Cheapest & Best Car Insurance in California in 2021 as Rated by Customers in 2021

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#1
/50
USAA
4.73 ★★★★★
4.73 ★★★★★
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Excellent
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#2
/50
4.56 ★★★★★
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#3
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4.53 ★★★★★
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No matter the reason why you're in the market for an auto insurance policy, we want to help you find the best car insurance companies in California, as well as an affordable rate of said policy. You may be surprised to discover the access you have to cheap rates, though that doesn't always mean you'll be stuck with the cheapest companies.

In the table above, you can sort through all the California car insurance companies ranked on Clearsurance. The rating next to each company the insurer's Clearsurance score is based exclusively on the ratings provided by customers. Customer satisfaction ratings are vital to ensure that a company is actually all they're claiming to be.

Note: Only those companies with at least 25 car insurance reviews are eligible to appear on this rankings of the best car insurance in California.

Insurers will review your entire driving profile, which may include your driving habits, your age, your gender, and even your location, to determine what coverage levels and prices you'll have access to.

Interested in learning more about one of these California car insurance companies? You can visit the company's profile page to find out what additional coverage they offer, any discounts they offer and read car insurance reviews to learn from the experiences of other policyholders.

On this page:

Who offers the best teen car insurance rates in California?

Teen drivers tend to see higher average premiums. While this may mean that they don't yet have access to the cheapest options on the market, it does mean that they still have the ability to be insured.

Mercury Insurance Groups has the cheapest car insurance rates for teen drivers in California, slightly edging the average rates for CSAA Insurance Group.

Note: This is only among the six largest car insurance companies in California by market share.

Of course, rates vary between teen boys and girls. Some programs also offer discounts for good grades and good driving behaviors. For an insured who takes advantage of these cheap car insurance discounts, other providers may edge their way up.

Company Female teen ratesMale teen rates
AAA $1,293 $1,482
Allstate Insurance $2,216 $2,721
CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer $1,195 $1,337
Farmers Insurance Group $1,288 $1,947
Mercury Insurance Group $1,163 $1,318
State Farm Insurance Company $1,503 $1,775

These rates are based on profiles for 18-year-old male and female drivers in California. The car used was a 2015 Honda Civic EX. We used the minimum car insurance state limits. The rates displayed should only be used for comparative purposes as individual rates in California will differ. Rate data is provided by Quadrant Information Services.

Who offers the best car insurance rates for a married couple in California?

Again, Mercury Insurance Group offers the most affordable option in terms of insurance rates for a married couple in California. They offer competitive rates on standard coverage. The quotes don't account for drivers who take advantage of RightTrack or other similar telematics programs.

It also doesn't account for other factors that are harder to measure in a simple quote, including which neighborhood you're in or where you have your garage located, should you keep one separate from your home. Things typically included in an average quote would be credit history, or whether the drivers have clean records.

Company Married couple rates
Allstate Insurance $2,522
CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer $2,413
Farmers Insurance Group $3,142
Mercury Insurance Group $1,879
State Farm Insurance Company $3,017

These rates are based on a 35-year-old married couple with two drivers and two vehicles on a policy. The cars used were two 2015 Toyota Highlander LEs. Full coverage was used with 100/300/50 limits for collision coverage and a $500 collision and comprehensive deductible. The drivers had 1 driving incident within the past 3 years, and they both have a good credit score. The rates displayed should only be used for comparative purposes as individual rates in California will differ. Rate data is provided by Quadrant Information Services.

Who offers the best senior car insurance rates in California?

For senior drivers in California, Mercury Insurance Group also offers the cheapest car insurance rates when compared to the other largest car insurers in the state by market share.

Company Female senior ratesMale senior rates
AAA $1,399 $1,371
Allstate Insurance $1,179 $1,134
CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA Insurer $1,444 $1,444
Farmers Insurance Group $1,414 $1,414
Mercury Insurance Group $1,160 $1,090
State Farm Insurance Company $1,275 $1,275

These rates are based on profiles for 65-year-old male and female drivers. The car used for each was a 2015 Toyota Camry LE. Full coverage was used with 100/300/50 limits and a $500 collision and comprehensive deductible. The drivers had zero incidents within the past three years and a good credit score. The rates displayed should only be used for comparative purposes as individual rates in California will differ. Rate data is provided by Quadrant Information Services.

How widely does the average cost for auto insurance rates vary in California?

California is a large state and the average annual cost of car insurance rates can vary significantly based on the area you live in. On average, the northern California city of Mount Shasta has the cheapest rates in the state. In the table below, you can see the top ten cheapest areas in California for car insurance based on average rates for single adults.

Area Car insurance rates
Mount Shasta $1,530
Los Osos $1,556
Yreka $1,559
Weed $1,562
Cambria $1,565
Big Pine $1,572
Greenview $1,590
Bishop $1,594
Avila Beach $1,595
San Ardo $1,598

The average rate is based on a 35-year-old single adult with one driver and one vehicle on a policy. The car used was a 2015 Toyota Highlander LE. Full coverage was used with 100/300/50 limits and a $500 collision and comprehensive deductible. The driver had one driving incident within the past three years and had a good credit score. The rates displayed should only be used for comparative purposes as individual rates in California will differ. Rate data is provided by Quadrant Information Services.

Where are the ten most expensive areas in California?

In certain areas of California, a driver's annual premium can be expensive. On average, the most expensive area in California for car insurance is Beverly Hills. The table below displays the top ten most expensive areas in California for car insurance based on average rates for a single adult.

Area Car insurance rates
Beverly Hills $3,493
Tarzana $3,384
West Hollywood $3,457
Van Nuys $3,250
Glendale $3,237
Encino $3,216
North Hollywood $3,206
Valley Village $3,200
Camp Pendleton $3,116
Universal City $3,112

These rates are based on a 35-year-old single adult with one driver and one vehicle on a policy. The car used was a 2015 Toyota Highlander LE. Full coverage was used with 100/300/50 limits and a $500 collision and comprehensive deductible. The driver had 1 driving incident within the past 3 years and had a good credit score. The rates displayed should only be used for comparative purposes as individual rates in California will differ. Rate data is provided by Quadrant Information Services.

What kind of auto insurance coverage do you need in California?

All California drivers are legally required to purchase bodily injury and property damage liability insurance as a minimum level of coverage. The state's minimum requirements, listed below, are lower than a majority of other states. Still, it's not necessarily smart to purchase just the minimum coverage to save money. Doing so could leave you underinsured and paying out of pocket for a costly accident. Even if you don't have the lowest rates of coverage, you still might be paying less each month than if you were to end up with medical bills because of an accident. You can learn more about different car insurance coverage and what the limits mean here.

California state minimum requirements:

Liability:

  • Bodily injury — $15,000 per person
  • Bodily injury — $30,000 per accident
  • Property damage — $5,000 per accident

Bodily injury liability provides coverage for injuries sustained by the other vehicle's driver and passengers if you are held responsible for an accident. This coverage also kicks in to defend you in the event of any legal claims.

Property damage liability provides coverage in the event you damage someone else's property in a car accident, most commonly the other vehicle, but also things like a home or fence.

If you buy comprehensive coverage and collision insurance, your insurance will pay for your auto damage in the event of an accident. Many people also buy personal injury protection. If you have a clean driving record, your rates could still be relatively low for a good auto policy. If you have a couple tickets or accidents, your rates will go up.

Keep in mind, your driving history isn't the only factor in determining your insurance quote rates. Auto insurance companies consider many factors. Choosing to take advantage of auto insurance discounts can add up significantly.

What percentage of California's motorist population is uninsured?

California insurance companies are also required to offer you uninsured motorist coverage, but you aren't required to purchase it. Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage offers protection in the event you are involved in an accident with a driver who either doesn’t have insurance or doesn’t have enough coverage.

While buying the coverage would increase your premium, it may be a wise purchase. California’s percentage of uninsured drivers is 15.2 — the 12th highest in the United States, according to 2015 data from the Insurance Information Institute. That ranks higher than the 2015 national average of 13 percent.

How are car insurance rates calculated in California?

When searching and comparing quotes from the best auto insurance companies in California, it can be frustrating trying to understand how your insurance rates are calculated. While there is no exact formula that each car insurance company uses when providing you a quote, there are many factors that do contribute to the price you pay for your insurance.

Among the factors that car insurers consider are:

  • Your driving record
  • How much you drive
  • Location
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Gender
  • Your car’s make, model and year
  • Amount of car insurance coverage (required coverage and optional add-ons, such as collision and comprehensive)

One of the biggest misunderstandings when it comes to insurance rates is that the history of drivers in your area also contributes to how much you pay. People assume that high risk drivers are just irresponsible. Even if you go two years without an accident, if there were a lot of accidents near you recently, your rates might still go up. Your insurance might see you as a higher risk. Why is that the case?

Insurance companies have to consider risk as a bigger picture. If you're a responsible driver, your risk is lower. If you live on a big road where you have to pull into heavy traffic just to go to the store, you're more likely to be in an accident. This is true even if you're the best driver in the world. If you live in a neighborhood with more break-ins or other incidents, you're more likely to file a claim. Not all claims are associated with at-fault accidents.

However, this does mean that they may reward you with a safe driving discount, if you've never been into an accident, or you've taken a defensive driving course in the past to amend for your previously poor driving habits.

How can you save money on your car insurance in California?

At the end of the day, we'd all like to have the best coverage at a cheap, affordable price from one of the best car insurance in California. And we'd prefer it if our policy provided us the most coverage per accident as well. While you never want to sacrifice quality to save a couple of dollars, there are some different ways you can lower your car insurance rates.

It may seem like a lot of financial responsibility to put onto the consumer's shoulders, but this way you can choose how to fit your policy into your budget, rather than be told you need coverage levels that you can't afford. For informational purposes, it also allows you to be fully aware of what is included in your policy, and provides you with financial stability as well.

Here are six ways you may be able to lower your car insurance rates:

  • Bundle your car insurance with other policies
  • Consider raising your deductibles
  • Pay your car insurance policy in full
  • Try usage-based car insurance
  • Sign up for discount programs that monitor your driving and reward you
  • Monitor price changes to your policy
  • Shop for better insurance rates and policy service options
  • Talk to your current insurance company about loyalty discounts

How does Clearsurance rate and rank the best car insurance companies in California?

Consistent with its mission towards greater transparency, Clearsurance does not keep its rating and ranking formulas in a black box. Our algorithm analyzes a range of inputs from our independent community of insurance customers, including:

  • Price
  • Customer Service
  • Claim service
  • Likelihood to renew

The algorithm also takes into account the percentage of what customers say the company does well vs. the percentage of what customers say the company could do better.

Finally, there is also a confidence factor based upon the number of reviews a company has by product. If the total number of reviews is less than 100, then a confidence deduction is applied to the star rating. The maximum impact of this deduction occurs when there are less than 25 reviews. Companies with 100 or more reviews, aged two years or less, receive 100% weighting (no deduction), while companies with 50 to 99 customer reviews receive a weighting of 95%, 25 to 49 reviews receive a weighting of 90% and companies with less than 25 reviews a weighting of 85%.

The Clearsurance customer ratings and rankings of the best car insurance in California are derived entirely from customer reviews and ratings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who offers the best teen car insurance rates in California?

Mercury Insurance Group has the cheapest car insurance rates for teen drivers in California, slightly edging the average rates for CSAA Insurance Group. It never hurts to look around for varying types of coverage, especially when you're a driver who falls into a specific demographic, such as teen drivers. 

Who offers the best car insurance rates for a married couple in California?

Mercury Insurance Group offers the cheapest average car insurance rates for a married couple in California, among the five most popular car insurers in the state. You may not think that marital status makes a difference, but it can actually lead to lower coverage rates.

Who offers the best senior car insurance rates in California?

For senior drivers in California, Mercury Insurance Group offers the cheapest car insurance rates when compared to the other largest car insurers in the state by market share. If you're a senior driver or you have one in your family, it may be beneficial to compare prices in order to find affordable coverage. 

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