How Much is Car Insurance in California? Rates by Coverage Level, Age, Driving History and Location

The average cost of car insurance in California is $1,429. It's only $5 higher than the national average. Compared to other states, with #1 having the cheapest rates, it ranks 38th. MoneyGeek analyzed car insurance rates in California according to several different driver profiles and circumstances to help you find the best policy for you.

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MoneyGeek used the profile of a 40-year-old driver with a clean record for a full coverage policy to determine the average cost of car insurance in California, which is $1,429 per year or $119 per month. Depending on specific attributes, however, your actual premium may vary.

For example, a policy only meeting California’s minimum insurance requirements costs an average of $665 for a similar driver profile. In contrast, a 16-year-old buying full coverage car insurance pays $4,187 annually on average.

To help you understand how rates vary, MoneyGeek broke down California’s average rate according to the factors most affecting it.

Average Cost of Car Insurance in California: Summary

There are many factors affecting car insurance rates in California. Age is the factor that impacts premium prices the most, followed by how much coverage you purchase. You can click on the driver profiles to get more details about the average cost of car insurance for each.

Average Costs of Car Insurance in California

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Why Are Car Insurance Rates Average in California?

Car insurance premiums vary by state, and California’s car insurance rates are considered moderately priced. California’s average puts it at 38th. For reference, Maine is the cheapest state for car insurance.

Most Californians live in urban areas, making it the state with the second-highest ratio of the urban population, tied with New Jersey. Its roads are also some of the busiest — California has the third-highest traffic density in the nation — making collisions more likely to happen.

17% of California drivers are uninsured, putting the state in 10th place. Motor theft is also common. Both contribute to the high likelihood of drivers filing claims.

Average Cost of Car Insurance in California: Full Coverage vs. Minimum Coverage

The amount of coverage you purchase significantly affects car insurance rates in California. Liability-only coverage may lower rates while full coverage may raise them.

For example, if you buy a policy meeting California’s minimum insurance requirement, your premium only costs $665 per year on average. A full coverage car insurance policy, including collision and comprehensive coverage, increases the premium by roughly $764. You’ll pay an average of $1,429 each year for full coverage.

Average Cost of Car Insurance in California by Coverage Level

Minimum vs. Full Coverage Car Insurance Costs in California - By Company

Rates don’t just vary between states — they’re also different from one provider to the next.

You can purchase cheap liability-only coverage from Progressive, which costs an average of $481 per year. For affordable full coverage car insurance, you can buy a policy from Esurance for an average annual premium of $1,055.

If you don’t compare rates, you may end up buying insurance from a company with higher rates. For instance, Farmers’ liability-only policy costs $850 a year on average, the highest average rate we’ve seen for California. Meanwhile, Allied has the state’s worst rates for full coverage, at an average of $1,762 per year.

Average Annual Costs of Car Insurance in California - By Company

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How Much Is Car Insurance in California by Age

Car insurance rates in California for young drivers are typically very high because carriers consider them riskier to insure. It’s the same situation for first-time drivers.

A 16-year-old would be better off being added to their parents’ car insurance policy than purchasing one on their own. The average cost of car insurance in California for a 16-year-old driver is $4,187 per year.

In comparison, a 40-year-old driver pays about $2,758 less for a similar policy. Their premium only amounts to $1,429 per year on average.

Average Costs of Full Coverage Car Insurance in California - By Age

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  • Age
    Annual Premium
  • $4,187
  • $3,795
  • $3,546
  • $3,079
  • $2,877
  • $2,254
  • $2,135
  • $1,986
  • $1,863
  • $1,739
  • $1,480
  • 40
    $1,429
  • $1,320

How Does Driving History Affect Car Insurance Costs in California?

Having a clean driving record is one way to keep car insurance rates in California down. High-risk drivers typically pay more each year for coverage. Your premium also increases depending on the severity of your violation.

The average cost of car insurance in California for a safe driver is $1,429 per year. If you have a speeding ticket on your record, your premium increases to $2,057 each year on average. That’s a difference of $628.

If you have a bad driving record, comparing quotes from several carriers will help you find more affordable rates.

Average Costs of Full Coverage Car Insurance in California - By Driving History

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  • Driving Violation
    Annual Premium
  • Safe Driver
    $1,429
  • Speeding Ticket
    $2,057
  • At-Fault Accident
    $2,463
  • DUI
    $4,075

Credit Scores and the Cost of Car Insurance in California

The average cost of car insurance in most states changes depending on the driver’s credit score. In some states, using credit standing as a basis to set car insurance premiums is prohibited. California is one of those states, along with Hawaii and Massachusetts. Therefore, your credit score has no impact on your insurance rates in this state.

How Much Is Car Insurance in Your City?

The cost of car insurance differs from state to state. It also varies between cities within the same state. Factors unique to each area, such as its population and the likelihood of collisions or natural disasters, contribute to how carriers set premiums.

In Santa Maria, premiums cost an average of $1,109 per year, 22.4% lower than the average cost of car insurance in California. If you live in Glendale, you’ll have to pay an annual average of $2,283 for a similar policy. That’s 59.8% higher than the state average and more than double Santa Maria’s rate.

Average Costs of Full Coverage Car Insurance in California - By City

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Frequently Asked Questions About California Car Insurance Rates

Drivers who need to purchase car insurance in California have questions. Here are the ones frequently asked — the answers may help you understand how much car insurance costs in California.

Methodology

MoneyGeek’s study used car insurance quotes gathered across California in collaboration with Quadrant Information Services. Unless altered by factors such as age, coverage levels and driving history, all policies have full coverage, as defined on our methodology page. It is for a 40-year-old driver with a clean driving record.

We also utilized data from the following sources to complete the analysis:

  • 2019 data from the Federal Highway Administration to calculate highway traffic density
  • 2019 data from the Insurance Research Council to determine data on uninsured motorists
  • The latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau to compute the urban share of the population
  • The FBI Crime in the United States Report for 2019 to get information on motor vehicle theft rates

About the Author


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Mark Fitzpatrick is a senior content manager with MoneyGeek specializing in insurance. Mark has years of experience analyzing the insurance market and creating original research and content. He graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor of Arts and Johns Hopkins University with a Master of Arts.


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