Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Sep 9, 2020

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The state of California is notorious for high real estate and gas prices in addition to having the highest number nationwide of licensed drivers on its public roads.

Individuals who have not researched car insurance in California may incorrectly assume that the state also has some of the highest rates for car insurance.

Lawmakers have enacted laws that are very effective in keeping the cost of California car insurance affordable resulting in a lower percentage of unlicensed and untrained drivers sharing the road with properly trained and insured drivers.

Existing statutes and policies cause car insurance protection in California to be within the financial capability of every licensed driver.

Be sure to use the FREE search tool above by entering your ZIP code!

California Car Insurance Facts


  • It is illegal for insurance companies to use credit history to affect car insurance rates.
  • Insurance companies are required by law to offer a 20 percent discount to drivers with only one violation in the preceding 36 months. Drivers with more than one violation may take traffic school for each violation which will prevent an insurance company from increasing the premium due to driving record. This privilege does not apply to drivers found to be at-fault in one or more accidents resulting in injury or death.
  • Licensed driver address affects car insurance premiums. Different zip codes within large cities cost more or less for car insurance as well as price variations between regions in the state.
  • Certain makes and models of cars will have lower or higher cost premiums.
  • Insurance costs are affected by the amount of miles driven by individual drivers.

Insurance Prices for Younger and Less Experienced Drivers

Sacramento, the capital city is a mid-priced region for car insurance in California.

Jeanette is a financially independent 18 year-old with a 2012 Honda Civic. In Sacramento, Jeanette has these choices of providers and monthly payments for standard coverage:

  1. USAA -$240.00
  2. GEICO – $309.00
  3. Mercury -$312.00
  4. Allstate -$386.00
  5. State Farm – $411.00
  6. AAA – $476.00
  7. Mid-Century -$497.00
  8. Liberty Mutual – $520.00

If Jeanette were to live in San Louis Obispo, a lower priced region for car insurance, she could get the same coverage from these companies for these monthly payments:

  1. USAA -$161.00
  2. GEICO – $241.00
  3. AAA – $291.00
  4. Mercury – $298.00
  5. Allstate – $333.00
  6. State Farm – $351.00
  7. Mid-Century – $398.00
  8. Liberty Mutual -$409.00

Insurance Prices for Experienced Drivers

Accident risk drops significantly as drivers mature and acquire more experience. Alisha is a 30 year old female who also drives a 2012 Honda. Sacramento has these monthly payment options in standard coverage for a driver in Alisha’s circumstance:

  1. 21st Century -$110.00
  2. GEICO – $111.00
  3. USAA -$112.00
  4. Mercury – $114.00
  5. Allstate -$132.00
  6. Mid-Century -$156.00
  7. State Farm -$168.00
  8. AAA -$175.00
  9. Liberty Mutual -$204.00

In San Luis Obispo, the price for a driver like Alisha is even lower:

  1. USAA -$75.00
  2. Mid-Century -$77.00
  3. 21st Century -$81.00
  4. GEICO – $84.00
  5. Allstate – $93.00
  6. Mercury -$95.00
  7. AAA -$98.00
  8. State Farm -$105.00
  9. Liberty Mutual – $138.00


Insurance Prices for Multiple Driver Households

The Meyers family lives in Redding California, the northernmost city of the state. Hank and Jan are 45 and 43 years of age with teen daughters, who are 17 and 19 years old, both licensed to drive. Hank and Jan own four vehicles and pay the car insurance bill for everyone.

Insurance for young drivers costs less when they are part of a multi-vehicle household with a family of drivers. Extended level coverage for a 2011 Toyota Avalon, 2010 Jeep Grand Cherokee, 2003 Subaru Outback and a 2002 Ford Focus in Redding California is available for the monthly payments listed below:

  1. Auto Club – $320.00
  2. USAA -$323.00
  3. Allstate -$327.00
  4. GEICO – $342.00
  5. Mercury – $377.00
  6. State Farm -$450.00
  7. Liberty Mutual – $642.00
  8. Mid-Century -$683.00

Extended level coverage provides higher amounts of liability protection which is very important for licensed drivers who own homes or other valuable assets.

Most Expensive California City for Car Insurance

The most expensive region in California for car insurance is the Los Angeles metropolitan region. The city of Glendale in this area is the most expensive city for car insurance in the state of California.

Jason, a Glendale resident, is 30 years old and drives a 2008 Mazda CX-7. In the past 36 months, Jason has received 2 tickets; one for an illegal right hand turn and the other for following too closely on the freeway.

Both times, Jason attended traffic school after receiving a courtesy notice from the California Courts about attending traffic school in order to retain “good driver” status for insurance purposes. Both violations were more than 18 months apart which is required to qualify for the program. In Glendale, Jason has the following choices for basic level coverage:

  1. USAA -$78.00
  2. GEICO – $109.00
  3. Allstate – $116
  4. Mercury -$128
  5. AAA – $148.00
  6. 21st Century – $153.00
  7. State Farm -$160.00
  8. Liberty Mutual – $182.00
  9. Mid-Century -$198

If Jason did not attend traffic school, his choices would not be as affordable:

  1. USAA -$138.00
  2. GEICO – $178.00
  3. Mercury – $211.00
  4. AAA -$266.00
  5. Allstate – $285
  6. State Farm – $307
  7. 21st Century -$367.00
  8. Liberty Mutual -$410.00
  9. Mid-Century -$434.00

Car Insurance for Low Income Drivers

Patricia, Jason’s mother is low income and qualifies for the low income auto insurance program in California. Patricia pays $73.60 once per year as a down payment and seven additional monthly payments of $41.34 for one year of coverage for her 2005 Ford Taurus. The program provides these benefits:

how to determine super car insurance rates

  • $10,000.00 per person and $20,000.00 per accident for bodily injury.
  • $3,000.00 for property damage.
  • $10,000.00 per person and $20,000.00 per accident for bodily injury caused by uninsured or under insured motorist.
  • $1,000.00 per person for medical payments coverage.

Patricia purchases her insurance from the same agency Jason uses. In other parts of California, low cost auto insurance costs even less:

  1. Sacramento – $52.60 down and seven monthly installments of $31.00 for one year of car insurance.
  2. San Luis Obispo – $42.60 down and seven monthly installments of $24.34.
  3. Redding – $50.20 down and seven monthly installments of $28.69.

Car Insurance Price for High Value Vehicle in San Francisco Bay Area

Allen lives in Milpitas near San Jose California. He is 35 years old and drives a 2013 Tesla. In August of 2014, Allen was involved in a car accident with property damage, but no injury. The police investigation found him to be at-fault which means that removal of the incident from his record through traffic school is not an option.

Allen needs premium level insurance which is available to him from these companies at these prices:

  1. USAA -$318.00
  2. State Farm -$374.00
  3. AAA -$405.00
  4. 21st Century -$519.00
  5. Allstate -$549.00
  6. Mid-Century – $630.00
  7. Liberty Mutual – $784.00
  8. GEICO – $862.00

A person can only assume from such a broad range of insurance premiums listed that car insurance consumers in California who do not research and compare regularly are paying hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year more than others for identical car insurance products.

Use the FREE car insurance comparison tool below to start your search for the best quotes!