Car Insurance in Modesto, California

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What does the car insurance picture look like in Modesto, the largest city in Stanislaus County? Based on our California car insurance rates study, the city was 4% more expensive compared to the statewide average. For our 34-year old married profile driver, basic-coverage auto insurance policy in Modesto would cost $1,535 a year. 

When we analyzed the city by neighborhoods, average rates for auto insurance in each area varied between positive and negative 3%. Nevertheless, some of the neighborhoods also had more variation across auto insurance companies, by as much as $1,272 a year. The most expensive company on our list had quotes nearly twice as costly as our cheapest car insurer. Modesto was also more expensive than its neighboring regions when it came to insuring a car. Nevertheless, local motorists could still benefit from several insurance discounts unique to Modesto.

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in Modesto, California

Costs varied quite a bit when we compared the auto insurance quotes in Modesto across insurance companies. Regardless of the neighborhood, the cheapest insurer for our sample Modesto driver – GEICO – offered rates that were typically $1,071 less than the most expensive insurer – Bristol West – for similar auto insurance coverage. The top 5 cheapest insurers that we compared for our driver were all at least 20% cheaper than the city’s $1,535 average. 

This graph shows the seven auto insurance companies in Modesto, CA with the cheapest rates

RankCompanyAverage Annual RatesChange vs. City Average
1 GEICO $1,126 -27%
2 Allstate 1,130 -26%
3 Mercury 1,150 -25%
4 Nationwide 1,215 -21%
5 Grange 1,233 -20%
6 21st Century 1,301 -15%
7 Century National 1,320 -14%
8 Arrowhead 1,320 -14%
9 First National 1,380 -10%
10 Safeco 1,380 -10%
11 Auto Club (AAA) 1,438 -6%
12 California Capital 1,488 -3%
13 Infinity 1,497 -2%
14 Unitrin 1,534 0%
15 Multi-State 1,550 1%
16 State Farm 1,584 3%
17 The Hartford 1,625 6%
18 Allied 1,658 8%
19 Kemper Specialty 1,692 10%
20 Mid-Century 1,879 22%
21 Liberty Mutual 1,935 26%
22 The General 2,040 33%
23 Farmers 2,160 41%
24 Bristol West 2,198 43%

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GEICO On average, for our sample driver, GEICO offered affordable annual auto insurance rates of $1,126 for basic coverage in Modesto. This put GEICO quotes 27% lower than most quotes we found within the city. Better yet, GEICO has a long list of discount options open for all who are eligible. You can use the table of contents on the left to get to our Car Insurance Discounts section. 

Allstate Allstate ranked as the overall second best insurer to go with for cheap rates in Modesto. For our sample motorist’s car, annual auto insurance cost averaged $1,130 across the city proper. As a side note, Allstate agents stationed in Modesto have generally received good reviews from customers they have helped. 

Mercury Other than GEICO and Allstate, Mercury also quoted below $1,200 a year on average for our sample driver. Its auto insurance coverage cost $1,150 a year for our profile driver, which was 25% less than the city’s average. We’ve found that Mercury has received positive customer testimonies for its service in Modesto. Overall, this company had our driver’s third best auto insurance rates in the city. 

Nationwide From Nationwide, our motorist received an average quote of $1,215 for a year of basic insurance coverage for his car. The same coverage – which satisfied the California state minimum and a little more – would have cost $319 more compared to quotes from other companies received across Modesto. 

Grange The last insurer to offer less than $1,300 for car insurance was Grange. At $1,233, the average quotes our Modesto motorist received from Grange were 20% cheaper than the city’s $1,535 average. On a general basis, like most auto insurance companies, Grange has a list of widely applicable discounts that is worth checking. See our Car Discounts in Modesto section.

Neighborhoods for Cheap Car Insurance in Modesto, California

Our sample driver found Modesto neighborhoods varying roughly up to positive and negative $50, or 3% for average annual auto insurance.  The general trend shows neighborhoods in the northern half of the city to be cheaper than ones in the southern half. Below is a table of the three cheapest insurers in each neighborhood, followed by a list of all the 7 Modesto neighborhoods in our study, in order of cheapest auto insurance to most costly. 

Modesto NeighborhoodInsurer #1Insurer #2Insurer #3
North Side GEICO $996 Mercury $1,104 Allstate $1,128
Bystrom Allstate 1,140 Mercury 1,164 Nationwide 1,272
Central Modesto GEICO 1,056 Allstate 1,128 Mercury 1,164
Northeast Modesto GEICO 1,044 Mercury 1,056 Allstate 1,128
Del Rio Allstate 1,128 GEICO 1,152 Grange 1,176
Empire Allstate 1,116 Nationwide 1,140 GEICO 1,164
Bret Harte Mercury 1,140 Allstate 1,140 GEICO 1,164

Empire For an average of $1,486 a year, our sample driver found his cheapest auto insurance rates in the Empire neighborhood. The average rates made this neighborhood 3% lower than most quotes received in Modesto. This is also where the Modesto & Empire Traction Company was founded, which built the railroad that opened up Modesto’s transportation to other parts of the county. 

Northeast Modesto Looking for the same basic coverage, our driver found auto insurance companies quoting him an average of $1,507 a year in the Northeast Modesto neighborhood. This made insuring a vehicle in this part of the city 30 bucks, or 2%, less costly than most other places in Modesto. 

Del Rio In Del Rio, our driver was quoted, on average, $1,515 for liability protection for his car. This neighborhood is located in the northern most region of Modesto, with costs just slightly below the city’s average for auto insurance. 

Bret Harte On the opposite end of the city from Del Rio, Bret Harte was where our driver was also quoted for rates in the lower $1,500 range, just 1% lower than the city’s mean. This neighborhood was named after the American author who wrote a number of Gold Rush tales.

North Side Our driver also found rates close to the city’s mean, $1,535, in the North Side neighborhood. It sits between Del Rio and downtown Modesto, and the auto insurance quotes here were $1,545 -, 1% above the city average. However, it is also the neighborhood where our driver found the most price variation between insurers. The most expensive insurer quoted him for $2,267 a year –$1,272 higher than the cheapest insurer’s rates.

Central Modesto (downtown) In downtown – or the Central Modesto neighborhood – the auto insurance premiums quoted for our motorist were the second highest among all city regions. For a year of basic coverage, car insurance companies generally quoted rates of $1,582. In other words, to insure his car here, our driver would be paying 3% more than he would be anywhere else in Modesto.

Bystrom East of California State Route 99 and west of the Modesto City-County Airport, our sample motorist’s average car insurance rates were the highest. Insurance companies generally offered rates around $1,587 for the same basic liability coverage for his car. This made this neighborhood 3% more expensive than the city’s average for auto insurance.

Most Expensive Car Insurance Companies in Modesto, California

Most of our top 3 most pricey auto insurance providers were 33% more expensive than our Modesto driver’s average auto insurance cost. They averagely quoted for $2,042 across the city proper. We also found that, while most of these insurers more or less quoted with some variation in different neighborhoods, one of them quoted the whole Modesto with constant rate. There is no better way to put this: always compare across at least 3 insurance companies when you are shopping for car insurance!

Bristol West The car insurance quotes that Bristol West offered our sample driver averaged $2,198. This made a basic coverage auto insurance policy from Bristol West 43% higher compared to the city’s average of $1,535 a year.

Farmers Under the same parent company as Bristol West, Farmers’ average quotes for our sample driver beat Bristol West by almost $40. Nevertheless, it was our second most expensive insurer and typically quoted our 34-year old married male driver $2,160 for a year of basic auto insurance coverage. In our study, Farmers average premiums were 41% higher than the city’s mean.

The General With rates averaging $2,040 a year for our Modesto sample driver, The General was our third priciest auto insurer. Furthermore, we found that rates were constant across Modesto neighborhoods, which made The General 33% more expensive than the city’s average cost no matter where the driver lived.

Best Modesto Suburbs for Car Insurance

How does auto insurance fare outside of the Modesto city proper? We studied a total of 7 Modesto suburbs – one of them being a nearby city – as possible alternatives for our sample driver. We found that they were all cheaper than Modesto in terms of average cost for an annual car insurance policy. The three cheapest cities averaged 11% lower when compared to the Modesto city mean.

RankModesto SuburbsAverage Annual RatesChange vs. City Average
1 Atwater $1,320 -14%
2 Merced 1,357 -12%
3 Oakdale 1,409 -8%
4 Turlock 1,425 -7%
5 Patterson 1,434 -7%
6 Riverbank 1,450 -6%
7 Ceres 1,510 -2%

Atwater 31 miles south along Route 99, Atwater was our sample driver’s cheapest alternative versus living in Modesto and insuring his car there. For roughly 33 minutes of commute to keep working in Modesto, he would be paying $1,320 a year, saving 14% as supposed to paying Modesto’s auto insurance rates. Atwater is a small but rapidly growing city, and the crime rates here are 22% less than Modesto.

Merced Merced is the joint principal city with Modesto in the Modesto-Merced, CA Combined Statistical Area. Although 40 miles might be too much for daily commute, living in Merced meant paying 12% less for car insurance costs a year for our sample driver. Merced’s population was 78,958 in 2010.

Oakdale The third best suburb for auto insurance is just 15 miles northeast from Modesto: Oakdale. The average cost of auto insurance here was $1,409 for our sample driver. This meant that for the same basic coverage, Oakdale’s rates beat Modesto’s by 8% annually.

Car Insurance Discounts in Modesto, California

Our second recommendation for our consumers is to always ask about auto insurance discounts. GEICO, for example, has a good long list of discounts for members of recognized organizations: that includes both professional and school associations. Modesto consumers might benefit from checking out the discounts for the California Association for the Education of Young Children, or University of California San Francisco Alumni Association. The list goes on, so check with a GEICO agent to see if your organization qualifies. 

For almost all other insurance companies, there are general across-the-board discount options for consumers. These include Good Driver Discount, for those with 5 years of clean driving record, or if you are under 25, the Good Student Discount for maintaining B average or above is a good place to start. Take an online Defensive Driving course to qualify for the Defensive Driving, or Safe Driver discount. Last but not least, Californian drivers usually benefit from the Multi-car Discount when the family signs two or more of their cars up with the same insurer.

Below are links to some of the driving schools available in Modesto:

Car Insurance Agencies in Modesto, California

Getting a quote and signing up for a car insurance policy has become more and more convenient with all of the available online services. However, it is understandable that some consumers may still rather speak with an agent. For Modesto drivers, we have found two agencies that we thought carried a good range of insurance companies. On the other hand, some of the insurers on our list, such as ones in our top 5 cheapest companies, can’t be found through independent agencies. These companies either only work through their own local agents or do direct quotes to the consumer online or on the phone. Below are links to some of the contacts.

Independent Agencies:

  • McVey Insurance Agency carries California Capital (subsidiary of CIG), The Hartford, Allied, Unitrin, and Foremost 
  • Omega Pacific Insurance carries insurers including Mercury, Allstate, Travelers, Arrowhead, and The Hartford, among others

Local Agent:

  • GEICO: the nearest GEICO local agent is stationed in San Jose. However, GEICO also does quotes over the phone
  • Nationwide: the nearest Nationwide local agent is stationed in Turlock; calling in for quotes is also available

California State Minimum Coverage vs. Our Basic Coverage

The California state minimum coverage includes: $5,000 Property Damage, $15,000/$30,000 Bodily Injury and Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury, and $3,500 Uninsured Motorist Property Damage coverage. 

For our study, the basic coverage we used for our sample Modesto driver exceeded the state minimum requirements. Apart from the required minimum, our sample driver’s coverage included $10,000 Personal Injury Protection, and $500 for both Comprehensive and Collision deductibles.

We feel that this basic coverage is a good well-rounded plan, but not everyone will have the same coverage needs. The best personal coverage takes a person’s total assets into account, as well as the main usage of their vehicles. Check out our articles on auto insurance coverage and comprehensive vs. collision coverage to find out more about how much is enough. For the study of car insurance costs in Modesto, California, we used a common profile of a 34 year-old married man. He owns a 2010 Toyota Camry, which he usually used to commute to work, averaging 10,000 – 15,000 miles a year. His credit score is in good standing and his driving records have been clean for the past 5 years.

Type of CoverageCA Required Minimum LimitsOur Study Limits
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Not Specified $10,000 per accident
Property Damage (PD) $5,000 per accident $25,000 per accident
Bodily Injury (BI) $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident $50,000 per person /$100,000 per accident
Uninsured Motorist BI Not Required $50,000 per person /$100,000 per accident
Uninsured Motorist PD Not Required $25,000 per accident
Comprehensive / Collision Deductible Not Required $500 deductibles

Methodology

Our neighborhood study looked at 7 zip codes for our driver profile that we then pulled insurance data for from each of the 24 auto insurance companies on our list. The suburbs were identified through Google Map by their proximity to Modesto, then filtered down to the seven cities/census-designated-places with at least 15,000 in population.    

Sources:
Modesto City Facts
City Census

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