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Cheapest California Auto Insurance

Enter your California zip code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

Jeffrey Johnson graduated summa cum laude from the University of Baltimore School of Law and has worked in legal offices and nonprofits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman University and worked in film, education, and publishing. His professional writing has appeared on sites like The Manifest and Vice, and he is the author of a novel ...

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UPDATED: Nov 21, 2019

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It would sure make life easier if we could just tell you the company that has the lowest rates in California. It’s not that easy, however, as there are many unknown factors like if you are currently insured, how many years you have been driving, the number of miles you drive each year, and if you are a good driver. This article covers the best ways to avoid high prices and will hopefully give you a jump start in finding the best auto insurance in California.

One of the more important components that help determine car insurance rates is where your car is garaged in California. Cities with larger populations like Glendale, San Francisco, and Sacramento tend to have higher rates, whereas areas that tend to be more rural receive better rates.

The following table lists the most expensive places in California to buy car insurance in.

How much is auto insurance in California?
Rank City Premium Per Year
1 Glendale $2,142
2 Los Angeles $2,083
3 San Francisco $1,711
4 Oakland $1,704
5 Sacramento $1,703
6 San Bernardino $1,628
7 Long Beach $1,610
8 Santa Clarita $1,595
9 Stockton $1,556
10 Garden Grove $1,554
11 Moreno Valley $1,536
12 Riverside $1,527
13 Fontana $1,519
14 Modesto $1,502
15 Fresno $1,502
16 Santa Ana $1,497
17 Anaheim $1,430
18 Fremont $1,389
19 San Jose $1,381
20 Huntington Beach $1,374
21 Bakersfield $1,353
22 Irvine $1,330
23 San Diego $1,327
24 Oxnard $1,318
25 Chula Vista $1,298
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Rate information is comparative as the garaging address in California can lower or raise premiums considerably.

Determining which company offers the best insurance rates in California will require a bit more work than just picking a company at random. Every car insurance company uses different criteria to set premium rates, so let’s take a look at the insurance companies with the most affordable rates in California.

Keep in mind that California insurance rates are influenced by many factors that will increase or decrease the price of coverage. Turning one year older, buying a different vehicle, or getting a ticket for running a stop sign can trigger price changes that may make certain companies more affordable than before.

Enter your zip code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

USAA quotes some of the lowest car insurance rates in California at around $1,109 a year. Century National, Wawanesa, CSAA, and Nationwide also rank well as some of the most economical California insurance companies.

As shown in the table above, if you buy coverage from Century National and switched to USAA, you could see yearly savings of upwards of $69. Customers with Wawanesa could save as much as $72 a year, and CSAA customers might reduce prices by as much as $77 a year.

If you would like to find the cheapest California auto insurance, click here to begin a quote or visit any of the low-priced companies below.

Enter your zip code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

Bear in mind that those policy rates are averaged for all insureds and vehicles and do not factor in a rate decrease in California. So the car insurance company that has the cheapest price for you may not even be included in the list of companies shown earlier. That underscores the importance of why you need to get auto insurance quotes using your own individual information.

The car, truck, or SUV requiring coverage is one of the primary factors when looking for the cheapest California auto insurance. Vehicles with lower performance, good safety features, or a positive history of liability claims will cost substantially less to insure than high performance models. The data below ranks insurance premiums for a selection of the cheaper automobiles to insure in California.

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Cheapest Vehicles to Insure in California
Vehicle Make and Model Estimated Cost for Full Coverage
Hyundai Elantra GLS Touring Station Wagon $1,298
Subaru Forester X Premium AWP AWD $1,465
Ford Escape XLS 2WD $1,491
Honda Civic DX 4-Dr Sedan $1,502
Honda CR-V EX-L 4WD $1,518
Toyota Tacoma Double Cab 4WD $1,576
Toyota Highlander SE 2WD $1,583
Ford Edge Sport AWD $1,629
Hyundai Sonata GLS 4-Dr Sedan $1,637
Ford Explorer XLT 2WD $1,642
Ford F-150 XLT Super Cab 2WD $1,658
Ford Fusion SE 4-Dr Sedan $1,666
Chevrolet Traverse LT AWD $1,676
Toyota Prius $1,666
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon 4WD 4-Dr $1,671
Dodge Ram Crew Cab ST 2WD $1,674
Honda Odyssey EX $1,708
Chevrolet Impala LS $1,716
Toyota Sienna LE $1,748
Hyundai Tucson Limited 2WD $1,757
Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4WD $1,748
Kia Forte SX 2-Dr Coupe $1,764
Chevrolet Equinox LS AWD $1,770
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Price data assumes married female driver age 50, no speeding tickets, no at-fault accidents, $500 deductibles, and California minimum liability limits. Discounts applied include multi-policy, multi-vehicle, claim-free, safe-driver, and homeowner. Rate quotes do not factor in specific zip code location which can increase or decrease prices substantially.

Based upon the table data, you can see that models like the Hyundai Elantra, Subaru Forester, Ford Escape, Honda Civic, and Honda CR-V are the more affordable vehicles to insure for drivers in California.

The information below illustrates how your choice of deductibles can affect insurance costs when researching cheap insurance in California. The rates are based on a married female driver, comp and collision included, and no discounts are applied to the premium.

The chart above illustrates that a 40-year-old driver could reduce rates by $408 a year by switching their comprehensive and collision coverages from a $100 deductible to a $500 deductible, or save $614 by selecting a $1,000 deductible. Younger drivers, like the 20-year-old example, have the ability to save as much as $1,008 annually by using a higher deductible.

When using a larger deductible, it will be important to have enough spare savings to enable you to cover the extra out-of-pocket expense, which is the one shortcoming of high deductibles.

Types of discounts on California insurance rates

Discounts on insurance in CaliforniaCar insurance companies that offer the cheapest California auto insurance may additionally offer policy discounts that can reduce rates by as much as 40% or more if you qualify. Companies and some of the premium reductions they offer are shown below.

  • State Farm may offer discounts for defensive driving training, safe vehicle, accident-free, driver’s education, and passive restraint.
  • Farmers Insurance policyholders can earn discounts including switch companies, early shopping, alternative fuel, electronic funds transfer, and bundle discounts.
  • GEICO may include discounts for defensive driver, military active duty, daytime running lights, multi-vehicle, membership and employees, and emergency military deployment.
  • American Family has discounts for bundled insurance, TimeAway discount, multi-vehicle, early bird, accident-free, and Steer into Savings.
  • Nationwide includes discounts for Farm Bureau membership, defensive driving, good student, family plan, and accident-free.
  • Progressive offers premium reductions for good student, multi-policy, continuous coverage, homeowner, multi-vehicle, online quote discount, and online signing.

The illustration below compares auto insurance costs with and without some available policy discounts. The rate quotes are based on a female driver, no tickets, no at-fault accidents, California state minimum liability limits, comprehensive and collision coverage, and $500 deductibles. The first bar for each age group shows insurance cost with no discounts. The lower bar shows the rates with marriage, anti-theft, accident-free, defensive driving course, multiple policy, and claim-free discounts applied. When drivers qualify for the discounts, the average yearly reduction on insurance in California is 28% or $549.

Rate comparison of full coverage and liability-only

Finding the cheapest California auto insurance is important to most vehicle owners, and one way to lower the cost of insurance is to not pay for full coverage. The illustration below visualizes the comparison of premium costs when comparing full coverage to liability only. The premiums assume no violations or claims, $500 deductibles, single marital status, and no discounts are factored in.

Averaged for all age groups, physical damage coverage on your policy costs $2,273 per year more than buying just liability insurance. That may make you wonder if paying for full coverage is a waste of money. There is no definitive rule that works best for making the decision to drop physical damage coverage on your policy, but there is a general guideline you can use. If the annual cost of your full coverage insurance is more than around 10% of the settlement you would receive from your company, then you might want to think about dropping full coverage.

For example, let’s say your vehicle’s replacement cost is $8,000 and you have $1,000 physical damage deductibles. If your vehicle is destroyed, you would only receive $7,000 after the policy deductible has been paid. If it’s costing you more than $700 annually to have full coverage, then you may need to consider dropping full coverage.

There are some conditions where buying only liability insurance is not recommended. If you haven’t paid off your loan, you have to keep full coverage as part of the loan conditions. Also, if your savings is not enough to buy a different vehicle if your current one is damaged, you should not remove full coverage.

Find the cheapest California auto insurance

It is possible to find better rates, and here are some of the better thrifty ideas that can help California drivers buy lower-cost auto insurance.

  • Better credit rating means better rates
  • If your vehicles are older, consider dropping full coverage
  • Raise deductibles to save money
  • Drive a car with a high safety rating
  • Avoid getting tickets or violations
  • Prevent price hikes by avoiding at-fault accidents
  • Compare rate quotes frequently

That last piece of advice is extraordinarily valuable, as we hit on in this article. Auto insurance prices go up and down frequently, so you should be ready to buy from a different company if a lower price can be found.

Having brand loyalty is commendable, but it’s not recommended if that devotion results in you overpaying a small fortune year after year. It only takes a couple minutes to compare prices to find cheaper car insurance in California.

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

Enter your zip code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

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