INSURANCE - CAR INSURANCE

Average Cost of Car Insurance in California for 2024

Updated Aug. 14, 2023
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Esurance is generally the cheapest car insurance in California for both full coverage and minimum liability policies.

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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.

In this article

Key takeaways

  • 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
$1,633/year $615/year Esurance
Avg. for young drivers Avg. cost for seniors Avg. for high-risk drivers
$4,815/year $2,043/year $3,190/year

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
Allstate $2,037/year $678/year
Farmers $1,870/year $761/year
Geico $1,258/year $422/year
Mercury $1,439/year $553/year
Progressive $1,402/year $474/year
State Farm
$1,579/year
 $618/year
USAA $1,354/year $483/year

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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
Poor (550-649) $2,048/year
Average (650-699) $2,000/year
Good (700-749) $1,975/year
Excellent (750+) $2,294/year

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
At-fault accident $1,633/year $3,245/year $1,612
DUI $1,633/year $4,844/year $3,211
Speeding ticket $1,633/year $2,594/year $961

*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
18 $4,943/year
25 $2,159/year
30 $1,868/year
40 $1,877/year
60 $1,850/year

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
Anaheim $1,963/year
Bakersfield $1,822/year
Fresno $1,867/year
Long Beach $2,162/year
Los Angeles
$2,670/year
San Diego
$1,887/year
San Francisco
$2,345/year

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.

Methodology

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.

  • You could save up to $500 with some companies
  • Compare dozens of providers in under 5 minutes
  • Fast, free and easy way to shop for insurance
  • Quickly find the perfect rate for you

Author Details

Kat Tretina Kat Tretina is a personal finance expert focusing on practical financial matters, including student loans, debt repayment, side hustles, insurance, and healthcare. Drawing from her personal experience, she aims to simplify complex financial topics and provide individuals with the information they need to make informed decisions.