Who has best cheap car insurance in California?


Getting car insurance in California will be different than getting car insurance anywhere else in the US. California’s unique laws on auto insurance will make a big difference, and the Golden State also offers a unique affordable car insurance program that isn’t available elsewhere.

That said, you’ll still want to shop around to find the best coverage. Here’s what you need to know about getting car insurance in California, and a few companies that offer some of the lowest estimated premiums to get you started on your search.  

How do companies determine your premium in California?

Companies in California will determine your premium, or the cost you’ll pay up front for coverage, a little bit differently than in other states. There are a few factors California law prohibits considering in insurance pricing, including: 

  • Gender: As of 2019, California no longer allows insurance companies to factor a person’s gender into the price they’ll pay for car insurance coverage. 
  • Your credit score: California doesn’t allow credit scores to be used in pricing decisions as they are in most states. 

Other than those things, the standard pricing factors still apply, and things like years of driving experience, driving record, the type of car you drive, and where you live within the state will all be factors. 

Who has the best cheap car insurance in California?

In this state, coverage costs will vary most by where you live within the state. To find the companies with the cheapest policies, we used California Department of Insurance’s Automobile Insurance Comparison tool to find the best companies for drivers in three different parts of California. We based our analysis on standard coverage for a single female adult driver, who drives no more than 10,000 miles per year, has six to eight years of driving experience, no violations, and owns a Honda Accord.

Here are the three best companies for rates for this driver in Santa Monica: 

  • Ocean Harbor car insurance: $2,030 per year
  • Wawanesa car insurance: $2,076 per year
  • The General car insurance: $2,221 per year

The three best companies for this driver living in Sacramento: 

  • Wawanesa insurance company: $2,064 per year
  • Progressive car insurance: $2,068 per year
  • The General car insurance: $2,093 per year

This driver would see very different rates in Petaluma, a part of more rural Sonoma county. Coverage is much less expensive here than it is in urban parts of the state.

  • The General car insurance: $1,736 per year
  • USAA car insurance: $1,736 per year
  • Progressive car insurance: $1,836 per year 

California also offers a low-cost alternative for lower-income drivers

California’s Department of Insurance also offers a low-cost auto insurance program. If you qualify, this program could help lower the costs of car insurance to $247 to $980 per year, depending on where you live. 

This option is only offered only to Californians with a car less than $25,000 in value, and a good driving record. A maximum income limit applies, with a maximum income of $31,225 for a single person and $53,325 for a household of three.

Who gets the best cheap car insurance in California?

As we saw above, there are several factors that can’t influence your car insurance premium in California, and your credit score is a big one. In California, where you live will be a big factor. Californians who live in more rural parts of the state will pay less, and those in urban areas will generally pay more. 

That said, California is a large market for car insurance, and that means that there’s a big opportunity to shop around. Make sure to get quotes from several different insurance companies, and compare their coverage limits and types. You’ll also want to consider the deductible, or the amount you’ll pay out of pocket if you get into an accident. By shopping around, you’ll be able to find the best rate for you. 

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