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.
|Rank||City||Premium Per Year|
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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.
|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|
|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.
- State Farm may include discounts for multiple autos, defensive driving training, passive restraint, Drive Safe & Save, and multiple policy.
- GEICO has discounts for federal employee, five-year accident-free, military active duty, anti-theft, and emergency military deployment.
- SAFECO may offer discounts for multi-car, safe driver, anti-theft, teen safe driver, and bundle discounts.
- Farmers Insurance policyholders can earn discounts including multi-car, alternative fuel, teen driver, good student, and distant student.
- AAA discounts include good student, pay-in-full, multi-policy, good driver, anti-theft, multi-car, and education and occupation.
- USAA offers discounts including multi-policy, military installation, safe driver, new vehicle, and multi-vehicle.
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
- AAA of Southern California
- State Farm
- AAA Insurance
- Liberty Mutual
- Titan Insurance
- The Hartford
Top 10 Major Auto Insurance Providers in California Ranked by Customer Satisfaction
- Titan Insurance - 95%
- USAA - 94%
- AAA of Southern California - 92%
- AAA Insurance - 91%
- Nationwide - 90%
- State Farm - 90%
- The Hartford - 89%
- GEICO - 89%
- The General - 88%
- 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.
- Avoid at-fault accidents and claims
- Buy vehicles with five-star safety ratings
- Good credit scores may lower your rates
- Full coverage may not be needed on older vehicles
- Increase your policy deductibles
- Just one traffic violation will increase your rates
- Keep rates low by shopping around frequently
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.