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On average, you can expect to pay $2,154 per year to meet the minimum car insurance requirements in California. If you buy collision and comprehensive, or so-called "full-coverage insurance," you'll pay an average of $2,772 per year. Compare that to the national averages of $1,627 per year for liability-only car insurance and $2,297 per year for full-coverage insurance, and it's clear why California drivers need to be experts on car insurance.
Compare best car insurance quotes in California
Your car insurance rates could be dramatically different based on your zip code, age, driving history, and other factors. Different providers consider these factors and use their own unique formulas to determine your car insurance quote. That's why it's so important to comparison shop—you could be missing out on huge savings if you don't!
Here's what people using Jerry are paying for car insurance in California:
Let's start with the hard truth: there's no single insurance company that offers the best rates to every driver in California. The only way to find the cheapest rates is to compare all of your options.
Check out the table below to see how much Jerry customers pay for their coverage with the best insurance companies in California.
How much does the average person pay for car insurance in California?
On average, drivers in California pay $2,000 per year for full coverage car insurance. Prices are higher than the national average in California because it has a high population and plenty of busy cities—which means there are more opportunities for drivers to get into accidents.
Is $200 a month a lot for insurance?
Yes, $200 per month is a lot for car insurance—but it’s about average for California drivers!
Is insurance in California more expensive?
Like most things, car insurance is more expensive in California. While rates in the Golden State stay lower thanks to low liability minimums, it’s still more expensive to insure your car here than in most other states.
At what age is car insurance cheapest?
Drivers aged 40 to 60 pay the lowest rates for car insurance, on average. That sweet spot represents a lot of driving experience without the hazards that come with driving as a senior.
At what age does car insurance go down?
Every car insurance company weighs age a little differently, but young drivers will usually see their rates decrease annually with big drops after ages 18, 21, and 25. After age 25, rates tend to stabilize.
Why does California car insurance cost so much?
It's time to tackle the (really) big question: why does car insurance cost so much in California?
Turns out, there's more than one reason for the Golden State's sky-high premiums. Reason #1? High population density.
While some parts of California have plenty of elbow room between neighbors (we're looking at you, NorCal), a high percentage of California drivers live in busy cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco, where a high volume of residents and tourists on the road each day makes for an increased risk of car accidents. More car accidents = more insurance claims, and boom: your insurance company turns up the dial on your premium to absorb that risk.
Starting to see why statewide premiums are so high? If you're getting discouraged, don't be—as long as your comparison shop, you'll know you're paying the most affordable price.
Want to see how California's average rates compare to other states? Take a look at the charts below.
The only kind of car insurance required by law in California is liability insurance: a combination of bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverage. Once you’ve hit the state’s liability limits, you’re free to legally operate a motor vehicle in the state of California.
How much insurance do I need in California?
In California, minimum insurance requirements are $15,000 for bodily injury liability per person, $30,000 of bodily injury liability for each accident, and $5,000 of property liability for each accident. These minimum requirements are known as the 15/30/5 rule.
What do you need if you’re pulled over?
If you’re involved in an accident or pulled over by law enforcement, you are required to show your driver’s license, proof of insurance, and registration. Thankfully, digital insurance ID cards are accepted by police and the DMV so you will always have your stored proof of insurance available 24/7 in the Jerry app.
Is California a no-fault state?
No, California is an at-fault state This means the at-fault driver’s insurance will pay for the not-at-fault driver’s and passengers' injuries, once the at-fault driver’s insurance company accepts liability and confirms that there is enough coverage.
Cheap car insurance in California with a DUI or speeding ticket
One of the biggest factors in determining your car insurance rate—no matter what company you're shopping with—is your driving record. That's because insurers see your record as an estimate of the risk you carry as a driver.
Tons of unpaid tickets or a serious violation like a DUI paint a picture of a high-risk driver likely to cost an auto insurance company a lot of money, so they'll charge you a higher rate to account for that risk. Even one or two relatively minor violations (think: speeding ticket) can raise your rate! The best way to keep your premium low is to keep a clean driving record: no speeding tickets, no traffic violations, and no criminal history.
Here’s a sample of the savings that Jerry customers with spotty driving records have found in California:
Average cost of car insurance in California by age
In theory, you can control (and improve) your driver record, and unlock that sweet low rate in the process. But one factor you can't change is your age—and unfortunately, it's one of the biggest elements insurers use to calculate your rate.
There's a logical reason behind it, of course. Statistics (auto insurance companies love statistics) show that drivers under 25—especially teen drivers—have some of the highest rates of accidents due to their lack of experience on the road. Because the odds of having to satisfy a claim are higher for young drivers, insurance companies will charge a higher rate across the board for any driver under 25 years old.
How can young drivers save money on car insurance in California?
From major metropolitan areas like Los Angeles and San Diego to small towns like Ojai and Cambria, you'll find a different car insurance rate in every California zip code.
Overall, you're likely to see higher rates in cities: San Francisco car insurance costs are higher than those in Palo Alto, thanks to high accident rates and crowded roads. But you may not need to head very far from the big city lights to find a lower premium: it all comes down to local accident statistics, uninsured motorist rates, and other data.
How much is car insurance where you live? Check out the table below for a side-by-side comparison of some of the best rates for Jerry customers in different California cities.
Cities With the Longest Commute Times in California
At an average 57.1 minutes, Mountain House has the longest commute time in California. Longer driving times and higher traffic means a greater risk of accident—plus, you’re adding more miles to your car. Expect higher premiums.
We've talked a lot about how you and your location determine your car insurance rate in California—but what about your car?
The simple version: the more expensive your car is, the higher your insurance premium is likely to be. It makes sense—if you get into an accident with a brand-new Tesla and need to replace the car, your insurance policy will be covering a lot more than if you'd totaled your parents' old Camry.
The same goes for repairs: because it costs more to repair expensive vehicles, it costs more to insure them. That goes not just for luxury cars, but for higher trim levels or optional upgrades in mass-market vehicles. A Honda Civic Sport Touring’s insurance costs will be higher than those of the humble Civic LX.
Get a sense of how insurance costs for popular models could cost with and without Jerry:
The most popular vehicle in California is the Honda Civic. On average, Honda Civic drivers pay $1,523 a year in car insurance. Civic owners can save money on their car insurance expenses with broker app Jerry.
What are the auto insurance requirements in California?
Remember, your car insurance rate depends in part on how much coverage you buy. But if you're wondering how little you can get away with carrying, here's your answer.
Only carrying liability insurance will save you money—but it may not be worth it in the long run. Again, remember that liability coverage only pays for other drivers' expenses if you're in an accident.
Most experts recommend carrying more than California's baseline requirements. In most cases, that means adding some amount of collision and comprehensive coverage, along with uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. (Remember: this combination is often called “full coverage car insurance.”) With those three types of insurance in place alongside your state-mandated auto insurance coverage, you'll be able to submit a claim for your own property damage if:
You're in an accident with someone who failed to buy the state minimum coverage
You're in any kind of a collision, including one with an animal or stationary object
Your car is stolen, damaged by severe weather, or vandalized
168,323 vehicles in California were stolen in 2020, making California the highest state for vehicle theft rate. Get comprehensive coverage to protect yourself financially from vehicle theft and other perils, like vandalism. Does Your Car Insurance Cover Car Theft?
California has a higher proportion of uninsured drivers than most states with 16.60% of drivers driving uninsured. Uninsured motorist protection will help cover your costs if you get an accident caused by somebody who doesn’t carry enough liability protection.
Roads in and around major California cities can be in bad conditions. Roadside assistance will help cover tows, flats, and other costs.
How to find the cheapest car insurance in California
Living in California doesn't have to mean overpaying for car insurance. Before you resign yourself to shelling out for an overpriced policy, check out these savings hacks.
Compare car insurance quotes (more than once!)
You've heard it before: comparing multiple quotes is the best way to find car insurance savings.
But car insurance shopping doesn't have to be a one-and-done—in fact, insurance experts agree that it's a good idea to shop for better rates and better coverage every six months or so.
There are car insurance quotes, and then there are car insurance discounts. When you get a quote from an insurance company, it won't always take into account the discounts you could be eligible for—so it's on your to do your research and lock in the discounts you have coming your way.
Drivers in California are eligible for good driver discounts if they have a continuously held valid driver’s license for three years, have no at-fault accidents that result in injury or death, and have one or fewer points on their license. This discount is mandated by state law and saves drivers 20% on their car insurance premium.
Drivers can bundle multiple insurance products (like auto, renters, and home) with the same company to get a discount.
Many companies offer telematics programs, which track a driver’s habits and give discounts for good behavior. You can often qualify for a discount just for signing up.
Good Student Discounts
Young drivers should look for a good student discount. Full-time students who maintain a B average may qualify for savings up to 25% through their insurer.
Raise your deductible
If you've got collision or comprehensive insurance in your policy, that coverage comes with a deductible—the amount of money you agree to pay out of pocket before insurance kicks in.
Keeping your deductible low means paying less upfront if you're unlucky enough to have to call in that claim. But it will also keep your monthly or annual premium high.
Increasing your deductible is an easy way to bring your regular payments down. If you're practicing safe driving behaviors, it's often worth making the change to avoid overpaying for a low deductible you're not actually paying. Just make sure that when you increase your deductible, it's still an amount you'd be able to pay if you had to file a claim.