The 8 Best and Cheapest Car Insurance Providers in California

Did you know California is the most populous state based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s statistics of 2017? The state, led Texas, its closest contender, with over 11 million. Also, America’s FHWA 2016 survey results had a little over 26 million licensed motorists out of a total population of more than 39 million residents. So, what does it mean for drivers for the California automobile insurance industry? We reviewed policy prices in this state in comparison to other states like Michigan to find the cheapest car insurance California prices. Sure enough, careful shopping can save you some money in no time.

Apart from the best low-cost insurance carriers, we also looked at California auto coverage requirements and discounts. And, while California car insurance rates are among the lowest in the country, you must find the right insurance company for you. Obviously, many factors other than merely being a Californian determine the most affordable California automobile insurance company. When shopping for your policy, keep in mind that little things will affect how an insurer calculates your quote. Everything from your driving record to your ZIP code and your credit ratings can significantly influence the quote you receive, just as it happens in Florida and other states.

Some essential things to remember are your marital status, the crime rates in your location, your age & gender, and whether you are in a rural or urban setting. Besides, some insurers consider the value and age of your car, and whether you have a secure parking space in your garage. So, whether you find cheap no deposit insurance or not depends on your qualifications. This makes it paramount to explore your options by getting several free auto insurance quotes in California. In this article, we’ll show you how some of these factors can affect your insurance rates in California.

The 8 Best and Cheapest Car Insurance Providers in California

With plenty of options available in the market, getting the cheapest car insurance California rates can be overwhelming. Some of the California low-cost auto insurance carriers may be perfect for you because of their exclusive packages and discounts. But the cost is just one of the factors when considering the finest insurer. We looked at the options for best cheap auto insurance by taking into account their J.D. Power ranks, which give customer satisfaction, as well as their AM Best standing, conveying the carrier’s financial strength, among other industry reviewers.

The following are the best cheapest car insurance California prices with top eight companies:

Sl. NoInsurance ProvidersAnnual RatesBBB StandingAM Best Financial RankingJ.D. Power Rating
1USAA Auto Insurance$1,425Not RankedA++5/5
2Travelers Auto Insurance$1,780A+A++4/5
3State Farm Auto Insurance$2,160A+A++3/5
4Progressive Auto Insurance$1,277B-A+4/5
5Nationwide Auto Insurance$2,231A+A+3/5
6Geico Auto Insurance$1,421A+A++4/5
7Farmers Auto Insurance$2,010A+A3/5
8AllState Auto Insurance$1,617A+A+3/5

As you can see, all these providers are outstanding for excellent customer support, strong financial stability, as well as high financial ranking. Moreover, these carriers come with customer discounts for safe driving plus special rates for college students in your family. Also, many insurers have exclusive auto coverage policy discounts.

What Is The Cost Of Car Insurance In California

The average auto insurance cost with a California automobile insurance company is $1,743, according to our study. But the findings also show varying rates among individual residents. Our data and motorist profiles indicate the highest policy rates for Nationwide customers at $2,231. Farmers and State Farm follow closely with $2,010 and $2,160, respectively. Next in line is Travelers with an average of $1,780, followed by Allstate at $1,617, USAA at $1,425, and Geico with $1,421. Our survey ranks Progressive for the best car insurance quotes California company with an average of $1,277. However, keep in mind that these rates are for different driver profiles, and may not indicate your actual payments.

The driver profiles and study data in our survey include:

  • Lowest prices by age
  • Cheapest rates prices mileage
  • Lowest prices by coverage level
  • Most competitive prices by driving record
  • Cheapest prices by city

Cheapest Car Insurance by Age

Age can affect how much insurance companies will charge you to provide auto coverage. So, we came up with driver profiles for both female and male drivers in age groups 25, 35, and 60 years. These profiles represent motorists with good driving history and an excellent credit score.

Motorist profiles for the sixty-year-olds have the lowest car insurance quotes California provides. The survey findings show varying rates for the male and female profiles based on the car insurance carrier. Progressive auto insurance has the most extensive margin between these two profiles, with males paying $172 more than the females. However, State Farm, Farmers, and Geico insurers offer the same average prices for the male and female drivers in this age set.

The thirty-five-year-old driver profile pays the next cheapest car insurance in California. Four insurance firms in California apply slightly fewer charges for the male profile than the female one. Three companies have lower average rates for females compared to males. Also, State Farm and Farmers apply similar auto coverage fees for both female and male clients in this age group.

Driver profiles for twenty five year olds have the most expensive policy costs in California. According to our survey data, women pay lower premiums than their male counterparts do across all but three insurers. Besides, none of the providers have the same average prices for men and women in this demographic.

Insurer 25 year old 35 year old 60 year old 
Male Female Male Female Male Female
USAA $1,689 $1,787 $1,231 $1,299 $1,273 $1,268
Travelers $2,157 $2,194 $1,671 $1,722 $1,520 $1,534
State Farm $2,583 $2,477 $2,142 $2,142 $1,810 $1,810
Progressive $1,714 $1,599 $1,148 $1,118 $1,127 $956
Nationwide $2,612 $2,646 $2,120 $2,221 $1,838 $1,949
Geico $1,844 $1,802 $1,258 $1,257 $1,183 $1,183
Farmers $2,518 $2,262 $1,910 $1,910 $1,730 $1,730
Allstate $2,165 $1,994 $1,588 $1,590 $1,183 $1,179

Cheapest Insurance Rates in California by Mileage

Aside from age, other factors can affect insurance premiums in California. We examined how mileage affects policy rates from these eight companies. Our study breaks down two similar motorist categories, including twenty-five, thirty-five, and sixty-year-old men and women with middle-tier insurance cover, a good driving history, and a healthy credit score.

Drivers with the highest annual mileages pay more across all instances. USAA auto insurance has the least difference between the two categories of drivers, charging nearly $202 more for the driver type with higher mileage. You’ll save the most cash with Nationwide if you choose the lower mileage over the highest one with a $454 difference.

Insurer6,000 miles per year12,000 miles per year
USAA Auto Insurance$1,223$1,425
Travelers Auto Insurance$1,506$1,800
State Farm Auto Insurance$1,938$2,160
Progressive Auto Insurance$1,067$1,277
Nationwide Auto Insurance$1,777$2,231
Geico Auto Insurance$1,184$1,421
Farmers Auto Insurance$1,670$2,010
Allstate Auto Insurance$1,337$1,617

Cheapest Car Insurance in California by Coverage Level

Our analysis also looked at the coverage level as another factor that could affect insurance payments in California. The data below shows low, medium, and high coverages for the same driver profiles and demographics as above. Motorist categories in this study have 12k miles in their policies, with a clean driving history and strong credit.

Statistics across all the eight insurance firms show costlier prices for high coverage than for low-level protection. While these rates are normal, the differences are not as vast as some of you might think. Interestingly, however, the variance between low and middle-level protection is much higher than the change from medium to high-level coverage. It means you are better off moving from little too high coverage than stepping up to the medium protection. But keep in mind that your mileage levels may differ depending on your circumstances.

Insurance ProvidersLow-LevelMed-LevelHighest Level
USAA Insurance$1,275$1,425$1,497
Travelers Insurance$1,552$1,800$1,916
State Farm Insurance$1,912$2,160$2,299
Progressive Insurance$1,117$1,277$1,326
Nationwide Insurance$1,975$2,231$2,377
Geico Insurance$1,269$1,421$1,527
Farmers Insurance$1,829$2,010$2,144
Allstate Insurance$1,503$1,617$1,689

Cheapest Prices in California Based on Driving History

Now let’s look at how your driving record can change insurance rates. For this demonstration, we’ll use four driver types, including one speeding ticket, one at-fault accident, a clean driving record, and one DUI record. We are using twenty-five, thirty-five, and sixty-year-old females and males in this demographic. Also, all profiles represent middle-level auto coverage, 12k miles per year, and an excellent credit score.

All insurance providers in California have high average quotes for driving under the influence, DUI, across all age groups. But you can find cheaper California car insurance rates by shopping around and obtaining multiple quotes from different companies.

Driver categories with a single speeding violation can obtain the lowest average prices with USAA and Geico insurance companies. Farmers and Nationwide have the highest average rates in this profile. Progressive is the best affordable California automobile insurance company for a driver with one record of driving under the influence.

SL. NoInsurance ProvidersGood Driving HistoryOne speeding TicketOne at-fault  accidentOne DUI
1USAA Insurance$1,425$1,559$2,480$4,065
2Travelers Insurance$1,800$2,664$2,938$3,712
3State Farm Insurance$2,160$2,601$2,690$5,971
4Progressive Insurance$1,277$2,050$2,614$3,022
5Nationwide Insurance$2,231$3,173$3,173$5,923
6Geico Insurance$1,421$1,762$2,185$3,368
7Farmers Insurance$2,010$2,850$3,263$4,053
8Allstate Insurance$1,617$2,338$3,001$5,241

Best and Cheapest Car Insurance California Rates by City

We told you that everything, including your ZIP code, could influence insurance auto insurance quotes California rates. So, we looked at how the above driver profiles compare in some of the largest cities in California to demonstrate how your town of residence can affect policy prices. Our driver categories include twenty-five, thirty-five, and sixty-year-old females and males with the following records:

  • 12k miles a year
  • Middle-level auto coverage
  • Good driving history
  • Strong credit

Where you live can have a significant impact on the affordability rates of your auto coverage. In that regard, you’ll get the lowest average prices in San Diego at $1,640 annually. Bakersfield and San Jose cities are the closest competitors, with slightly over $1,700 rates.

California CityApproximate Prices
San Jose$1,714
San Francisco$2,015
San Diego$1,640
Los Angeles$2,487
Long Beach$1,911

How California Companies Determine Car Insurance Prices

Each state has unique requirements for motorists, which influence your auto coverage policy. For that reason, it is vital to know specific-state laws and conditions because you may qualify for additional savings. Here are essential things to know about insurance requirements in California.

Proposition 103

Motorists in California benefit from Proposition 103. The mandatory state discount rewards drivers for safe driving by providing lower premiums for vehicle insurance. Qualifications for this provision include:

  • You must be a licensed driver with
  • You must have many points on your driving history of at least three years
  • No at-fault incident costing over $1,000 in damages on your driving record within the last three years

You’ll be eligible for a 20% price cut on your auto policy if you meet the above criteria.

Other Factors for Calculating Premium Quotes

Other factors will affect your vehicle insurance cover, whether you qualify for Proposition 103 or not. Some of the critical things include:

  • Your place of residence
  • Need your driving history
  • Your age
  • The make and model of your vehicle
  • Your average driving mileage

We’ve already seen how most of these factors can influence your eligibility for the cheapest car insurance California rates. Even gender might impact your auto coverage because studies show that female drivers tend to have fewer DUI records and accidents than male drivers. Therefore, these factors will determine the lowest vehicle insurance premiums you can get in California.

Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in California

It is vital to know the basic requirements for auto coverage before you start searching for the best cheapest car insurance California prices. Here’s how the minimum legal requirement for car insurance in California looks. They include property damage and bodily injury liability coverage.

Type of Coverage


Bodily Damage Liability: Pays for injuries you cause to another party. Your total bodily injury insurance splits among injured parties in an accident with multiple injuries.
One person per accident $15,000
More than one person per accident $30,000
Property Damage Liability: Pays for at-fault damages to third-party property, including objects, cars, or buildings, among others.

You are also welcome to select a policy that offers extra protection, such as adding $1,000 for medical payments.

California Self-Insurance

If you’d rather forego the insurance policy, the state of California offers a special requirement allowing you to use your vehicle legally. State laws will enable you to eliminate your car insurance for proof of financial responsibility. In this program, you must demonstrate to the state your ability to pay for damages in an accident where you are at-fault.

You must do one of the following to qualify for the self-insurance program:

  • Pay a cash deposit of $35k with the Department of Motor Vehicles in California
  • Obtain a Self-Insurance Certificate from the DMV in California
  • Have a surety bond worth $35k from a licensed firm in California

State-Sponsored Auto Coverage Programs

Another provision, the California Low-Cost Automobile Insurance Program, allows you to secure coverage for your car if you have trouble paying the minimum 15/30/5 plan. But you’ll have to meet some basic requirements to be eligible for this arrangement. The program’s eligibility criteria include:

  • Minimum age of nineteen years
  • Have a genuine state-issued driver’s license
  • Own a car with a value of $25k or less
  • Meet California’s income eligibility guidelines

California Auto Insurance Penalties

You can’t register your automobile in California if you don’t have a liability insurance policy at a minimum. Also, the state considers you uninsured, which disqualifies you from driving a vehicle in California. Therefore, you’ll get a ticket as an uninsured driver if you can’t provide proof of valid liability protection.

Booking for an uninsured driver usually varies between $100 and $200 for first-time offenders, including court expenses. Consequent offenses come with a surcharge of between $200 and $500, including court fees.

Moreover, you risk suspension of your driver’s license and a vehicle impound if you don’t have insurance that meets the state’s minimum requirements. It is on top of the fines for being unable to give valid coverage proof upon request.

California Auto Coverage Average Costs

Now, if you ever wonder how your car policy compares to other Californians, here’s how your coverage measures up:

Our research shows an average total cost of $815 for auto insurance, which translates to about $68 every month. The data further breaks down to averagely $482 annual liability protection, $374 yearly collision coverage, and $99 comprehensive insurance per year. However, your policy rates may vary significantly based on multiple factors. The factors include your driving history, where you live, the type of car you drive, your age, and whether you are eligible for any discounts.

Type of PolicyAverage Prices
Annual Cost$815
Monthly Cost$68

The Bottom Line

Finding the cheapest car insurance California policies is more than merely looking at price tags. Many factors add up to determine the lowest possible rates you can pay in California. You need to consider factors such as your driving record, age, location, the car make, and model, as well as marital status, among others. After that, you can match these factors to the most affordable insurer in the market. Moreover, we recommend that you look into customer satisfaction ratings, deductibles, and coverage limits to select a carrier that’ll protect you as a Californian driver.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which auto insurance is the cheapest?

The cheapest car insurance firm in California will depend on your driver profile and other factors. For example, Progressive is the least costly insurer in California for drivers with low coverage and safe driving record.

How much is car insurance per month in California?

The average monthly insurance cost in California is about $68. However, this may not represent your actual rates since your quote will depend on individual qualifying factors.

What are the worst insurance companies?

The list of worst auto insurance companies is a personal opinion since what doesn’t work for you may work for the next customer. However, we recommend that you read industry reviews from top reviewers like AM Best, the Better Business Bureau, and J.D. Power for more insights on how these companies stack up.

Why is Progressive Insurance so cheap?

Progressive is so cheap because they specialize in the market for undesirable drivers. The company provides nearly the same rates that better-qualified drivers receive from other insurers in the industry.

Is Geico really the cheapest?

Geico Insurance is cheap for selling policies directly to clients, which comes with plenty of discounts. However, Progressive is the most affordable overall for offering low-cost rates for drivers with adverse reports on their driving records.

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