California Auto Insurance Costs

Car insurance rates in the Golden State are one the highest in the country for both full coverage and minimum state required coverage. There are several reasons for this like the state having the highest number of auto thefts in the country and tighter regulations. Higher premiums are more obvious in larger cities where policies are pricier in comparison with suburbs. Keeping clean driving and traffic records in this state is extra important because good driver discounts are higher than the US average.

People like automobiles here, especially luxury foreign ones. Latest figures show that there is a drop in the number of uninsured drivers partly thanks to state low cost auto insurance provisions and measures. But it is still at 16.6% and higher than the US average.

Set of Images from California

California Vehicle Insurance Laws

Mandatory level of liability limits for private passenger vehicles are:

  • $15,000 for bodily injury or death per person.
  • $30,000 total for bodily injury or death per accident.
  • $5,000 for property damage.

Auto insurers must offer Uninsured/Underinsured Bodily Injury coverage (UM/UIM BI) as part of minimum coverage but you can refuse it by signing a waiver. Minimum limits are;

  • UM/UIM BI: $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident

The golden state has strict regulations about uninsured driving. That is how they managed to bring down the number of uninsured motorists. So, motorists are well advised to make sure they get at least the minimum required liability only coverage and keep it because the state keeps a close eye on auto insurance lapses. Providers are required to report any lapsed policies to DMV.

California is one of the only four states that don’t allow credit checks for the purpose of calculating car insurance insurance premiums. That is why underwriters have to heavily rely on driving records, age, experience, yearly mileage and zip code when they calculate premiums. This may work out well if you have a clean history. But an excellent credit score cannot bail you out just after an accident and rates can go up a lot more than most other states. So, clean records and experience are very influential on prices here.

It is one of the regions with the most cars on the roads. This means chances of being involved in an accident are increased. It is hard to predict what would happen once you hit the roads but with a good coverage you can be sure to handle the stress a lot better. Currently California has the highest auto theft numbers in the country too. Full coverage automobile insurance with Collision and Comprehensive provides you protection against traffic accidents and auto thefts.


California is the most populous state with 40 million people living there and third largest. Nation’s second and fifth most populous metropolitans Greater Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Area are here too. Other cities with high populations are San Diego, San Jose, Fresno and Sacramento, which has been the state capital since 1854.

Los Angeles is one of the most congested cities in the country. Traffic is often in standstill and even worse during rush hour. That is one of the contributing factors along with auto theft and vandalism. Los Angeles auto insurance rates are about 40% higher than the already expensive state average. This may force people to think out of the box and come up with creative solutions. Things like giving a different address than the one you are living in can cause serious problems when you have a claim and it is illegal.

California Average Premiums

With nearly 25 million licensed drivers, this state frequently experiences traffic congestions, particularly in and around urban areas, which can lead to gridlocks on major roadways. The high occurrence of traffic accidents and auto-related crimes, driven by congestion and dense population, leads to increased insurance rates that surpass the national average. In California, the state-mandated minimum car insurance coverage averages around $636, while opting for full coverage results in an average of $2,291.

Cheapest Auto Insurers in California

Rates can vary widely among cities. The premium difference between the cheapest and most expensive city is about 60%. The priciest cities are Glendale, Inglewood and Los Angeles. Each has rates over 40% more than the state average, with Glendale being the worst with 60%. However, you can find affordable quotes even in these places if you patiently check with several sources. For example, the companies below are known to be the most competitive in the region and can save you some money.

  1. Wawanesa General
  2. Mercury Insurance
  3. Amica Mutual

It is worth reminding again that any of the above companies may disappear further down the list and be replaced by others by the time you need a quote. By all means you should start with them but they should not be the only carriers you get vehicle insurance quotes from. You should always compare prices no matter what your zip code is.

Noteworthy California Vehicle Insurance and Motoring Facts

  1. According to Forbes, receiving a speeding ticket could lead to a potential surge of 36% in your car insurance premiums. Meanwhile, being involved in an at-fault accident resulting in injuries might result in an even higher spike of 89%. Furthermore, having a DUI conviction on your record could lead to a staggering increase of 131%. Among the states, California stands out as a place where maintaining a clean driving record can yield significant rewards, given that both tickets and accidents have substantial impact on insurance premiums.
  2. Tesla Model Y, Toyota RAV4, Toyota Prius, Toyota Camry and Honda Civic are the most popular cars in California.
  3. Even though California is the third-largest state, motorists drive less miles here than the national average.
  4. According to the NHTSA, California has one of the nation’s highest accident rates, primarily attributed to distracted driving. And in 2022, 30% of fatalities due to traffic accidents are caused by drunk driving.
  5. In a survey commissioned by Root Insurance in 2020, it was found that 58% of California voters expressed dissatisfaction with the fairness of car insurance rates, indicating that they believed the rates were discriminatory.
  6. Along with credit score, gender cannot be used as a factor in the Golden State when calculating vehicle insurance premiums.
  7. Automobile insurance fraud involves deliberately making a false insurance claim or engaging in deceptive actions towards an insurance company with the intention of obtaining benefits that one is not legitimately entitled to. In California, such fraudulent activities are typically treated as either misdemeanors or felonies and can lead to a potential prison sentence of up to 5 years.

The cost of vehicle insurance in this state tends to be higher compared to the average rates in the United States. That is why motorists should try their best to find the best value coverage for their circumstances.