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Last updated on Sep 16, 2020

The Best California Car Insurance Companies

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    When you’re looking for the finest car insurance, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice the quality of coverage for affordability. At the top of our list for car insurance in California is GEICO, which has affordable coverage and high customer satisfaction. It offers a variety of available discounts and a helpful app to make handling quotes and claims as easy as possible for customers.

    We compared ratings from J.D. Power, BBB, AM Best, S&P, and Moody’s to find the best car insurance companies in California. Whether your needs focus on affordable costs, excellent coverage, or exceptional customer service, our top choices help you find terrific coverage at competitive prices.

    The 5 Best Car Insurance Companies in California


    GEICOWawanesa InsuranceAllstateProgressiveState Farm

    Our reviewOur reviewOur reviewOur review
    AM Best Financial Strength RatingA++AA+AA++
    J.D. Power 2019 Overall Customer Satisfaction Score (California Region)4/54/53/53/54/5
    Avg. Annual Premium$863$881$1,015$1,197$1,267

    Quadrant car insurance rate data as of 03/26/2020

    GEICO


    Geico

    Pros

    • Helpful website and mobile app
    • Lots of standard discounts available

    Cons

    • Difficult to find local agents
    • No gap insurance

    GEICO offers excellent service via its website and mobile app. Since its focus is primarily on its online offerings, it may be challenging to find a local agent in California to handle things in person.

    GEICO also offers a wide variety of discounts, including anti-theft system, seat belt use, emergency deployment, and federal employee discounts. One potentially important feature GEICO doesn’t offer is gap insurance. If there’s a difference between your vehicle’s total value and what you owe, GEICO won’t cover that difference if your car is totaled or stolen.

    Wawanesa Insurance


    Wawanesa Insurance
    Wawanesa Insurance


    Pros

    • Several discount opportunities
    • Above-average overall customer satisfaction

    Cons

    • Strict requirements
    • No mobile app
    • No accident forgiveness

    Wawanesa Insurance is a smaller company that’s only available in California, Oregon, and Canada. As a smaller company, there might be less to offer than bigger, nationwide companies. For example, it doesn’t offer a mobile app option or 24/7 customer service. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t provide value in other ways. Wawanesa Insurance offers discounts for anti-theft equipment, multiple cars, multiple policies, military families, and company loyalty. It’s also rated better than most in overall satisfaction, with 4 out of 5 Power Circles in J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Auto Insurance Study. 

    The clean record requirements of Wawanesa Insurance are stricter than some of the more prominent companies. For example, customers can’t have more than one traffic violation point in the last three years. That said; only insuring low-risk drivers helps Wawanesa Insurance bring savings to its customers.

    Allstate


    Allstate
    Allstate


    Pros

    • Dedicated service agent for each customer
    • Variety of bonuses

    Cons

    • Doesn’t offer some standard discounts
    • Above-average costs

    Allstate costs are a little higher than average for California drivers, but there are perks that come with paying a little extra. Having your own service agent means you deal with someone who knows your policy and case, instead of being passed around to various customer service representatives. 

    Customers can also benefit from accident forgiveness, safe driving bonuses, deductible rewards, and more. However, some usually standard discounts, such as military discounts, aren’t available with Allstate.

    Progressive


    Progressive
    Progressive


    Pros

    • Snapshot tool
    • Comprehensive online quoting tool
    • High reputation

    Cons

    • Average customer service ratings

    Progressive is a longstanding company with a positive reputation. The 2019 U.S. Auto Insurance Study released by J.D. Power, however, shows its customer service to be average when compared to other auto insurance companies in California. 

    Progressive’s free, optional Snapshot tool collects information on your driving habits. The better your driving habits, the higher your chances of securing lower prices at renewal. The company’s Name Your Price Tool is also handy and finds coverage that works within your budget. When you’re ready for a quote, Progressive’s comparison tool makes sure your quote is the best available.

    State Farm


    State Farm
    State Farm


    Pros

    • Large agent network in California
    • Easy-to-use website and mobile app
    • Educational information about car insurance available for customers

    Cons

    • Higher rates

    State Farm’s vast network of agents across California means customers have no trouble connecting in person. The website and mobile app are intuitive and make it easy to get a quote, make a claim, or anything else you may need to do. It also offers a variety of educational information to make sure customers understand their policy and coverage.

    These benefits come at a higher cost, however. State Farm is one of the most expensive car insurance companies in California. 

    The Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in California

    Average Annual Premium by Company

    Car Insurance Companies Average Annual Premium
    GEICO $863
    Wawanesa Insurance $881
    21st Century $956
    Mercury Insurance $975
    Allstate $1,015
    Metropolitan Insurance $1,096
    Chubb $1,121
    California Capital $1,137
    Travelers $1,164
    Progressive $1,197
    Infinity $1,230
    Farmers Insurance $1,259
    State Farm $1,230
    Alliance United $1,312

    Quadrant car insurance rate data as of 07/01/2019.

    Top 3 Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in California

    • GEICO – $863
    • Wawanesa Insurance – $881
    • 21st Century – $956

    Top 3 Most Expensive Car Insurance Companies in California

    • Alliance United – $1,312
    • State Farm – $1,267
    • Farmers Insurance – $1,269

    The cheapest car insurance companies in California are GEICO, Wawanesa Insurance, and 21st Century. The most expensive companies are Alliance United, State Farm, and Farmers Insurance. California laws often work in favor of consumers, since companies can’t factor age or gender into your rate. That said, they can take into account other aspects like your years of driving experience. 

    The rates we present are based on general profiles. The wisest way to find auto coverage for the best price that fits your needs is to do your research and request personalized quotes.

    Guide to California Car Insurance

    Non-Biased California Laws

    California insurance laws don’t allow insurance companies to set prices based on discriminatory factors. Categories such as gender, education, and credit history can’t be used to overcharge customers. Prices are set based on factors that consumers can control, such as your driving safety record, year of driving experience and miles driven.  Also, car insurance rates require preapproval by California’s department of insurance.

    Go for More Than the Minimum

    California has some of the lowest minimum liability insurance requirements in the country. The state mandates are:

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

    This is often shortened to 15/30/5 when referring to the minimums in California.

    Minimum coverage doesn’t necessarily mean good coverage. If you or another person gets injured, or if you damage a fancy car, the out-of-pocket expenses could be devastating. Having adequate coverage in relation to your financial profile can save you a lot of stress and frustration if you’re in an accident.

    How We Found the Best Car Insurance in California

    To determine the best car insurance in California, we looked at the largest companies in the state. We compared a wide variety of ratings, such as their financial strength and customer satisfaction. We combined this information with average premiums, coverage options, and possible discounts to find the best offerings for California drivers.

    We worked with Quadrant Information Services to provide data on auto insurance rates by company and credit score. Quadrant makes this information available using rate data that insurers are required to file with the state Department of Insurance. Rates are based on sample profiles created by Reviews.com for comparative purposes. 

    California Car Insurance Companies FAQ

    How much auto insurance do I need in California?

    California drivers are required to have 15/30/5 insurance to cover bodily injury per person and per accident and property damage liability per accident. This is one of the lowest minimum liability insurance requirements in the country, and you might have to pay out of pocket for damages exceeding this coverage. You should consider getting as much coverage as you can afford.

    What’s the cheapest auto insurance company in California?

    Our research shows GEICO offers one of the cheapest car insurance in California. Rates can vary depending on several factors, that may include your driving history and zip code, and are different based on your needs. 

    About the Authors

    Lorraine Roberte

    Lorraine Roberte Contributing Writer

    Lorraine Roberte is a South Florida-based personal finance writer. Her work has been published on sites such as Thrive Global, Elephant Journal, Red Tricycle and Tweak Your Biz.

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