Auto Insurance

The State of Auto Insurance in California 2019

We analyzed insurance cost data to provide California drivers with better information for finding more affordable car insurance quotes from the best-rated companies as well as how much a traffic violation or at-fault accident could affect their rates.

With over 26 million licensed drivers and over 394,000 lane miles, the state of California may or may not be one giant freeway. As such, the Golden State is also home to some of the highest auto insurance rates in the nation. We analyzed insurance cost data to provide California drivers with better information for finding more affordable car insurance quotes from the best-rated companies as well as how much a traffic violation or at-fault accident could affect their rates.

Which California Counties Have the Cheapest Rates?

When it comes to car insurance costs, location can play a critical role. On average, rates in the state of California are among the most expensive in the nation. Our team mapped out average car insurance costs in every California county, as shown below.

Los Angeles and San Francisco county are the two most expensive counties in California for auto insurance rates. Average premiums in these counties are both more than 34% higher than the state average, while costs in the next most expensive county, Sacramento County, are around 17% higher than the state average. On the opposite end, Inyo and Siskiyou county are more than 12% cheaper, compared to the rest of the state.

Which California Cities Have the Cheapest Rates?

Our team also calculated average car insurance costs in over 200 California cities, as shown in the table below.

CityCountyAnnual Premium ($)Average Comparison (%)
AdelantoSan Bernardino County2,068+1.7
AlamedaAlameda County2,186+7.5
AlhambraLos Angeles County2,455+20.8
AltadenaLos Angeles County2,390+17.6
AlturasModoc County1,639-19.4
AnaheimOrange County2,159+6.2
AntiochContra Costa County2,061+1.4
AzusaLos Angeles County2,173+6.9
BakersfieldKern County1,906-6.3
Baldwin Monterey ParkLos Angeles County2,269+11.6
BanningRiverside County1,805-11.2
BarstowSan Bernardino County1,931-5.0
BellLos Angeles County2,452+20.6
BellflowerLos Angeles County2,228+9.6
BerkeleyAlameda County2,276+11.9
Big Bear LakeSan Bernardino County1,961-3.5
BishopInyo County1,580-22.3
Buena Monterey ParkOrange County2,112+3.9
BurbankLos Angeles County2,510+23.5
CalexicoImperial County1,743-14.3
CamarilloVentura County1,831-9.9
CampbellSanta Clara County1,834-9.8
Canoga Monterey ParkLos Angeles County2,769+36.2
Canyon CountryLos Angeles County2,255+10.9
CarlsbadSan Diego County1,741-14.4
CarmichaelSacramento County2,150+5.8
CarsonLos Angeles County2,291+12.7
Cathedral CityRiverside County1,924-5.4
CerritosLos Angeles County2,257+11.0
ChatsworthLos Angeles County2,692+32.4
ChicoButte County1,730-14.9
ChinoSan Bernardino County2,030-0.2
Chino HillsSan Bernardino County2,052+0.9
Chula VistaSan Diego County1,798-11.6
ClovisFresno County1,910-6.1
ColtonSan Bernardino County2,024-0.4
ColusaColusa County1,773-12.8
ComptonLos Angeles County2,563+26.1
ConcordContra Costa County2,009-1.2
CoronaRiverside County1,978-2.7
Costa MesaOrange County1,979-2.7
Crescent CityDel Norte County1,661-18.3
Culver CityLos Angeles County2,597+27.7
CupertinoSanta Clara County1,818-10.6
Daly CitySan Mateo County2,294+12.8
DavisYolo County1,777-12.6
Del MarSan Diego County1,827-10.1
DelanoKern County1,856-8.7
Desert Hot SpringsRiverside County2,018-0.7
East Palo AltoSanta Clara County1,929-5.1
El CajonSan Diego County1,841-9.4
El CentroImperial County1,754-13.7
El SegundoLos Angeles County2,142+5.4
EncinitasSan Diego County1,776-12.6
EscondidoSan Diego County1,846-9.2
EurekaHumboldt County1,786-12.2
Fair OaksSacramento County2,087+2.7
FairfieldSolano County1,941-4.5
FallbrookSan Diego County1,834-9.8
FolsomSacramento County1,938-4.7
FontanaSan Bernardino County2,097+3.1
Fountain ValleyOrange County2,090+2.8
FremontAlameda County1,941-4.5
FresnoFresno County2,002-1.5
FruitridgeSacramento County2,285+12.4
FullertonOrange County2,189+7.7
Garden GroveOrange County2,227+9.5
GardenaLos Angeles County2,353+15.7
GlendaleLos Angeles County3,277+61.2
GlendoraLos Angeles County2,062+1.4
Grass ValleyNevada County1,790-12.0
GreenhavenSacramento County2,072+1.9
HanfordKings County1,691-16.8
HawthorneLos Angeles County2,445+20.3
HaywardAlameda County2,172+6.8
HemetRiverside County1,947-4.2
HesperiaSan Bernardino County2,042+0.4
HollisterSan Benito County1,764-13.2
HollywoodLos Angeles County3,162+55.5
Huntington BeachOrange County2,009-1.2
Huntington Monterey ParkLos Angeles County2,565+26.2
IndioRiverside County1,881-7.5
InglewoodLos Angeles County2,744+35.0
IrvineOrange County2,003-1.5
JamestownTuolumne County1,853-8.9
Los AngelesLos Angeles County2,806+38.0
La HabraOrange County2,108+3.7
La MesaSan Diego County1,877-7.7
La PuenteLos Angeles County2,263+11.3
Laguna BeachOrange County2,011-1.1
Laguna NiguelOrange County1,917-5.7
Lake ElsinoreRiverside County2,030-0.2
Lake ForestOrange County1,884-7.3
LakeportLake County1,687-17.0
LakesideSan Diego County1,815-10.7
LakewoodLos Angeles County2,070+1.8
LancasterLos Angeles County2,162+6.3
LewistonTrinity County1,694-16.7
LincolnPlacer County1,861-8.5
LivermoreAlameda County1,787-12.1
LompocSanta Barbara County1,542-24.2
Long BeachLos Angeles County2,200+8.2
LoyaltonSierra County1,716-15.6
MaderaMadera County1,866-8.2
Mammoth LakesMono County1,724-15.2
MariposaMariposa County1,752-13.8
MarysvilleYuba County1,866-8.2
MckinleyvilleHumboldt County1,662-18.3
MercedMerced County1,833-9.8
MerkleevilleAlpine County1,783-12.3
Mill ValleyMarin County2,004-1.4
Mira MesaSan Diego County1,821-10.4
Mission ViejoOrange County1,912-6.0
ModestoStanislaus County2,100+3.3
MonroviaLos Angeles County2,122+4.4
MontebelloLos Angeles County2,324+14.3
MontereyMonterey County1,691-16.8
Monterey Monterey ParkLos Angeles County2,333+14.8
Moreno ValleyRiverside County2,131+4.8
MurrietaRiverside County1,846-9.2
NapaNapa County1,884-7.3
National CitySan Diego County1,907-6.2
Newport BeachOrange County2,029-0.2
NorthridgeLos Angeles County2,746+35.1
NorwalkLos Angeles County2,217+9.0
OaklandAlameda County2,267+11.5
Ocean BeachSan Diego County1,809-11.0
OceansideSan Diego County1,822-10.4
OntarioSan Bernardino County2,058+1.2
OrangeOrange County1,965-3.3
OrlandGlenn County1,674-17.7
OxnardVentura County1,921-5.5
Pacific BeachSan Diego County1,827-10.1
Pacific PalisadesLos Angeles County2,690+32.3
PacificaSan Mateo County1,994-1.9
PacoimaLos Angeles County2,673+31.5
PalmdaleLos Angeles County2,319+14.1
Palos VerdessLos Angeles County2,188+7.6
Panorama CityLos Angeles County2,969+46.0
PasadenaLos Angeles County2,361+16.1
Paso RoblesSan Luis Obispo County1,628-19.9
PerrisRiverside County2,045+0.6
PetalumaSonoma County1,858-8.6
Pico RiveraLos Angeles County2,201+8.3
PioneerAmador County1,818-10.6
PlacentiaOrange County1,981-2.6
PlacervilleEl Dorado County1,898-6.6
PomonaLos Angeles County2,152+5.8
PortervilleTulare County1,722-15.3
PowaySan Diego County1,763-13.3
QuincyPlumas County1,684-17.2
RamonaSan Diego County1,883-7.4
Rancho BernardoSan Diego County1,758-13.5
Rancho CucamongaSan Bernardino County2,034+0.0
Rancho Palos VerdesLos Angeles County2,193+7.9
Red BluffTehama County1,652-18.7
ReddingShasta County1,700-16.4
RedlandSan Bernardino County1,977-2.8
Redondo BeachLos Angeles County2,151+5.8
Redwood CitySan Mateo County1,870-8.0
ReedleyFresno County1,862-8.4
ResedaLos Angeles County2,900+42.6
RichmondContra Costa County2,304+13.3
RidgecrestKern County1,651-18.8
RiversideRiverside County2,016-0.8
RosemeadLos Angeles County2,355+15.8
RosevillePlacer County1,917-5.7
Running SpringsSan Bernardino County2,076+2.1
SacramentoSacramento County2,283+12.3
SalinasMonterey County1,807-11.1
San BernardinoSan Bernardino County2,085+2.6
San ClementeOrange County1,822-10.4
San DiegoSan Diego County1,902-6.4
San FranciscoSan Francisco County2,488+22.4
San JoseSanta Clara County1,988-2.2
San Luis ObispoNan County1,549-23.8
San MarcosSan Diego County1,773-12.8
San MateoSan Mateo County1,876-7.7
San PedroLos Angeles County2,363+16.2
San RafaelMarin County2,041+0.4
Santa AnaOrange County2,121+4.3
Santa BarbaraSanta Barbara County1,714-15.7
Santa ClaraSanta Clara County1,900-6.5
Santa ClaritaLos Angeles County2,168+6.6
Santa CruzSanta Cruz County1,741-14.4
Santa MariaSanta Barbara County1,560-23.3
Santa MonicaLos Angeles County2,584+27.1
Santa RosaSonoma County1,924-5.4
SeasideMonterey County1,751-13.9
Simi ValleyVentura County2,055+1.1
South Lake TahoeEl Dorado County1,827-10.1
SonoraTuolumne County1,844-9.3
South GateLos Angeles County2,447+20.4
Spring ValleySan Diego County1,859-8.6
StantonOrange County2,193+7.9
StocktonSan Joaquin County2,164+6.4
Suisun CitySolano County1,973-3.0
SunnyvaleSanta Clara County1,869-8.1
SusanvilleLassen County1,734-14.7
SylmarLos Angeles County2,545+25.2
TemeculaRiverside County1,872-7.9
Temple CityLos Angeles County2,281+12.2
Thousand OaksVentura County1,953-3.9
TorranceLos Angeles County2,110+3.8
TracySan Joaquin County1,889-7.1
TurlockStanislaus County1,983-2.5
TustinOrange County1,951-4.0
Twentynine PalmsSan Bernardino County1,965-3.3
UkiahMendocino County1,732-14.8
Union CityAlameda County2,089+2.8
UplandSan Bernardino County2,023-0.5
VacavilleSolano County1,851-9.0
VallejoSolano County2,088+2.7
Valley SpringCalaveras County1,898-6.6
Van NuysLos Angeles County3,176+56.2
VictorvilleSan Bernardino County2,048+0.7
VisaliaTulare County1,751-13.9
Walnut CreekContra Costa County1,861-8.5
WascoKern County1,869-8.1
WatsonvilleSanta Cruz County1,801-11.4
West CovinaLos Angeles County2,215+8.9
WestminsterOrange County2,169+6.7
WillitsMendocino County1,754-13.7
WoodlandYolo County1,759-13.5
Woodland HillsLos Angeles County2,783+36.9
Yorba LindaOrange County1,950-4.1
YrekaSiskiyou County1,613-20.7
Yuba CitySutter County1,859-8.6
YucaipaSan Bernardino County1,883-7.4

The average annual rate of auto insurance for California cities is $2,033. The top five most expensive cities for car insurance, namely, Glendale, Van Nuys, Hollywood, Panorama City and Reseda–all located in Los Angeles County, have premiums which are more than 42% higher than the California city average.

How Much Can a Violation Affect Your Costs?

Traveling above the speed limit or using your phone while driving can result in a traffic ticket, sending signals to your insurer that you’re a risky driver, and can lead to a rate increase. However, getting a traffic ticket isn’t the only thing drivers have to worry about when it comes to rate hikes. Even the safest drivers can get into an accident, and an at-fault accident on your record can also lead to a rate hike, typically larger compared to the increase one would see from a ticket, but this depends on the violation.

Annual Premium and Driving Record

On average, California drivers can see a 27.3% rate increase if issued a ticket, and an at-fault accident can lead to a 39.8% increase. If you already have one ticket or at-fault accident on your record, then receiving an additional mark on your record won’t do your insurance bill any favors. For a California driver with one at-fault accident, a ticket can lead to a 40% rate increase, while for a driver with one ticket on their record, the addition of an at-fault accident can lead to a 53.7% increase.

We also looked into how big of an effect gender, as an isolated factor, can have on insurance rates after receiving a traffic ticket or getting into an at-fault accident. The largest difference comes when drivers who have one traffic ticket get into an at-fault accident. Women can experience a 50.5% rate increase while men can experience up to a 57.3% increase. Overall, for drivers with one ticket and at-fault accident on their record, women can end up paying $200 less per year compared to men.

Had an Accident? Might Be a Good Time to Shop Around

California is one of the most expensive states for auto insurance, and getting involved in an at-fault traffic accident only stands to make things worse. On average, drivers can see a 32.2% increase in insurance costs after an at-fault accident; however, shopping around for a better rate after a rate hike could pay off, since the relative expense of your insurance plan can change. In other words, some initially cheaper insurers may become more expensive than alternative providers.

Car Insurance Cost Changes by Insurer

We compared annual auto insurance premiums for a single 30-year-old male driving a Honda Accord, with two different driving records: one clean driving record and one with an at-fault accident. The above graph shows relative car insurance costs sampled from Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, San Jose, Fresno and Sacramento, and sorted by annual premium after an at-fault accident.

The data shows that popular insurers such as Allstate, Liberty Mutual, AAA and GEICO can potentially increase your annual premiums by as much as $1,000 to $1,500 after your first at-fault car accident. However, there are insurers who can also become less expensive after an at-fault accident when compared to insurers who were initially cheaper for drivers without violations.

For example, a driver with no violations might pay a higher rate with an insurer such as Nationwide, The General or Esurance when compared to Safeco or AAA; however, smaller relative rate hikes can make the former companies more affordable after an at-fault accident.

Drivers should also be aware that their insurers might also provide accident forgiveness, a feature designed to help protect drivers from massive rate hikes after a car accident.

Please note that car insurance costs can vary greatly between companies depending on where you live, your age, vehicle, driving record, driving history and other factors. Values may not directly reflect what you would be quoted for a given insurer, since standardized profiles were used for comparison and illustrative purposes.

David Ascienzo

David Ascienzo, Ph.D., is a Data Scientist at ValuePenguin. He previously was a Doctoral Researcher in Physics at the City University of New York (CUNY). He holds a Ph.D. in Physics from the CUNY Graduate Center.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.