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Average Cost of Car Insurance in California

By Kelly Boyer Sagert · March 02, 2023 · 7 minute read

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Average Cost of Car Insurance in California

Most drivers know that the cost of car insurance in California varies, sometimes by hundreds of dollars. What you pay may be substantially different from what your friend pays, even if you have similar driving records and similar cars. That’s because there are dozens of data points that car insurance companies consider, from your age and Zip code to your insurance deductible and amount of coverage.

Keep reading to find out the average cost of car insurance in California, and how you can lower your premiums without sacrificing the coverage you need.

How Much Does Car Insurance Cost in California?

Drivers in California pay on average $1,940 a year — 35% higher than the national average, according to U.S. News & World Report. In a state where housing prices and the cost of living are so high, it stands to reason that car insurance is more expensive. But what exactly goes into insurance companies’ calculations?

The California Department of Insurance weighs the following information in its estimates:

•   Coverage type. Liability Only vs. Standard.

•   Location. Divided into cities and, in bigger cities, into regions/neighborhoods.

•   Number of drivers covered. Single, couple, or family.

•   Years licensed.

•   Annual mileage.

•   Driving record.

•   Vehicle.

Average Car Insurance Cost in California per Month

Each insurance company has its own formula for calculating insurance rates. The table below shows how premiums vary among the ten largest insurance companies serving California.

These quotes are for a single driver in East Los Angeles, licensed for 8-13 years, who drives 12,000-16,000 miles annually and has one ticket.

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Insurance Company Annual Premium Monthly Premium
Allstate $4,289 $357
Capital $2,690 $224
Chubb $5,374 $448
Farmers $4,848 $404
Geico $3,764 $314
Kemper $3,400 $283
Mercury $3,336 $278
Nationwide $4,359 $363
State Farm $5,503 $459
Wawanesa $3,107 $259

Data per the California Department of Insurance

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Average Car Insurance Cost in California By City

Your location has a big influence on the cost of car insurance in California. Insurance companies actually track traffic volume, accidents, and crime in different neighborhoods across the state. Drivers in more populated areas pay more than those who live in small towns or out in the countryside.

Here are average costs for standard car insurance in ten of California’s biggest cities.

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Anaheim (Brookhurst Center)
City Annual Premium Monthly Premium
Los Angeles (East) $4,462 $372
San Diego (Mira Mesa) $3,527 $294
San Jose (95111) $4,235 $353
San Francisco (Sunset) $4,734 $395
Fresno (Sunnyside) $3,847 $321
Sacramento (Fruitridge) $4,335 $361
Oakland (Piedmont) $4,137 $345
Bakersfield (Kern City) $3,876 $323
$4,161 $347
Riverside (92503) $4,069 $339

Data per the California Department of Insurance

Average Car Insurance Cost in California By Age of Driver

A driver’s age (or experience level, really) also plays a role in the cost of car insurance. A teenager who has just gotten their license is considered a greater risk by insurance companies. Higher risk translates to higher premiums. This is why many teens share a policy with parents. Once a driver hits age 20 (and still has a clean driving record), premiums often decrease. To find the best deal for younger drivers, compare quotes from an online insurance marketplace.

According to the California Department of Insurance, the average cost of car insurance in Los Angeles for a couple with a teenage driver is about $8,000 annually, or $667 monthly, for standard coverage. If you’re in this predicament, our car insurance tips for first time drivers may be helpful.

Average Car Insurance Cost in California After an At-Fault Accident

Your driving record has a major effect on your insurance premiums. Whether you’re involved in a fender bender or a more serious crash, insurance companies just need to know whether you were at fault.

As with our insurance company breakdown above, the quotes below are for a single driver in East Los Angeles, licensed for 8-13 years, who drives 12,000-16,000 miles annually and has one ticket. In this scenario, they’re looking to insure a Honda Accord, before and after an at-fault accident.

City Clean Record After an Accident
Los Angeles (East) $3,446 $4,882
San Diego (Mira Mesa) $2,718 $3,832
San Jose (95111) $3,283 $4,612
San Francisco (Sunset) $3,660 $5,151
Fresno (Sunnyside) $2,980 $4,195
Sacramento (Fruitridge) $3,367 $4,724
Oakland (Piedmont) $3,199 $4,471
Bakersfield (Kern City) $2,987 $4,228
Anaheim (Brookhurst Center) $3,207 $4,572
Riverside (92503) $3,140 $4,466

Data per the California Department of Insurance

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Average Car Insurance Costs for Good and Bad Credit

In California, insurance companies can’t factor in credit scores when underwriting car insurance policies. So your credit history won’t have an affect on your ability to get or renew a car insurance policy — or how much you’ll pay.

Californians should be thankful for this. In New York state, drivers with excellent credit pay on average $3,927, while those with poor credit pay — whoa! — $10,640.

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What Else Affects Your Car Insurance Cost?

As noted above, there are dozens of data points that insurance companies can use to estimate their risk and set premiums accordingly. One is marital status. Another is your car’s make and model, as well as its safety features and overall value.

Aside from the driver and the car, the type of policy impacts premiums. The more coverage you have, the more expensive your policy will be. Your state’s minimum car insurance requirements will get you the most rock-bottom premiums.

The type of deductible you choose also influences your cost. With a higher deductible, your premiums will be lower. The trade-off is that, if you get in an accident, you’ll be responsible for a larger share of the repair bill. In short, you can pay now or pay later.

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How to Get Affordable Car Insurance

To find the most affordable car insurance for your profile and needs, it’s best to shop around and compare quotes. These days, online insurance marketplaces make that easy to do.

Once you’ve chosen one or two reputable insurers, it’s important to ask yourself how much car insurance you need. This goes back to the “pay now or pay later” dilemma mentioned above. A no-frills, liability-only policy with a higher deductible will have the lowest monthly premiums. But if you’re in an accident, you may wish you’d chosen more coverage.

Also consider bundling opportunities. Just as you pay less for Internet and TV when you combine services, you can save on car insurance if you purchase it from a company with which you have another policy, such as homeowners coverage.

And finally, ask about possible discounts through organizations and schools you’re affiliated with. Most insurers have a long list of companies they partner with to offer lower rates to customers.

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Takeaway

The average cost of car insurance in California is $1,940, significantly more than the nationwide average. Your premiums may be higher or lower depending on factors related to your background (age, location, driving record), your vehicle (make and model, safety features), and your level of coverage (liability vs. comprehensive, low vs. high deductible). Just remember that the lowest premium may not offer all the coverage you need in case of an accident.

If you’re ready to shop for auto insurance, you can receive and compare multiple quotes from top insurers in a matter of minutes through SoFi, powered by Experian. You’ll save time and potentially money without having to go to numerous websites.

Explore your options with Experian at SoFi, your personal insurance shopper.

FAQ

How much is the average car insurance per month in California?

Numerous factors go into the calculation of a car insurance premium, including where you live in California, the length and status of your driving record, the type of vehicle you have and its mileage, and more. The average statewide is about $1,940, but the best way to find the most affordable coverage for your situation is to shop around for quotes from multiple insurers.

How much does the average person pay for car insurance in California?

Numerous factors go into the calculation of car insurance for a California resident. This post breaks it down in multiple ways and offers sample averages based on certain demographics and situations.

Is $300 a lot for car insurance?

In many cases, the average monthly cost for coverage in California is well below $300. But remember, the amount you pay depends on a number of different factors. A 17-year-old, for example, could very well pay more than $300 per month largely because of her lack of driving experience.


Photo credit: iStock/gguy44

Insurance not available in all states.
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Social Finance, Inc. ("SoFi") is compensated by Experian for each customer who purchases a policy through Experian from the site.

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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

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