California attracts many people with its sunny weather and beautiful beaches. However, if you plan to live and drive in the Golden State, you need adequate car insurance—it’s required by state law. But California car insurance premiums are known to be on the pricier side.
With a little research, this doesn’t have to be the case.
If you’re wondering exactly how much car insurance costs in California, you’re in the right place. This article will review the costs of California car insurance, as well as explain the reasons for California’s high rates. Most importantly, you’ll learn how to get the best deal on your car insurance premiums.
So, do you have to have insurance to register a car in California? Yes, California requires its drivers to have car insurance before they register their vehicle. But why is this car insurance coverage required?
Car insurance is mandatory because driving comes with a certain degree of liability. If you cause an accident, you’re liable for the resulting damages, whether they’re injuries, death, or property damage to another person.
Car insurance proves that you’re financially prepared to deal with the consequences of an accident, and therefore, responsible enough to be a driver.
In California, all drivers must purchase the following liability insurance policies to register their vehicles and drive:
As long as you have these insurance policies at the stated amounts, you’re in good standing with California state law. However, these car insurance coverages aren’t very high. If you got into a costly accident, you might still have to use your personal assets to pay in full. Thus, it’s prudent to purchase additional coverage.
In California, the following car insurance policies are optional:
As you can see, purchasing additional car insurance coverage has its benefits. You’ll protect your financial standing and have fewer factors to worry about.
So how much is car insurance per month in California? The average cost of California car insurance is $1,661, or $138 per month.
If you purchase the bare minimum of California car insurance, the average premium is only $574 per year. This breaks down to around $48 per month.
If instead you select a full coverage policy, the average cost is $1,804, which is around $150 per month. Compared to the national average for full coverage, which is $1,548, California’s annual average is 20% higher.
Young drivers often have to pay more for car insurance, since they’re considered a riskier demographic. If you’re a young driver with a good driving record, the best car insurance rates out there range between $1,600 and $1,985 per year, depending on your auto insurer.
If you’re wondering why California’s rates are so expensive, here are a few reasons:
Due to these factors, car insurance will be a bit higher in California than in many other states.
California is a big state. It has 142 cities, all of which vary in traffic congestion, accident frequency, vandalism, and average vehicle value. As a result, the cost of California car insurance depends greatly on which city you live in.
The top five most expensive cities in California for car insurance are:
The five least expensive cities in California for car insurance are:
Some other notable California city car insurance averages you might be curious about are:
As you can see, California car insurance is pricey. If you want cheap car insurance in California, you need to shop around for an auto insurance company that provides competitive rates.
If you have a clean driving record, the cheapest auto insurers on the market are:
If you’re planning to move to California, here are a few things to keep in mind about car insurance:
While car insurance is a little more expensive in California, it’s worth it to live in such a beautiful state. That said, you don’t have to settle for an inflated rate. By doing your research, you can find a low price on car insurance, no matter which California city you choose to live in.
If you’re ready to explore your car insurance options, use Autoinsurance.com as a resource, see our handy rate comparison tool on the top of this page.
Autoinsurance.com helps you:
Ready for a great deal on California car insurance? Us too.
Automobile Insurance Information Guide.. California Department of Insurance.
Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Coverage Car Insurance. ValuePenguin.
Where in California is Car Insurance the Most Expensive? ValuePenguin.
Best Cheap Car Insurance in California for 2020. Nerd Wallet. (2021, Dec)
Urban Percentage of the Population for States, Historical. Iowa State University. (2022)
Motor vehicle theft rate in the U.S. in 2018, by state. Statista. (2022)
Vehicle miles traveled and vehicle trips by State. United States Department of Transportation. (2017, May)