Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

Full Bio →

Written by

Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Former Farmers Insurance CSR

UPDATED: Nov 12, 2020

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident auto insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one auto insurance provider and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider.

Our insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

California State FlagAs the most populous state in the nation, California is one that is packed with drivers. As anyone who has driven the state can tell you, the highway network is fantastic – that is, until you’re stuck in traffic. And with all of these drivers, of course, comes the cohort of automobile insurance companies that are looking to sell a wide range of policies to cover virtually any kind of incident that may occur while on the road. Let’s take a look at the Golden State and everything one might need to know about California auto insurance.

California Auto Insurance Laws

In California, the state liability coverage minimums are:
  • Bodily Injury Coverage – $15,000 per person
  • Bodily Injury Coverage – $30,000 per accident
  • Property Damage Coverage – $5,000 per accident

Take a look at how California’s minimum rates compare with surrounding states.

View as image
Optional coverage options in California:
  • Comprehensive Coverage
  • Collision Coverage
  • Medical and Funeral Services Coverage
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Coverage
  • Roadside Assistance (Towing and Labor Coverage)
  • Rental Car Coverage

California’s state auto insurance laws are very reasonable when it comes to insurance minimums and coverage requirements. As of 2011, every vehicle must have at least $15,000 in liability coverage for death or injury of any one individual in any one accident, $30,000 in liability insurance coverage to cover all persons in any one accident, and $5,000 in property damage coverage for any one accident. The upside of these low amounts is that they make auto insurance coverage quite affordable for most people; the downside is that in today’s world of high medical costs and high property values, an at-fault accident with these tiny coverage amounts would likely cost the driver significant amounts of money. Most California drivers opt for much higher coverage amounts for both collision and comprehensive auto insurance coverage.

The State of California has also developed a program to help low-income drivers that have an excellent driving record, which they’ve dubbed the “Low Cost Automobile Insurance Program”, or “CLCA”. The State put this program in place as auto insurance is legally required, but there were many low-income drivers who were driving uninsured as they couldn’t afford to pay insurance premiums. This policy provides the basic legal liability for coverage (as stated above), with additional add-ons such as medical payments coverage, and uninsured motorist bodily injury policies. To qualify for this program, state residents must be at least 19, qualify as a “good driver” under the state’s guidelines, meet low-income requirements, and own a vehicle that has a value of less than $20,000. It’s just one of the ways that California works to improve auto insurance accessibility for everyone.

California’s auto insurance rates are average in comparison to the other states in the nation.

View as image

Let’s take a closer look at the ZIP codes within the state to see how rates changed based on different areas.

View as image

There are a lot of factors that auto insurance companies take into consideration when determining your rates. Take a look at our overview here.

View as image

While many of these factors are simply based on your own driving record, two things that affect even the safest of drivers are age and gender. As with most states, males typically pay higher auto insurance rates than females.

View as image

Compare over 200 auto insurance companies at once!

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

California Auto Insurance Rates by Company

Though the state boasts very cheap auto insurance rates overall, let’s take a look at how rates vary between some of the largest companies.

View as image

But which companies are the largest, holding the most market share percentage in the region?

View as image

Automobile Accidents In California

When it comes to automobile accidents, drivers in California can rejoice at the news – car accidents and fatalities have been trending downward over the past number of years, reflecting an increase in the care that drivers are taking while behind the wheel. The most recent data available, from 2008, shows that California car accidents that resulted in fatalities have decreased by nearly fourteen percent, which brings them to the lowest level since the Department of Transportation started recording crash and fatality statistics in the 1970s. The actual numbers show a drop of over 500 fatalities, from 3975 to 3435 between 2007 and 2008 and puts California in the lead among states with a decrease of fatal car accidents. The State of California claims that the two enforcement programs that worked to bring this number down are “DUI” laws, and seat-belt regulations. California has done such excellent work in these areas that the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently awarded California with the highest ranking of all states for laws pertaining to these and other areas.

Car Theft Statistics In California

The news, however, is not so good when it comes to auto theft statistics. While there was an overall decline of 12.7 percent in 2008 compared to 2007, California led all states in the number of auto thefts – besting Texas by more than double. Almost 200,000 vehicles were stolen in California in 2008, with six of the top ten highest theft metropolitan areas found in the Golden State. Modesto, California led the nation with a theft rate of 829 vehicles per 100,000 citizens, and San Diego, Bakersfield, Stockton, the San Francisco-Bay Area and Fresno were also in the top 10. All of these metropolitan areas recorded auto theft rates that were more than double the national average of 314 thefts per 100,000 citizens. With this in mind, California residents are advised to use both audible car alarms and immobilizers such as kill-switches or fuel cut-offs. Most insurance companies will provide a discount to customers that make use of anti-theft devices, so it’s worth looking in to.

There are hundreds – if not thousands – of auto insurance companies available to service California drivers with insurance policies that meet their needs. Take the time to research different companies and coverage levels so when it comes time to sit down with an auto insurance agent, you’re fully prepared and ready to negotiate the best deal.

Compare over 200 auto insurance companies at once!

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Auto Insurance Info For Different Cities In California

California Auto Insurance Agents

Additional California Auto Insurance Resources