Auto Insurance Basics

Car Insurance in Stockton, California

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Drivers in Stockton pay some of California's higher rates for auto insurance, according to our state level study. It does not come as a surprise that as the state’s 13th largest city by population, California’s Sunrise Seaport – Stockton – ranked among the more expensive cities for auto insurance. A cost study, however, reveals a more nuanced story. We took a 31 year-old married man as a sample driver and analyzed his insurance rates across the city. The city’s average cost was around $1,672 a year based on this benchmark. The average car insurance rates found within the Stockton city proper varied among neighborhoods, and the difference was up to as much as $160 in premiums a year. Furthermore, with all else equal, the different auto insurance companies in Stockton had a quote range between $1,167 to $2,492. That made a 79% difference; in other words, a year’s premium for the most expensive insurer paid for 2 years’ worth of liability protection at the cheapest insurer.

We also found out that it was cheaper to insure the same car and driver in all of the cities within a 25-minute driving distance from Stockton. In an attempt to further put Stockton’s auto insurance into context, we also conducted a study on the auto insurance rates in the six nearby cities around Stockton. It turned out that for our sample driver, living and commuting from any of the six cities would mean at least 10% savings on car insurance cost versus living within Stockton. 

Cost of Car Insurance in Stockton, CA by Area

Across the eleven neighborhoods and six partner cities in Stockton, CA, we found a range of auto insurance rates. There was a relatively lower range among the neighborhoods within the city proper of Stockton. For example, the cheapest neighborhood was 5% lower to insure a car in compared to the citywide mean, while the most expensive neighborhood was just 4% higher. Moving into the partner cities and the outerlying area around Stockton, however, produced much more varied ranges. Costs here were comparatively and significantly lower for drivers living and driving in Stockton's economic sister cities. Depending on which city it was, costs could range from 10% to 14% cheaper compared to insuring a car garaged in Stockton itself.

This map below plots the average quotes our sample driver saw across 24 different companies in each of the zip codes, neighborhoods, and partner cities that we surveyed. The neighborhoods and partner cities are covered in more detail after the map.

Cost of Car Insurance in Stockton, CA: by Neighborhood

This table below presents the average annual rates our sample male driver saw in the various Stockton neighborhoods. Quotes are averaged across 24 insurance providers to arrive at the annual premium figure in the table below. Neighborhoods are displayed in ranked order, from the cheapest to the more expensive ones. The three cheapest and most expensive neighborhoods will be highlighted in more detail after the table.

Rank Stockton Neighborhoods Average Annual Rates Change vs. City Average
1 Brookside $1,581 -5%
2 Morada 1,626 -3%
3 Park District 1,650 -1%
4 Midtown West 1,652 -1%
5 Bear Creek District 1,655 -1%
6 University Neighborhood 1,669 0%
7 August 1,691 1%
8 Downtown 1,702 2%
9 Lakeview District 1,704 2%
10 Seaport District 1,721 3%
11 Valley Oak District 1,740 4%

Neighborhoods with the Cheapest Car Insurance in Stockton, CA

Overall, the cheapest neighborhoods were found near the Stockton city border, where the population is less dense than the areas closer to the city center. For our sample driver, the cheapest neighborhoods were Brookside and Morada in the north, and Park District in the south. Rates within these select neighborhoods were 5% to 1% cheaper than most drivers of the same profile. 

Brookside The neighborhood with the best car insurance rates for our sample driver was Brookside, where the average rates quoted were 5% lower than the city’s average. For a year of basic automobile coverage, the premiums were close to $1,581 a year. Brookside is on the northwest corner of Stockton, and its population density is the third lowest compared to other neighborhoods in our study. 

Morada The Morada neighborhood area was where our second lowest-cost auto insurance rates were found. The insurers on average quoted our driver for $1,626 a year, which meant a 3% reduction compared to most drivers in Stockton. Morada sits in the northeast corner of Stockton's city limits. 

Park District The third cheapest-cost neighborhood for our sample driver was the Park District. For basic auto insurance coverage, his average premiums here were $1,650 a year. Park District is in the southeast end of the city. It also has the lowest population density compared to other neighborhoods in our study.

Most Expensive Neighborhoods for Car Insurance in Stockton, CA

Our top 3 most expensive Stockton neighborhoods based on the cost of insuring a vehicle are Valley Oak District, Seaport District, and Lakeview District. Our sample motorist found his average auto insurance premiums in these neighborhoods 2% - 4% higher than the city’s mean. They also collectively account for both the most number of households and the most densely populated neighborhoods.

Valley Oak District The most expensive neighborhood, Valley Oak District, was where our sample motorist found quotes averaging $1,740 a year. This places auto insurance costs in the neighborhood at 4% higher than the Stockton city mefan. The district is located on the north end of Stockton and has the second most densely populated neighborhood.

Seaport District The Seaport District ranked as our driver’s second most costly neighborhood. With rates averaging $1,721 a year, the auto insurance quotes he found here were 3% higher than most places in Stockton. Seaport District consists of the Port of Stockton, from which the city derived its nickname. The region also holds the highest population compared to other neighborhoods. 

Lakeview District Mostly made up of residential structures, the Lakeview District proved to be our driver’s third most expensive neighborhood in terms of auto insurance costs. Insurers offered a year of basic automobile insurance coverage for, on average, $1,704. In other words, to insure his car here, our driver would be paying 2% higher than what he'd pay living elsewhere in Stockton.

Cost of Car Insurance by Stockton Partner Cities

The San Joaquin Partnership designated 6 cities as partner cities to Stockton for the cooperative economic development of the county. We found that these 6 partner cities are much cheaper to live in than Stockton for auto insurance, and they are all connected to one another by rail. More importantly, these partner cities are all located within a short 25-minute drive from Stockton. The cities of Tracy, Ripon, and Lathrop rank with the three cheapest rates for auto insurance among Stockton's partner cities, with averages about 13% lower than Stockton city mean. These rates were much cheaper than any found in Stockton neighborhoods. Each partner city will be covered in more detail after the table.

Rank Stockton Partner Cities Average Annual Rates Change vs. City Average
1 Tracy $1,442 -14%
2 Ripon 1,449 -13%
3 Lathrop 1,468 -12%
4 Escalon 1,469 -12%
5 Lodi 1,473 -12%
6 Manteca 1,512 -10%

Tracy, CA A railroad city that began and prospered as the Central Pacific Railroad expanded, the city of Tracy can be reached via the West Side Freeway south of Stockton. Tracy is a vibrant city of 83,000 people with a square footage that is only a third of Stockton’s. Our sample driver found that living within a Tracy city zip code translated into auto insurance quotes that were 14% cheaper – or close to $230 less – than most quotes he received had he been living in Stockton. 

Ripon, CA Ripon, known to its citizens as “the Jewel of the Valley”, is a small city east of Tracy. On top of the promised quality of life and low crime rate, Ripon was also our second cheapest nearby city to live in for auto insurance. Our motorist’s annual car insurance was $1,449, which allowed him to put about 13% of the insurance cost back into his pocket versus what he would have to pay in Stockton. 

Lathrop, CA Two cities nearly tied for the third cheapest rates, but one of them, Lathrop, inched over for the win by $1. Directly south of Stockton, Lathrop's average auto insurance premiums for our sample motorist were $1,468, making this city 12% cheaper to live in than Stockton. Out of the six partner cities, Lathrop is the closest to Stockton.

Escalon, CA Escalon was only $1 more costly than Lathrop when our motorist was quoted for auto insurance. The “Land of Peaches & Cream” is not only a scenic agricultural city, but also a relatively affordable place when it comes to car insurance. The average annual automobile insurance found for our motorist here was $1,469. 

Lodi, CA Lodi’s average car insurance – around $1,473 a year – was 12% lower than the Stockton mean for our sample driver. This city also promises quality education; the educational industry makes up 21% of the working population, and the Lodi Unified School District serves an area almost 30 times the size of the city. 

Manteca, CA Last but not least, Manteca – The Family City – looks promising for cheap auto insurance for our driver. Averaging $1,512 a year, Manteca actually ranked as the most expensive among the six partner cities, but was still 10% cheaper when compared to what our profiled driver would pay in Stockton for the same policy.

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in Stockton, CA

While Stockton’s overall average auto insurance rates closed in around $1,672 a year, individual quotes from various auto insurance companies showed a much wider fluctuation. There were gaps as large as $1,325 between our most expensive and cheapest insurance companies. In any given neighborhood, our top 5 cheapest insurers' mean quote was usually 25% lower than what the typical provider charged on average for our motorist.

This graph ranks the companies with the seven cheapest auto insurance rates in Stockton, CA, and compares them against the average in the city for our sample driver

The cheapest auto insurance company in Stockton was GEICO, which provided coverage at rates 30% lower than the city’s mean. GEICO’s average auto insurance premiums in Stockton were close to $1,167 annually. For the same coverage, other insurers quoted our driver for $500 more a year. There was a tie for the second best auto insurance rates in the region, and they were between Allstate and Nationwide. Allstate quoted our driver for 27% less than the average Stockton cost with rates averaging $1,213 a year, almost $460 less than the city’s average. Nationwide tied Allstate with the same average annual auto insurance cost of $1,213 for drivers living in the city. Mercury is another affordable insurer choice in Stockton, as it ranked with the 4th best rates for insuring a vehicle overall. Our motorist found coverage with rates 20% cheaper than most other insurers. For Mercury, the annual average premiums were close to $1,340. Rounding out the top five cheapest providers is Century National. Century National had similarly affordable rates as Mercury did. The mean rates found for our sample driver were $1,341 a year for basic coverage, where limits were slightly higher than the state minimum. This made Century National 20% cheaper than most insurers in Stockton.

All else equal, we found that car insurance cost vary largely across different insurers. Our top 5 most costly auto insurance companies in Stockton had rates anywhere from $300 to $820 more than the city’s $1,672 average cost. The General, Bristol West, Farmers, Liberty Mutual, and California Capital together averaged $2,226 a year, which made them 33% more expensive than the city’s mean. As our sample motorist’s most expensive insurer, The General’s quotes averaged $2,492, 49% higher than most quotes from other car insurance companies. Bristol West beat The General by almost $200, but its rates still made the insurer 36% more costly than others. Our motorist was offered rates around $2,274 for a year of basic auto insurance coverage. Farmers’ rates averaged $2,213 across Stockton neighborhoods, which placed the carrier as the third highest. With this insurer, our motorist had to pay 32% more than others with his same profile and needs in auto insurance coverage. Our motorist found Liberty Mutual to be slightly cheaper than Farmers, with a mean premium at $2,185 a year. Based in California, California Capital made our top 5 most expensive Stockton insurers with an annual average rate of $1,968. This rate was much cheaper than our other 4 expensive insurers, but still 18% more costly than most quotes our driver found in the city. 

Rank Company Average Annual Rates Change vs. City Average
1 GEICO $1,167 -30%
2 Allstate 1,213 -27%
3 Nationwide 1,213 -27%
4 Mercury 1,340 -20%
5 Century National 1,341 -20%
6 21st Century 1,360 -19%
7 Arrowhead 1,435 -14%
8 First National 1,535 -8%
9 Safeco 1,535 -8%
10 Grange 1,539 -8%
11 Infinity 1,593 -5%
12 Multi-State 1,632 -2%
13 State Farm 1,639 -2%
14 The Hartford 1,642 -2%
15 Allied 1,654 -1%
16 Unitrin 1,675 0%
17 Auto Club (AAA) 1,699 2%
18 Kemper Specialty 1,839 10%
19 Mid-Century 1,939 16%
20 California Capital 1,968 18%
21 Liberty Mutual 2,185 31%
22 Farmers 2,213 32%
23 Bristol West 2,273 36%
24 The General 2,492 49%

Car Insurance Agencies in Stockton, CA

Due to the nature of insurance agencies (some may represent just a small subset of available companies), we feel that insurance agencies don’t necessarily give the most comprehensive picture of all the auto insurance options available. However, it is understandable that consumers may wish to look for a representative to discuss their needs personally. Listed below are a couple of local Stockton agencies, with links to their contact information, that have a good range of auto insurance carriers. 

Car Insurance Discounts in Stockton, CA

Most insurance companies – whether that be our most expensive or our cheapest insurer – offer discounts when they quote a rate for drivers. However, chances are you may have to ask for them, and knowing what you should be eligible for is half the battle. There are general discounts that are common across insurers, like the Good Driver Discount for drivers with at least 5 years of accident-free record, Multiple Car Discount, and the Defensive Driver course completion discount. There are also special discounts for members of recognized organizations, such as GEICO’s Business and Professional Discount for California Association for the Education of Young Children members, for example. If you are affiliated with any trade or professional or educational groups, including university alumni associations, it might be worthwhile to check with your agent to see if the carrier provides a discount. 

Here are a couple of links to two of Stockton’s driving schools, for consumers’ reference. They both offer defensive driving courses, which can give clients up to a 10% discount off of their premiums.

Methodology

The main study was done by gathering quotes across 24 auto insurance companies – national and local – with a total of 11 Stockton zip codes. All the quotes were collected for the same sample driver profile. Our sample driver for Stockton, CA was a 31 year old married man - as indicated by demographic research to be the most common in the city - who owned and drove a 2010 Toyota Camry. He has a good credit score and mostly uses his car to commute to work, on average driving 10,000 - 15,000 miles a year. The driver profile for this study is different from that of the California state study, and therefore the Stockton city average will be different between the two studies.

The nearby cities were all of the six partner cities identified by The Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce. The city average does not include premiums found in the partner cities.

California State Minimum Car Insurance Coverage

The California Department of Insurance requires that all drivers registered in California meet its minimum coverage requirements when it comes to auto insurance. The 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. 

The basic coverage we used for our study met – and surpassed – the state’s minimum requirements. Apart from the required minimum, our sample driver’s coverage included $10,000 Personal Injury Protection, and $500 Comprehensive and Collision deductibles. This basic coverage is closer to the minimum side of things, but not every driver will fit the same coverage. Generally speaking the best coverage takes a person’s total assets into account, as well as the usage of their vehicles. Check out our articles on auto insurance coverage to find out more about how much is enough.

CA Minimum Our Study
Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Not Specified 10,000
Property Damage 5,000 25,000
Bodily Injury (BI) 15,000 per person/ 30,000 per accident 50,000 per person /100,000 per accident
Uninsured Motorist BI 15,000 per person/ 30,000 per accident 50,000 per person /100,000 per accident
Uninsured Motorist Property Damage 3,500 25,000
Comprehensive / Collision Deductible N/A 500

Sources:

City Stats: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06/0675000.html
California Department of Insurance http://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/pubs/brochures/fast_facts/ffvr18

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