Cheap Auto Insurance in California for 2022

NerdWallet analyzed auto insurance rates to find you the cheapest car insurance in California for a variety of ages and driving histories.
Dec 22, 2021

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Whether you’re stuck in Los Angeles’ traffic-packed highways or navigating coastal state Route 1, you’ll need car insurance to drive in California.

If you’re looking for cheap auto insurance, you’ve come to the right place. NerdWallet has done the hard work of finding the cheapest auto insurance companies in California so you don’t have to. Read on to see the cheapest options for a variety of ages and driving histories, plus California’s required minimum coverage.

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Cheapest car insurance company overall in California

$114/month

3.0

NerdWallet rating 

Cheapest for minimum coverage

$31/month

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

Cheapest for young drivers

$165/month

3.0

NerdWallet rating 

If you’re looking for the cheapest car insurance in your area, NerdWallet analyzed rates for some of the largest California cities, including:

The average cost of auto insurance in California

The average cost of full coverage car insurance in California is $2,005 per year, or about $167 per month, according to NerdWallet’s analysis. Minimum coverage in California is $629 per year on average, but we found you can likely get a cheaper policy. For example, Geico offers the cheapest rates in California at $377 per year, on average, for minimum coverage car insurance for a 35-year-old driver with a clean driving record.

How we chose the cheapest companies in California

NerdWallet’s editorial team analyzed car insurance rates from 26 auto insurers in California and found the five cheapest options for drivers in several age brackets and with different histories, all driving a 2019 Toyota Camry L. For minimum coverage, we looked at rates that reflect the minimum requirements in California. For full coverage, we used the below coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person.

  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident.

  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident.

  • $100,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person.

  • $300,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident.

  • Collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible.

  • Comprehensive coverage with a $1,000 deductible.

Cheapest for 20-year-old drivers

Drivers in their 20s may have to get a lot of quotes to find cheap car insurance. Prices can be sky-high for younger 20-somethings, but tend to come down as drivers get more experience on the road. Still, some companies routinely have better insurance rates for young drivers, so it's best to shop around to find them.

Cheapest full coverage car insurance in California for 20-year-olds

Drivers in California with clean driving records may want to consider the following companies, which had the lowest average rates:

  1. Wawanesa: $1,976 per year, or about $165 per month.

  2. State Farm: $2,511 per year, or about $209 per month.

  3. Geico: $2,553 per year, or about $213 per month.

  4. Esurance: $2,632 per year, or about $219 per month.

  5. National General: $2,749 per year, or about $229 per month.

Cheapest minimum coverage car insurance in California for 20-year-olds

Drivers in California who want just the state minimum coverage may want to check with these companies, which had the lowest average rates:

  1. CSAA: $697 per year, or about $58 per month.

  2. Geico: $745 per year, or about $62 per month.

  3. Wawanesa: $782 per year, or about $65 per month.

  4. Travelers: $796 per year, or about $66 per month.

  5. State Farm: $809 per year, or about $67 per month.

Cheapest auto insurance in California for 20-year-old drivers with one at-fault crash

For drivers with a recent accident in California, here are the companies with the lowest average rates for minimum coverage:

  1. Grange Insurance Association: $1,008 per year, or about $84 per month.

  2. Geico: $1,025 per year, or about $85 per month.

  3. CSAA: $1,044 per year, or about $87 per month.

  4. Wawanesa: $1,226 per year, or about $102 per month.

  5. Travelers: $1,236 per year, or about $103 per month.

Cheapest auto insurance in California for 20-year-old drivers after a DUI

The cheapest auto insurance we found after a DUI is shown here, alongside the insurers' average rates for minimum coverage.

  1. National General: $1,149 per year, or about $96 per month.

  2. Grange Insurance Association: $1,260 per year, or about $105 per month.

  3. Geico: $1,353 per year, or about $113 per month.

  4. Wawanesa: $1,369 per year, or about $114 per month.

  5. Travelers: $1,609 per year, or about $134 per month.

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Cheapest for 30-year-old drivers

By the time they reach their 30s, most drivers will enjoy cheaper car insurance rates than in their teens and 20s. Still, factors like a person’s driving record and car make and model can increase prices. Drivers in their 30s can get lower rates by shopping around and taking advantage of any car insurance discounts.

Cheapest full coverage car insurance in California for 30-year-olds

Drivers in California with clean driving records may get the lowest rates from these companies:

  1. Esurance: $1,367 per year, or about $114 per month.

  2. Geico: $1,479 per year, or about $123 per month.

  3. Wawanesa: $1,560 per year, or about $130 per month.

  4. CSAA: $1,711 per year, or about $143 per month.

  5. CIG: $1,738 per year, or about $145 per month.

Cheapest minimum coverage car insurance in California for 30-year-olds

Drivers in California who want their state's minimum coverage can check with the following companies, which had the lowest average rates:

  1. Geico: $382 per year, or about $32 per month.

  2. CSAA: $384 per year, or about $32 per month.

  3. Grange Insurance Association: $539 per year, or about $45 per month.

  4. Travelers: $543 per year, or about $45 per month.

  5. Progressive: $544 per year, or about $45 per month.

Cheapest auto insurance in California for 30-year-old drivers with one at-fault crash

For drivers in California with a recent accident, here are the lowest average rate options for full coverage:

  1. CSAA: $2,161 per year, or about $180 per month.

  2. Esurance: $2,163 per year, or about $180 per month.

  3. CIG: $2,211 per year, or about $184 per month.

  4. Wawanesa: $2,341 per year, or about $195 per month.

  5. Grange Insurance Association: $2,529 per year, or about $211 per month.

Cheapest auto insurance in California for 30-year-old drivers after a DUI

For the cheapest auto insurance after a DUI, we found the following options for full coverage.

  1. National General: $1,995 per year, or about $166 per month.

  2. Wawanesa: $2,790 per year, or about $232 per month.

  3. Infinity: $2,808 per year, or about $234 per month.

  4. Mercury: $2,933 per year, or about $244 per month.

  5. Grange Insurance Association: $3,161 per year, or about $263 per month.

Cheapest for 40-year-old drivers

Drivers in their 40s tend to have better insurance rates than their younger counterparts on average, but still pay more than older age groups. Shopping around for cheap car insurance quotes with multiple insurers is the best way to find lower rates. Good drivers who don’t get behind the wheel often might want to consider pay-per-mile insurance, which charges drivers by how many miles they drive.

Cheapest full coverage car insurance in California for 40-year-olds

Drivers in California with clean driving records may want to think about the following companies, which had the lowest average rates:

  1. Esurance: $1,289 per year, or about $107 per month.

  2. Geico: $1,438 per year, or about $120 per month.

  3. Wawanesa: $1,470 per year, or about $122 per month.

  4. Infinity: $1,650 per year, or about $138 per month.

  5. CIG: $1,677 per year, or about $140 per month.

Cheapest minimum coverage car insurance in California for 40-year-olds

Drivers in California who want just the minimum coverage may want to check prices from these companies, which had the lowest average rates:

  1. Geico: $374 per year, or about $31 per month.

  2. CSAA: $398 per year, or about $33 per month.

  3. Grange Insurance Association: $476 per year, or about $40 per month.

  4. Travelers: $528 per year, or about $44 per month.

  5. Progressive: $535 per year, or about $45 per month.

Cheapest auto insurance in California for 40-year-old drivers with one at-fault crash

For drivers with a recent accident living in California, here are the companies with the lowest average rates for full coverage:

  1. Esurance: $2,037 per year, or about $170 per month.

  2. CIG: $2,133 per year, or about $178 per month.

  3. CSAA: $2,145 per year, or about $179 per month.

  4. Wawanesa: $2,206 per year, or about $184 per month.

  5. Grange Insurance Association: $2,289 per year, or about $191 per month.

Cheapest auto insurance in California for 40-year-old drivers after a DUI

The cheapest full coverage auto insurance we found for drivers with a DUI came from the following companies:

  1. National General: $1,899 per year, or about $158 per month.

  2. Wawanesa: $2,628 per year, or about $219 per month.

  3. Infinity: $2,634 per year, or about $220 per month.

  4. Mercury: $2,854 per year, or about $238 per month.

  5. Grange Insurance Association: $2,862 per year, or about $238 per month.

Cheapest for 50-year-old drivers

Drivers in their 50s have cheaper car insurance rates than most other age groups on average. Prices will continue to drop as they inch toward their 60s and gain more driving experience. Rates can still vary depending on other factors such as a driver’s gender and location, so it’s smart to shop around to find the best rate. Our list of the best cheap car insurance companies is a good place to start.

Cheapest full coverage car insurance in California for 50-year-olds

Drivers in California with clean driving records may want to get quotes from these insurers, which had the lowest average rates:

  1. Esurance: $1,274 per year, or about $106 per month.

  2. Geico: $1,408 per year, or about $117 per month.

  3. Wawanesa: $1,440 per year, or about $120 per month.

  4. CIG: $1,612 per year, or about $134 per month.

  5. Infinity: $1,613 per year, or about $134 per month.

Cheapest minimum coverage car insurance in California for 50-year-olds

Drivers in California who opt for the state minimum coverage may want to consider the following companies, with the lowest average rates:

  1. Geico: $368 per year, or about $31 per month.

  2. CSAA: $378 per year, or about $32 per month.

  3. Grange Insurance Association: $462 per year, or about $38 per month.

  4. State National Ins Co.: $495 per year, or about $41 per month.

  5. State Farm: $516 per year, or about $43 per month.

Cheapest auto insurance in California for 50-year-old drivers with one at-fault crash

For drivers living in California with a recent accident, here are the insurers with the lowest average full coverage rates:

  1. Esurance: $2,017 per year, or about $168 per month.

  2. CIG: $2,049 per year, or about $171 per month.

  3. CSAA: $2,078 per year, or about $173 per month.

  4. Wawanesa: $2,165 per year, or about $180 per month.

  5. Grange Insurance Association: $2,236 per year, or about $186 per month.

Cheapest auto insurance in California for 50-year-old drivers after a DUI

The cheapest auto insurance we found for drivers with a recent DUI comes from the following companies, listed with rates for full coverage:

  1. National General: $1,906 per year, or about $159 per month.

  2. Wawanesa: $2,574 per year, or about $214 per month.

  3. Infinity: $2,590 per year, or about $216 per month.

  4. Mercury: $2,701 per year, or about $225 per month.

  5. Grange Insurance Association: $2,795 per year, or about $233 per month.

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Cheapest for 60-year-old drivers

Although 60-year-olds have cheaper car insurance rates than many other age groups on average, prices will start increasing as they get older. To find cheap auto insurance for seniors, drivers in their 60s should make sure to shop around to find the best rate. Drivers in this age group should also take advantage of any available discounts for senior citizens.

Cheapest full coverage car insurance in California for 60-year-olds

Drivers in California with clean driving records may want to think about getting quotes from these companies, which had the lowest average rates:

  1. Esurance: $1,302 per year, or about $108 per month.

  2. Wawanesa: $1,361 per year, or about $113 per month.

  3. Geico: $1,411 per year, or about $118 per month.

  4. CSAA: $1,536 per year, or about $128 per month.

  5. State Farm: $1,553 per year, or about $129 per month.

Cheapest minimum coverage car insurance in California for 60-year-olds

Drivers in California who want just the state minimum coverage may want to check with these insurers, which had the lowest average rates:

  1. Geico: $367 per year, or about $31 per month.

  2. CSAA: $384 per year, or about $32 per month.

  3. Grange Insurance Association: $452 per year, or about $38 per month.

  4. State Farm: $473 per year, or about $39 per month.

  5. Travelers: $501 per year, or about $42 per month.

Cheapest auto insurance in California for 60-year-old drivers with one at-fault crash

For drivers with a recent accident living in California, here are the companies with the lowest average rates for full coverage:

  1. CSAA: $1,940 per year, or about $162 per month.

  2. CIG: $2,013 per year, or about $168 per month.

  3. Wawanesa: $2,049 per year, or about $171 per month.

  4. Esurance: $2,064 per year, or about $172 per month.

  5. Grange Insurance Association: $2,196 per year, or about $183 per month.

Cheapest auto insurance in California for 60-year-old drivers after a DUI

The cheapest auto insurance we found after a DUI came from the following companies, shown with their average rates for full coverage:

  1. National General: $1,839 per year, or about $153 per month.

  2. Wawanesa: $2,432 per year, or about $203 per month.

  3. Infinity: $2,712 per year, or about $226 per month.

  4. Mercury: $2,735 per year, or about $228 per month.

  5. Grange Insurance Association: $2,745 per year, or about $229 per month.

Cheapest car insurance for military families

If you're an active member of the military or a veteran — or have an immediate family member who is — chances are you'll get a relatively cheap rate with USAA, a company that isn't available to the general public.

Because of that restriction, USAA isn't ranked with the others, but it was the cheapest auto insurance option for 2 of the 24 driver profiles we examined.

Minimum auto insurance requirements in California

California drivers must carry liability insurance in the following amounts:

  • $15,000 bodily injury liability per person.

  • $30,000 bodily injury liability per accident.

  • $5,000 property damage liability per accident.

Liability car insurance covers the cost of any damage, injuries or deaths you cause in a car accident, up to your policy’s predefined limits. Experts recommend getting more than the bare minimum if you want to avoid dipping into your own savings to cover expenses.

For instance, California has a relatively low property damage minimum, only $5,000. If you cause an accident and total another driver’s car, the damage could easily exceed that amount, and you would have to pay the difference out of pocket.

Check out NerdWallet’s guide to state car insurance requirements for more details on how the required and optional parts of your California policy work.

Auto insurance laws in California

California’s insurance laws are uniquely consumer-friendly, according to many experts. A lot of that is thanks to Proposition 103, which was approved by voters in 1988 and immediately required insurers to roll back prices 20%. Proposition 103 also mandated that auto insurance rates be preapproved by the state’s department of insurance, among other regulations. Many of the laws detailed below are from Proposition 103, but not all.

Auto insurance pricing: Unlike in most other states, auto insurers in California can’t set prices based on credit history, nor can they charge more for lapses in auto coverage.

The state also recently banned gender-based pricing, which tends to translate to higher premiums for young men and middle-age women. The rule was introduced this year and insurers have some time to roll out new rates so this may not affect you quite yet.

Auto body repair claims: California’s insurance code includes a consumer bill of rights for repairs after a claim. They include:

  • The right to choose your own auto body repair shop and obtain independent damage estimates while the claim is ongoing.

  • The right to an itemized invoice of repairs. The invoice must identify parts as new, used or rebuilt, and must indicate whether they are aftermarket or original equipment manufactured parts.

  • When aftermarket parts are used, the insurer (and not necessarily the shop) must guarantee that they are equal to OEM parts in quality, safety, fit and performance.

  • The right to accurate information about towing and storage services and your policy’s coverage, if any, for a rental car while yours is in the shop.

Alternative car insurance in California

If you have a high number of accidents, DUIs or other factors making it hard to find auto coverage, you might qualify for insurance through the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan. This organization connects high-risk drivers to insurance companies that will cover them.

For more help finding the most competitive prices in California, try NerdWallet’s car insurance comparison tool.

Low-income car insurance in California

If you can’t afford car insurance premiums, you might qualify for California’s Low Cost Auto Insurance program, which has several payment plans and no broker fees. Requirements include:

  • A current California driver’s license.

  • An automobile worth $25,000 or less.

  • Income of no more than 250% of the federal poverty level.

The federal poverty level depends on the year and the number of people in your household. For one person in 2021, the income limit for the program was $32,200.

The program’s website has a calculator to determine income cutoffs for larger households, a rate calculator and a tool to find participating insurance plans. You’ll have to provide documentation of income, as well as other requirements, to qualify.

How AAA car insurance works in California

AAA, the automobile club best known for its roadside assistance memberships, also sells insurance in many states. But just like the clubs themselves, AAA insurance companies are separate companies that operate independently. If you use a AAA webpage, it will ask for your ZIP code in order to ensure you're looking at information for your local AAA club.

The Automobile Club of Southern California serves the following counties: Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Tulare and Ventura. CSAA serves all other counties in California, plus several other states.

So if you’re a AAA member and move from Northern California to SoCal, or vice versa, you would transfer membership from one club to the other. If you have auto insurance through your regional club and move, your policy, premium and agent would also change.

If you’re a AAA member and need roadside assistance outside of your home club’s region, the AAA club in that area will take care of you.

Methodology

For our “good driver” profile, NerdWallet averaged insurance estimates for single male and female drivers with no tickets or violations. The analysis included 5-10 of the largest insurance companies in each state; smaller insurers were also included when rates were available. Liberty Mutual and its subsidiaries were excluded from our analysis as rates were not available.

For full coverage policies, we used the following coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person.

  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident.

  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident.

  • $100,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person.

  • $300,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident.

  • Collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible.

  • Comprehensive coverage with a $1,000 deductible.

In states where required, minimum additional coverages were added. Some policies include additional coverages at the insurer’s discretion.

We used a 2019 Toyota Camry L for all drivers and assumed 12,000 annual miles driven.

We analyzed rates for drivers 20 to 60 years old in ten-year increments.

We used the same assumptions for all other driver profiles, with the following exceptions:

  • For drivers with minimum coverage, we adjusted the numbers above to reflect the minimum required coverage by law in the state.

  • For drivers with one at-fault crash, we added a single at-fault crash that happened six months ago, resulting in $10,000 in property damage and no bodily injury claim.

  • For drivers with a DUI, we added a single drunken driving violation that happened six months ago.

We looked at 35-year-old drivers to find the cheapest company overall and the cheapest company for minimum coverage. We looked at 20-year-old drivers to find the cheapest company for young drivers.

These are rates generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.

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