The Best Car Insurance in California for 2022
The top car insurers offer a balance of affordability, customer satisfaction and financial stability. AAA is the best car insurance company in California based on these criteria. It ranks first for claims and is tied in the first position for user satisfaction.
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AAA is the best insurer in California overall as per MoneyGeek’s analysis, but the best option for you will depend on your requirements. MoneyGeek evaluated the best options with a focus on different aspects such as customer service, budget and more.
If you want the cheapest car insurance in California regardless of service quality, MoneyGeek also rated the most affordable options.
The Best Car Insurance in California
Best Car Insurance Companies in California: Overall
MoneyGeek ranked the best car insurance companies in California based on claims ratings, customer satisfaction and average rates.
The two best car insurance companies in the state overall are:
- AAA: MoneyGeek score of 4.2 out of 5
- GEICO: MoneyGeek score of 4.1 out of 5
USAA received a MoneyGeek score of 4.8 out of 5. However, it is not included in this study because its policies are only available to former and current military members.
The Top 5 Car Insurance Companies in California
The company ranks first for claims and is tied in the first position for user satisfaction. At an average of $1,319 per year, AAA ranks third for affordability. It is tied in the sixth position for stability. AAA provides identity theft insurance.
The insurer offers identity theft coverage which is included with AAA membership. The company also offers car rental reimbursement. If your car is not drivable or is in the shop for repairs after a loss, this coverage pays for car rental or public transportation expenses, subject to your policy limit. Drivers must have collision coverage to be eligible.Read MoneyGeek's AAA auto Insurance Review
At a cost of $1,270 per year on average, GEICO ranks second for affordability. It is tied in the first position for user satisfaction and stability and ranks third for claims. This company offers mechanical breakdown coverage.
GEICO’s mechanical breakdown insurance provides better coverage at a cheaper price than the typical dealer extended warranty. It Includes parts and systems not usually covered by most dealer warranties. It is available for new or leased cars that are less than 15 months old that have been driven for less than 15,000 miles. GEICO also provides rental car and travel reimbursement coverage to pay for a rental vehicle if yours isn’t drivable due to a covered accident.Read MoneyGeek's GEICO auto Insurance Review
With an annual cost of around $1,132, Progressive ranks first for affordability. It’s tied for third for stability and fourth for satisfaction but struggles with claims, ranking seventh. Progressive provides its customers with custom parts coverage.
The company offers custom parts coverage that pays for the cost of repairing or replacing items that you add to your car such as a stereo, navigation system, custom wheels or a paint job. This coverage typically has a $5,000 limit. It also provides rideshare insurance that can protect you if you're liable for injuries or damages as a Lyft or Uber driver. All coverages in your personal auto insurance policy apply while you wait to match with a rider.Read MoneyGeek's Progressive auto Insurance Review
The insurer provides a policy that costs around $1,322 annually and ranks fifth for affordability. It is tied in the fourth position for user satisfaction and third for stability. This company is also in third place for claims. Allstate offers custom parts coverage.
Allstate provides custom parts coverage with its insurance. This is applicable for collision and comprehensive insurance and includes coverage for damaged or lost custom equipment. Examples include special carpeting, bars, height-extending roofs, custom murals, decals and graphics. The company also provides portable electronics and media coverage, protecting CDs and other items used with your sound system.Read MoneyGeek's Allstate auto Insurance Review
CSAA is tied for third place for both affordability and claims in California. This company ranks fourth for satisfaction and sixth for stability. CSAA offers its customers roadside assistance coverage.
With CSAA’s roadside assistance, you can get coverage for things like fuel delivery, tire changes, battery jump-starts and replacements, locksmith services, and more. In addition, this company also has car rental reimbursement coverage to pay for car rental or public transportation if your car is not drivable.
MoneyGeek acquired full coverage policy quotes for a sample driver across companies to measure costs and determine the best full coverage car insurance policies in California.
Average rates in California may vary considerably depending on your background. MoneyGeek collected claims ratings and user satisfaction scores from J.D. Power and the NAIC. You can read MoneyGeek’s methodology to learn more about sample drivers, policies and assumptions.
MoneyGeek's California Car Insurance Resources:
Compare the Best Insurance Options in California
The best car insurance in California depends on multiple factors such as service quality, cost and financial stability. You must also keep in mind which company best meets your requirements and whether the insurer has coverages that fit your needs.
MoneyGeek allows you to compare the best insurers in California one-on-one and read in-depth reviews.
Car Insurance Comparison Tool
Best Car Insurance in California for Customer Service
MoneyGeek also scored the best insurance companies in California based only on claims ratings and user satisfaction.
The top two insurers in the state based on these factors without considering rates are:
- AAA: MoneyGeek score of 4.7 out of 5
- Wawanesa: MoneyGeek score of 4.4 out of 5
The Top 2 Car Insurance Companies in California for Service Quality
AAA has a perfect claims score of 5 out of 5. It is also tied in the first position for user satisfaction with a score of 4.5 out of 5. AAA offers the cheapest car insurance in California on average, which means you get an affordable policy without compromising on quality.
AAA offers roadside assistance. If you are stranded due to a vehicle breakdown, this coverage helps with fuel delivery, flat tires, battery jump-start and replacement, vehicle lockout service and trip continuation. The company also provides rental car or travel reimbursement coverage. If your car is not drivable or is in the shop for repairs after a loss, this coverage pays for car rental or public transportation expenses, subject to your policy limit.Read MoneyGeek's AAA auto Insurance Review
With a score of 4.5 out of 5 for both user satisfaction and claims, Wawanesa is tied in the first and second positions respectively for these factors. The insurer offers original equipment manufacturer coverage.
Wawanesa’s original equipment manufacturer coverage pays for the amount to repair or replace property or parts with those made for or by the original equipment manufacturer. Your vehicle must be less than 11 years old and carry collision and comprehensive coverage to be eligible. Wawanesa also offers rental car or travel reimbursement while your vehicle is being repaired due to covered losses.
Best Car Insurance in California for Drivers on a Budget
If you are looking for the cheapest car insurance in California that meets the minimum requirements, you can find the best options based on MoneyGeek’s scores.
The two best insurers in this category are:
- GEICO: MoneyGeek score of 4.4 out of 5
- AAA: MoneyGeek score of 4.3 out of 5
This score is based on companies that offer a balance of affordability and customer service.
MoneyGeek’s Pick: GEICO
Affordable minimum coverage at an average of $521 per year
Offers bundling discounts for combining car insurance with other policies
Offers discounts for wearing a seat belt and having daytime running lights
MoneyGeek claims score of 4 out of 5
MoneyGeek user satisfaction score of 4.5 out of 5
Does not offer discounts on paperless billing
Does not offer pay-in-full discounts
You can save on insurance costs by utilizing GEICO’s many discounts. As a GEICO policyholder, you can use these discounts by insuring multiple cars with the company, driving safely, taking a defensive driving class and installing an anti-theft system in your car. These safety and security measures are valued by GEICO, allowing for discount opportunities.
Best Car Insurance in California for Poor Driving Records
MoneyGeek rated car insurance providers in California based on the cost of policies for those with an at-fault accident, along with customer service quality.
Based on these factors, the best insurers in the state are:
- AAA: MoneyGeek score of 4.5 out of 5
- GEICO: MoneyGeek score of 4.2 out of 5
These companies balance affordability after an accident and great customer service.
MoneyGeek’s Pick: AAA
Annual coverage after an at-fault accident costs $2,006 per year on average
Claims score of 5 out of 5
User satisfaction score of 4.5 out of 5
Provides roadside assistance and rental car or travel reimbursement
Does not offer accident forgiveness, new car replacement or better car replacement
AAA provides the best car insurance coverage in California for drivers with a poor record. The policy costs $2,006 per year on average and the company has a claims rating of 5 out of 5 and a user satisfaction rating of 4.5 out of 5.
AAA offers the following coverages if you get into an accident:
- Roadside assistance: This covers fuel delivery, flat tires, battery jump-start and replacement and vehicle lockout services if you get stranded due to a problem with your vehicle.
- Rental reimbursement: This coverage pays for car rental or public transportation expenses if your car is not drivable or is in the shop for repairs after a loss, subject to your policy limit.
Best Car Insurance in California for a Military Background
Based on MoneyGeek’s analysis, USAA offers the best policies for military families and veterans in California.
USAA has a MoneyGeek score of 4.8 out of 5 and charges $483 per year on average for a minimum car insurance policy in the state. Meanwhile, it charges an average of $2,045 per year for military drivers with an at-fault accident on their record.
MoneyGeek’s Pick: USAA
A full coverage policy for $1,171 per year
Claims score of 5 out of 5
User satisfaction score of 5 out of 5
Roadside assistance coverage
Military discount when you garage your vehicle on base
USAA policies are limited to military members and their families
USAA offers some of the cheapest policies as well as the best service in California. The company has one of the best reputations in the country.
Some of the coverages and discounts offered by USAA include:
- Rideshare insurance: USAA offers coverage for people who work for rideshare companies, like Uber and Lyft.
- Accident forgiveness coverage: If you get involved in your first at-fault accident within the first five years as a policyholder, this coverage ensures that you will not be charged an additional premium on your car insurance.
- Multiple car discount: Insuring more than one car through USAA will earn you a discount.
- Mileage discount: Depending on the distance you drive each year, you may be eligible for a discount on your premium.
Best Car Insurance in California for Young Drivers and Students
The best providers in the state for young drivers are:
- State Farm: MoneyGeek score of 4.5 out of 5
- Allstate: MoneyGeek score of 4.4 out of 5
MoneyGeek’s Pick: State Farm
Affordable policy for young drivers at $2,409 per year on average
Offers discounts to good students, distant students and those who complete a driver’s education course
Claims score of 4 out of 5
User satisfaction score of 4.5 out of 5
Adding young drivers to an existing policy can be expensive, but State Farm offers reasonable options as well as great service. Good service is an important factor as filing a claim could be a distressing experience and timely customer support can make the process easier.
State Farm discounts benefit families with young drivers. The company offers a good student discount that lets you save money if you are a full-time student with good grades. You can also get a discount for completing a driver's education course. The distant student discount could be useful if you are a student under the age of 25 and live far from home.
Best Car Insurance in California for Those With New Cars
MoneyGeek graded the best insurance providers in California based on those that offer new car replacement or better car replacement coverage.
New car replacement coverage pays for the cost of replacing your car with a similar model should it get damaged within a stipulated time. With better car replacement coverage, you can get a newer model of your damaged car. It is important to note that this coverage is not part of your standard policy, so you will need to pay more for it.
The company with the highest rating in this category is Allstate, with a MoneyGeek score of 3.8 out of 5.
MoneyGeek’s Pick: Allstate
Offers new car replacement coverage
MoneyGeek claims rating of 4 out of 5
MoneyGeek user satisfaction score of 4 out of 5
Affordable policy at $1,322 per year on average
Does not offer better car replacement coverage
Allstate is a good option for drivers with new vehicles because it offers new car replacement coverage. Your vehicle starts losing value as soon as it’s driven off the lot and this coverage helps you get a new car in the unfortunate event of an accident soon after buying a car.
Allstate offers new car replacement coverage if your car is two model years old or less. With this coverage, your car will be replaced with a new one of the same model and make.
Best Car Insurance in California for Low-Mileage Drivers
Many insurers offer pay-per-mile coverage or low-mileage discounts for drivers. With this coverage, the cost of your car insurance will depend on the number of miles you cover. MetroMile is the best pay-per-mile program in California.
MoneyGeek’s Pick: Metromile Auto
MetroMile offers affordable coverage for low-mileage drivers
If you drive regularly, this coverage might turn out to be more expensive than a regular car insurance policy
MetroMile’s pay-per-mile coverage also considers driving behaviors. It factors in a variety of variables when calculating a base rate such as age, credit history, type of vehicle and driving history. At the end of the month, you’ll be charged for the next month’s base rate plus the number of miles you drove the previous month, at your per-mile rate. Your pay-per-mile rate is unique based on these factors.
How to Find the Best Car Insurance in California in For You
If you are looking for the best car insurance in California, you must consider an option that provides a balance of cost, service reputation and financial stability.
MoneyGeek has collected this information for you, but you can also do your own research to find the best option that suits your requirements.
Research Customer Service Reputations in California
MoneyGeek analyzed car insurance quotes from various providers using a sample driver and used these alongside NAIC complaint ratios and customer satisfaction scores from J.D. Power to determine the best insurers in California. Apart from MoneyGeek’s suggestions, you can also refer to the scores from J.D. Power and the NAIC to determine the best insurer that suits your requirements. You can also check the state’s auto insurance website for more information.
Compare Quotes for Yourself
While MoneyGeek compared quotes from various locations in California using a sample driver, the analysis does not cover the entire state. To get a better understanding of the costs and get the best coverage, it is advisable to compare quotes from at least three insurance companies.
Make Sure the Company Has Coverages You Want in California
Before finalizing a car insurance policy, determine if the insurer provides the discounts and coverages that you need. Some insurers may advertise a certain discount or coverage but may not specify whether it is offered in California.
Double-Check Financial Stability Ratings
One of the factors to check before deciding on an insurance company is its financial strength. Generally, large insurance companies are more stable, meaning that they are more likely to pay out on claims. Regional insurance providers in California may have lower financial stability scores. These are less likely to process your claims.
FAQs About the Best Car Insurance in California
The cost of car insurance in California depends on the type of coverage you are looking for. Some of the most common questions about car insurance in the state are as follows:
MoneyGeek collected car insurance rates in California in partnership with Quadrant Information Services. These calculations were based on the sample driver and policies as described on MoneyGeek’s cost methodology page.
Customer satisfaction, financial strength and claims satisfaction scores were derived from AM Best, J.D. Power and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). The list of discounts and coverages was collected from each insurer’s website.
About the Author
- California Department of Insurance. "Automobile Insurance in California." Accessed September 23, 2021.