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Best Cheap Car Insurance in Los Angeles for 2020

March 4, 2020
Auto Insurance, Insurance
At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Cheap car insurance in Los Angeles may seem about as easy to find as a wide-open freeway at rush hour.

On average, Los Angeles auto insurance costs $1,964 a year, NerdWallet’s 2020 rates analysis found. That’s $337 above the California average and $537 more than the average cost of car insurance nationwide.

If you’d rather keep some of those dollars in your pocket, make sure to compare car insurance quotes before you buy. We looked at average rates in the Los Angeles metro area from the 13 largest insurers in California for several types of drivers. In most cases, we were able to find Los Angeles auto insurance rates that were cheaper than the California average.

Shopping around is essential, because no single company is cheapest for every driver. Here are the five cheapest options we found for drivers in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, which includes Los Angeles County and Orange County.

Cheapest for good drivers in Los Angeles

For a Los Angeles resident with a clean driving history, these are the cheapest insurance companies and average rates for full coverage policies:

  1. Geico: $1,643 per year.
  2. Wawanesa: $1,699 per year.
  3. Liberty Mutual: $1,707 per year.
  4. 21st Century: $1,799 per year.
  5. Kemper: $1,946 per year.

Drivers with no recent accidents or violations can get cheaper car insurance rates. For this calculation, NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-old men and women with a clean driving record. In terms of driving history, a large portion of drivers are closest to this profile, which carries standard “full coverage” insurance, including comprehensive and collision, along with state-required coverage. Prices shown include a good driver discount, when available from the insurer.

Cheapest for minimum coverage in Los Angeles

For a Los Angeles driver seeking a minimum coverage policy, here are the cheapest companies and their average rates:

  1. Geico: $572 per year.
  2. Kemper: $695 per year.
  3. Liberty Mutual: $711 per year.
  4. Progressive: $752 per year.
  5. Wawanesa: $796 per year.
We calculated these numbers by averaging rates for 40-year-old good drivers (earning them a discount if the insurer offers one) who have only the minimum mandatory insurance in their state. Such light coverage isn't typically recommended since it might not cover all the bills resulting from a car accident, but it's better than nothing — especially if you can't afford much more. If you're looking for the cheapest possible insurance you can get, though, you'll still want to get quotes from at least three auto insurers.

Cheapest for drivers with one at-fault crash

For a driver in Los Angeles with a recent at-fault accident, these are the cheapest auto insurers and average rates for full coverage policies:

  1. Liberty Mutual: $2,915 per year.
  2. Geico: $3,013 per year.
  3. Auto Club of SoCal: $3,284 per year.
  4. Mercury: $3,487 per year.
  5. Farmers: $3,765 per year.
After a relatively minor crash, some auto insurers will charge a lot more than others for coverage. To get these figures, we averaged rates for 40-year-olds with typical "full coverage" insurance and one recent at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage. Your rates will remain high for three to five years after you cause an accident or have a moving violation — and you still may be rejected for coverage from certain companies, including those above. If you fall into this category, be sure to shop for new insurance rates just after the three-year and five-year anniversaries of your infraction.

Cheapest insurance after a DUI in Los Angeles

After a DUI, here are the cheapest auto insurers and their average rates in Los Angeles for full coverage:

  1. Infinity: $3,005 per year.
  2. Mercury: $3,295 per year.
  3. Geico: $4,155 per year.
  4. Kemper: $4,225 per year.
  5. Progressive: $4,389 per year.
A conviction for driving under the influence, or DUI, generally results in higher auto insurance premiums than before. NerdWallet analyzed rates for 40-year-old drivers and standard “full coverage” car insurance with a recent DUI conviction to see which companies were cheapest. Be warned that you may be rejected for coverage, including from the companies listed above. Rates can vary by hundreds between carriers after a DUI, and some penalize for longer than others, so it’s important to shop around for the best available price right after you see a price hike and each year after that.

Cheapest insurance after a ticket in Los Angeles

For a Los Angeles driver with a recent speeding ticket, here are the cheapest car insurance companies and their average rates for a full coverage policy:

  1. 21st Century: $2,385 per year.
  2. Wawanesa: $2,407 per year.
  3. Geico: $2,561 per year.
  4. Kemper: $2,572 per year.
  5. Mercury: $2,635 per year.
Getting a speeding ticket will result in higher car insurance rates from most companies for three to five years. To see who has the cheapest rates, we calculated average car insurance rates for 40-year-old drivers with “full coverage” insurance and a recent ticket for speeding 16 mph over the limit. Though these larger companies were the cheapest we found on average, others may be cheaper for you, so be sure to get at least three quotes before deciding on a carrier.

Cheapest for couples and families in Los Angeles

Adding drivers and vehicles to a policy can change where the cheapest car insurance is found. As a result, it’s wise to compare insurance quotes after any major life change, such as a marriage, a big move or a new teen driver in the house. To point Los Angeles drivers in the right direction, NerdWallet analyzed rates for a husband and wife, both 50 years old, insuring two vehicles with and without a teen driver on their policy.

Cheapest for a married couple in Los Angeles

For a 50-year-old wife and husband with clean driving histories, buying full coverage on two vehicles, here are the cheapest auto insurers we found in Los Angeles:

  1. Geico: $1,934 per year.
  2. Wawanesa: $2,150 per year.
  3. 21st Century: $2,306 per year.
  4. Allstate: $2,326 per year.
  5. Mercury: $2,341 per year.
Couples who live together can save on auto insurance by combining policies, whether they are married or not, because they can earn multi-car and multi-driver discounts. Once they tie the knot, rates can dip further, but not because of discounts — insurers see married people as less risky and so charge them lower rates. Our hypothetical 50-year-old couple’s clean driving record also earns them both a good driver discount.

Cheapest for families with a teen in Los Angeles

For a 50-year-old married couple in Los Angeles with an 18-year-old driver on their auto policy, these are the cheapest insurers we found for full coverage on two vehicles:

  1. Wawanesa: $3,576 per year.
  2. State Farm: $3,923 per year.
  3. Mercury: $4,180 per year.
  4. Allstate: $4,940 per year.
  5. Kemper: $5,359 per year.
Adding a teen with two years’ driving experience to a married couple's policy is sure to cause a big jump in rates. Since different insurers tend to see a teen’s inexperience in different ways, we analyzed rates to see which companies had the cheapest car insurance for teens. These rates are averaged for 50-year-old couples with male and female 18-year-old drivers.

Cheapest for young drivers in Los Angeles

People in their 20s typically pay more for car insurance than drivers with more experience on the roads. However, young drivers can still save hundreds of dollars by shopping around for insurance quotes and choosing the cheapest company. To see who has the lowest average prices for young drivers in Los Angeles, NerdWallet checked rates for 25-year-olds.

Cheapest full coverage for young good drivers

For young Los Angeles drivers with clean driving histories, here are the cheapest companies and rates for full coverage car insurance:

  1. Wawanesa: $1,870 per year.
  2. 21st Century: $2,246 per year.
  3. Geico: $2,402 per year.
  4. Progressive: $2,419 per year.
  5. Liberty Mutual: $2,502 per year.
Drivers in their 20s can have a hard time finding cheap car insurance, and that's even truer when they need full coverage. The rates above are averages for 25-year-old male and female drivers with comprehensive and collision coverages, which are often required for drivers with active auto loans or leases. These rates reflect a good driver discount. Young drivers, like all drivers, should check several quotes to find the cheapest for the coverage levels they need.

Cheapest minimum coverage for young good drivers

For young drivers in Los Angeles who prefer minimum coverage, these are the cheapest companies we found and their average rates, assuming a clean driving history:

  1. Progressive: $807 per year.
  2. Geico: $845 per year.
  3. Wawanesa: $854 per year.
  4. Mercury: $990 per year.
  5. Auto Club of SoCal: $1,031 per year.

Since young people often have fewer assets to protect with liability insurance, they can usually get away with lower coverage limits. For an age group with relatively high insurance rates on average, that’s good news, keeping rates as low as possible. For this price set, we averaged rates for 25-year-old male and female drivers who have clean driving records and bare-bones insurance coverage.

Cheapest for minimum coverage after a crash

For 25-year-old Los Angeles drivers with a recent at-fault accident on-record, here are the cheapest auto insurers and their average rates for minimum coverage policies:

  1. Progressive: $1,504 per year.
  2. Liberty Mutual: $1,600 per year.
  3. Geico: $1,647 per year.
  4. Auto Club of SoCal: $1,651 per year.
  5. Mercury: $1,772 per year.

To get prices for this group, we averaged rates for 25-year-old male and female drivers with a recent at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage. Since car insurance is often pricier after a crash, and especially so for young drivers, we assumed minimum required insurance in the state to contain costs for our hypothetical driver. If you’ve caused a crash, no matter your age, be sure to check auto insurance quotes just after the third and fifth anniversaries of your incident, when insurers often adjust rates downward.

Cheapest for minimum coverage after a DUI

For young Los Angeles drivers with a recent DUI, here are the cheapest companies and average rates for minimum coverage auto policies:

  1. Infinity: $1,601 per year.
  2. Mercury: $1,603 per year.
  3. Progressive: $1,613 per year.
  4. Geico: $2,172 per year.
  5. Kemper: $2,336 per year.

Young drivers with a recent DUI on their records will need to be diligent to find the lowest car insurance rates they can get — it’s likely that many companies’ rates will be quite expensive. But spending the time to shop around for quotes can help you find the lowest. For this analysis, we averaged rates for male and female 25-year-old drivers with a recent on-record DUI. They had minimum required car insurance, which helps keep rates down.

Cheapest for minimum coverage and a ticket

After a speeding ticket, these are the cheapest auto insurers we found for young drivers in Los Angeles, ranked by their average rates for minimum coverage:

  1. Wawanesa: $1,190 per year.
  2. Mercury: $1,281 per year.
  3. Geico: $1,338 per year.
  4. Progressive: $1,364 per year.
  5. 21st Century: $1,377 per year.
Getting a speeding ticket is never fun, and neither is the higher car insurance bill you may receive months later. At that point, it's time to shop around for better rates, and it wouldn't hurt to repeat on your third and fifth ticket anniversaries, when insurers may adjust rates downward. We analyzed rates for 25-year-old male and female drivers with a recent speeding violation for going 16 mph over the speed limit to see prices for this group.

Cheap for military families

For Los Angeles drivers with a military connection, cheap auto insurance is often available through USAA, whose policies are exclusively for active service members, veterans and their families. We didn’t rank USAA alongside other companies since it isn’t offered to everyone, but it was among the three cheapest options in Los Angeles for three-fourths of the driver types above.

Recap: Cheapest car insurance in Los Angeles

  • Good drivers: Geico
  • Minimum coverage: Geico
  • After an at-fault crash: Liberty Mutual
  • After a DUI: Infinity
  • After a speeding ticket: 21st Century
  • Married couples: Geico
  • Families with a teen: Wawanesa
  • Young good drivers: Wawanesa
  • Minimum coverage for young good drivers: Progressive
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers after a crash: Progressive
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers after a DUI: Infinity
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers after a ticket: Wawanesa

» MORE: Compare car insurance

Average car insurance rates in Los Angeles by county

Where you live is a big factor that affects your car insurance rates — and if your address is in Orange County, you’ll likely fare better than someone in central Los Angeles.

Average auto insurance rates are hundreds of dollars cheaper in Orange County than in Los Angeles County, our analysis showed.

Here’s how average rates compare for a 40-year-old driver buying full coverage car insurance in the Los Angeles area.

Average Los Angeles car insurance rates

 Los Angeles CountyOrange County
Good driving history$2,059$1,659
After a speeding ticket$2,950$2,370
After an at-fault crash$3,738$2,992
After a DUI$5,066$4,065

» MORE: Best cheap car insurance in California

Minimum required car insurance in Los Angeles

In Los Angeles and all of California, drivers must carry at least:

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

Liability coverage reimburses other people’s injury or property damage bills if you’re at fault in an accident. Experts recommend getting more than these minimums because you could find yourself using your own money to cover potential expenses after a crash.

For example, if you’re involved in a crash, damage to another car could easily exceed California’s property damage minimum of $5,000. If you are at fault in the accident, you’d have to come up with the difference out of your pocket.

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

Alternative car insurance in Los Angeles

If you’ve had a high number of wrecks, DUIs or other issues, it may be difficult to buy auto insurance on the voluntary market. As an alternative, you can seek coverage through the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan. This service connects high-risk or non-standard drivers to insurance companies that will cover them.

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

METHODOLOGY

For our “good driver” profile, NerdWallet averaged rates from the largest insurers in the state for 40-year-old men and women in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, California, metropolitan statistical area as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. The MSA encompasses two California counties: Orange County and Los Angeles County.

The policy includes:

  • $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.

If required, minimum additional coverages were added. Our “young driver” had all the same characteristics, but average rates were for 25-year-old men and women. 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 minimum required coverage by law in the state.
  • We changed the credit tier from “good” to “poor” as reported to the insurer to see rates for drivers with poor credit.
  • For drivers with one at-fault crash, we added a single at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage.
  • For drivers with a ticket, we added a single speeding violation for driving 16 mph over the speed limit.
  • For drivers with a DUI, we added a single drunken driving violation.

We used a 2016 Toyota Camry LE for all single drivers. Couples in our analyses were 50-year-old men and women with good credit and clean driving histories, averaged across the Los Angeles MSA with the same policy outlined above. To see rates for families with a teen, we added an 18-year-old licensed two years ago, averaging rates for male and female teens. For couples and families we added a 2016 Nissan Rogue S to create a two-car household. Rates for each vehicle assumed 12,000 annual miles driven.

These are rates provided by Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.

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