 49% increase.
Cheapest auto insurance for California drivers after an accident: Mercury
Mercury, Geico and AAA SoCal offered the best cheap full coverage car insurance quotes for California drivers with an accident on their driving record.
These three insurance companies offered average annual rates of $2,524 per year, or 29% cheaper than the California average of $3,550.
Rate without crash
Rate with crash
California drivers with an accident history typically pay $1,733 more for car insurance per year than drivers with no previous accidents. That's an extra $144 per month.
Cheapest car insurance for California drivers with a DUI: Mercury
Mercury, Geico and Progressive offer the cheapest rates for California drivers with a DUI, according to our analysis of affordable full coverage car insurance quotes.
We found that these three companies charge drivers with a DUI an average annual rate of $3,309, which is 36% cheaper than the state average of $5,153.
Rate without DUI
Rate with DUI
Average rates for a full coverage policy in California increased by 184%, or almost triple, with a DUI. California drivers with a DUI pay $3,336 more annually, or $278 more monthly, than drivers with a clean record.
Cheapest car insurance for married California drivers
If you are a married driver in California, you could get a good deal on auto insurance from Geico, Progressive or Mercury. The average annual rate for full coverage car insurance for married Californians is $1,665, but these three companies charge an average annual rate of $1,270 — 24% less.
The average rates California insurers charge married drivers are 8% lower than the rates they charge single drivers, which breaks down to average savings of about $152 annually, or $13 monthly, for married drivers. Most insurers offer slightly cheaper rates to married drivers because there's a correlation between being married and getting in fewer car accidents.
Cheapest car insurance for young California drivers
Our analysis found that young California drivers pay more than double what adult drivers pay for full coverage auto insurance.
Insurers charge 18-year-old drivers $4,497 annually, compared to just $1,817 for adults.
We recommend that young California drivers consider State Farm, Mercury or Geico for full coverage auto insurance. Together, rates from these companies average $3,583 annually, which is 20% cheaper than the state average.
Young drivers in California can expect to pay $1,598 per year for minimum liability or $4,497 per year for a full coverage car insurance policy. That's a difference of $2,899 annually, or $242 monthly.
While this sharp increase might discourage young drivers 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 tend to get in more accidents than more experienced drivers.
Cheapest full coverage car insurance quotes for young drivers with an accident history: Mercury
Mercury, Geico and State Farm offer the most affordable auto insurance coverage for young California drivers with an at-fault accident. Our analysis found that the average rate these three companies charge is 26% cheaper than the state average for young drivers with an accident on their record.
Rate without crash
Rate with crash
Young California drivers already pay high rates for auto insurance, but making one claim for an at-fault accident can raise auto insurance rates by an extra $2,178 annually, or $182 more monthly.
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, Mercury and State Farm after a speeding ticket.
Premiums from these three companies averaged $4,776 per year for a full coverage policy, which is 21% cheaper than the California state average of $6,056 for young drivers with a speeding ticket.
Rates for young drivers in California increase by 35% after a speeding ticket, from $4,497 annually to $6,056. That breaks down to an additional $1,559 annually, or $130 monthly.
Rate without ticket
Rate with ticket
The best-rated car insurance companies in California
The cheapest car insurer in California may not be the best company for customer service quality. In fact, certain insurance companies are often a better fit for certain types of drivers.
State Farm was the best auto insurance company in California, according to a study commissioned by ValuePenguin. State Farm had the highest percentage of respondents who were extremely satisfied with their claim experience at 73%, and 46% of people rated State Farm's customer service as "excellent." Allstate came in a close second overall.
Customer service rating
*Overall rank factors in claim satisfaction and customer service ratings. Full explanations of ratings are in the methodology.
We've listed the top California insurers from best (lowest complaint ratio) to worst (highest complaint ratio). The lower the ratio, the fewer justified complaints a company received for every 100,000 policies.
Complaint ratio information is drawn from the California Department of Insurance.
Average cost of car insurance rates by city
The average cost of a full coverage car insurance policy in California is $1,817 per year, or approximately $151 per month.
- Mount Shasta
- West Hollywood
- Beverly Hills
Average annual cost
Percent from average
California auto insurance rate increases by insurance company
The top 10 largest car insurance companies in California — which write more than 80% of auto insurance premiums in the state — have raised base rates for drivers by about 1% since the beginning of 2019.
However, some insurers saw significantly higher rate hikes. Kemper raised premiums by nearly 3% from 2019 to 2020 — logging the biggest car insurance increase.
Rate change 2019
Rate change 2020
Total rate change
2019 rate change figures represent the year-to-date change as of Dec. 11, 2019.
Insurers raise rates for a variety of reasons, many of which are beyond the control of consumers. Companies will often hike insurance rates to account for increased losses, which is the amount of money these companies pay out for claims.
If losses go up — because of an increase in claims frequency or costlier auto repairs across all the insurer's customers, for example — your insurer may raise your car insurance premiums too.
Affinity group car insurance discounts in California
The California Department of Insurance has recently proposed regulations to mitigate the effect of affinity groups 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.
ValuePenguin identified some of the largest affinity group discounts for some of the biggest insurance companies in California. The list is not exhaustive, but it shows some of the major savings group members can get. 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%|
Auto insurance in California: Minimum liability coverage requirements
State law in 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. For example, if you own a house in one of the most expensive ZIP codes in California and have sizable savings and investment accounts, we recommend that you increase your liability limits and consider adding umbrella coverage to your standard policy to protect your assets.
On the other hand, if you're a college student who doesn't drive frequently, you may consider liability limits that are closer to California's minimum state requirements for car insurance.
We also recommend adding collision and comprehensive coverage if your car is worth more than a few thousand dollars. You'll also probably be required to have both if your car is loaned or leased.
Recap of the cheapest car insurance in California
- Minimum coverage: Geico
- Full coverage: Geico
- After an at-fault accident: Mercury
- After a speeding ticket: Mercury
- After a DUI: Mercury
- Married couples: Geico
- Young drivers: Geico
- Full coverage for young drivers: State Farm
- Young drivers with one accident: Mercury
- Young drivers with speeding ticket: Geico
What's the average car insurance cost in California?
The average cost of car insurance in California for a minimum coverage policy is $614 per year, or $51 per month. The average cost for a full coverage policy is $151 per month.
Which company has the cheapest car insurance in California?
The cheapest car insurance in California is offered by Geico, based on our analysis of thousands of quotes from ZIP codes across the state. Geico had the cheapest rates for minimum coverage ($433 per year) as well as full coverage ($1,432 per year).
Which car insurance is best-rated in California?
State Farm is the best-rated car insurance company in California in terms of customer satisfaction. We found that 73% of State Farm customers were extremely satisfied with their most recent claim, and 46% of customers gave State Farm's customer service an "excellent" rating.
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 man
- Drives a 2015 Honda Civic EX
- Average credit
The base policy for the study was a full coverage policy with 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|
For our minimum coverage policy, we used the minimum required limits in California.
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.
ValuePenguin conducted a survey and asked current policyholders across several major auto insurers about satisfaction with claims and customer service. In the table above, our claim satisfaction rating represents the percentage of respondents who were extremely satisfied with their most recent claim experience. The customer service rating represents the percentage of respondents from the survey who rated the customer service of their insurance company as "excellent."