Best Cheap Car Insurance Companies for High-Risk Drivers in California

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Updated: May 20, 2024

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Based on your driving history, insurance companies may charge you higher rates, especially if they consider you a risky driver to insure. By shopping about and comparing prices, you can find the greatest value.

For high-risk drivers in California, Esurance provides the best balance of price and service quality. It is the cheapest high-risk auto insurance. The company offers policies often costing around $1,863 a year. Note that your specific circumstances may affect your actual rate.

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Best Companies for High-Risk Drivers in 2023

High-risk drivers are frequently seen by insurers as being more likely to file an auto insurance claim. If you have a history of at-fault accidents, tickets, violations or a DUI conviction, you might be considered high risk. In addition, due to inexperience on the road, being a juvenile driver makes you a riskier customer for insurance companies.

$1,390 clean record, $2,685 high risk, 47% more

In order to cover the costs of insuring you in the event of a potential accident, insurance firms typically demand higher premiums. If you drive dangerously, you can anticipate paying around 47% more for high-risk auto insurance in California.

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Someone with a history of serious traffic infractions is considered a high-risk driver. These include drag racing, operating a vehicle while your license is suspended or revoked and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI).

Despite having a spotless driving record, insurance companies may still view you as a risk in specific situations. High-risk drivers include the following:

  • Drivers with a history of traffic violations or at-fault accidents
  • Drivers with a DUI conviction
  • Drivers caught driving with a suspended or revoked license
  • Young drivers with a lack of driving experience
  • Drivers who drive sports cars or participate in drag racing
  • Drivers with bad credit or lapses in insurance coverage

Cheapest Car Insurance in California for High-Risk Drivers

Esurance offers the most affordable car insurance for high-risk drivers in California, according to MoneyGeek's research. This company provides insurance with an average yearly premium of $1,863 for a range of high-risk driver profiles.

To find out more about its policies, features, drawbacks and pricing, visit MoneyGeek's Esurance review.

EsuranceAnnual Premium$1,863
MercuryAnnual Premium$2,218
GEICOAnnual Premium$2,315
ProgressiveAnnual Premium$2,425
CSAAAnnual Premium$2,583
FarmersAnnual Premium$2,627
AllstateAnnual Premium$2,837
TravelersAnnual Premium$2,940
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SR-22 insurance is frequently required for drivers who were convicted of a serious traffic offense or who were found driving without insurance or a license. SR-22 in California paperwork is mandated to be electronically filed for you by auto insurance companies, but you should double-check the details with your insurer.

Best Car Insurance in California for High-Risk Drivers

Esurance scored 92 out of 100, making it the best high-risk auto insurance provider in California.

GEICO is the second-best insurer in California for high-risk drivers, earning a MoneyGeek score of 84 out of 100. MoneyGeek’s GEICO auto insurance review includes an analysis of their coverage, pricing and customer service.

GEICOBest for High-Risk Drivers


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Geek Quick Take
Geek Quick Take

In California, GEICO charges high-risk drivers approximately $2,315 annually for car insurance, which is 46% more expensive than the cost for drivers with clean backgrounds.

More About GEICO

When it comes to stability and customer satisfaction, GEICO earns outstanding ratings. Drivers who add airbags and an anti-theft system to their vehicle can earn discounts. It’s also possible to save money by bundling or insuring numerous vehicles with GEICO.



Affordability Rating


Satisfaction Rating


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Geek Quick Take
Geek Quick Take

Esurance's high-risk auto insurance in California costs roughly $1,863 a year. High-risk drivers' insurance costs often rise by 44% compared to those with spotless records.

More About Esurance

Esurance receives an excellent rating for affordability and stability as well as a good rating for consumer satisfaction and complaints. The company gives customers who bundle their insurance products a discount. Esurance also provides a discount to policyholders who purchase their insurance online and those who own a home.

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Quality shouldn't have to be compromised for financial reasons, and finding low-income car insurance in California might be an advantageous alternative. Even though there isn't a state-funded program for low-income drivers in California, choosing basic coverage or pay-per-mile insurance could be the best option for people who don't travel often.

Cheapest Car Insurance in California for Drivers With a DUI

With an average annual cost of $2,329, MoneyGeek discovered that Mercury provides the least expensive high-risk auto insurance in California for drivers with a DUI conviction. Learn more about the coverages, discounts and customer service it offers by checking out our Mercury auto insurance review.

Another reasonably priced alternative for high-risk auto insurance in the state for serving or retired military personnel with a DUI is USAA.

MercuryAnnual Premium$2,329
EsuranceAnnual Premium$2,613
ProgressiveAnnual Premium$2,726
FarmersAnnual Premium$2,814
GEICOAnnual Premium$2,962
TravelersAnnual Premium$3,497
AllstateAnnual Premium$4,228
CSAAAnnual Premium$4,546
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The time frame during which a DUI remains on your driving record is known as the look-back period. State-specific look-back periods can vary, although they are often lengthy to allow for repeat offenders to be sentenced to prison. In California, the look-back period includes the past ten years.

Cheapest Car Insurance in California for Teenage Drivers

According to MoneyGeek’s analysis, State Farm offers California's teen drivers the cheapest high-risk car insurance rates. Teens can purchase auto insurance from State Farm for approximately $3,810 annually.

Explore our State Farm review to find out more about this insurer.

State FarmAnnual Premium$3,810
AllstateAnnual Premium$4,055
ProgressiveAnnual Premium$4,473
GEICOAnnual Premium$7,211
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For teens and students, car insurance premiums can be expensive. Extra coverage in case of an accident will provide you priceless peace of mind, so it is wise to choose full coverage auto insurance over minimum coverage. Find the best affordable auto insurance for young and inexperienced drivers by shopping around and comparing prices.

How Much Does Car Insurance Cost for High-Risk Drivers in California?

Car insurance premiums are often determined by insurance companies after taking into account a driver's history and profile. Consequently, high-risk drivers frequently pay higher premiums. On average, high-risk drivers in California pay approximately $2,685 annually, while low-risk drivers pay around $1,390. This means that high-risk drivers pay up to 47% more than drivers with clean records.

Annual Car Insurance Cost in CA for Low-Risk vs. High-Risk Drivers

Annual Premium

Low-Risk Driver

Annual Premium

High-Risk Driver

In California, high-risk drivers pay:$1,295 more

This is 93% more expensive.

Based on personal information like age, driving history, type of vehicle and coverage level, MoneyGeek's California car insurance calculator may help you determine how much you'll pay for a policy. You can figure out which factor has the biggest impact on your rates with our tool.

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Rates updated:

Jul 11, 2024

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Can You Still Get Car Insurance in California if Insurers Refuse to Insure You?

Due to the voluntary nature of the car insurance industry, certain providers may decline to cover you if they believe you are too risky to insure. Finding a residual market plan through the Automobile Insurance Plan Service Office (AIPSO) is your best course of action in this situation. This national non-profit organization has been assisting high-risk drivers in finding coverage for the last 48 years while also serving the auto insurance residual market.

California Automobile Insurance Plan

Maintained by AIPSO, the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan (CAARP) is a processing facility in the state that connects consumers who are having problems getting high-risk auto insurance with an insurer. Applicants to the plan are distributed among insurance providers. For instance, a business that covers 10% of the cars on California's market covers 10% of the applicants for the assigned risk plan.

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    Office Hours

    Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. PT

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    (800) 622-0954

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    (415) 421-4013

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    Mailing Address

    California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan, P.O. Box 6530, Providence, RI 02940-6530

Compare Auto Insurance Rates

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

Frequently Asked Questions

When you're regarded as a high-risk driver, getting insurance can be difficult. MoneyGeek provided answers to some frequently asked questions regarding high-risk auto insurance in California in order to make things simpler.

Which car insurance company is best for high-risk drivers in California?
How much does car insurance in California cost for high-risk drivers?
Who do insurers classify as a high-risk driver?
Where do I get car insurance coverage in California if insurers reject my application?


MoneyGeek calculated average rates using full coverage car insurance policies with 100/300/100 liability insurance and comprehensive and collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible. Minimum coverage car insurance policy rates were calculated based on each state’s minimum car insurance requirement.

To calculate rates for high-risk drivers, MoneyGeek averaged the premiums insurance companies charge for three of the most common driving violations: speeding, at-fault accident and DUI.

To determine the best car insurance company for high-risk drivers, MoneyGeek scored companies based on affordability, customer satisfaction and complaints — obtained from J.D. Power surveys and NAIC complaint scores — and financial strength ratings as calculated by AM Best. Affordability received the greatest weighting in our calculations.

About Mark Fitzpatrick

Mark Fitzpatrick headshot

Mark Fitzpatrick has analyzed the property and casualty insurance market for over five years, conducting original research and creating personalized content for every kind of buyer. Currently, he leads P&C insurance content production at MoneyGeek. Fitzpatrick has been quoted in several insurance-related publications, including CNBC, NBC News and Mashable.

Fitzpatrick earned a master’s degree in economics and international relations from Johns Hopkins University and a bachelor’s degree from Boston College. He is passionate about using his knowledge of economics and insurance to bring transparency around financial topics and help others feel confident in their money moves.