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Last updated: August 3, 2023

Cost of Auto Insurance in California

Average insurance costs in California based on age, marital status, driving history, and other factors

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California’s more than 26 million drivers – which is more drivers than any other state – enjoy average rates compared to the rest of the country. Californians don’t need uninsured motorist coverage to drive legally and have low liability insurance requirements (we’ll get into the specific numbers below). This contributes to the moderate insurance rates.

Auto insurance providers consider several factors when calculating your insurance costs, including your ZIP code, age, traffic violation history, and other relevant determinants. Read on for a detailed breakdown of what drivers in California can expect to pay for minimum or full coverage car insurance.

Average Car Insurance Rates in California

In 2020, the average cost of car insurance in California was $1,049 annually ($87 a month), which is right around the national annual average of $1,047.1 Eighty-seven dollars a month is a fairly affordable rate compared to the rest of the country, and you could lower your premiums even further depending on your discount eligibility and driving background.

By Age

Teen and young drivers pay the most for car insurance in California because they tend to get into more traffic violations and accidents than drivers from other age groups. Drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 pay the most for car insurance on average, about $5,000 annually for full coverage, and drivers in their 50s pay the least — $1,655 annually.

Here’s a full breakdown by age.

Age Average yearly car insurance costs
16 $5,574
17 $5,324
18 $5,356
19 $3,754
20s $2,637
30s $1,855
40s $1,761
50s $1,655
60s $1,782
70s $1,953


California is one of the only states that bans auto insurance pricing based on gender and credit score. Regardless of your gender or how bad your credit score is, insurance providers cannot use your credit history or gender identity to determine your rates. This is good news for those with bad credit but bad news for those with good credit.

By Marital Status

Married couples will pay less for car insurance on average because they tend to file fewer claims, receive fewer traffic violations, and make on-time payments. All of these factors impact how providers determine the rates of drivers based on marital status.

Marital status Average annual car insurance costs
Single $1,649
Married $1,576
Divorced $1,649
Widowed $1,582

By Coverage Level

It’s no surprise that minimum coverage costs significantly less than full coverage. Although you only need minimum liability in California to drive legally, we recommend tacking on full coverage (comprehensive, collision, uninsured/underinsured, and medical payments coverage) and increasing your limits as much as you can afford.

Coverage level Average annual car insurance costs
Minimum $625
Full $1,672


If you drive without car insurance in California, you might get your vehicle impounded and pay up to $200 for a first offense. Subsequent offenses within three years of the prior conviction may result in fines of up to $500.2

By Driving History

Auto insurance companies rely heavily on driving history when determining your rates. As you may have guessed, drivers with histories of DUIs, accidents, and traffic violations will pay significantly more for auto insurance than safe drivers, on average.

Driving history Average annual car insurance costs
Clean driving record $1,860
Speeding ticket $2,498
Accident $2,933
DUI $4,757

By Company

Below you can find California’s average auto insurance rates based on the company. Because companies cater to different types of drivers, your actual costs could be higher or lower based on your unique driving background and personal needs.

Company Average annual car insurance costs
Allied $1,762
Allstate $1,636
GEICO $1,161
Mercury $1,236
Progressive $1,361
State Farm $1,376
Travelers $1,641
USAA $1,038

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in California

Different providers fill different needs in the auto insurance market. USAA, for example, offers the cheapest coverage in California but is only available to military members, veterans, and their families. Esurance and GEICO, on the other hand, offer the best rates for younger drivers.

Here’s the full breakdown of the cheapest car insurance by your driving and personal background.

Background Cheapest company Annual cost
Married GEICO $1,116
Single Wawanesa General $1,505
Military USAA $1,138
Veteran USAA $1,138
Full coverage GEICO $1,195
Minimum coverage GEICO $384
16 years old Esurance $2,957
17 years old Esurance $2,773
18 years old Esurance $2,656
19 years old GEICO $2,224
20s AAA California $1,126
30s Mercury $1,023
40s Mercury $997
50s Mercury $945
60s Mercury $955
70s State Farm $969
80s and above GEICO $1,146

How to Save on Car Insurance in California

For some drivers, car insurance in California is expensive; for some, it’s too expensive to afford. That’s why California created the California Low-Cost Automobile Insurance Program (CLCA) in 1999: to provide income-eligible, safe drivers with liability insurance at affordable rates. In order to qualify, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • Have a valid California driver’s license
  • Own a vehicle with a value of $25,000 or less
  • Have an income that is equal to or lower than:
    • $32,200 for one person
    • $43,550 for two people
    • $54,900 for three people
    • $66,250 for four people3

Outside of the CLCA program, follow best practices to get cheaper rates:

  1. Compare quotes to find the most competitive rates.
  2. Increase your deductibles to lower your premiums.
  3. Ask your agent about pay-per-mile options if you don’t drive often.
  4. Drive safely over time.
  5. Ask about additional discounts you may not be aware of.

State Minimums

Here are the minimum car insurance requirements in California:

  • $15,000 in bodily injury liability per person
  • $30,000 in bodily injury liability per accident
  • $5,000 for property damage liability per accident4

California Fault Law

California is an at-fault state, which means that the driver responsible for an accident has to pay for the damages/injuries relating to the accident.

California follows a pure comparative negligence fault law, which means that you can recover some claims for damages regardless of your percentage of fault. So even if you are 99 percent at fault, you can still recover 1 percent of your damages in an accident, as your compensation is reduced by your percentage of fault.5

California SR-22s

If you’re convicted of a serious traffic violation, you might have to request that your insurance provider file an SR-22 in California on your behalf. An SR-22 confirms that you have at least the minimum California auto insurance requirements.

Here are some reasons you might need an SR-22 in California:

  • You were uninsured and got into an accident.
  • You’re restoring your driving privileges after a DUI.
  • You got into a hit-and-run and have an outstanding judgment, or the unreported accident resulted in death, property damage/bodily injuries of over $1,000, or you were driving without insurance.

According to the California DMV, you could get your license suspended if you don’t maintain your SR-22 certification for as long as the state requires you to have one. 


Relative to the rest of the country, most drivers will pay average rates for car insurance in California. While these numbers will vary from person to person and provider to provider, they are a good estimate of how much you may have to pay for auto insurance in The Golden State. Be sure to speak to your agent about additional ways you can save and take advantage of the CLCA program if you’re eligible.

Methodology is backed by 20 years of industry experience, a powerful database, and the expert guidance of Paul Ford, president of insurance at Centerfield (AutoInsurance’s parent company). By connecting drivers to top insurance providers over the years, we’ve learned what makes specific providers more successful with certain types of drivers. That information has helped us curate our recommendations and guides so you can find the best providers for your needs in California.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is car insurance in Los Angeles?

On average, car insurance in Los Angeles costs about $2,700 a year on average for full coverage.

How much is a car rental in California?

Car rentals in California range from anywhere between $25 to $150 per day, according to several of the largest rental companies (Hertz, Midway Car Rental, etc.).

Is car insurance cheap in California?

On average, Californians pay about the same for auto insurance as the rest of the country: $1,049 compared to a $1,047 national average, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Depending on your driving background and personal history, you could get cheaper-than-average rates in California.

Why is it hard to get car insurance right now in California?

Many of the large providers, including GEICO and Progressive, have closed offices in California and are no longer providing quotes over the phone. The reason providers are backing out of California is that it’s become too expensive for them to insure people in the state.

In many cases, these providers still offer coverage in California, but you have to request a quote online or through the app.


  1. 2019/2020 Auto Insurance Database Report. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. (2023, Jan).

  2. ARTICLE 2. Financial Responsibility [16020 – 16033]. California Legislative Information. (2023).

  3. California Low Cost Auto. (2023).

  4. Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements for Private Passenger, Commercial and Fleet Vehicles. State of California DMV. (2023).

  5. Automobile Insurance. California Department of Insurance. (2023).