Select Page

The rates of auto insurance in California tend to be very expensive. However, not all rates are high. The cost you can incur for insuring your car depends on the city you live in. The costs will also vary from company to company. So, for you to get low rates, you need to shop around and keep comparing as many rates as possible until you get the best.

To make things a bit easier for you, we have compiled a list of the cheapest insurers depending on the common driver types. You may also get more information on auto insurance in California depending on where you live. For instance, rates can be different in Sacramento or Bakersfield compared to other cities in the area. 

Auto Insurance Statistics in California

Auto insurance rates in California have been fairly consistent with the national averages. They dipped below average in 2008 and have stayed below the national average since that time. The data includes statistics for the entire state including, but not limited to, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Fresno, San Francisco, and Bakersfield.

California Average Annual Car Insurance Premiums 2008 – 2013


cheap auto insurance california


Drunk Driving Fatalities

An annual report put out by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that California has remained consistently below the national average when it comes to drunk driving fatalities.

Drunk driving fatalities in California from 2010 to 2014

cheap auto insurance california

Source: NHTSA

Teen Drinking and Driving in California

Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that teen drinking and driving in California is one of the highest. California’s percentage of teen drinking incidences far outpace the national average.


Teen Drinking & Driving in California vs. Nationwide

cheap auto insurance california


Car Theft in California

Car theft in California shows up at far above the national average. However, the positive trend is that since 2013, the number of car thefts has been on the decline according to a study completed by the FBI.

Vehicle Thefts by Rank Nationwide –  Top 5 States

cheap auto insurance california

Source: Statista

Uninsured Motorists in California

Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage provides coverage for drivers who have been in an accident and the other driver was underinsured or uninsured. Twenty states, as well as the District of Columbia, require uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. The below data shows how well California ranks in the total number reported incidences of uninsured motorists in the state in the year 2015.

Percentage of Uninsured Drivers (Top 12 States in 2015) 


cheap auto insurance california

Source: Insurance Information Institute

Cheapest rates for the young drivers

This is the insurance cover for drivers who are in their early 20s. These drivers require less coverage compared to older motorists who have larger savings and families to protect. Here are the rates for young motorists who have already attained the minimum age and need auto insurance coverage in California.

The best rates you will get in this category are from Geico, Esurance and 21st Century. The charges are $463 per year, $ 714 annually and $702 per year respectively. You will note that Geico has the lowest quote. The amount payable each month is around $39 every month.

Cheapest rates for excellent drivers

Experienced drivers who haven’t been in fault accidents, moving violations or DUIs get special rates. The top three companies that offer the cheapest rates are Geico, Esurance and 21st Century. The prices are $1,193, $ 1,337, and 1,371 respectively, each year. Geico obviously offers the cheapest rare in this group because you will pay around $99 each month.

Good drivers have discounts that reward them for the safety measures they always consider when behind the wheel. So the better you are at driving, the more you will be favored by your auto insurance provider.

Cheapest rates for drivers who have one at-fault crash

Causing an accident in California automatically adds a substantial amount of money to your premium. Even though it doesn’t mean that you are a careless driver, your insurance provider cannot overlook this factor. After comparing some quotes, you will note that the average price in this category is almost $500 more compared to a driver with a clean record.

Insurers offering the best rates in this category are AAA, Esurance, and Geico at $ 1,679 per year, $1,854 per year and $2,191 per year respectively. AAA turned out to be the best option for the drivers who are non-military-affiliated.

cheap auto insurance california

Cheapest rates for retired drivers

This category is for drivers who are in mid and late 60s; who don’t use their autos to commute. Because of their reduced mileage, these drivers get pretty cheap auto insurance in this state. The top three best rates are from 21st Century at $937/year, Geico at $948/year and Allstate at $1,054/year. 21st Century is the best choice for this group of drivers. You will pay around $78 each month.

A retiree can look into the discounts aimed at the retired or mature drivers aged 55 or older to be able to save more money.

Cheapest rates for motorists with a military connection

If you happen to be an active military member or a veteran (you have a family member who is currently serving in the military), you will get auto insurance at a relatively cheap rate from USAA. The company doesn’t offer its services to the general public. USAA happens to be one of the cheapest car insurance options for drivers in this category. Their customers also get to enjoy top-rated customer service.

Other options you can consider

In case you have been involved in several accidents or DUIs, you must be wondering where you fit in. Well, it’s not easy to get auto insurance on the voluntary market. However, you may qualify for coverage through an organization known as California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan. The CAARP connects the high-risk motorists to insurance companies that can cover them.

The premium rates charged are a bit high because of the risks involved. But you can still compare rates from several companies so as to get the cheapest rates. Just make sure that you get auto coverage to be on the safe side.

Types of Auto Insurance Coverage in California:

  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury Insurance
  • Uninsured Motorist Property Damage Insurance
  • Bodily Injury Liability Insurance
  • Property Damage Liability Insurance
  • Comprehensive Insurance Coverage

Minimum Requirements For Car Insurance in California

California drivers are required to have minimum liability coverage in accordance with the California State Insurance Department. Below are the minimums on the state of California:

  • $5,000 for an accident involving property damage
  • $15,000 for an accident involving the death or injury of a single person
  • $30,000 for an accident involving the death or injury of multiple people

Drivers who are unable to show proof of insurance may have their vehicle impounded, their license suspended, or their registration suspended.

New Driver Licensing in California

Whether you reside in Sacramento, Los Angeles, Fresno, San Francisco, or Bakersfield, as a new driver, you will have to follow specific guidelines when applying for your driver’s license. Each driver that has lived in the state of California for over 10 days must have a valid driver’s license. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, there are three tests which must be passed in order to receive a standard California driver’s license. These tests include a vision test, a written test, and a road test. In addition, a driver license fee of $30 must be paid for new drivers as well as for renewal applications.

Source: California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)

Cheap Auto Insurance Discounts

One of the best ways to obtain great car insurance rates is by inquiring about certain discounts that may be available. Often the car insurance company won’t volunteer information about the discounts they offer so it is up to you to find out which discounts you are able to obtain. Have a look at the list below to see if there are potential savings you can take advantage of.

  • Mature driver discount
  • Car safety features discount
  • Good student discount
  • Senior citizen discount
  • Multi-car auto insurance discount
  • Military or Veteran discount
  • Anti-theft discount
  • Infrequent usage discount
  • Bundling insurance policies discount
  • Low-mileage discount
  • Defensive driving discount