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Best & Cheapest California Car Insurance as Rated by Customers in 2020

4.67 ★★★★★
4579 customer reviews
rated their claim's experience positively
4.64 ★★★★★
104 customer reviews
rated their claim's experience positively
4.19 ★★★★★
461 customer reviews
rated their claim's experience positively
4.13 ★★★★★
16886 customer reviews
rated their claim's experience positively
4.09 ★★★★★
2059 customer reviews
rated their claim's experience positively
4.05 ★★★★★
2230 customer reviews
rated their claim's experience positively
4.03 ★★★★★
7149 customer reviews
rated their claim's experience positively
3.96 ★★★★★
1333 customer reviews
rated their claim's experience positively
3.93 ★★★★★
746 customer reviews
rated their claim's experience positively
3.90 ★★★★★
144 customer reviews
rated their claim's experience positively
3.89 ★★★★★
143 customer reviews
rated their claim's experience positively
3.78 ★★★★★
163 customer reviews
rated their claim's experience positively
3.74 ★★★★★
545 customer reviews
rated their claim's experience positively
3.74 ★★★★★
149 customer reviews
rated their claim's experience positively
3.69 ★★★★★
90 customer reviews
rated their claim's experience positively
3.51 ★★★★★
41 customer reviews
rated their claim's experience positively
3.15 ★★★★★
87 customer reviews
rated their claim's experience positively
3.08 ★★★★★
295 customer reviews
rated their claim's experience positively
2.57 ★★★★★
126 customer reviews
rated their claim's experience positively
2.16 ★★★★★
133 customer reviews
rated their claim's experience positively

We want to help you find the best car insurance companies in California. In the table above, you can sort through all the California car insurance companies ranked on Clearsurance.

The rating next to each company — the insurer’s Clearsurance score — is based exclusively on the ratings provided by customers. Note: Only those companies with at least 25 car insurance reviews are eligible to appear on this rankings of the best car insurance in California.

Interested in learning more about one of these California car insurance companies? You can visit the company’s profile page to find out what additional coverages they offer, any discounts they offer and read car insurance reviews to learn from the experiences of other policyholders.

On this page:

Who offers the best teen car insurance rates in California?

Mercury Insurance Groups has the cheapest car insurance rates for teen drivers in California, slightly edging the average rates for CSAA Insurance Group. Note: This is only among the six largest car insurance companies in California by market share.

Company Female teen rates Male teen rates
AAA $1,293 $1,482
Allstate Insurance $2,216 $2,721
CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer $1,195 $1,337
Farmers Insurance Group $1,288 $1,947
Mercury Insurance Group $1,163 $1,318
State Farm Insurance Company $1,503 $1,775

These rates are based on profiles for 18-year-old male and female drivers in California. The car used was a 2015 Honda Civic EX. We used the minimum car insurance state limits. The rates displayed should only be used for comparative purposes as individual rates in California will differ. Rate data is provided by Quadrant Information Services.

Who offers the best car insurance rates for a married couple in California?

Mercury Insurance Group offers the cheapest average car insurance rates for a married couple in California among the five most popular car insurers in the state.

Company Married couple rates
Allstate Insurance $2,522
CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer $2,413
Farmers Insurance Group $3,142
Mercury Insurance Group $1,879
State Farm Insurance Company $3,017

These rates are based on a 35-year-old married couple with two drivers and two vehicles on a policy. The cars used were two 2015 Toyota Highlander LEs. Full coverage was used with 100/300/50 limits and a $500 collision and comprehensive deductible. The drivers had 1 driving incident within the past 3 years and they both have a good credit score. The rates displayed should only be used for comparative purposes as individual rates in California will differ. Rate data is provided by Quadrant Information Services.

Who offers the best senior car insurance rates in California?

For senior drivers in California, Mercury Insurance Group offers the cheapest car insurance rates when compared to the other largest car insurers in the state by market share.

Company Female senior rates Male senior rates
AAA $1,399 $1,371
Allstate Insurance $1,179 $1,134
CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer $1,444 $1,444
Farmers Insurance Group $1,414 $1,414
Mercury Insurance Group $1,160 $1,090
State Farm Insurance Company $1,275 $1,275

These rates are based on profiles for 65-year-old male and female drivers. The car used for each was a 2015 Toyota Camry LE. Full coverage was used with 100/300/50 limits and a $500 collision and comprehensive deductible. The drivers had zero incidents within the past three years and a good credit score. The rates displayed should only be used for comparative purposes as individual rates in California will differ. Rate data is provided by Quadrant Information Services.

10 Cheapest areas in California for car insurance

California is a large state and car insurance rates can vary significantly based on the area you live in. On average, the northern California city of Mount Shasta has the cheapest rates in the state. In the table below, you can see the top 10 cheapest areas in California for car insurance based on average rates for single adults.

Area Car insurance rates
Mount Shasta $1,530
Los Osos $1,556
Yreka $1,559
Weed $1,562
Cambria $1,565
Big Pine $1,572
Greenview $1,590
Bishop $1,594
Avila Beach $1,595
San Ardo $1,598

These rates are based on a 35-year-old single adult with one driver and one vehicle on a policy. The car used was a 2015 Toyota Highlander LE. Full coverage was used with 100/300/50 limits and a $500 collision and comprehensive deductible. The driver had 1 driving incident within the past 3 years and had a good credit score. The rates displayed should only be used for comparative purposes as individual rates in California will differ. Rate data is provided by Quadrant Information Services.

10 Most expensive areas in California for car insurance

In certain areas of California, car insurance can be expensive. On average, the most expensive area in California for car insurance is Beverly Hills. The table below displays the top 10 most expensive areas in California for car insurance based on average rates for a single adult.

Area Car insurance rates
Beverly Hills $3,493
Tarzana $3,384
West Hollywood $3,457
Van Nuys $3,250
Glendale $3,237
Encino $3,216
North Hollywood $3,206
Valley Village $3,200
Camp Pendleton $3,116
Universal City $3,112

These rates are based on a 35-year-old single adult with one driver and one vehicle on a policy. The car used was a 2015 Toyota Highlander LE. Full coverage was used with 100/300/50 limits and a $500 collision and comprehensive deductible. The driver had 1 driving incident within the past 3 years and had a good credit score. The rates displayed should only be used for comparative purposes as individual rates in California will differ. Rate data is provided by Quadrant Information Services.

Minimum car insurance coverage and limits in California

All California drivers are legally required to purchase bodily injury and property damage liability insurance. The state’s minimum requirements, listed below, are lower than a majority of other states. Still, it’s not necessarily smart to purchase just the minimum coverage to save money. Doing so could leave you underinsured for a costly accident. You can learn more about different car insurance coverages and what the limits mean here.

California state minimum requirements:

Liability:

  • Bodily injury — $15,000 per person
  • Bodily injury — $30,000 per accident
  • Property damage — $5,000 per accident

Bodily injury liability provides coverage for injuries sustained by the other vehicle’s driver and passengers if you are held responsible for an accident. This coverage also kicks in to defend you in the event of any legal claims.

Property damage liability provides coverage in the event you damage someone else’s property in a car accident, most commonly the other vehicle, but also things like a home or fence.

California’s uninsured motorist percentage

California insurance companies are required to offer you uninsured motorist coverage, but you aren’t required to purchase it. Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage offers protection in the event you are involved in an accident with a driver who either doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough coverage.

While buying the coverage would increase your premium, it may be a wise purchase. California’s percentage of uninsured drivers is 15.2 — the 12th highest in the United States, according to 2015 data from the Insurance Information Institute. That ranks higher than the 2015 national average of 13 percent.

How car insurance rates are calculated in California

When searching and comparing quotes from the best auto insurance companies in California, it can be frustrating trying to understand how your insurance rates are calculated. While there is no exact formula that each car insurance company uses when providing you a quote, there are many factors that do contribute to the price you pay for your insurance. Among the factors that car insurers consider are:

  • Your driving record
  • How much you drive
  • Location
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Gender
  • Your car’s make, model and year
  • Amount of car insurance coverage (required coverage and optional add-ons, such as collision and comprehensive)

One of the biggest misunderstandings when it comes to insurance rates is that the history of drivers in your area also contributes to how much you pay. For instance, even if you go two years without an accident, if there were a lot of accidents near you recently, your rates might still go up. Why is that the case?

Insurance companies disperse risk across all policyholders so that when it comes time to pay a claim, they have enough money to pay out. But imagine a scenario where they only raised rates for drivers with an accident. For drivers who had an expensive claim, the drivers simply wouldn't be able to afford the raised rates that are based off how much their insurer had to pay after an accident. So instead, insurance companies slightly increase rates across the board to offset the costs, though of course the at-fault driver may see a larger increase.

How to save money on your car insurance in California

At the end of the day, we’d all like to have the best coverage at a cheap, affordable price from one of the best car insurance in California. While you never want to sacrifice quality to save a couple of dollars, there are some different ways you can lower your car insurance premium.

Here are six ways you may be able to lower your car insurance rates:

  • Bundle your car insurance with other policies
  • Consider raising your deductibles
  • Pay your car insurance policy in full
  • Try usage-based car insurance
  • Monitor price changes to your policy
  • Shop for better insurance rates

How Clearsurance rates and ranks the best car insurance companies in California

Consistent with its mission towards greater transparency, Clearsurance does not keep its rating and ranking formulas in a black box. Our algorithm analyzes a range of inputs from our independent community of insurance customers, including:

  • Price
  • Customer Service
  • Claim service
  • Likelihood to renew

The algorithm also takes into account the percentage of what customers say the company does well vs. the percentage of what customers say the company could do better.

Finally, there is also a confidence factor based upon the number of reviews a company has by product. If the total number of reviews is less than 100, then a confidence deduction is applied to the star rating. The maximum impact of this deduction occurs when there are less than 25 reviews. Companies with 100 or more reviews, aged two years or less, receive 100% weighting (no deduction), while companies with 50 to 99 customer reviews receive a weighting of .95%, 25 to 49 reviews receive a weighting of .90% and companies with less than 25 reviews a weighting of .85%.

The Clearsurance customer ratings and rankings of the best car insurance in California are derived entirely from customer reviews and ratings.