Cheapest Car Insurance In California For June, 2024

GEICO offers the best cheap car insurance in California

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Updated: 02 May 2024
Written by
Bob Phillips
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If you live in California, you’re continually looking for the best value at the best price, and that includes car insurance. We’ve done a lot of research for you, and we’ve found that GEICO and Mercury sell the cheapest car insurance in California. Which one is cheaper for you will depend on your unique circumstances.

Finding the right insurance at the right price is vital to your financial health not only because you pay a lot each month for car insurance but also because without the right amount of coverage, you are at significant risk financially if you’re involved in an accident, and someone is injured or dies. 

During my 16 years as a California resident, I’ve been insured by both GEICO and Mercury. At the time, Mercury had lower rates, but GEICO’s claims service was much better. I’ve found that when you have an expensive claim, the rate you’re paying per month for your car insurance becomes secondary to the responsiveness of your insurer.

Cheapest And Best Car Insurance Companies In California, 2024

Compare The Cheapest Car Insurance Companies In California

Overall Rating Cheapest For A.M. Best Rating J.D. Power Rating (Best 1000) Online Experience Get A Quote
GEICO
4.8

Cheapest overall

A++

830

9.5

Instant Quote
Mercury
4.6

 Driving violations

A

794

9.7

Instant Quote
GEICO
4.8

Full Coverage

A++

830

9.5

Instant Quote
GEICO
4.8

Minimum Coverage

A++

830

9.5

Instant Quote
GEICO
4.8

Young Adults

A++

830

9.5

Instant Quote
Mercury
4.6

Seniors

A

794

9.7

Instant Quote
Scroll to see comparisons

Our Methodology

We employed a thorough methodology that considered a range of factors, such as customer service ratings, product offerings, pricing, and the quality of the online experience. In addition, my experience of buying car insurance as a resident of California for 16 years and my interactions with agents who have worked for car insurers have also provided me with valuable insights into these insurers' pros and cons.

57

Quotes Analyzed

15+

Years Of Industry Experience

17

Brands Reviewed

37+

Research Hours

Best Cheap Car Insurance Companies In California


Cheapest Overall

Overall Rating
4.8

Key Statistics

10/10 Affordability
8/10 Customer Reviews
8/10 Claims
9/10 Coverage Level

Why We Like Them

GEICO not only offers the cheapest car insurance rates in California, it is also one of the top insurers when it comes to customer service. It provides a variety of ways to digitally manage your car insurance policy, including through its website and mobile app.

In addition to typical car insurance coverage choices, GEICO also offers mechanical breakdown coverage. This covers repairs to all mechanical parts of a new or leased car that is less than 15 months old and has fewer than 15,000 miles. This breakdown coverage doesn’t pay for problems caused by normal wear and tear or regular maintenance like oil changes and tune-ups. There is a $250 deductible.

Having been a customer of GEICO in California for many years and filed claims with the company, I can attest to its competitive rates and superior customer service. The discounts the company offers, including the bundle discount for having both car and home insurance with GEICO, are also attractive to Californians and help drive the rates down.

Benefits & Drawbacks

Benefits
  • Cheapest rates for most drivers in California
  • Robust website and mobile app
  • Many discounts available
Drawbacks
  • No offices in California
  • Limited number of agents sell the product
  • Doesn’t offer gap or rideshare insurance

Rates for the cheapest car insurance in California

Insurance company Monthly rate for full coverage
GEICO $148
Mercury $160
Kemper $165
Wawanesa $150
Capital $152

Cheapest For Driving Violations

Overall Rating
4.6

Key Statistics

10/10 Affordability
7/10 Customer Reviews
7/10 Claims
9/10 Coverage Level

Why We Like Them

With the heavy traffic in California, driving violations and accidents occur frequently. Unfortunately, insurers typically raise your rates after you’ve received a ticket for a moving violation, a DUI, or an at-fault accident.

However, Mercury General has cornered the market in California for drivers with violations and at-fault accidents. Its car insurance policies are sold by many independent agents in California, many of whom cater to drivers with infractions because it is such a large market there.

Full coverage policies from Mercury average $164 per month for drivers in California with a speeding ticket on their driving record. That rate is 24% cheaper than the state average of $216 per month for drivers with a speeding ticket.

Mercury doesn’t have one of California’s best reputations for customer service for car insurers. Still, it helps many drivers afford car insurance after they’ve been cited for a violation. You’ll have no problem finding an agent who will sell you a policy from Mercury.

Benefits & Drawbacks

Benefits
  • Good selection of discounts
  • Affordable rates overall
  • Numerous coverage options and add-ons
Drawbacks
  • Only available in 11 states
  • Customers report issues with the claims process

Rates for the cheapest car insurance in California after a violation

Insurance company Monthly rate after a speeding ticket
Mercury $192
GEICO $205
State Farm $250
Progressive $310
CSAA $260

Best For Full Coverage

Overall Rating
4.8

Key Statistics

10/10 Affordability
8/10 Customer Reviews
8/10 Claims
9/10 Coverage Level

Why We Like Them

While it can be tempting to buy the minimum coverage required in California, drivers insuring newer cars worth more than the annual premium to insure them should seriously consider carrying full coverage car insurance, which GEICO offers at the most affordable price in California.

To help you keep your full coverage car insurance premium reasonable, GEICO has a long list of discounts, so there’s a good chance you’ll find a discount that will save you money. You may be eligible for discounts with GEICO for:

  • Having safety equipment, like airbags, anti-lock brakes, daytime running lights, or an anti-theft system
  • Owning a vehicle that is three model years old or newer
  • Driving for five years with no accidents
  • Using seat belts
  • Completing a defensive driving course
  • Having good grades
  • Insuring more than one vehicle with GEICO
  • Bundling homeowners, renters, condo, or mobile home insurance with a car insurance policy through GEICO

Without cheap full coverage car insurance in California, you can leave yourself open to repair costs and liability that could damage your financial health for years. Before buying the minimum coverage required in California, get quotes from several insurers, including GEICO, for full coverage. You might be surprised at how slight the price difference is.

Benefits & Drawbacks

Benefits
  • Cheapest rates for full coverage in California
  • Robust website and mobile app
  • Many discounts available
Drawbacks
  • No offices in California
  • Limited number of agents sell the product
  • Doesn’t offer gap or rideshare insurance

Rates For The Cheapest Monthly Full Coverage Car Insurance In California

Insurance company Monthly rate for full coverage
GEICO $128
Mercury $139
Progressive $145
AAA SoCal $153
AAA NorCal $149

Cheapest Minimum Coverage

Overall Rating
4.8

Key Statistics

10/10 Affordability
8/10 Customer Reviews
8/10 Claims
9/10 Coverage level

Why We Like Them

GEICO not only wins the first prize for having the cheapest full coverage car insurance in California, but it also comes in as the winner for having the cheapest minimum coverage.

There are instances where buying the minimum coverage (liability-only) required by California law ($15,000 for injury/death to one person, $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person, and $5,000) to damage to property). For instance, if you own an older model car outright with no lienholder and the vehicle is valued at less than what a full coverage premium would be, carrying minimum coverage may be adequate.

GEICO’s average rate for liability-only coverage in California is $31 per month, which is 36% lower than the state average.

Buying the cheapest liability-only insurance in California may be warranted if you have an older car with high mileage and a low resale value. A quality insurer like GEICO offering such low rates can be tempting if you have a newer model car, so make sure you’re not underinsured and leaving yourself vulnerable financially.

Benefits & Drawbacks

Benefits
  • Cheapest rates for minimum coverage in California
  • Robust website and mobile app
  • Many discounts available
Drawbacks
  • No offices in California
  • Limited number of agents sell the product
  • Doesn’t offer gap or rideshare insurance

Rates For The Cheapest Minimum Car Insurance In California

Insurance company Monthly rate for minimum coverage
GEICO $43
AAA NorCal $45
Progressive $48
Mercury $51
Farmers $47

Cheapest For Young Adults

Overall Rating
4.8

Key Statistics

10/10 Affordability
8/10 Customer Reviews
8/10 Claims
9/10 Coverage Level

Why We Like Them

Young adult drivers in California pay around two and a half times as much as older drivers for car insurance. For example, an 18-year-old driver pays an average of $127 per month for minimum coverage, compared to just $49 per month for a 30-year-old.

Even though full coverage is expensive if you’re a young driver, it might be your best option if you have a newer car or drive a lot. The added protection of collision and comprehensive insurance is particularly beneficial for young drivers who might be unable to pay for another vehicle if their car is totaled after an accident.

GEICO has the cheapest auto insurance for young drivers in California, with a rate of $97 per month for liability-only insurance. That’s 24% cheaper than the state average for this age group. State Farm is slightly cheaper than GEICO for a full coverage policy for a young driver, with a premium of $268 per month versus $284 for GEICO.

Benefits & Drawbacks

Benefits
  • Cheapest rates for young drivers in California
  • Robust website and mobile app
  • Many discounts available
Drawbacks
  • No offices in California
  • Limited number of agents sell the product
  • Doesn’t offer gap or rideshare insurance

Rates For The Cheapest Car Insurance For Young Drivers In California

Insurance company Liability only Full coverage
GEICO $113 $328
State Farm $117 $287
Mercury $115 $320
Progressive $118 $410
AAA NorCal $126 $460

Cheapest For Seniors

Overall Rating
4.6

Key Statistics

10/10 Affordability
7/10 Customer Reviews
7/10 Claim Payouts
9/10 Coverage Level

Why We Like Them

As drivers age, their car insurance increases proportionately. With the high cost of living in California and possibly being on a fixed income, seniors are continually on the lookout for low rates and are open to switching carriers if the opportunity to save money presents itself.

While Mercury scores lower than average in customer satisfaction ratings, it presents itself well online with a robust website that is easy to navigate and get pricing. Seniors who are not tech-savvy will find Mercury’s site easier to find an agent and get pricing than on many other insurer’s websites.

Seniors who don’t mind a bit of haggling with a car insurance company when they have a claim may want to sacrifice some good customer service for Mercury’s lower rates. It should be noted, however, that AAA SoCal and GEICO, two insurers known for high-quality customer service, are not much more expensive for seniors than Mercury.

Benefits & Drawbacks

Benefits
  • Cheapest rates for seniors
  • Good selection of discounts
  • Numerous coverage options and add-ons
Drawbacks
  • Only available in 11 states
  • Customers report issues with the claims process

Rates for the cheapest car insurance for seniors in California

Insurance company Monthly rate for full coverage for seniors
Mercury $112
All State $123
GEICO $120
Travelers $138
Farmers $152

Average Cost Of Car Insurance In California

This is the average cost of car insurance in California across several categories:

Average Cost In California – By Age

Age group Average monthly rate for full coverage
Teens $428
20s $290
30s $192
40s $183
50s $180
60s $178

Average Cost In California – By Marital Status

Marital Status Average annual rate
Single $1,651
Married $1,579
Divorced $1,653
Widowed $1,584

Average Cost In California – By Gender

Driver’s gender Monthly cost Annual cost
Female $199 $2,385
Male $215 $2,574
Difference $16 $189

Average Cost In California – By Accident And Violation History

Violation Average monthly rate
DWI/DUI $410
Speeding $170
At-fault accident $186

Average Cost In California – By Credit Tier

California outlaws the use of your credit score as an insurance rating factor, meaning you’ll pay the same rate for car insurance no matter your credit history.

Average cost in California – by city

City Monthly cost % from average in California
Los Angeles $213 39%
San Francisco $172 13%
San Diego $140 -4%
Sacramento $160 10%
Santa Barbara $135 -7%

Minimum Car Insurance Requirements In California

These are the minimum liability insurance requirements in California:

  • $15,000 for injury/death to one person
  • $30,000 for injury/death to more than one person
  • $5,000 for damage to property

Liability insurance only compensates a person other than the policyholder for personal or property damage. Full coverage also covers the policyholder.

How To Buy Car Insurance In California

After reviewing multiple car insurance companies, it’s important to note that each company offers policies that can meet your needs. However, depending on your specific situation, one company may be more beneficial to you than others.

For example, if you’re 65 years old, Mercury may have the best policy for you because of their low rates for the senior market. Conversely, if you’re 35, GEICO might be a better choice for your car insurance because they cater to a younger demographic.

Ask yourself these five questions when you’re evaluating car insurance companies:

  1. What are the financial ratings of the company?
  2. Does the company offer the coverage I need?
  3. Do I prefer to receive assistance from a local agent or search for policies online?
  4. Are the company’s rates competitive for my age group?
  5. Are most online reviews of the company positive?

The company and coverage that work best for you this year may be less competitive for you next year, so be sure to compare rates and coverage every six months or year when your policy renews.

Factors That Impact The Cost Of Your Car Insurance Policy In California

Like all states, car insurance rates in California are affected by many factors, including:

  • State requirements: premiums for state-minimum coverage vary by up to 318%
  • Age: car insurance rates can vary by up to 367% based on age.
  • Car make and model: some vehicles are cheaper to insure than others. For example, a truck is 3% cheaper to insure than a sedan, on average.
  • High-risk violations: traffic violations and car accidents are factors that can increase the cost of car insurance anywhere from 20% to 200%.
  • Yearly mileage: your annual mileage is a factor because the more you’re on the road, the more likely it is that you’ll be in an accident.
  • Zip code: the zip code you live in can cause your rates to fluctuate by up to 91% in California.
  • Marital status: married drivers have lower premiums because they are statistically the least risky drivers to insure.

California Car Insurance Laws To Know

The auto insurance laws in California are simple and direct: every driver in California must buy at least the minimum amount of car insurance required by the state. Drivers must also carry proof of coverage while driving.

In The News

According to the Motley Fool, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara has approved auto insurance rate hikes for the top six carriers in the state over the last few months. This is expected to cost California drivers billions of dollars more in premiums.

Car Insurance Discounts In California

Almost all car insurance companies in California offer money-saving discounts that you might qualify for, including:

  • Having safety equipment, like airbags, anti-lock brakes, daytime running lights, or an anti-theft system
  • Owning a vehicle that is three model years old or newer
  • Driving for five years with no accidents
  • Using seat belts
  • Completing a defensive driving course
  • Having good grades
  • Insuring more than one vehicle
  • Bundling homeowners, renters, condo, or mobile home insurance with a car insurance policy
  • Being active-duty or retired military

FAQs

How much is car insurance a month in California?

That will depend on the insurer, but GEICO sells some liability-only policies for as little as $31 per month.

What is the minimum car insurance one can have in California?

The minimum car insurance you can carry in California is $15,000 per person for injury/death, $30,000 per person for more than one injury/death, and $5,000 for property damage.

Which insurance is better in California?

There are many car insurance companies doing business in California; which is best depends on which is more important to you: customer service or cheap rates. Some companies, like GEICO and State Farm, provide both.

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