Car Insurance in California vs. Nevada: Costs, Laws and Resources

California and Nevada have different car insurance laws and companies, so requirements and premiums vary. For example, the cheapest auto insurance policy in California is from Progressive, averaging $481 per year. Meanwhile, in Nevada, GEICO offers rates averaging $583 per year.

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Last Updated: 11/25/2022
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If you’re moving from California to Nevada or vice versa, you should account for car insurance requirements. Both states have similar coverage requirements but different limits — for instance, California requires $30,000 bodily injury liability coverage, whereas Nevada requires $50,000.

MoneyGeek analyzed car insurance laws, requirements and costs to find the cheapest auto insurance companies in California versus Nevada.

Car Insurance Laws in California vs. Nevada

Although California and Nevada require the same types of coverage, their limits are different. California’s car insurance laws require 15/30/5 in liability limits, whereas car insurance laws in Nevada dictate limits of 25/50/20. This is one of the reasons you might see variations in the cost of your policy.

In California, the average cost of a minimum-coverage car insurance policy is $665 per year. On the other hand, the same policy costs $1,016 in Nevada. Nevada’s higher coverage limits could contribute to its more expensive rates than California.

MINIMUM CAR INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS IN CALIFORNIA AND NEVADA

California Requirements

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

Nevada Requirements

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $20,000 property damage liability per accident
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How Are Car Insurance Laws Enforced in California and Nevada?

Both California and Nevada are tort or “at-fault” states, which means that drivers responsible for an accident must shoulder its costs. The negligent driver uses their liability insurance to pay for the other driver’s property damages, injuries and other related expenses.

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in California vs. Nevada

It’s best to shop around so you can find a policy that fits your needs and budget. MoneyGeek found the most affordable companies for minimum coverage car insurance in California and Nevada:

  • Cheapest in California: Progressive ($481 per year)
  • Cheapest in Nevada: GEICO ($583 per year)

Although USAA offers the cheapest annual rates in Nevada at $496, its policies are only available to current and former military members and their families.

Even with the same insurer, rates can vary between states. For example, a GEICO policy in California costs $521 each year, $62 cheaper than a GEICO policy in Nevada.

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in California

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Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in Nevada

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THE CHEAPEST COMPANY FOR YOU MAY DIFFER

The cheapest auto insurance companies in California and Nevada are Progressive and GEICO, respectively. However, these quotes are only for minimum coverage policies. Your rate will depend on your coverage level, age, driving history, location and more. MoneyGeek explored the cheapest options in both states:

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Average Cost of Car Insurance in California vs. Nevada

Coverage level also affects the cost of auto insurance in California vs. Nevada. In this case, California’s premiums are more affordable than Nevada’s for both minimum and full coverage rates.

In California and Nevada, the average annual cost of minimum coverage is $665 and $1,016, respectively. For full coverage, a policy in California costs an average of $1,429 per year, while in Nevada it costs $1,900. However, your final quote may vary since premiums depend on a number of other factors.

Average Cost of Car Insurance in California vs. Nevada

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  • Driver
    California Annual Premium
    Nevada Annual Premium
  • Minimum Coverage
    $665
    $1,016
  • Full Coverage
    $1,429
    $1,900
  • Adding a Young Driver
    $4,187
    $4,672
  • Drivers With a Violation
    $2,057
    $2,355
  • Drivers With Poor Credit
    $3,430

Why Are Car Insurance Rates More Expensive in Nevada vs. California?

Many factors affect auto insurance rates, explaining why premiums are more expensive in Nevada than in California. Although California and Nevada theft rates and population density are similar, Nevada may have more expensive rates due to its higher minimum coverage limits.

Car Insurance Costs by City in California vs. Nevada

Auto insurance premiums also vary per city. For state minimum liability insurance, MoneyGeek found the cities that offer the most affordable and most expensive policies in each state:

California

  • Cheapest city: Santa Maria ($509 per year)
  • Most expensive city: Glendale ($1,066 per year)

Nevada

  • Cheapest city: Reno ($653 per year)
  • Most expensive city: Las Vegas ($1,191 per year)

Car insurance requirements remain the same everywhere within a state, so other factors (like population density) contribute to the variation in prices between cities.

Car Insurance Costs by City in California

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Car Insurance Costs by City in Nevada

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Moving Between California and Nevada? What to Know

After moving from Nevada to California or vice versa, you’ll need to transition your driver’s license, registration and auto insurance policy.

You can keep your current insurance provider if it’s available in the state you’re moving to, but keep in mind that your premium may change to reflect the coverage requirements and risks in your new location.

If you’re looking for a new insurer, MoneyGeek offers various resources to help you choose a policy that best fits your needs.

  • This is an icon

    Use MoneyGeek’s car insurance calculators for California and Nevada

    Auto insurance premiums vary per person, so calculating ahead of time can help you create a budget. Use MoneyGeek’s California car insurance calculator and Nevada car insurance calculator to get a customized quote by adding your age, driving record, credit score, vehicle type and more.

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    Learn about car insurance for high-risk drivers in California and Nevada

    High-risk drivers usually pay more expensive rates for car insurance. Some insurers reject drivers who are considered high-risk. Depending where they live, drivers with severe violations on their record must file an SR-22 in California or an SR-22 in Nevada.

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    Figure out your options for temporary car insurance in California and Nevada

    If you’re staying in California or Nevada for a short time, you can opt for temporary car insurance. Although most policies stipulate a minimum of six months, MoneyGeek found other ways to get temporary car insurance in California or temporary car insurance in Nevada.

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    If you’re a low-income driver, see if California or Nevada offer car insurance programs

    California's low-income drivers can enroll in the state’s low-income program for additional support. Meanwhile, low-income drivers in Nevada can find other ways to save by browsing MoneyGeek’s resources.

FAQs About California and Nevada Car Insurance

California and Nevada auto insurance laws and rates differ. To help you find the best policy, MoneyGeek answered some commonly asked questions about car insurance in both states.

Methodology

To calculate average car insurance rates by company and across California and Nevada, MoneyGeek collaborated with Quadrant Information Services to collect auto insurance quotes across both locations. We used a sample profile for a 40-year-old driver with a clean driving record and minimum coverage unless modified by criteria like coverage level, age, driving offenses and credit score. Learn more about how costs are calculated in our MoneyGeek car insurance methodology.

Minimum car insurance requirements by state were sourced from the department of motor vehicles (DMV) of the respective state.

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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