The 1 Thing That Isn’t More Expensive in California

Lisa Steuer McArdle
· 3 min read
It’s no secret that the cost of living in
is rising. In fact, California was recently named the third most expensive state to live in, according to
Also, a recent study by United Ways of California found that almost one out of three households in the state are struggling to make ends meet, according to
ABC 10
. That study looked at Californians’ ability to afford childcare, rent, healthcare, and other day-to-day needs.
However, according to our data here at
, the Golden State is less expensive than other west coast states in one category:
car insurance
California doesn’t always live up to its reputation for being the most expensive state.

California and car insurance

We reviewed more than 574,000 car insurance quotes for drivers in all states on the east and west coasts. We sourced the data from our more than 1 million total customer quotes provided between July 2020 to July 2021.
In doing this, we found that on average Californians pay $173 per month for car insurance. That’s cheaper than some other states. In fact, Oregon drivers pay $187 a month and Washington drivers pay $197, meaning that California drivers pay the least for car insurance out of the west coast states.
In an East Coast vs. West Coast comparison, Californians also pay significantly less than New York drivers, who have an average monthly premium of $400.
In fact, when we compared East Coast to West Coast as a whole, we found that East Coasters pay, on average, $80 or 45% more on average per month for car insurance than West Coasters.
All figures are based on drivers that have no violations.
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California and driving violations

Our data also had some interesting findings about driving violations by state.
According to our research, 27% of Californians have driving violations, which is right on par with the other states on the west coast—28% of Oregon drivers have violations while 27% of Washington drivers do.
We found that East and West Coast drivers are about equal in driving ability, although 7% more California drivers have violations than New York drivers. Other east coast states that beat out California in that area are Connecticut (with 13% of drivers having violations), Florida (25%), Massachusetts (4%), Maryland (14%), Maine (19%), New Hampshire (24%) and Rhode Island (20%).
Interestingly, there wasn’t much of a difference in the types of violations between the states.
For a country-wide perspective, our data indicates that 27% of all drivers in the U.S. have violations.
States on both the east and west coast were most often cited for speeding. New York was the exception, where the most popular violation was failure to obey traffic signs.

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