The Best Car Insurance in California for 2022

MoneyGeek scored the top car insurers based on their affordability, customer satisfaction and financial stability. Based on these criteria, AAA is California's best car insurance company. It ranks first for claims and is tied in first place for user satisfaction.

However, other options may be more suitable depending on driver type. For instance, those with new cars will find Allstate the best option.

REVIEW AUTO INSURANCE RATES

Insurance Rates

Ensure you're getting the best rate for your auto insurance. Compare quotes from the top insurance companies.

widget-location-pin
Advertising & Editorial Disclosure
Last Updated: 11/2/2022
Edited By     |  
4 Expert Contributions
Written By     |  
iconribbonBestAuto InsuranceCalifornia2022

If you want the cheapest car insurance in California, MoneyGeek also rated the most affordable options regardless of service quality.

This is an icon

Methodology

Why Trust MoneyGeek? Our scoring system for car insurance in California incorporates thousands of quotes analyzed by our data scientists, as well as customer service and financial strength ratings from industry-leading market research firms. Click to learn more about how our scores are calculated out of 100.

17,888

Quotes Analyzed

 
14

Companies Compared

 
86

ZIP Codes

Best Full Coverage Car Insurance Companies in California: Overall

In California, AAA is the best overall auto insurance company.

MoneyGeek ranked the best car insurance companies in California based on claims ratings, customer satisfaction and average rates. Overall, the two best car insurance companies in the state are:

  • AAA: MoneyGeek score of 84 out of 100 ($1,319 per year)
  • GEICO: MoneyGeek score of 82 out of 100 ($1,270 per year)

If you’re looking for the cheapest options, MoneyGeek has listed the most affordable full-coverage car insurance providers in California to help you maximize your savings.

THE TOP CAR INSURANCE COMPANIES IN CALIFORNIA

1
AAABest Overall
Score:84

3.1/5

Affordability

5/5

Claims

4.5/5

User Satisfaction

4/5

Financial Stability

Geek Quick Take
Geek Quick Take

AAA ranks first for claims and is tied in first place for user satisfaction. In other areas, this provider is third for affordability and tied for sixth place for financial stability. One of AAA’s perks is its identity theft insurance.

Annual Average Cost: $1,319

More About AAA

AAA offers an identity theft monitoring service which is automatically included in all policies. This coverage ensures that your personal information in public records, websites and other places is securely monitored by AAA and any unusual or potentially fraudulent activity is immediately flagged for prompt checking. The company also offers car rental reimbursement. If your car is not drivable or in the shop for repairs due to a covered loss, this pays for a car rental or public transportation expenses, subject to your policy limit. But drivers must have collision coverage to be eligible. In addition, two rare coverages are helpful if you experience an accident: the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and personal property insurance.

2
GEICO
Score:82

3.5/5

Affordability

4/5

Claims

4.5/5

User Satisfaction

5/5

Financial Stability

Geek Quick Take
Geek Quick Take

On average, GEICO ranks second for affordability at $1,270 per year. It is tied in first place for user satisfaction and financial stability and ranks third for claims. This company offers mechanical breakdown coverage.

Average Annual Cost: $1,270

More About GEICO

GEICO provides several coverages, especially if you’re often on the road, such as roadside assistance, accident forgiveness and rental car reimbursement. Roadside assistance covers expenses due to a flat tire, towing, lockout services and jump-starts. Meanwhile, GEICO's rental reimbursement perk shoulders the cost of a rental vehicle if yours isn’t drivable due to a covered accident. GEICO also offers mechanical breakdown insurance, a unique coverage. This benefit provides better protection at a lower 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 less than 15 months old and driven for less than 15,000 miles.

3
Progressive
Score:81

4.5/5

Affordability

3.5/5

Claims

4/5

User Satisfaction

4.5/5

Financial Stability

Geek Quick Take
Geek Quick Take

With an annual cost of around $1,132, Progressive ranks first for affordability. It’s tied third for financial stability and fourth for satisfaction but struggles with claims, ranking seventh. Progressive provides its customers with custom parts coverage.

More About Progressive

The company offers custom parts coverage that pays for the cost of repairing or replacing items that enhance your vehicle, like 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.

4
Allstate
Score:76

3.1/5

Affordability

4/5

Claims

4/5

User Satisfaction

4.5/5

Financial Stability

Geek Quick Take
Geek Quick Take

The insurer provides a policy that costs around $1,322 annually and ranks fifth for affordability. It is tied in fourth place for user satisfaction and third for financial stability. This company is third for claims. Allstate offers custom parts coverage.

More About Allstate

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.

5
CSAA
Score:75

3.1/5

Affordability

4/5

Claims

4/5

User Satisfaction

4/5

Financial Stability

Geek Quick Take
Geek Quick Take

CSAA is tied for third place for both affordability and claims in California. This company ranks fourth for satisfaction and sixth for financial stability. CSAA offers its customers roadside assistance coverage.

More About CSAA

With CSAA’s roadside assistance, you can get coverage for 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.

tip icon
HOW WE DETERMINED THE BEST INSURANCE IN CALIFORNIA

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:

Best Car Insurance in California for Customer Service

Based only on claims ratings and user satisfaction, **AAA **is the best auto insurance provider for customer service in California.

The two California insurers with the best customer service are:

  • AAA: MoneyGeek score of 94 out of 100
  • Wawanesa: MoneyGeek score of 88 out of 100

These providers offer the best customer service and experience in California for those whose main priority is not affordability.

THE TOP TWO CAR INSURANCE COMPANIES IN CALIFORNIA FOR SERVICE QUALITY

1
AAABest for Customer Service
Score:94

5/5

Claims

4.5/5

User Satisfaction

4/5

Financial Stability

Geek Quick Take
Geek Quick Take

AAA has a perfect claims score of 5 out of 5. It is also tied for first place for user satisfaction, with a score of 4.5 out of 5. AAA offers the cheapest car insurance in California on average. Policyholders can have an affordable policy without compromising on quality.

More About AAA

AAA provides great customer service, a must when you’re going through a crisis like an accident and needing to file a claim. AAA also offers a few standard coverages. Roadside assistance comes in handy if you’re 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 vehicle is not drivable or is in the shop for repairs after a loss. With this benefit, AAA will pay you for car rental or public transportation expenses, subject to your policy limit. However, note that drivers must have collision coverage to be eligible.

2
Wawanesa
Score:88

4.5/5

Claims

4.5/5

User Satisfaction

3.5/5

Financial Stability

Geek Quick Take
Geek Quick Take

With a score of 4.5 out of 5 for user satisfaction and claims, Wawanesa is tied in first and second, respectively. The insurer offers original equipment manufacturer coverage.

More About Wawanesa

According to the J.D. Power 2022 Auto Insurance Study, Wawanesa is the highest-ranking insurer in California in terms of customer satisfaction. This insurer has been awarded the distinction for three consecutive years. As for coverages, it offers standard benefits like roadside assistance and rental car and/or travel reimbursement. Policyholders who use the Roadside Assistance Sign and Drive Option will receive up to $100 for each disablement of their vehicle. Wawanesa’s unique add-on option is the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) coverage which pays for the amount to repair or replace property or parts with those made for or by the original equipment manufacturer. However, your vehicle must be less than 11 years old and carry collision and comprehensive coverage to be eligible.

Best Car Insurance in California for Minimum Coverage

GEICO is the winner for the cheapest car insurance in California that meets the minimum requirements. The two best insurers in this category received the following scores:

  • GEICO: MoneyGeek score of 88 out of 100 ($521 per year)
  • AAA: MoneyGeek score of 82 out of 100 ($1,174 per year)

This score is based on companies that offer a balance of affordability and customer service.

MoneyGeek has a full rundown of companies offering the cheapest minimum coverage car insurance in California if you’re interested in finding the most affordable options.

MoneyGeek’s Pick: GEICO

GEICO

pros

This is an icon

Affordable minimum coverage at an average of $521 per year

This is an icon

Offers bundling discounts for combining car insurance with other policies

This is an icon

Offers discounts for wearing a seat belt and having daytime running lights

This is an icon

MoneyGeek claims score of 4 out of 5

This is an icon

MoneyGeek user satisfaction score of 4.5 out of 5

cons

This is an icon

Does not offer discounts on paperless billing

This is an icon

Does not offer pay-in-full discounts

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

You can save on insurance costs by utilizing GEICO’s many discounts. For instance, GEICO policyholders may enjoy substantial discounts by bundling their home, renters, condo or mobile home insurance with their car insurance policy. There are also multiple car discounts if you insure more than one vehicle. The safe driver discount also applies if you remain accident-free for at least five years.

GEICO offers some unique discounts. You can take advantage of discounts for installing safety and security measures such as airbags, anti-lock brakes, anti-theft systems and daytime running lights on your car. A new vehicle also makes you eligible for huge discounts on your premiums.

GEICO honors active and retired federal employees and teachers by providing them affinity-based discounts.

Read MoneyGeek's GEICO Auto Insurance Review

Best Car Insurance in California for Young Drivers and Students

For young drivers in California, State Farm is the best insurance provider. MoneyGeek rated the best insurers in California for new drivers, student drivers and young drivers based on customer service and insurance cost.

The best providers in the state for young drivers are:

  • State Farm: MoneyGeek score of 89 out of 100 ($2,409 per year)
  • Allstate: MoneyGeek score of 87 out of 100 ($2,228 per year)

MoneyGeek’s analysis focused on rates for drivers in their late teens to early 20s. Companies include those that offer affordability, even after an accident, without sacrificing excellent customer service.

Car insurance for younger drivers can be costly. For this reason, MoneyGeek also analyzed California's cheapest car insurance options for young drivers and students whose sole concern is affordability.

MoneyGeek’s Pick: State Farm

State Farm

pros

This is an icon

Affordable policy for young drivers at $2,409 per year on average

This is an icon

Offers discounts to good students, distant students and those who complete a driver’s education course

This is an icon

Claims score of 4 out of 5

This is an icon

User satisfaction score of 4.5 out of 5

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

Adding young drivers to an existing policy can be expensive, but State Farm offers reasonable options and great service. Good service is important as it can improve an otherwise stressful experience when filing a claim.

State Farm’s 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 may be useful if you are a student under the age of 25 and live far from home. There are also multiple car discounts which parents of young drivers could benefit from.

Read MoneyGeek's State Farm Auto Insurance Review

Best Car Insurance in California for Seniors

MoneyGeek rated the best insurance providers in California based on their policies' affordability and customer service quality.

Based on our research, the two top-rated car insurance companies for seniors in California are:

  • State Farm: MoneyGeek score of 89 out of 100 ($1,220 per year)
  • Esurance: MoneyGeek score of 86 out of 100 ($1,183 per year)

In computing these scores, we accounted for both affordability and customer service. These two factors are equally important, especially for seniors who are typically charged higher rates and might require additional customer care and assistance.

MoneyGeek’s Pick: State Farm

State Farm

pros

This is an icon

One of the most affordable companies for seniors at $1,220 per year

This is an icon

Has bundling and multiple car discounts

This is an icon

Offers defensive driving discount

This is an icon

Has a MoneyGeek claims rating of 4 out of 5

This is an icon

Has an impressive MoneyGeek user satisfaction rating of 5 out of 5

cons

This is an icon

Doesn’t provide discounts for full payments

This is an icon

Doesn’t offer senior discounts

This is an icon

No loyalty or legacy discounts

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

Insurance rates can be quite expensive for seniors since most companies classify them as risky clients due to age-related physical and mental limitations. With age, driving ability can be affected, making individuals more prone to accidents. That said, companies such as State Farm offer affordable rates and quality service.

This insurer is one of the cheapest options for seniors in California and provides common coverages such as roadside assistance and rental car and/or travel reimbursement. These take the hassle out of frequent traveling for seniors making the most of retirement.

State Farm also offers substantial discounts to senior drivers who successfully complete a defensive driving course.

Read MoneyGeek's State Farm Auto Insurance Review

Best Car Insurance in California for Bad Driving Records

AAA is the best insurer in California for drivers with poor driving records. This evaluation is based on the quality and cost of policies for those with an at-fault accident.

Based on these factors, the best insurers in California are:

  • AAA: MoneyGeek score of __ out of 100 ($4,012 per year)
  • GEICO: MoneyGeek score of 83 out of 100 ($2,136 per year)

A poor driving record can cause your insurance rates to skyrocket, but there are still affordable options. MoneyGeek listed the cheapest car insurance companies for California drivers with a DUI or bad driving record.

MoneyGeek’s Pick: AAA

AAA

pros

This is an icon

Annual coverage after an at-fault accident costs $2,006 per year on average

This is an icon

Claims score of 5 out of 5

This is an icon

User satisfaction score of 4.5 out of 5

This is an icon

Provides roadside assistance and rental car or travel reimbursement

cons

This is an icon

Does not offer accident forgiveness, new car replacement or better car replacement

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

AAA provides the best car insurance coverage in California for drivers with a poor record. The policy costs $4,012 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:

  • Roadside Assistance: This covers fuel delivery, flat tires, battery jump-start and replacement and vehicle lockout services in an emergency.
  • 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 due to a covered loss, subject to your policy limit.
  • Identity Theft Coverage: Monitors your personal information for any unusual or fraudulent activity.
Read MoneyGeek's AAA Auto Insurance Review

Best Car Insurance in California for a Military Background

Based on MoneyGeek’s analysis, USAA offers California's best policies for military families and veterans.

USAA has a MoneyGeek score of 95 out of 100 and charges $483 per year on average for a minimum car insurance policy in California. Meanwhile, it charges an average of $2,045 annually for military drivers with an at-fault accident on their record.

MoneyGeek’s Pick: USAA

USAA

pros

This is an icon

A full coverage policy for $1,171 per year

This is an icon

Claims score of 5 out of 5

This is an icon

User satisfaction score of 5 out of 5

This is an icon

Roadside assistance coverage

This is an icon

Military discount when you garage your vehicle on base

cons

This is an icon

USAA policies are limited to military members and their families

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

USAA offers some of the cheapest policies and 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: If you get involved in your first at-fault accident after five years as a policyholder, this coverage ensures no upcharges on your premium. Subsequent accidents may influence your premium.
  • 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.
Read MoneyGeek's USAA Auto Insurance Review

Best Car Insurance in California for Those With New Cars

The highest-rated company in the category of California insurance providers offering new car replacement or better car replacement coverage is Allstate, receiving a MoneyGeek score of 76 out of 100.

  • Allstate: MoneyGeek score of 76 out of 100 ($1,322 per year)

New car replacement coverage pays for the cost of replacing your car with a similar model should it get damaged within a stipulated time. You can get a newer model of your damaged vehicle with better car replacement coverage. It's important to note that this coverage is not part of your standard policy; it will affect your premium.

MoneyGeek’s Pick: Allstate

Allstate

pros

This is an icon

Offers new car replacement coverage

This is an icon

MoneyGeek claims rating of 4 out of 5

This is an icon

MoneyGeek user satisfaction score of 4 out of 5

This is an icon

Affordable policy at $1,322 per year on average

cons

This is an icon

Does not offer better car replacement coverage

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

Allstate is one of the select few that offer new car replacement coverage, which is highly recommended if you’re a new driver.

This insurer offers the following optional coverages:

  • New Car Replacement: If your car is totaled, Allstate won’t just reimburse you for the car’s depreciated value but will replace it with a new model. Your car has to be two model years old or newer to be eligible for this benefit.
  • Accident Forgiveness: You won’t suffer an increase in your premium for your first accident, even if you're at fault. Subsequent accidents may influence your premium.
  • Gap Insurance: Allstate GAP waives the difference between your primary auto insurance and the amount you still owe on your car loan on the date of loss.
Read MoneyGeek's Allstate Auto Insurance Review

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 Auto

pros

This is an icon

MetroMile offers affordable coverage for low-mileage drivers

cons

This is an icon

If you drive regularly, this coverage might turn out to be more expensive than a regular car insurance policy

COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS

MetroMile Auto is MoneyGeek’s top pick for low-mileage drivers. This insurer is one of a few companies that focuses its main business on pay-per-mile insurance. Luckily for drivers who are seldom on the road and are looking to save on premiums, MetroMile is available in California.

MetroMile only charges you for your first month’s base rate, which is typically lower than most standard policies. The base rate is calculated based on various factors such as age, credit history, type of vehicle, driving record and others. 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.

Read MoneyGeek's Metromile Auto Auto Insurance Review

How to Find the Best Car Insurance in California 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.

1

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.

2

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.

3

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.

4

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 your desired coverage. Some of the most common questions about car insurance in the state are as follows:

Expert Advice: Finding the Best Auto Insurance in California

  1. What is the best way to figure out which insurer is best for me in California?
  2. What are the best coverages to add to your car insurance policy in California?
  3. How important is it for drivers in California to get car insurance from a provider with a great service reputation?
Robby Lewis
Robby Lewis

Investment Advisor Representative at Gerber Kawasaki & Investment Management

AJ DiLiberto
AJ DiLiberto

COO, CCO at Noble Wealth Management

Greg S. Johnstone
Greg S. Johnstone

Director of Advisory Services

Matthew Davis
Matthew Davis

President and CEO at GDI Insurance Agency, Inc.

About the Author


expert-profile

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.


sources