From Zuma Beach to Redwood National Park, California is known for its incredible landmarks and natural beauty. But according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, it’s also one of the costliest states to live in, second only to Hawaii.
That higher cost of living is also reflected in auto insurance premiums; the average cost of car insurance in California is $1,633 per year, compared to the national average of $1,582.
- Key takeaways
- How much does car insurance cost in California?
- Average cost of car insurance in California by provider
- How does credit score affect car insurance rates in California?
- Average car insurance rates for high-risk drivers in California
- How does age affect car insurance rates in California?
- California car insurance rates by city
- CA's minimum car insurance requirements
- How to save money on car insurance in California
- FAQs about car insurance costs in CA
- The average cost of car insurance in California is $1,633 per year.
- Residents of Los Angeles and San Francisco have the highest average premiums.
- State-minimum coverage averages $615 per year.
How much does car insurance cost in California?
Like most things in California, car insurance premiums are more expensive than in other states. The national average premium for full coverage insurance — insurance that includes liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage — is $1,582, but California’s average annual premium is $1,633.
|Avg. cost for full coverage||Avg. cost for minimum coverage||Cheapest insurance provider|
|Avg. for young drivers||Avg. cost for seniors||Avg. for high-risk drivers|
Average cost of car insurance in California by provider
A number of insurance providers write car insurance policies in California. Geico’s average rates were the cheapest out of the seven companies we evaluated for both full coverage and state-minimum coverage. In contrast, Allstate was significantly more expensive for full coverage policies, costing hundreds more per year.
|Provider||Full coverage||Minimum liability coverage|
How does credit score affect car insurance rates in California?
In most states, car insurance companies can use your credit report and credit score to determine your premiums. However, California is one of the few exceptions that bans or limits the use of credit scores in calculating rates — insurers cannot use your credit history or score for underwriting or rating policies.
However, we found that those with excellent credit often had higher rates than those with poor or fair credit. The discrepancy can be due to other factors; for example, those with excellent credit may be purchasing luxury vehicles that come with higher insurance premiums.
|Credit health||Avg. annual premium|
Average car insurance rates for high-risk drivers in California
High-risk drivers are individuals with a higher likelihood of filing claims or getting into accidents. Insurers consider high-risk drivers as those with past speeding tickets, driving under the influence (DUI) convictions, or at-fault accidents, and charge much higher premiums.
Depending on the driving violation, you could see a significant increase. For example, those with a DUI may see their rates increase by $3,211 annually.
|Violation||Avg. annual premium before violation*||Avg. annual premium after violation||Avg. cost increase|
*Assumes clean driving record with good credit
How does age affect car insurance rates in California?
Age plays a big role in determining your car insurance premiums. Young drivers are more likely to be in accidents than other age groups, so they tend to have higher premiums. But we found that once you reach the age of 30, rates decrease and stay relatively the same through age 60.
|Age||Avg. annual premium|
California car insurance rates by city
Your location is another major factor in determining your credit. Generally, urban drivers pay more than those that live in rural or suburban areas, and locations with higher rates of crime tend to be more expensive.
In California, Los Angeles is the most expensive city for car insurance, averaging $2,670 per year. That’s no surprise, considering NeighborhoodScout gave the city a “9” on its crime index, meaning that 91% of U.S. cities are safer than Los Angeles.
|City||Avg. annual full-coverage premium|
CA's minimum car insurance requirements
In California, all drivers must have proof of financial responsibility. But that can take several forms:
- Car insurance policy
- Cash deposit of $35,000 with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
- DMV-issued certificate of self-insurance
- Surety bond of $35,000 or more from a company licensed to do business within the state
The majority of drivers will meet those requirements with a car insurance policy. For auto coverage, drivers must meet the following liability coverage minimums:
- $15,000 for the injury or death of one person
- $30,000 for the injury or death of more than one person
- $5,000 for property damage
How to save money on car insurance in California
You can save money on California auto insurance with the following tips:
- Compare premiums: Car insurance rates can vary by company, so shopping around and requesting quotes from the best car insurance companies could help you get the same or better coverage at a lower rate.
- Bundle your car insurance with other policies: If you have renters or homeowners insurance, you may qualify for a discount if you also purchase auto coverage from the same insurer.
- Talk to your agent about discounts: Insurance companies usually have discount programs for drivers with clean driving records, students, or those that complete safe driving courses.
- Increase your deductible: Your premiums are partially based on your deductible, which is how much you have to cover before your insurer pays for repairs or damages. Boosting your deductible can lower your premium, but make sure you can comfortably afford that cost before increasing it.
Our analysis was conducted using six different auto insurance marketplaces to determine the average cost of auto insurance in each state. The data we analyzed included coverage premiums from up to 10 different insurance providers. We looked at rates by city, driver profile, and credit score, as well as factored in the impact of driving violations. This data is for comparative purposes only. Your actual quote may be different.
FAQs about car insurance costs in CA
Is car insurance expensive in CA?
California has the second-highest cost of living in the country. As a result, California's average cost of car insurance is $1,633, compared to the national average of $1,582.
How much is car insurance per year in CA?
Car insurance in California averages $1,633 per year. However, young and high-risk drivers will likely have substantially higher premiums.
Is low-cost car insurance available in California?
If you cannot afford state-minimum coverage in California — which averages around $615 per year — you may qualify for the California Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program.
Eligibility for the program is dependent on your household size and income, but if you qualify, you may qualify for a policy with lower-than-average rates. You can visit MyLowCostAuto.com or call 866-602-8861 to learn more.