Cheapest California Car Insurance for Low Income Drivers In 2024

After extensive research, I have found that State Farm offers the cheapest car insurance  for low income drivers in California.

min read
Updated: 18 March 2024
Written by
Bob Phillips
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I know that finding affordable car insurance can be challenging. One segment of the population living in this state often discovers that it’s especially hard to find affordable car insurance. This is low income California residents, meaning a family with an average income of 50% or less of the median income within a certain area.

Unlike several other states, California hasn’t had a lot of car insurance companies leave the market. Most Californians, even the ones who are low income, are  still able to find cheap car insurance in order to keep them on the road legally, compliant with state regulations if they have a vehicle driven on public roads.

Having resided in California for fifteen years, with more than thirty-five years as a car insurance buyer, and fifteen years as a licensed insurance agent; I am very well acquainted with the reviewed insurance companies shown here, and have been insured by several. While all of these reviewed car insurance companies are reputable insurers, each one has its own unique strength in helping Californians who need auto insurance.

Cheapest Car Insurance for Low-Income Drivers in California 2024

Low-Income Car Insurance, California 2024

Comparison of the Cheapest Low-Income Car Insurance in California

Overall Rating (Best 5.0) Best Suited For A.M. Best Rating J.D. Power Rating (Best 1000) Average Monthly Cost* Get A Quote
State Farm

Cheapest Overall




Instant Quote

Poor Credit




Instant Quote





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Our methodology

In preparing this review, we have drawn upon a comprehensive analysis that is made up of multiple facets such as: product options, pricing, customer service ratings, and an unbiased evaluation of numerous online review websites as well as user experience. The result is a well crafted, in depth view of the car insurance provider landscape. The information and data herein is an informed perspective honed by more than fifteen years of personal involvement in the industry as a licensed insurance agent, numerous interactions with reps from assorted companies, as well as insights that were gathered from our first-hand experiences in California of buying car insurance.


Quotes Analyzed


Brands Reviewed


Years Of Experience


Research Hours

Reviews of Low-Income Car Insurance Companies in California

Cheapest Overall

Overall Rating

Key Statistics

10/10 Coverage level
10/10 Affordability
9/10 Claim payouts
9/10 Customer reviews

Why We Like Them

California has a car insurance market that is highly competitive, but the insurer that stands above the rest as the most affordable option is State Farm.

After conducting exhaustive research, along with reviewing California auto insurance rates, our finding was that State Farm provides some of the most affordable full coverage car insurance options in the state with rates as low as $94 monthly.

If you are a driver on a tight budget who needs wallet friendly comprehensive protection that won’t break the bank, State Farm offers it.

State Farm doesn’t only offer affordability, though. It’s consistently rated amongst the overall best car insurance companies, also. This company is well known for its wide variety of discounts and coverages that cater to multiple needs.

The combination of flexibility and affordability, plus comprehensive coverage, gives State Farm the competitive edge in California’s auto insurance market. It’s an attractive choice of coverage for drivers who don’t want to sacrifice quality for a low price.

Benefits & Drawbacks

  • Numerous coverage options and discounts available
  • Superior AM Best financial strength rating
  • Cheapest rates for most drivers in California
  • Must buy from a State Farm Agent

It is crucial to secure reasonably priced car insurance in California, as it ensures being able to drive free of worry about the financial burden you might incur with liabilities and potential damages. In addition, due to its busy roads California has a high number of accidents, which makes cost effective car insurance even more important.

That said, it’s vital to realize that low cost insurance does not necessarily mean sacrificing high quality coverage. With some thoughtful comparison and enough research to make an informed decision, you can get robust car insurance to fit your budget as well as your coverage needs.

Rates for the cheapest low-income car insurance in California

Insurance company Monthly Rate
State Farm $50
Farm Bureau $90
Progressive $169
Allstate $172

Best for Poor Credit

Overall Rating

Key Statistics

8/10 Coverage level
9/10 Affordability
9/10 Claim payouts
8/10 Customer reviews

Why We Like Them

If you need car insurance for poor credit, GEICO is the clear winner, being the overall best and cheapest in California. Numerous studies and reports have shown time after time that GEICO is the most affordable option for anyone with a credit score that’s less-than-perfect.

Don’t mistake GEICO’s low price for low quality, though. This company is well known and respected for its comprehensive coverage as well as superior customer service, thus making sure that every driver, regardless of his/her credit score, has access to adequate protection on the road. This auto insurance coverage is a large part of what makes GEICO a dependable choice for California drivers with poor credit.

Besides that, GEICO realizes that  having a low credit score doesn’t automatically equal being a high risk driver. While some insurance companies might raise rates for customers with poor credit, GEICO takes a more balanced approach by taking into consideration other factors such as vehicle type and driving record.

This type of analysis lets GEICO offer competitive premiums to poor credit drivers, thereby making this insurer the go to choice for a lot of Californians.

Benefits & Drawbacks

  • Numerous coverage options and discounts are available
  • Superior AM Best financial strength rating
  • Cheapest rates for most drivers in California with poor credit
  • Not as many GEICO agents in California compared to many large competitors
  • Digital tools are available but aren’t as robust as some competitors

There’s a correlation between a poor credit score and a low income that can make rates with some insurance companies twice as high as that of drivers with good credit scores.

If you are a driver with poor credit, finding an insurer that offers discounts–along with being careful to avoid getting any moving violations–can do quite a bit to keep your car insurance premiums reasonable.

Rates for the cheapest low-income car insurance for bad credit in California

Insurance company Monthly Rate
Auto Club of So Cal $96
Erie    $107
Farm Bureau   $125
GEICO   $126
Nationwide  $155

Cheapest for Seniors

Overall Rating

Key Statistics

9/10 Coverage level
9/10 Affordability
8/10 Claim payouts
8/10 Customer reviews

Why We Like Them

If you are a senior looking for the most affordable and best overall car insurance in California, Nationwide is probably going to be your top choice. This isn’t merely anecdotal, but borne out by car insurance industry research as well as customer reviews.

Nationwide’s affordability is second to none, especially when you compare it to other insurers in California. Policy holders with California Farm Bureau see a yearly rate of about $1210.00, those with Home State Insurance pay about $3,852 per year.

Nationwide, though, provides much more competitive premiums specially tailored for senior drivers, which makes this insurer the favored company for dollar conscious seniors looking for excellent coverage.

Benefits & Drawbacks

  • High financial strength ratings
  • Auto, homeowners, life, and other insurance products available
  • Comprehensive mobile app for digital policy management
  • Not rated by J.D. Power for customer service
  • Can only buy from Nationwide agents

As drivers grow older, they might notice their car insurance rates increasing. This is because car insurance providers tend to have a perception of older drivers as being high risk, similar to teenagers.

Such things as potential age-related health issues that could affect driving, slower reaction times, and the possible likelihood of injuries sustained in an accident being more serious in a senior driver… all these things and more contribute to this perception of older drivers being higher risk than the general population.

According to a recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), crash rates of fatalities start to rise significantly beginning at age 70, and are the highest amongst drivers who are 85 years old and older.

The end result is that senior drivers may see their premiums go up to offset the possibility of increased claims.

Luckily, numerous auto insurers have discounts available that are specifically geared for older drivers, which helps to minimize these increased rates and provide comprehensive, affordable coverage.

Rates for the cheapest low-income car insurance in California for seniors

Insurance company Monthly Rate
Nationwide $89
State Farm $93
GEICO   $124
USAA  $128
AAA  $176

California drivers are legally required to have liability car insurance coverage in place to help cover the costs associated with accidents. Minimum coverage amount of insurance required for low income drivers is shown below.

Each auto insurance coverage must include a minimum of:

  • $15,000 in bodily injury benefits per person. This amount is the total benefit an auto insurer will pay for medical costs to a single person injured in an accident caused by the insured driver
  • $30,000 in bodily injury coverage for each accident. This amount is the maximum your car insurer will pay for a combination of all injuries if more than one person is injured in an accident caused by the insured driver
  • $5,000 in benefits for property damage liability. This amount covers the cost of damage done by the driver in an accident to someone’s property in an accident

The state of California does not require or even have PIP (Personal Injury Protection) insurance, but drivers there can purchase optional, no-fault coverage called MedPay that pays medical bills for injuries sustained in an auto accident for drivers and/or passengers.

These are the legal minimums, but you should consider whether or not this coverage will be adequate to protect you financially if you have a car accident. By law, you could be held responsible for the difference if the cost of an accident exceeds your coverage. For this reason, a lot of drivers opt for increased levels of coverage to be sure they’re adequately protected.

Full Coverage Options

Although the term “full coverage” isn’t official in insurance company jargon, it usually refers to a combination of different types of coverage that will give drivers an inclusive shield against assorted possible damage and loss. Typically, this takes in collision coverage, liability coverage (bodily injury and property damage), as well as comprehensive coverage.

Liability coverage will cover costs that go along with injuries and/or property damage to others in an accident caused by you, the driver. Collision coverage will step in if your vehicle incurs damage from a collision with another vehicle or an object. On the other hand, comprehensive coverage takes care of non-collision related incidents such as fire, theft, vandalism, or natural disasters. In short, full coverage car insurance is a complete package designed to offer all-in-one coverage with peace of mind both on and off the highway.

Does California have a government-sponsored car insurance program for low income families?

Yes, California offers a government sponsored auto insurance program for drivers considered low income. Car insurance is required in California and is mandatory in order to legally register and operate your vehicle. California’s Low Cost Auto, or CLCA, program provides minimum liability coverage to low income drivers.

Does income affect car insurance rates in California?

Yes, since California has a low income car insurance program, your income does come into play. Insurers will also consider a variety of other pertinent information to calculate premiums, such as your age, driving history, location, the vehicle you drive, plus the level of coverage you select.

How to save on car insurance costs in California

Finding your way around the auto insurance landscape in California can be somewhat intimidating, but by utilizing the correct strategies, you can markedly reduce your rates. Below are 3 tried and true tips that help Californians save on their car insurance costs:

1. Compare Rates from Different Providers

One of the most efficient ways to save money on your car insurance is to shop around and compare rates between providers. Insurers calculate rates based on a variety of factors, including: your driving history, your age, your location, and more. Therefore, rates can vary widely from one insurer to the other. So, take your time and get quotes from a number of providers and then choose the company that will provide the best value for your budget as well as your coverage needs.

2. Leverage Discounts

Car insurance providers usually offer discounts that may help to decrease your premiums. These might include discounts for having multiple policies with the same company (bundling), safe driving, being a good student, or your car’s safety features. Ask your agent about the discounts that are available, and check to see which ones you can take advantage of.

3. Adjust Your Coverage and Deductibles

Yet another way to save money on your vehicle insurance is to adjust your coverage as well as your deductible. If you have an older car, you may want to think about scaling down and dropping collision and comprehensive coverage, because the price of these coverages might be more than your car is worth. Also, you may want to raise your deductible—which is how much you pay out of your own pocket if/when you file a claim— in order to lower your premium. But be sure that the deductible amount is one you will be able to comfortably pay if you have an accident.


How can low income families get affordable car insurance in California?

You have to shop around, compare quotes from the providers that offer the lowest rates, and also ask if there are discounts available, to be sure you’re getting the best premiums for car insurance in California.

What is the minimum amount of car insurance you have to carry in California?

California law stipulates that all drivers are required to have a minimum amount of car insurance. These amounts are: $15,000 for injury or death of one person per accident, $30,000 injury or death to more than one person, and $5,000 for damage to property.

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