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The Best Car Insurance in California

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    California is one of the most populated states in the country, so it may cost you more than usual to insure your car when there are so many other drivers on the road. With the cost of car insurance in California averaging $2,065 per year for full coverage, it is much more than the national average of insurance that costs $1,674 per year according to 2021 data from Bankrate.com.

    To find the best California car insurance, we consider more than just price. We also analyze critical rate factors, such as available coverage, discounts, customer satisfaction, and financial strength. Based on these factors and more, we chose these carriers as the best for California auto insurance.

    The 4 Best Auto Insurance Companies in California

    • State Farm: Best California Car Insurance for Clean Driving Records
    • Geico: Best California Car Insurance for Discounts
    • Farmers: Best California Car Insurance for Coverage Add-ons
    • Wawanesa: Best California Car Insurance for Customer Satisfaction

    Compare the Best Car Insurance Companies in California

    Minimum Coverage Annual Premium* Full Coverage Annual Premium* AM Best Financial Strength AM Best rates insurance providers creditworthiness. Ratings are based on the provider’s ability to follow through with a payout when a consumer files a claim. J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction** J.D. Power scores are based on surveys for customer satisfaction and product quality.
    Pin State Farm$663$1,943A++818
    Pin Geico$521$1,615A++830
    Pin Farmers$861$2,164A-811
    Pin Wawanesa$652$1,599A+853

    Information accurate as of September 2021

    * Data provided by Bankrate.com

    **J.D. Power 2021 Auto Insurance Satisfaction Study for the California region. Based on a 1,000-point scale.

    State Farm

    Best for Clean Driving Records

    Why we chose it

    State Farm offers some of the best auto insurance in California, especially for drivers with clean driving records.
    • $1,943* Average Premium Pricing data comes from our partners at Bankrate.com.
    • A++ AM Best Rate AM Best rates insurance providers creditworthiness. Ratings are based on the provider’s ability to follow through with a payout when a consumer files a claim.
    • 818 J.D. Power J.D. Power scores are based on surveys for customer satisfaction and product quality.

    Why we chose it

    State Farm offers some of the best auto insurance in California, especially for drivers with clean driving records.

    Pros

    • Strong financial rating
    • Impressive claims satisfaction record
    • Multiple discounts

    Cons

    • Limited add-on coverage
    • Drivers with record may have limited discounts available
    • Higher premiums than competitors
    Read More

    Add-on Coverage

    • Rental car and travel expenses 
    • Roadside assistance
    • Rideshare driver

    Discounts Available

    • Policy bundling
    • Accident free
    • Driving course
    • Good driver
    • Vehicle safety
    • Anti-theft device
    Geico

    Best for Discounts

    Why we chose it

    Geico offers competitive premiums and California drivers can save even more when qualifying for one of the company’s many discount programs.
    • $1,615* Average Premium Pricing data comes from our partners at Bankrate.com.
    • A++ AM Best Rate AM Best rates insurance providers creditworthiness. Ratings are based on the provider’s ability to follow through with a payout when a consumer files a claim.
    • 830** J.D. Power J.D. Power scores are based on surveys for customer satisfaction and product quality.

    Why we chose it

    Geico offers competitive premiums and California drivers can save even more when qualifying for one of the company’s many discount programs.

    Pros

    • Lower premiums than competitors
    • Wide variety of discounts
    • Strong financial ratings

    Cons

    • Limited coverage add-ons
    • No dedicated agents
    • No accident forgiveness coverage
    Read More

    Add-on Coverage

    • Personal injury protection
    • Roadside assistance
    • Rental car reimbursement
    • Mechanical breakdown

    Discounts Available

    • Vehicle safety features
    • New vehicle
    • Good student
    • Emergency deployment
    • Federal employee
    • Employee membership
    Farmers Insurance

    Best for Coverage Add-ons

    Why we chose it

    Farmers allows customers to create one of the most comprehensive auto insurance policies out there with tons of add-on coverage available.
    • $2,164* Average Premium Pricing data comes from our partners at Bankrate.com.
    • A- AM Best Rate AM Best rates insurance providers creditworthiness. Ratings are based on the provider’s ability to follow through with a payout when a consumer files a claim.
    • 811** J.D. Power J.D. Power scores are based on surveys for customer satisfaction and product quality.

    Why we chose it

    Farmers allows customers to create one of the most comprehensive auto insurance policies out there with tons of add-on coverage available.

    Pros

    • Extensive coverage options
    • Local California car insurance agents
    • Accident forgiveness available

    Cons

    • No gap insurance
    • Higher premiums than competitors
    • Six-month policies
    • Average customer satisfaction
    Read More

    Add-on Coverage

    • Glass deductible buyback
    • New car replacement
    • Spare parts coverage
    • OEM coverage
    • Full windshield and glass
    • Rideshare
    • Loss of use
    • Customized equipment
    • Rental car reimbursement
    • Roadside assistance

    Discounts Available

    • Older cars
    • Claims-free
    • Raising deductible
    • Ask for local discounts
    Wawanesa Insurance

    Best for Customer Satisfaction

    Why we chose it

    Wawanesa is a regional insurance provider rated No. 1 in J.D. Power’s auto insurance satisfaction study for the California region.
    • $1,599* Average Premium Pricing data comes from our partners at Bankrate.com.
    • A+ AM Best Rate AM Best rates insurance providers creditworthiness. Ratings are based on the provider’s ability to follow through with a payout when a consumer files a claim.
    • 853** J.D. Power J.D. Power scores are based on surveys for customer satisfaction and product quality.

    Why we chose it

    Wawanesa is a regional insurance provider rated No. 1 in J.D. Power’s auto insurance satisfaction study for the California region.

    Pros

    • Online quotes available
    • 24/7 claims submission online
    • Average premiums

    Cons

    • Limited discounts available
    • Limited coverage add-ons
    • Lower maximum liability limits compare to others
    Read More

    Add-on Coverage

    • Roadside assistance
    • Rental reimbursement
    • Uninsured/underinsured motorist
    • Vehicle manufacturer replacement parts

     

    Discounts Available

    • Good driver
    • Multi-car
    • Mature driver improvement course
    • Loyalty

    * Data provided by Bankrate.com
    **J.D. Power
    2021 Auto Insurance Satisfaction Study for the California region. Based on a 1,000-point scale.

    The Average Cost of Car Insurance in California 

    The average cost of auto insurance in California is higher than the national average, according to 2021 quoted premium data from Bankrate.com. State-required minimum coverage has an average annual cost of $733 per year in California, while full coverage will cost an average of $2,065 annually. The Insurance Information Institute estimates California has more uninsured drivers than most other states. It also has quite a few cities with a large population of drivers. These are just a few factors that can impact why California auto insurance is generally more expensive than other states.

    Each driver’s cost of car insurance in California may vary though, based on things like age, car make and model, driving history, and primary use of the vehicle. New drivers are also likely to be subject to higher premiums.

    Top 3 Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in California

    CompanyAverage Annual Full Coverage Premium*
    Capital$1,582
    Wawanesa$1,599
    Geico$1,615

    * Data provided by Bankrate.com

    Top 3 Most Expensive Car Insurance Companies in California

    CompanyAverage Annual Full Coverage Premium*
    PURE$4,176
    AAA$3,850
    Chubb$2,987

    * Data provided by Bankrate.com

    Top 3 Cheapest Cities for Car Insurance in California

    CityAverage Annual Full Coverage Premium*
    Los Osos$1,561
    Weed$1,576
    Cambria$1,586

    * Data provided by Bankrate.com

    Top 3 Most Expensive Cities for Car Insurance in California

    CityAverage Annual Full Coverage Premium*
    Beverly Hills$3,340
    Tarzana$3,268
    West Hollywood$3,203

    * Data provided by Bankrate.com

    California Car Insurance: What You Need to Know

    There are a lot of cars on the road in California, but the state has a range of traffic safety laws that have lessened traffic fatalities. For instance, minors may not drive between 11:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. for the first year of being licensed. 

    Insurance requirements vary by state. California is an at-fault state, meaning drivers are responsible for coverage to financially protect themselves in the case of a driving incident. 

    The minimum liability required in the state of California is divided as follows:

    • $15,000 bodily injury liability per person
    • $30,000 bodily injury liability per accident
    • $5,000 for property damage liability per accident

    Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverages must be offered but can be declined.

    California residents can also satisfy the law by providing a cash deposit of $35,000 to the DMV or showing a surety bond for $35,000 from a company licensed to issue bonds in California.

    It’s important to note; California bans the use of credit, gender and ZIP code as rating factors.

    Additional Car Insurance Coverage in California

    While every driver in California must carry the minimum 15/30/5 insurance limits, it’s recommended to carry additional car insurance coverage or higher limits to protect the vehicle and assets in the case of an accident. 

    • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: If the other driver is at fault but doesn’t have any or enough California auto insurance, the driver is still protected. 
    • Medical payments: This pays medical bills for passengers within the driver’s vehicle, regardless of who is at fault. 
    • Comprehensive: Comprehensive car insurance typically covers many vehicle damages not related to a car crash, including hitting animals, vandalism, and acts of nature. 
    • Towing and road service: California is ranked as having some of the worst roads in the country, so towing service offers protection in case of a flat tire or other issues.

    California Car Insurance FAQ 

    Methodology 

    Reviews.com reviews products, services, and companies based on five criteria to help readers understand how companies compare based on similar metrics. For the best car insurance companies, our editorial team compared affordability, customer support, coverage options, customer satisfaction scores, and online resources from each company to determine top providers. 

    As for average pricing, we used Bankrate.com’s 2021 data of car insurance in California, based on the profiles of a 40-year male and female. For full coverage, the details used were the following:

    • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
    • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
    • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
    • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
    • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
    • $500 collision deductible
    • $500 comprehensive deductible

    To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverage that meets each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2019 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually. 

    These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.

    About the Authors

    Lena Borrelli

    Lena Borrelli Contributing Writer

    Lena Borrelli is a freelance writer for Reviews.com. Over the last year, she has covered insurance, finance, and more. She has been featured in TIME with NextAdvisor, Bankrate, The Simple Dollar, MYMOVE, Million Mile Secrets, Coverage.com and more. My favorite article is “How to Invest in Real Estate During COVID?” on Reviews.com.

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