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How Much is Car Insurance for Good Drivers in California?

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 7, 2019

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The words “bargain” and “insurance” really should not be used together, in particular when you are looking for the cheapest coverage for good drivers. In an attempt to save some money, let’s familiarize you with some situations that significantly impact insurance premiums, and come up with some ways to take the sting out of your next policy.

Establishing which company quotes the most affordable auto insurance rates for good drivers involves more work in order to find coverage that fits your budget. Every insurance provider has a unique formula to set premium rates, so we’ll take a look at the auto insurance companies with the overall best prices in California.

Keep in mind that California auto insurance rates are influenced by many factors which can substantially decrease or increase the cost of a policy. Simply turning a year older, having a teen driver, or having an at-fault accident can cause premium 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 normally has some of the lowest car insurance rates in California at around $1,143 each year. Wawanesa, CSAA, Century National, and Nationwide are also some of the best California insurance companies.

In this example, if you are insured with Century National and switched to Wawanesa, you could earn annual savings of approximately $44. Insureds with Nationwide could save as much as $104 a year, and 21st Century policyholders might cut rates by $179 a year.

To see if you’re overpaying, click here or visit several of the following companies.

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

Remember that these policy rates are averages for all drivers and vehicles and are not factoring in a price decrease for good drivers. So the insurer that is best for you may not even be included in the above rate chart. That illustrates why you need to get rate quotes using your own driver data and vehicle information.

The car, truck, or SUV driven is a significant factor when comparing quotes for economical coverage for good drivers. Vehicles with lower acceleration and performance, good safety features, or a low likelihood of having liability claims will cost less to insure than high performance models.

The table below presents coverage premiums for a number of the most affordable automobiles to buy coverage for.

Cheapest Auto Insurance Rates for Good Drivers in California
Vehicle Insured Estimated Cost for Full Coverage
Honda CR-V LX 2WD $1,298
Hyundai Tucson GLS 4WD $1,446
Toyota Highlander 2WD $1,451
Toyota Tacoma 4WD $1,446
Ford Explorer XLT 4WD $1,451
Ford Edge Limited 2WD $1,502
Toyota Sienna LE AWD $1,539
Toyota RAV4 Sport 4WD $1,548
Chevrolet Silverado LT Extended Cab 4WD $1,539
Subaru Forester XT Limited Edition AWD $1,589
Ford Escape Limited 4WD $1,623
Honda Odyssey EX-L W/Rear Entertainment $1,629
Toyota Corolla S $1,638
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Prices based on married female driver age 50, no speeding tickets, no at-fault accidents, $500 deductibles, and California minimum liability limits. Discounts applied include multi-policy, safe-driver, homeowner, claim-free, and multi-vehicle. Premium amounts do not factor in your specific California location which can impact price quotes substantially.

Based upon the rates shown, we can tell that cars like the Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson, Toyota Highlander, Toyota Tacoma, and Ford Explorer will be the cheapest vehicles to insure for safe drivers.

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Does it make sense to buy full coverage?

Finding cheap auto insurance for good drivers in California is probably important to the majority of drivers, and a great way to pay lower rates for insurance is to buy only liability coverage. The example below illustrates the comparison of premium costs with and without full coverage. The information is based on no accidents, no driving violations, $500 deductibles, single status, and no discounts are applied.

If all age groups are averaged, full coverage on your policy costs $2,816 per year over liability only. That amount may make you wonder if you should buy full coverage at all. There is no definitive guideline to stop paying for physical damage insurance, but there is a general guideline you can use. If the annual cost of coverage is more than about 10% of the replacement cost minus the deductible, then you might want to consider buying only liability coverage.

There are some situations where buying only liability insurance is not advised. If you still have a loan on your vehicle, you have to maintain full coverage in order to prevent your loan from defaulting. Also, if your emergency fund is not enough to purchase a different vehicle if your current one is in an accident, you should not drop full coverage.

Best rates: Geico, State Farm, Progressive, or Allstate

When it comes to buying car insurance for safe drivers in California, the four most popular companies are Geico, State Farm, Progressive, and Allstate. When combined, they make up about half of all policies written. All offer your standard physical damage and liability coverages, but each one has somewhat different options that may influence your choice. The next table compares and contrasts ratings for price and service, as well as some optional coverages offered by each one.

Comparison of Top Four U.S. Car Insurance Companies
Geico State Farm Progressive Allstate
Number of Discounts 2nd 3rd 4th 1st
Claims Handling 3rd 2nd 4th 1st
Policy Cost 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Customer Satisfaction 1st 4th 3rd 2nd
Market share percentage 11.9% 18.3% 9.1% 9.7%
Customer recommendation 87% 88% 88% 86%
Usage-based rating No Yes Yes Yes
New car replacement insurance No No No Yes
Coverage for Uber and Lyft drivers Yes Yes Yes Yes
Accident forgiveness coverage Yes No Yes Yes
Emergency roadside service Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mechanical breakdown insurance Yes No Yes No
Offered in California Yes Yes Yes Yes
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How to get cheap auto insurance for good drivers in California

Lowering your rates is not difficult, and here are some of the recommended thrifty suggestions that can help drivers locate cheaper auto insurance.

  • Full coverage is expensive so only insure older vehicles for liability only
  • Buy your homeowners policy from the same company as your auto insurance
  • Avoid having at-fault accidents
  • Save money by staying claim-free
  • Lower rates by purchasing a safer vehicle
  • Avoid getting tickets or violations
  • Compare quotes from other companies often

The final tip is notably significant, as was emphasized in this write-up. Coverage rates fluctuate constantly, so don’t be unwilling to switch companies if a more affordable price is available. Having a favorite company is great, but we do not recommend it if it’s costing you lots of money. In less than five minutes you could compare rates and find cheaper car insurance for good drivers.

Best cheap insurance quotes for safe drivers

Drivers have a lot of ways to shop around for auto insurance in California, but the three most common are through an exclusive insurance agency such as Liberty Mutual or State Farm, a non-exclusive or independent agent, or direct online or over the phone from a company like Geico or Progressive. Each way is similar, but each is different in how they provide rate quotes.

Independent agencies work for many companies and can get rate quotes from all of them. They are not employed by one specific company and can give you more rate choices, which may provide you with the best shot at cutting your rates. If the agent locates a cheaper price, your agent can switch companies and you can remain with the same agent.

Exclusive agencies are only able to write business for just one company, two popular examples being a Liberty Mutual or State Farm agent. Exclusive agents generally are unable to provide other companys’ prices, so if finding the cheapest auto insurance is your goal, you will want to shop around.

If you want to buy auto insurance direct, you bypass the middleman (the agent) and instead shop direct online or over the phone from a company like Progressive or Geico. Buying direct may be a decent choice drivers who do not have a need for a risk management assessment and have some degree of understanding of the limitations of auto insurance.

When shopping for auto insurance, which way works best to buy cheap auto insurance for good drivers in California? Most people would assume that shopping direct results in the best prices since no commissions are paid to an agent, but unfortunately, that is not the case. It could also be said using an independent agent guarantees the best prices since they have access to many companies, but that assumption is not true either. And often times, the exclusive agents may have prices that independents and direct companies can’t touch.

Due to that fact that auto insurance uses so many rating variables, the best method to ensure the lowest rates is to get quotes and compare the rates. To cover all the bases, get price quotes all three ways to give yourself plenty of rates to compare. For a list of companies offering online discounts, click here to view.

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

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

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