INSURANCE - CAR INSURANCE

Best Car Insurance in California for 2024

Updated Nov. 6, 2023
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Like everything else in California, car insurance can be expensive. We found the best car insurance companies in California to help ensure you aren’t paying more than needed.

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Living in California can be expensive, and finding affordable car insurance that also provides good coverage can be a challenge. While the cost of car insurance depends on many factors, Californian drivers generally pay more than the national average of $1,582 a year.

If you're looking to save money without sacrificing protection, you'll want to find the best car insurance in California that fits your needs.

In this article

Key takeaways

  • The best car insurance in California based on customer satisfaction is USAA, costing $1,354 per year for full coverage.
  • Allstate had the most expensive insurance prices in California, averaging $2,037 annually for full coverage.
  • Los Angeles drivers pay the most for full coverage, an average of $2,670 annually.

Best car insurance companies in California

Although it can be hard to choose from all the car insurance providers in California, finding a company that offers good customer service, multiple policy options, and a wide range of discounts can help you ensure you’re covered when you’re on the road.

Of the companies listed below, GEICO had the lowest estimated cost for minimum and full liability coverage. However, USAA received the highest rating for customer satisfaction and was generally lower in cost than most of its competitors. 

Provider J.D. Power customer satisfaction rating Estimated annual full coverage Estimated annual minimum liability coverage
USAA 871/1,000 $1,354/year $483/year
GEICO 830/1,000 $1,258/year $422/year
State Farm 826/1,000 $1,579/year $618/year
Allstate 816/1,000 $2,037/year $678/year
Farmers 810/1,000 $1,870/year $761/year
Progressive 809/1,000 $1,402/year $474/year
Mercury 794/1,000 $1,439/year $553/year

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USAA: Highest customer satisfaction

USAA is a top choice for car insurance and consistently earns high customer satisfaction ratings. However, its policies are limited to current or former military or military family members. If you are eligible, USAA offers a variety of coverage options, including liability, comprehensive, collision, and uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance.

Pros
  •  Offers multiple insurance options, including home, auto, life, banking, home, and auto loans
  •  Available in all 50 states
Cons
  •  Policies are only available to military members, veterans, and their families
  •  It may be more expensive than other carriers in California

Get a quote now | USAA review

GEICO: Most affordable coverage

GEICO is an excellent option for affordable car insurance in California. GEICO provides many standard coverage options and policies that other companies may not offer, such as roadside assistance, but it doesn’t provide rideshare policies like some other companies do.

Pros
  •  Has the second-highest J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction rating, earning 830 out of 1,000
  •  Offers the lowest rates for comprehensive coverage and minimum liability insurance in California
Cons
  •  Limited availability of local agents and no regional offices in California
  •  Doesn’t offer some specialty policies like rideshare or new car replacements

Get a quote now | GEICO review

State Farm: Best for new drivers

Since younger drivers generally pay more for car insurance, finding an insurance company that offers competitive rates for teens and new drivers can be difficult. State Farm offers discounts totaling as much as 25% to help lower new driver insurance costs and gives discounts for taking driver education classes and getting good grades.

Pros
  •  Offers multiple options for new drivers 
  •  Has extensive policy and discount options for experienced drivers
  •  Large network of more than 19,000 agents to answer questions or help you find the best policy
Cons
  •  The third most expensive carrier on our list, costing $2,037 a year for full coverage
  •  Doesn’t offer a live chat feature, so you must call an agent or claims representative

Get a quote now | State Farm review

Allstate: Best for lowest deductible

Most insurance companies let you choose your deductible amount within a range, and the lower the deductible, the higher your monthly payment is likely to be. Allstate offers a vanishing deductible program to help you reduce costs after an accident. Participants can earn up to $100 off their deductible for each year they don’t have an accident, up to $500.

Pros
  •  Allstate’s vanishing deductible program could mean you pay less for a collision insurance claim
  •  Offers multiple coverage options you might not find elsewhere, like new car replacement and accident forgiveness
Cons
  •  Lower than average customer satisfaction, earning just 816 out of 1000 in J.D. Power’s survey
  •  The most expensive carrier on our list, costing $2,037 a year for full coverage

Get a quote now | Allstate review

Farmers: Best for multi-driver discounts

Farmers Insurance has California's most expensive minimum liability coverage, costing an average of $761 annually. However, Farmer’s offers a multipolicy and multiline discount to help customers save money if they add more cars or bundle a home and auto policy.

Pros
  •  Customers who bundle a home and auto policy together can save an average of 20%
  •  Offers a California-only discount for driving a vehicle powered by anything other than gasoline (hybrid, electric, natural gas, propane, etc.)
Cons
  •  Has the most expensive minimum liability coverage for California drivers
  •  Relatively low customer satisfaction score on the J.D. Power Survey

Get a quote now | Farmers review

California auto insurance requirements

Drivers in California are required to carry a minimum of:

  • $15,000 in liability for the injury or death of one person
  • $30,000 in liability for the injury or death of more than one person
  • $5,000 for property damage

Keep in mind the amounts listed are only the minimum requirements, and it is usually highly encouraged to carry more than the state-mandated insurance minimums whenever possible.

In some instances, California will also accept other forms of financial responsibility, such as:

  • A cash deposit of $35,000 with the DMV
  • DMV-issued self-insurance certificate
  • A surety bond for $35,000 from a company licensed to do business in California

How to choose a car insurance provider in California

Finding the best car insurance for a reasonable price can take time, but it can be done. Consider the following when you’re looking for a new insurance provider:

  • Shop around: Comparing insurance companies can pay off since insurance costs vary significantly. Request quotes from multiple insurance carriers and ensure all companies you are reviewing quote similar coverage types and amounts.
  • Read reviews: Pay attention to customer reviews and online complaints about problems others may have experienced with the carrier. Check with the California Department of Insurance about the number of customer complaints a company has received relative to the number of policies sold.
  • Confirm licensing: According to the Insurance Information Institute, only some companies are licensed to operate in each state. Check with the state insurance department to confirm which companies are licensed in your state.

How much does car insurance cost in California?

The average cost of car insurance in California is $1,633 per year, and state minimum coverage averages $615 annually. 

However, car insurance prices can vary widely based on where you live. Drivers in Los Angeles pay an average of $2,670 per year, while residents of Bakersfield, just a couple of hours north of Los Angeles, pay an annual average of $1,822.

California car insurance rates by city

Unsurprisingly, Los Angeles and San Francisco residents pay the most for car insurance in California since they are city centers with dense populations and, therefore, the potential for more crime.

People in Fresno (ranked fifth in population in California) and San Diego (ranked second) pay about the same for their insurance, with rates of $1,867 and $1,887, respectively.

City Avg. annual full-coverage premium
Los Angeles $2,670/year
San Francisco $2,345/year
Anaheim $1,963/year
Bakersfield $1,822/year
Fresno $1,867/year
Long Beach $2,162/year
San Diego $1,887/year

Methodology

Our analysis was conducted using six different auto insurance marketplaces to determine the best 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 California

What are the minimum car insurance coverage requirements in California?

California requires that drivers maintain $15,000 for the injury or death of one person and $30,000 for the injury or death of more than one person. Drivers must carry $5,000 in property liability coverage.  

How much does car insurance cost in California?

The average cost of car insurance in California is $1,633 per year. Car insurance prices vary widely across California and depend on several factors, including where you live and the type of car you drive. For example, drivers in Los Angeles will pay an average of $2,670 a year.

Which car insurance companies cover California?

Multiple car insurance companies offer policies in California, including well-known names like State Farm, Allstate, GEICO, and Progressive. Check with the California Department of Insurance to ensure the company you’re considering is licensed to do business in California.

What is the cheapest car insurance company in California?

On average, GEICO had the cheapest coverage in California, costing $1,258 a year for full coverage and $422 a year for minimum liability coverage.

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Author Details

Kate Daugherty Kate Daugherty is a professional writer with a passion for providing others the head start they deserve on their financial journeys. Largely self-taught, Kate relied on books, blogs, and trial-and-error to learn how to budget and save for the future, all while working to pay back about $15,000 in student loans.