Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

This device is too small

If you're on a Galaxy Fold, consider unfolding your phone or viewing it in full screen to best optimize your experience.

Skip to main content

The Best Cheap California Car Insurance for 2022

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that pay us a commission. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.

Auto insurance is required by law in the state of California, and it also provides important protection for assets. Finding the best car insurance in California is essential to getting the right coverage at the most affordable price. This guide will explain how to find the right California auto insurance for every driver.

  • Cheapest for typical drivers: Wawanesa General
  • Cheapest for young drivers: Wawanesa General
  • Cheapest for drivers with 1 speeding ticket: USAA
  • Cheapest for drivers with 1 accident: Wawanesa General
  • Cheapest for minimum coverage: Geico

Cheapest for typical drivers

The cheapest car insurance in California for the typical driver is provided by Wawanesa General Insurance Company. This insurer charges average annual car insurance premiums of $1,196. This is based on a comparison of premium quotes for male and female drivers, aged 35, with no accidents and who use their vehicles for personal use.

Wawanesa

Logo for Wawanesa
Wawanesa
Rating image, 3.50 out of 5 stars.
3.50 stars
Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor

Other California insurers offering cheap policies for drivers with the same profile include:

  • USAA, which charges annual premiums of $1,446
  • Mercury, which charges annual premiums of $1,488

Cheapest for young drivers

Wawanesa General Insurance Company is also the cheapest California auto insurance for new drivers. Policies are typically costlier for new motorists, because the accident risk is higher due to their lack of experience. Average annual premiums for young drivers come in at $2,128 with Wawanesa General. This is based on an 18-year-old new driver using a vehicle for personal use.

Other California car insurers offering cheap coverage for young drivers include:

  • USAA, which charges annual premiums of $2,957
  • Mercury, which charges annual premiums of $3,019

Cheapest for drivers with one speeding ticket

USAA provides the cheapest car insurance in California for drivers with prior speeding tickets. Average premiums for a driver with one speeding ticket who uses a vehicle for personal use come in at $1,583 from USAA.

USAA

Logo for USAA
Best for military members and their familiesUSAA
Rating image, 4.00 out of 5 stars.
4.00 stars
Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor

Other California auto insurance companies offering cheap car insurance policies for drivers with a ticket history include:

  • Wawanesa General, which charges average annual premiums of $1,714
  • Mercury, which charges average annual premiums of $1,978

Cheapest for drivers with one accident

The cheapest car insurance in California for drivers with prior accidents is provided by Wawanesa General Insurance Company, too. Average premiums for a driver with one prior accident who uses a vehicle for personal use are $1,813. Costs are higher for drivers with an accident history due to added risk.

Other California insurers offering cheap coverage for drivers with an accident history include:

  • USAA, which charges annual premiums of $2,024
  • CSAA Insurance Exchange which charges annual premiums of $2,516

Cheapest for drivers looking for minimum coverage

How much is car insurance in California? The cost largely depends on how much protection drivers are interested in. For drivers who want only the state's minimum coverage, the cheapest insurer is Geico, which has average premiums of $403 for liability-only protection.

Geico

Logo for Geico
Best for price conscious consumersGeico
Rating image, 4.50 out of 5 stars.
4.50 stars
Info Icon Circle with letter I in it. Our ratings are based on a 5 star scale. 5 stars equals Best. 4 stars equals Excellent. 3 stars equals Good. 2 stars equals Fair. 1 star equals Poor. We want your money to work harder for you. Which is why our ratings are biased toward offers that deliver versatility while cutting out-of-pocket costs.
= Best
= Excellent
= Good
= Fair
= Poor

Some of the other best car insurance companies in California for drivers looking for minimum coverage include:

  • USAA, which has average premiums of $460
  • CSAA Insurance Exchange, which has average premiums of $462

Buying liability-only protection keeps California auto insurance costs down. But it is risky to have liability coverage only.

Liability car insurance policies only pay for damages the covered driver causes to other motorists. If a driver has liability-only coverage, none of his personal losses will be covered by his insurance. That means insurance provides no coverage for a car after an accident the driver causes. It also won't pay for car theft or other damage, such as hail damage.

Average car insurance cost in California compared to the national average

California auto insurance is a bit cheaper than the national average. In California, the average car insurance premium is $2,647. This is the overall average for motorists of various ages and driving records. By comparison, the national average annual car insurance premium is $2,875.

AVERAGE RATE CATEGORY CALIFORNIA NATIONAL AVERAGE
Overall $2,647 $2,875
Young drivers $4,420 $6,087
1 accident on driving record $3,178 $3,226
1 speeding ticket on driving record $2,764 $2,840
Data source: Quadrant data.

California auto insurance laws

California law requires drivers to provide proof of liability coverage. Drivers should keep their insurance card in their car at all times. It will list the insured vehicles, as well as the date the policy starts and ends.

Drivers who do not show proof of liability coverage can be ticketed. Consequences of driving without insurance can include a suspended license. Plus, a driver's vehicle could be impounded for driving without insurance.

California minimum coverage requirements

California car insurance laws are unique. The state has financial responsibility requirements. But it doesn't necessarily mandate every driver buy California auto insurance.

Drivers can satisfy California insurance requirements in one of four ways:

  • Purchasing a liability policy
  • Making a $35,000 cash deposit with the DMV
  • Getting a $35,000 surety bond with a licensed company
  • Obtaining a self-insurance certificate from the DMV.

California auto insurance laws also specify how much liability coverage a driver must have. Motorists must have a minimum of:

  • $15,000 in liability coverage per person.
  • $30,000 in liability coverage per accident
  • $5,000 in property damage liability coverage

It's often cheaper and easier to purchase California auto insurance than to use one of these other approaches.

How to get cheap auto insurance in California

The secret to finding low-cost car insurance is to shop around with multiple insurers. Prices can vary between companies. So drivers looking for affordable car insurance California should get quotes from several of the best car insurance companies.

Getting multiple car insurance quotes in California isn't the only way to save money. Drivers should also ask about discounts when shopping for cheap auto insurance California coverage. Many insurers provide savings based on employment relationships. Some also provide discounts based on group memberships. Moreover, maintaining a good driving record is important to get the cheapest car insurance in California.

Other things to consider when looking for car insurance in California

This state provides a solution for drivers who can't afford to buy the minimum car insurance coverage. That solution is California's Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program. The program was established in 1999. It provides access to cheap liability car insurance in California. By offering a low-cost alternative, it helps ensure lower-income residents do not have to go without minimum coverage.

FAQs

About the Author