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The cheapest car insurance company in California for minimum coverage is Geico. A driver with a clean record will pay an average of $371 a year for the minimum liability coverage, based on 2022 Insurance.com data. 

For full coverage, Progressive is the cheapest California insurer at $1,466 a year on average.

Of course, every driver is different, and to help find the cheapest car insurance in California for you, we analyzed rates for every California ZIP code and multiple companies. 

Below you'll find the cheapest California car insurance companies listed by driver type and coverage level, so you can save no matter what your situation.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • California is the fifth most expensive state for car insurance with an average rate of $2,110 a year ($176 monthly).
  • Among the carriers surveyed, Geico had the lowest average rate for state-minimum coverage and Progressive was cheapest for full coverage.
  • USAA offers the lowest car insurance rates in California for people with a ticket or an accident.

Cheapest full coverage car insurance in California

Progressive has the lowest average rate in 2022 among insurers researched by Insurance.com for California drivers buying a full coverage policy. No two car insurance companies will have the same price on a policy. That’s because they assess risk differently and use their own calculations when deciding what you’ll pay. So, it’s wise to compare rates to find savings. The cheapest companies and their average rates are:

  • Progressive: $1,466
  • USAA: $1,537
  • Geico: $1,594
  • Mercury: $1,622
  • Travelers: $2,044
  • Auto-Owners: $2,143

Full coverage is typically required if you have a car loan, or lease, and is recommended if you have a newer car, and if you own a home and have savings to protect. Here’s how Progressive compared to the carriers above for a full coverage policy. The limits are $100,000 in liability coverage for each person injured in an accident you cause, up to $300,000 per accident, with $300,000 in property damage, and comprehensive and collision insurance.

  • $71 less than USAA
  • $128 less than Geico
  • $156 less than Mercury 
  • $578 less than Travelers
  • $677 less than Auto-Owners

Cheapest minimum coverage car insurance in California

Geico has the lowest average rate for minimum liability limits, or the least amount of coverage you need to drive legally. For California drivers with clean records buying state-mandated liability, the cheapest companies and their average rates are:

  • Geico: $371
  • USAA: $390
  • Progressive: $436
  • CSAA Insurance: $458
  • Mercury Insurance: $487
  • Kemper Insurance: $507

Minimum coverage isn’t recommended because it’s typically not enough to pay for even minor accidents, leaving you responsible to pay for the balance of medical and repair bills. However, if you have an old car that’s not worth much and no savings or assets, state minimum liability coverage will suffice.

Cheapest company for higher liability limits

For drivers wanting more than bare-bones coverage, but who don’t need comprehensive and collision coverage, USAA has the lowest average rates. The cheapest auto insurers for liability limits of 50/100/50 and their average rates are:

  • USAA: $570
  • Geico: $599
  • CSAA Insurance: $628
  • Progressive: $637
  • Mercury: $753
  • Travelers: $809

Cheapest car insurance for your California driver profile

How much coverage you buy, and from which company, are among key factors that influence your insurance cost. We’ve seen that Geico is the cheapest company for the average driver (above). But not everyone is average. To give you an estimate of what you can expect, we provide auto insurance quotes for California drivers for common scenarios. These include motorists with the following:

  • Accidents
  • Speeding tickets
  • Teen driver

Cheapest insurance for California drivers with accidents

USAA has the lowest car insurance rates in California for drivers with an at-fault accident, among those surveyed by Insurance.com. Though you’ll likely see a rate hike after a property damage or bodily injury liability claim, you can still save by comparison shopping, as you’ll see rates vary among carriers for those with accident claims.

Property damage claim

  • USAA: $2,255
  • Auto-Owners: $2,603
  • Geico: $2,877
  • Mercury: $3,058
  • Progressive: $3,066
  • Auto Club Enterprise: $3,384

Cheapest California car insurance for drivers with speeding tickets

USAA has the lowest rate for drivers in California with speeding tickets. In most cases, you’ll pay more for car insurance after a speeding violation. The increase happens when your policy renews, and generally lasts for three years. But even with a traffic ticket, comparison shopping can save you money. For instance, you'll see that the difference between the highest rate and the lowest is $1,372, on average, according to Insurance.com's rate analysis. That's how much you can potentially save by comparing auto insurance quotes in California after speeding tickets.

  • USAA: $1,773
  • Mercury: $2,335
  • Geico: $2,491
  • Auto-Owners: $2,578
  • Progressive: $2,845
  • Auto club Enterprise: $3,145

Cheapest insurance for teen drivers 

For drivers who have just added a teen to their coverage, here are the cheapest car insurance companies and their average rates in California. Again, USAA is cheapest, but Geico is a close second if you don’t qualify for USAA.

  • USAA: $3,569
  • Geico : $3,814
  • Mercury: $4,018
  • Travelers: $4,043
  • Auto-Owners: $4,141

How much is car insurance in California?

The cost of car insurance in California is $2,110 a year ($176 monthly), which is the seventh-most expensive state for car insurance. If you have a clean driving record and good credit, here is how much you can expect to pay:

Coverage limitsAverage annual rate
Liability-only - state minimum$578
Liability-only - 50/100/50 BI/PD$853
Full coverage - 100/300/100 BI/PD $500 comp/collision deductible$2,110

Comparing car insurance quotes in California

When you shop for car insurance, first determine what level of coverage suits your needs. The minimum coverage you must have under state law is 15/30/5, as follows:

  • $15,000 for each injured person per accident
  • Up to a total of $30,000 per accident
  • $5,000 for property damage per accident

However, state minimum requirements are typically too low to provide sufficient coverage. Even minor accidents can cause damage resulting in repairs and medical bills that exceed these levels, leaving you to pay the difference. For that reason, most experts recommend levels of 100/300/100.

Also, state required liability coverage does not cover damage to your car if you cause an accident or if your car is damaged in other scenarios, for instance, from a bad storm. For that you need the optional coverages of comprehensive and collision. Comprehensive pays for damage to your car from flooding, hail, fire, vandalism and pays to replace your vehicle if stolen. Collision pays for damage to your car from accidents, regardless of fault, and from hitting an object, say a pole or fence.

Depending on the age of your vehicle, however, you might not need comprehensive and collision coverage. If your car is more than 10 years old and has a low replacement cost, you might be able to forgo this coverage.

If you need more help to determine the right level of coverage for your situation, use the Car Insurance Coverage Calculator.

Once you determine how much coverage you need, compare California car insurance quotes from at least three auto insurance companies.

In addition to comparing quotes, be sure you’re getting the best deal by doing the following:

  • Check to see which car insurance discounts apply to you.
  • Scour membership and affinity programs for discounts: AARP and military members can get discounted insurance. Your employer, alumni associations, and wholesale clubs are also good places to search for potential discounts. Affiliation discounts can save you as much as 25%.
  • Raise your deductible: Increasing your deductible to $1,000 can save you 40% or more on car insurance costs, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
  • Combine your coverage: Bundle auto coverage with your home or renters’ insurance policy, and you can typically save 10% to 12% on your auto insurance rate.
  • Be a good driver: Being a safe driver can lower your car insurance by 5% typically. Driving fewer miles a year will also reduce your rate.
  • Take a driver training course: If you'll add your teen to your insurance policy, sign him or her up for a driver's education course, since this can lower your rate. Consider taking a defensive driving course to get a discount on insurance. Contact your insurance company to make sure it offers this discount and then search online or your insurer's website to find qualifying local courses.

Best auto insurance companies in California

There’s more to getting the best coverage than finding the lowest price. Insurance.com asked current policyholders what they thought of their car insurance company’s customer service, claims handling, mobile apps/websites and pricing to identify the best car insurance companies in California. Below you’ll see how national carriers that do business in California ranked overall on these metrics in the survey. All scores are out of 5.

RankingCompany nameScore
1USAA4.75
2Auto-Owners4.25
3Erie4.25
4State Farm4.25
5Geico4
6Travelers3.75
7American Family3.75
8Nationwide3.75
9Progressive3.75
10Auto Club of Southern California3.5
11Auto Group3.5
12Allstate3.5
13Mercury3
14Farmers3
15Hartford3
16MetLife2.75
17CSAA2.75

Auto insurance is part of car ownership cost, but that doesn't mean you have to pay exorbitant prices to get the best coverage. Do some research to determine how much coverage you really need and get quotes from several different insurers to compare their rates. With a little time and effort, you can find the best cheap car insurance company in California for you.

Methodology

Insurance.com commissioned 2022 California car insurance rates across all ZIP codes in the state for state minimum, 50/100/50 and full coverage at 100/300/100 with $500 deductibles. Rates are based on a 40-year-old male driver with a 2021 Honda Accord LX, a clean driving record, and good credit.

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