Ideally, we could simply tell you the single best car insurance company that has the best auto insurance prices in California. That is not the case, however, as there are a whole bunch of unknown elements like if you are a homeowner or renter, whether you are female or male, the safety features built into your vehicle, and any driving violations you may have, that all impact the cost of coverage. This article covers the best ways to avoid high prices and hopefully give you enough understanding to have a solid foundation to find cheaper car insurance in California.

One of the many factors that aid in calculating the amount you pay each year for auto insurance is where you normally keep your vehicle in California. Cities with larger populations like Glendale, San Francisco, and Oakland likely pay more, whereas less populated areas tend to receive cheaper rates.

The following table rates the priciest cities in California to buy car insurance in.

How much is auto insurance in California?
Rank City Premium Per Year
1 Glendale $2,121
2 Los Angeles $2,083
3 San Francisco $1,745
4 Sacramento $1,720
5 Oakland $1,687
6 San Bernardino $1,644
7 Long Beach $1,626
8 Fontana $1,566
9 Stockton $1,556
10 Moreno Valley $1,536
11 Santa Clarita $1,533
12 Riverside $1,527
13 Garden Grove $1,524
14 Fresno $1,502
15 Santa Ana $1,497
16 Modesto $1,487
17 Anaheim $1,430
18 San Jose $1,395
19 Huntington Beach $1,374
20 Irvine $1,371
21 Bakersfield $1,353
22 Chula Vista $1,350
23 Fremont $1,348
24 San Diego $1,340
25 Oxnard $1,304
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Information shown are estimated as the specific area where the vehicle is garaged can decrease or increase coverage prices significantly.

The make and model of vehicle you are trying to insure is one of the largest considerations when comparing quotes for the best auto insurance in California. Vehicles with lower acceleration and performance, a plethora of safety features, or low incidents of liability claims will cost much less to insure than adrenaline junky models. The information below presents insurance costs for a handful of the most cost-effective vehicles to buy insurance for.

Cheapest Vehicles to Insure in California
Make and Model Estimated Cost for Full Coverage
Honda CR-V EX 2WD $1,378
Ford Escape XLS 2WD $1,504
Jeep Wrangler Sport 4WD 2-Dr $1,552
Hyundai Elantra GLS Touring Station Wagon $1,557
Ford Focus S 4-Dr Sedan $1,600
Toyota Camry LE $1,631
Toyota Tacoma Double Cab 4WD $1,641
Toyota RAV4 Sport 2WD $1,631
Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid $1,640
Ford Explorer Limited AWD $1,660
Toyota Prius $1,724
Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD LTZ Crew Cab 4WD $1,750
Ford F-150 Lariat Crew Cab Platinum 2WD $1,758
Dodge Grand Caravan SE $1,750
GMC Sierra SLT Extended Cab 2WD $1,757
Chevrolet Equinox LS AWD $1,782
Ford Edge SEL 2WD $1,795
Honda Civic SI 4-Dr Sedan $1,808
Ford F-350 XL Crew Cab Turbo Diesel 2WD $1,814
Nissan Altima 2.5 4-Dr Sedan $1,835
Volkswagen Jetta LE 4-Dr Sedan $1,840
Toyota Camry Hybrid $1,864
Kia Optima SX $1,871
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Table data represents single male driver age 30, no speeding tickets, no at-fault accidents, $1,000 deductibles, and California minimum liability limits. Discounts applied include multi-vehicle, multi-policy, homeowner, claim-free, and safe-driver. Table data does not factor in specific zip code location which can lower or raise auto insurance rates substantially.

Based upon these rates, you can conclude that cars like the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Jeep Wrangler, and Hyundai Elantra should be the most budget-friendly vehicles to insure for drivers in California.

Types of discounts on California car insurance rates

Insurers that provide coverage in California may provide rate discounts that may potentially lower prices by as much as 35% or more if you are eligible. The best auto insurance companies and a summarized list of policyholder discounts can be read below.

The diagram below illustrates the comparison of yearly insurance costs with and without policy discounts. The prices are based on a male driver, no claims or violations, California state minimum liability limits, comp and collision included, and $250 deductibles.

The first bar for each age group shows insurance cost with no discounts. The lower bar shows the rates with passive restraint, marriage, anti-theft, accident-free, defensive driving course, and claim-free discounts applied. When these discounts are applied to the policy premium, theamount saved on auto insurance in California is 28% or $640.

Insuring your vehicle with a high-quality company can be challenging considering how many choices there are in California. The rank data listed below can help you select which auto insurance companies you want to consider when comparing rates.

These rankings are only comprised of the companies with a significant amount of written premium nationwide, so smaller regional companies are not included in this list. To get price quotes from these and other companies in California, click here.

Top 10 Major Auto Insurance Providers in California Ranked by Claims Service

  1. AAA of Southern California
  2. State Farm
  3. Esurance
  4. AAA Insurance
  5. Progressive
  6. Liberty Mutual
  7. GEICO
  8. Allstate
  9. Titan Insurance
  10. The Hartford

Top 10 Major Auto Insurance Providers in California Ranked by Customer Satisfaction

  1. Titan Insurance - 95%
  2. USAA - 94%
  3. AAA of Southern California - 92%
  4. AAA Insurance - 91%
  5. Nationwide - 90%
  6. State Farm - 90%
  7. The Hartford - 89%
  8. GEICO - 89%
  9. The General - 88%
  10. 21st Century - 88%

Chances are good that you're overpaying for California car insurance

California auto insurance rates are impacted by many things that may substantially change the price of your policy. Simply improving your credit, becoming a homeowner, or getting a driving violation can trigger rate changes that may make certain companies more affordable than before. Additionally, auto insurance companies change rates as often as every quarter to reflect underwriting profits or losses. Unexpectedly high claims may result in additional premium costs, while profitable underwriting may cause lower-priced California car insurance rates.

For instance, the data below shows rates for the cheapest car insurance in California for a 45-year-old female driver with a clear driving record, no claims, and solid credit. When comparing rates based on her current risk profile, USAA quotes the cheapest car insurance rates in California at $1,155 annually. This is $496 less than the average premium paid by California drivers of $1,651. Century National, CSAA, Wawanesa, and Nationwide are the rest of the top five cheapest California auto insurance companies.

The example below compares rates after we give the driver in the first chart a claim surcharge, a lower credit rating, and an imperfect driving record. Since each auto insurance company has a different process for determining rates in each state, analyzing rate quotes may now show a different ranking of affordable companies as shown below.

Grange now has the cheapest price in California with Progressive, GEICO, Mercury, and Allstate completing the list. This example demonstrates why it is critical to shop around with many companies to find affordable car insurance rates in California.

Prices can be determined by many factors and change dramatically, so the best option the last time you compared rates may now be wasting a lot of money.

How to find cheaper car insurance in California

Below you'll find some of the better money-saving solutions that can help California drivers get cheaper coverage.

That last idea is especially significant, as was stressed in this piece. Prices charged by car insurance companies can be adjusted at any time, so don't be hesitant to switch carriers if you can find a cheaper rate.

Loyalty to a specific company is fine, but it's not a great idea if that devotion results in you overpaying a considerable chunk of change every month. It only takes a couple minutes to compare rates to find cheaper car insurance in California.