Marissa Hayes is a technical editor and contributing writer. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history, and she was the editor of the literary magazine, The Bluestone Review.

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Written by

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Car Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Nov 19, 2020

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California Statistics
Road Miles225,531
Vehicle Miles (2015)332.9 Billion
Population Estimate (2018)39,557,045
Driving Deaths (2017)Speeding-related: 1,070
Alcohol-related: 1,120
Total traffic fatalities: 3,602
VehiclesRegistered: 27,872,875
Total Stolen: 151,852
Most Popular VehicleHonda Civic
Average Premiums (Annual)Liability: $490
Collision: $397
Comprehensive: $101
Combined Premiums: $987
Percent of Motorists Uninsured15.2%
State Rank: 12th
Cheapest ProviderUSAA
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California is simultaneously one of the most influential states in the union and a home for outliers. With 55 electoral college votes, California has a significant hand in the structure of the American government.

With Hollywood's monumental social influence, California residents have the opportunity to shape the way people elsewhere perceive Californian cities and the rest of the world.

And yet, California is also home to San Francisco, Gay Capital of the United States, and underground music, film, and creative movements that are so niche that you've probably never heard of them. How the Eureka State balances its power, popularity, and underdog personality, no one really knows.

What we do know is that while California's culture may be difficult to compartmentalize, its car insurance providers and policies don't have to be.

You don't have to try and understand all of California's car insurance policies on your own. Our guide to Californian roadways will guide you through the process of finding the most affordable car insurance plan for you.

Want to get started? Enter your zip code into our FREE online tool and find the best auto insurance rates in California.

Then come with us as we explore the car insurance culture of California together.

Table of Contents

California Car Insurance Coverage and Rates

Trying to suss out what insurance details matter to you, specifically, is always a trial. Taking on the task alone can be more than frustrating — it can feel impossible.

That's why we're here to help. We've dug through the data for you and teased out the most important details of California's car insurance plans. With our help, you'll be able to find an affordable car insurance plan that fits into your lifestyle perfectly.

What kind of insurance do you need in the Eureka State? Let's find out together.

California Minimum Coverage

California is an at-fault state. This means that if you get into an accident, an authority will determine whether you or another driver were "at-fault," or responsible for the accident. If you're determined to be at-fault, then you'll have to take on the financial responsibility of that accident.

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That means paying your own bills and the other party's.

As a result, California requires all of its drivers to carry minimum liability insurance in a 15/30/5 ratio. Take a look at that breakdown below:

  • $15,000 for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident caused by the owner of the insured vehicle
  • $30,000 for total bodily injury or death in an accident caused by the owner of the insured vehicle
  • $5,000 for property damage per accident caused by the owner of the insured vehicle

The state does not require you to purchase Medical Payment Coverage, but you will have the option to purchase Med Pay coverage protecting you for up to $1,000 of medical expenses, regardless of which party is at fault.

Likewise, California will not require you to carry Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UUM) Coverage. That doesn't mean you shouldn't consider integrating the coverage into your plan, though. Because California is an at-fault state, more coverage is never a bad thing.

Forms of Financial Responsibility

You're also required to carry proof of insurance (forms of financial responsibility) while driving in California. If you happen to get pulled over by an officer of the law, or if you're just renewing your vehicle registration, then you'll be able to use these documents in order to prove that you're complying with the state's driving requirements.

Forms of financial responsibility in California include:

  • A print-out of your insurance policy
  • A cash deposit of $35,000 with your local DMV
  • A DMV-issued self-insurance certificate
  • A surety bond for $25,000 from a company licensed to do business in California

Premiums as a Percentage of Income

A person's Disposal Personal Income is the amount of money she has available to her after she pays her taxes for the year. When you're working out your budget, your DPI is the overarching amount of money that you'll have to work with.

This means that, when you're researching car insurance plans, you'll have to include the monthly cost of your policy in your expenses.

Because you have to carry California's minimum liability coverage in order to legally drive on the road, you can't get around this expense. Let's take a look at the breakdown of DPI in California, though, before you worry too much.

YearAnnual Full Coverage PremiumAnnual DPIPercentage of Income Paid to Car Insurance
2012$891.68$42,451.002.10%
2013$922.69$41,945.002.20%
2014$951.75$43,978.002.16%
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So, the average Californian makes $43,978 per year.

Minimum liability coverage, on average, in California costs roughly $79.31 per month. That's not so bad, even considering the yearly cost of coverage.

At an average of $951.75 a year, car insurance will take up 2.16 percent of a Californian's annual DPI.

Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates in CA (Liability, Collision, Comprehensive)

That cost will go up if you look into car insurance add-ons. However, you shouldn't let an increase in prices intimidate you. Additional car insurance coverage, like those options listed below, can better protect you in an accident than bare-bones coverage.

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CoverageState AverageNational AverageOver/Under National Average
Liability$489.66$538.73-$49.07
Collision$396.55$322.61+$73.94
Comprehensive$100.54$148.04-$47.50
Full Coverage$986.75$1,009.38-$22.63
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Additional Liability

When considering policy averages, though, we need to consider the sheer number of providers that you'll have the chance to choose a plan from in California. One of the best places to start, when comparing these companies, is with their loss ratios.

A loss ratio describes the amount of money a car insurance provider spends on claims every year. A high loss ratio indicates that a company frequently pays out on claims but that they may also be financially unstable.

CoverageLoss Ratio 2012Loss Ratio 2013Loss Ratio 2014
Medical Payments (Med Pay)73%69%62%
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist60%59%58%
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Comparatively, companies will lower loss ratios will be more financially stable, but they'll be less likely to pay out on a claim.

Generally, you want to work with a car insurance provider whose claim is right around average — somewhere in the 80 to 95 percentiles.

Add-ons, Endorsements, and Riders

Different providers will also be able to offer you different car insurance add-ons. These add-ons will ensure that you're protected from niche accident exposure and can help you financially, in the long run.

Take a look at the listings below to find out more about each of these types of add-ons.

  • Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP)
  • Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP)
  • Rental Reimbursement
  • Emergency Roadside Assistance
  • Mechanical Breakdown Insurance
  • Non-Owner Car Insurance
  • Modified Car Insurance Coverage
  • Classic Car Insurance
  • Pay-As-You-Drive or Usage-Based Insurance

Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates by Age & Gender in CA

Additional coverage isn't the only thing that has the potential to impact the rate car insurance providers can offer you in California. There are pervasive gender myths that can impact the amount of money you'll be expected to pay on a monthly basis.

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Generally speaking, it's said that men have to pay more for their car insurance than women do. Let's take a look at the data and see if that claim holds any water.

Company17-Year-Old Single25-Year-Old Single35-Year-Old Married60-Year-Old Married
Allstate$9,143.81$3,928.97$2,922.56$2,137.03
AMCO$8,752.50$3,881.60$3,198.63$2,781.60
Farmers$11,428.11$3,401.82$2,715.31$2,451.83
Geico$5,481.52$2,595.60$1,787.31$1,680.52
Safeco$5,181.45$2,607.16$2,240.96$2,111.11
State Farm$6,822.45$3,720.81$3,310.18$2,957.44
Travelers$5,536.17$3,214.71$2,457.66$2,194.59
United Financial$5,258.22$2,674.13$1,811.60$1,660.63
USAA$4,416.71$2,597.19$1,878.60$1,886.00
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By the time most drivers have turned 25, it seems like rates below out. In fact, it's older women, on some occasions, who have to pay more for car insurance than their male counterparts.

That's the thing, though — car insurance rates vary less based on gender and far more on age.

Ranking (least to most expensive)Single 17-Year-OldSingle 25-Year-OldMarried 35-Year-OldMarried 60-Year-Old
1USAA - $4416.71USAA - $2597.19Geico - $1787.31United Financial - $1660.63
2Safeco - $5181.45Safeco - $2607.16United Financial - $1811.60Geico - $1680.52
3United Financial - $5258.22United Financial - $2674.13USAA - $1878.60USAA - $1886.00
4Geico - $5481.52Geico - $2595.60Safeco - $2240.96Safeco - $2111.11
5Travelers - $5536.17Travelers - $3214.71Travelers - $2457.66Allstate - $2137.03
6State Farm - $6822.45State Farm - $3720.81Farmers - $2715.31Travelers - $2194.59
7AMCO - $8752.49AMCO - $3881.60Allstate - $2922.56Farmers - $2451.83
8Allstate - $9143.80Allstate - $3928.97AMCO - $3198.63AMCO - $2781.60
9Farmers - $11428.11Farmers - $3401.82State Farm - $3310.18State Farm - $2957.44
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As you can see, drivers who are 17 years old are charged significantly more for their coverage than married couples two decades older.

This is because younger drivers are less experienced, sure, but it also means that young people are going to have to work hard in order to cough up nearly four times the average rate of insurance for more established drivers.

Highest and Lowest Rates by Zip in California

Not only will age and gender impact your car insurance rate, but the place you live will, too. California has never been billed as an inexpensive state — save during the Gold Rush — but your zip code has more of an impact on your car insurance rate than you might guess. Take a look:

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These are the 25 most expensive zip codes in California.

ZipcodeAverageAllstate Northbrook IndemnityFarmers Ins ExchangeGeico GeneralSAFECO Ins Co of AmericaAMCO InsuranceUnited Financial CasualtyState Farm Mutual AutoTravelers Commercial Ins Co.USAA CIC
90004$5,928.00 $8,189.47 $7,840.01 $4,399.36 $4,666.03 $8,127.33 $4,373.15 $6,164.80 $5,744.06 $3,847.79
90005$6,040.60 $8,065.54 $7,981.84 $4,680.35 $4,903.30 $8,057.13 $4,592.87 $6,392.86 $5,687.21 $4,004.33
90010$6,201.00 $8,225.60 $7,934.31 $4,922.31 $4,883.02 $8,610.21 $5,052.24 $6,144.83 $5,809.53 $4,226.92
90017$5,898.72 $8,014.89 $7,676.78 $4,668.37 $4,632.60 $8,005.94 $5,179.97 $5,876.00 $5,088.89 $3,945.10
90020$6,132.45 $8,360.06 $8,154.52 $4,512.30 $4,919.64 $8,382.09 $4,697.72 $6,264.15 $5,897.24 $4,004.33
90027$5,897.67 $8,189.47 $8,170.37 $4,076.09 $4,354.82 $8,413.29 $4,012.84 $6,150.89 $5,695.99 $4,015.30
90028$6,063.25 $8,360.06 $8,208.73 $4,393.74 $4,557.64 $8,186.10 $4,531.15 $6,362.31 $5,965.23 $4,004.33
90029$5,934.84 $8,197.40 $8,227.86 $4,161.04 $4,674.71 $8,180.61 $4,738.09 $6,018.51 $5,479.46 $3,735.84
90038$6,048.15 $8,360.06 $8,240.54 $4,309.89 $4,611.39 $8,518.96 $4,785.83 $6,143.06 $5,769.85 $3,693.78
90046$6,045.78 $8,225.60 $8,180.20 $4,399.92 $4,476.43 $8,193.23 $4,890.23 $6,299.06 $5,780.46 $3,966.93
90048$5,877.67 $8,276.46 $7,681.40 $4,058.38 $4,431.11 $8,189.87 $4,892.06 $6,006.52 $5,643.80 $3,719.43
90057$5,894.37 $8,016.78 $8,012.14 $4,309.89 $4,906.32 $8,012.71 $4,225.65 $6,396.14 $5,321.93 $3,847.79
90069$5,844.28 $8,276.46 $8,037.83 $4,399.36 $4,191.86 $7,666.21 $4,955.37 $5,586.55 $5,812.91 $3,671.99
90077$5,878.05 $8,190.66 $7,517.86 $4,222.43 $3,925.51 $7,494.20 $5,298.69 $6,622.72 $5,505.36 $4,125.06
90210$6,324.83 $8,190.66 $8,075.13 $5,087.15 $4,414.40 $8,533.47 $5,274.21 $6,642.25 $6,013.59 $4,692.62
90211$6,199.34 $8,190.66 $7,618.96 $4,979.75 $4,439.85 $8,922.36 $5,302.83 $6,571.75 $5,522.71 $4,245.23
90212$6,041.05 $8,190.66 $7,792.29 $4,556.62 $4,539.22 $7,776.24 $5,174.13 $6,578.45 $5,516.64 $4,245.23
91201$5,847.26 $7,952.29 $7,391.51 $4,512.91 $4,011.77 $8,736.98 $5,123.14 $5,683.35 $5,404.46 $3,808.95
91203$6,086.65 $7,952.29 $7,428.43 $4,981.01 $4,116.05 $9,116.47 $5,031.25 $6,423.22 $5,726.62 $4,004.56
91204$6,015.40 $7,952.29 $7,685.36 $4,605.26 $4,268.49 $8,721.88 $5,492.96 $6,022.48 $5,385.28 $4,004.56
91205$5,990.19 $6,346.42 $7,685.36 $5,227.43 $4,296.53 $8,439.18 $5,243.60 $6,956.98 $5,711.65 $4,004.56
91401$6,073.88 $8,335.75 $7,922.82 $4,768.98 $4,506.46 $8,651.65 $4,719.68 $6,322.26 $5,609.28 $3,828.03
91405$6,198.55 $8,155.64 $7,922.82 $4,897.11 $4,683.16 $8,789.36 $4,930.09 $6,692.88 $5,784.17 $3,931.76
91605$6,034.64 $7,386.88 $7,959.34 $4,624.81 $4,383.46 $8,737.86 $4,771.62 $6,447.90 $6,190.93 $3,808.95
91606$6,219.57 $8,174.05 $8,102.32 $4,897.11 $4,611.35 $8,084.28 $5,028.19 $6,958.72 $6,188.33 $3,931.76
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The Golden State's 25 least expensive zip codes are listed below.

ZipcodeAverageAllstate Northbrook IndemnityFarmers Ins ExchangeGeico GeneralSAFECO Ins Co of AmericaAMCO InsuranceUnited Financial CasualtyState Farm Mutual AutoTravelers Commercial Ins Co.USAA CIC
93401$2,731.32 $3,488.65 $2,992.54 $2,403.77 $2,285.77 $3,336.13 $2,177.96 $2,991.49 $2,554.99 $2,350.57
93402$2,821.16 $3,392.02 $3,335.87 $2,438.41 $2,324.69 $3,411.51 $2,336.39 $3,228.08 $2,572.90 $2,350.57
93420$2,824.43 $3,399.95 $3,404.34 $2,531.57 $2,298.66 $3,543.40 $1,980.83 $3,132.17 $2,652.52 $2,476.45
93422$2,865.26 $3,421.28 $3,438.02 $2,568.70 $2,430.29 $3,610.36 $2,058.51 $3,241.31 $2,627.69 $2,391.21
93427$2,807.43 $3,442.05 $3,042.70 $2,537.51 $2,418.79 $3,437.39 $2,244.68 $3,250.68 $2,603.92 $2,289.13
93428$2,774.88 $3,380.26 $3,165.32 $2,242.78 $2,514.83 $3,395.32 $2,234.71 $3,098.96 $2,597.87 $2,343.85
93430$2,850.58 $3,361.53 $3,175.94 $2,524.48 $2,344.53 $3,460.36 $2,476.97 $3,146.73 $2,741.46 $2,423.24
93432$2,862.60 $3,487.46 $3,526.64 $2,380.87 $2,458.14 $3,457.74 $2,239.41 $3,222.25 $2,666.31 $2,324.62
93433$2,834.19 $3,468.52 $3,111.54 $2,438.41 $2,282.99 $3,752.44 $2,297.06 $2,890.63 $2,506.12 $2,760.02
93436$2,843.64 $3,462.90 $3,004.22 $2,325.67 $2,653.07 $3,536.94 $2,393.54 $3,217.80 $2,626.85 $2,371.77
93437$2,804.27 $3,460.07 $2,994.66 $2,503.39 $2,639.10 $3,512.04 $2,098.30 $2,952.39 $2,650.39 $2,428.11
93441$2,840.56 $3,442.05 $2,940.63 $2,624.47 $2,512.57 $3,594.51 $2,327.04 $3,154.75 $2,542.04 $2,426.99
93442$2,807.96 $3,396.50 $3,147.90 $2,605.58 $2,400.87 $3,358.53 $2,126.82 $3,072.18 $2,709.70 $2,453.61
93444$2,843.90 $3,435.20 $3,445.56 $2,450.63 $2,337.28 $3,495.01 $2,421.14 $3,138.34 $2,572.56 $2,299.41
93449$2,829.93 $3,450.72 $3,166.06 $2,503.39 $2,283.28 $3,707.40 $2,484.18 $2,912.15 $2,512.26 $2,449.96
93452$2,858.30 $3,487.46 $3,056.11 $2,524.48 $2,536.68 $3,497.26 $2,305.34 $3,296.73 $2,689.98 $2,330.63
93455$2,877.52 $3,453.85 $3,086.14 $2,325.67 $2,528.26 $3,554.69 $2,419.92 $3,308.07 $2,857.39 $2,363.73
93463$2,861.18 $3,888.44 $2,932.73 $2,568.70 $2,371.94 $3,531.47 $2,112.72 $3,267.79 $2,714.75 $2,362.05
93514$2,837.87 $3,721.11 $3,446.65 $2,292.34 $2,616.96 $3,410.32 $1,942.71 $3,225.60 $2,586.10 $2,299.06
96027$2,882.83 $3,090.18 $4,075.76 $2,314.00 $2,701.03 $3,501.68 $2,071.13 $3,204.65 $2,677.46 $2,309.58
96032$2,885.83 $3,090.18 $4,329.09 $2,376.65 $2,626.10 $3,547.47 $2,122.70 $3,038.16 $2,575.27 $2,266.86
96064$2,840.77 $3,090.18 $4,019.73 $2,250.66 $2,604.36 $3,532.73 $1,971.09 $3,160.11 $2,601.64 $2,336.44
96067$2,777.89 $2,929.61 $4,029.52 $2,080.16 $2,592.52 $3,347.10 $1,989.83 $3,146.02 $2,567.23 $2,318.98
96094$2,752.73 $3,135.64 $4,037.15 $2,061.72 $2,512.07 $3,166.19 $2,000.62 $2,995.25 $2,546.94 $2,318.98
96097$2,843.29 $3,077.47 $4,020.91 $2,197.64 $2,649.00 $3,291.50 $2,200.87 $3,116.56 $2,648.87 $2,386.81
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Highest and Lowest Rates by City in California

If you want a more specific breakdown of car insurance rates available in various parts of California, you can take a look at rate differentiation by city.

The table below lists the 25 most expensive cities in California.

CityAverage Annual Rate
BEVERLY HILLS$6,188.41
CALABASAS$5,293.70
CANOGA PARK$5,306.80
ENCINO$5,744.64
GLENDALE$5,556.12
GRANADA HILLS$5,200.12
LOS ANGELES$5,301.77
NORTH HILLS$5,268.19
NORTH HOLLYWOOD$5,769.36
NORTHRIDGE$5,350.90
PACIFIC PALISADES$5,149.35
PANORAMA CITY$5,701.66
RESEDA$5,593.76
SHERMAN OAKS$5,562.20
STUDIO CITY$5,649.18
SUN VALLEY$5,297.48
TARZANA$5,798.46
TOLUCA LAKE$5,147.43
TUJUNGA$5,190.92
UNIVERSAL CITY$5,348.81
VALLEY VILLAGE$5,718.12
VAN NUYS$5,897.84
WEST HOLLYWOOD$5,844.28
WINNETKA$5,326.45
WOODLAND HILLS$5,172.91
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For comparison, below you can see the 25 least expensive cities in California.

CityAverage Annual Rate
ARROYO GRANDE$2,824.43
ATASCADERO$2,865.26
BISHOP$2,837.87
BUELLTON$2,807.43
CAMBRIA$2,774.88
CAYUCOS$2,850.58
CRESTON$2,862.60
DUNSMUIR$2,891.51
ETNA$2,882.83
FORT JONES$2,885.83
GROVER BEACH$2,834.19
LOMPOC$2,823.96
LOS OLIVOS$2,840.56
LOS OSOS$2,821.16
MONTAGUE$2,840.77
MORRO BAY$2,807.96
MOUNT SHASTA$2,777.88
NIPOMO$2,843.90
OCEANO$2,897.95
PEBBLE BEACH$2,920.03
PISMO BEACH$2,829.93
SAN SIMEON$2,858.30
SOLVANG$2,861.18
WEED$2,752.73
YREKA$2,843.29
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Some might expect Los Angeles to have the highest average car insurance rates in California. Not so, not always — which is all the more reason to research your city's average car insurance costs before moving to the Eureka State.

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California State Car Insurance Companies

When it comes down to it, we know that you want to save money on your car insurance. That's what the research process is all about — finding the best kind of insurance for your budget and driving style.

Still, digging through all of California's available providers and their policies on your own is hardly a walk in the park.

That's why we want to help. We're able to break down the data from all of California's car insurance providers and help you save a buck.

So let's start that break down and explore the different public perceptions and costs of car insurance companies in the Eureka State.

The Largest Companies Financial Rating

Assessing a company's financial rating via AM Best is one of the best ways to determine a) whether the company's financially sound and b) whether or not it'll take your unique financial circumstances into consideration. Naturally, the better the rating, the better the company.

Providers (Largest-Smallest)A.M. Best Rating
AllstateA+
Auto Club EnterprisesA-
CSAA A
FarmersA
GeicoA++
Liberty MutualA
MercuryA+
ProgressiveA+
State FarmA++
USAAA++
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You'll notice that there's not a single company in California — at least, not on this list — that drops below an A ranking. That's good news for you — kinda. It means that these companies are notably reliable. It also means that you haven't really narrowed down your potential provider pool.

Companies with Best Customer Satisfaction Ratings in California

That's why we're diving into customer satisfaction ratings. J.D. Power puts the customer satisfaction of California's biggest car insurance providers on display for the world to see.

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As you can see, companies like State Farm, with its A++ AM Best Ranking, gets put more accurately into place with its 813 customer satisfaction rating.

Companies with Most Complaints in California

On the flip side of satisfaction comes the hot gossip of complaints. Let's take a look at the customer complaints each provider has racked up over the course of the past several years.

Company2017 Approx. Exposure CountComplaint Ratio 2017Complaint Ratio 2016Complaint Ratio 2015Justified Complaints 2017Justified Complaints 2016Justified Complaints 2015
21st Century Ins Co589,7812.04.94.6123230
Access Ins Co390,785117.778.127.146026388
Alliance United Ins Co949,5569.216.915.987156123
Allied Prop & Cas Ins Co134,4522.21.51.5322
Allstate Northbrook Ind Co1,997,2143.12.52.2615038
Amco Ins Co293,3590.32.42.4177
Amica Mut Ins Co73,7852.74.22.9232
Anchor Gen Ins Co104,93621.921.828.8232837
California Automobile Ins Co300,4263.34.13.9101313
California Capital Ins Co72,2671.42.71.4121
California Cas Ind Exch141,7812.12.96.0348
Coast Natl Ins Co224,7804.45.28.2101530
Commerce W Ins Co91,8578.79.510.58810
CSAA Ins Exch1,976,5573.22.93.5645563
Esurance Prop & Cas Ins Co276,1973.35.36.191416
Farmers Ins Exch1,352,8552.92.43.3393240
Farmers Specialty Ins Co116,9967.77.22.49102
Financial Ind Co160,5184.47.48.171010
Garrison Prop & Cas Ins Co140,2954.32.51.0631
Geico Cas Co238,0385.06.313.1121320
Geico Gen Ins Co1,522,0952.13.37.7324492
Geico Ind Co601,2672.51.77.815937
Government Employees Ins Co397,2642.01.46.08521
Hartford Underwriters Ins Co196,04811.26.512.6221428
IDS Prop Cas Ins Co438,2496.89.27.6303931
Infinity Ins Co819,4705.68.49.2467686
Integon Natl Ins Co209,17712.022.026.5253430
Interins Exch Of The Automobile Club2,365,9851.81.91.8424337
Kemper Independence Ins Co72,7246.90.05.2503
Liberty Mut Fire Ins Co392,7509.714.57.4385528
Loya Cas Ins Co210,3878.611.515.4182838
Mercury Ins Co1,551,6112.42.72.8384244
Metropolitan Drt Prop & Cas Ins Co144,5079.09.26.8131410
Mid Century Ins Co545,6801.61.33.39823
Nationwide Ins Co Of Amer143,6886.36.812.49915
Permanent Gen Assur Corp66,90816.416.020.311911
Progressive Direct Ins Co121,7833.35.61.7472
Progressive Select Ins Co211,93612.35.69.1261015
Progressive West Ins Co329,5884.65.74.3151916
Safeco Ins Co Of Amer368,8333.06.18.3112128
State Farm Mut Auto Ins Co3,773,4782.03.15.477119204
Travelers Commercial Ins Co177,1577.93.216.91421
Trumbull Ins Co71,5075.63.91.5431
United Financial Cas Co435,7408.72.95.0381219
United Serv Automobile Assn422,7671.42.44.061017
USAA Cas Ins Co482,1781.73.05.581425
USAA Gen Ind Co206,2824.85.63.310105
Viking Ins Co Of WI258,6521.95.76.051312
Wawanesa Gen Ins Co506,0864.14.63.5212317
Western Gen Ins Co86,86440.357.886.4354141
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Now, while customer complaints aren't everything, you should definitely take them into account when considering which car insurance provider to work with. Complaints reflect a provider's ability to respond to consumer needs, and if they can't handle that gracefully, then they're not worth your business.

California Car Insurance Rates by Company

You can also break California rates down by individual company. Different companies, based on reputation, loss ratio, and other factors, will be able to offer you different rates based solely on their financial standing, as you can see below.

CompanyAverageCompared to State AveragePercentage Over/Under State Average
Allstate $4,533.09+$843.47+18.61%
AMCO $4,653.58+$963.96+20.71%
Farmers $4,999.27+$1,309.64+26.20%
Geico $2,886.24-$803.38-27.84%
Safeco$3,035.17-$654.45-21.56%
State Farm $4,202.72+$513.10+12.21%
Travelers $3,350.78-$338.84-10.11%
United Financial $2,851.14-$838.48-29.41%
USAA $2,694.62-$995.00-36.93%
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Commute Rates by Company

We touch on California's commutes later in this guide, but you can already imagine the different ways that a longer commute could cost you more money.

Company10-mile commute25-mile commute
Allstate$4,086.25$4,979.93
Farmers$4,535.69$5,462.84
Geico$2,621.93$3,150.55
Liberty Mutual$2,786.10$3,284.23
Nationwide$4,108.79$5,198.37
Progressive$2,587.19$3,115.09
State Farm$4,049.89$4,355.54
Travelers$3,014.07$3,687.49
USAA$2,482.96$2,906.28
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As you can see, some car insurance providers will charge you more money for a longer commute, too. This is naturally to keep your car safe while you're on the road for more hours of the day, but that extra cost could also factor into your decision on where to move as well as which provider you want to work with.

Some states have banned discrimination based on your credit score when it comes to auto insurance rates, and this is one of those States.

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Coverage Level Rates by Company

The amount of coverage you want to have also impacts how much a company is going to charge you.

CompanyLow Coverage LevelMedium Coverage LevelHigh Coverage Level
Allstate$4,287.09$4,572.72$4,739.46
Farmers$4,651.83$5,038.58$5,307.39
Geico$2,612.92$2,918.49$3,127.30
Liberty Mutual$2,824.01$3,061.95$3,219.54
Nationwide$4,179.52$4,734.55$5,046.66
Progressive$2,555.04$2,936.65$3,061.73
State Farm$3,793.44$4,273.41$4,541.30
Travelers$2,924.52$3,440.36$3,687.46
USAA$2,445.05$2,746.50$2,892.32
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California's minimum state coverage, for example, does cost less than comprehensive coverage the vast majority of the time. That price difference shouldn't keep you from considering more comprehensive options, though.

Credit History Rates by Company

Normally, your credit history would directly impact your offered car insurance rates. In California, though, your rates will stay relatively standard regardless of your credit history.

GroupCredit History - Annual Average
Allstate$4,533.09
Farmers$4,999.27
Geico$2,886.24
Liberty Mutual$3,035.17
Nationwide$4,653.58
Progressive$2,851.14
State Farm$4,202.72
Travelers$3,350.78
USAA$2,694.62
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Driving Record Rates by Company

It's going to be your driving record that has a greater impact on your offered rate than most other factors.

CompanyClean recordWith one speeding violationWith one at-fault accidentWith one DUI
Allstate$2,728.84$3,582.21$4,597.86$7,223.45
Farmers$3,697.25$4,998.06$5,033.47$6,268.29
Geico$2,018.18$2,503.62$3,114.92$3,908.23
Liberty Mutual$2,634.50$2,791.65$3,529.11$3,185.41
Nationwide$3,246.63$4,162.31$4,162.31$7,043.06
Progressive$1,865.51$2,687.54$3,171.49$3,680.03
State Farm$2,998.34$3,480.06$3,576.40$6,756.08
Travelers$2,234.04$3,290.14$3,644.10$4,234.85
USAA$1,790.02$1,960.95$2,664.41$4,363.10
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As you can see, one DUI can as much as raise your rate by $1,000, if not more. That's all the more reason to drive with caution, if you ask us.

Largest Car Insurance Companies in California

The size of a company will also impact that number of clients it can take on and the coverage it can offer. Take a look at the largest car insurance providers in California and, subsequently, the rates they're able to offer you.

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Company2017 Direct Premiums WrittenLoss RatioMarket Share
Allstate$2,446,564,00064.73%8.97%
Auto Club Enterprises$2,312,230,00065.03%8.48%
CSAA$1,950,257,00064.30%7.15%
Farmers Insurance$3,158,814,00068.26%11.59%
Geico$2,502,854,00084.78%9.18%
Liberty Mutual$929,058,00077.26%3.41%
Mercury$2,095,531,00061.91%7.69%
Progressive$1,147,186,00062.78%4.21%
State Farm$3,910,351,00075.94%14.34%
USAA$1,218,792,00072.98%4.47%
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Number of Insurers in California

Finally, note that you'll have the option to choose between domestic providers (providers who are only present in the state of California) and foreign providers (providers with plans available nationally) when researching your preferred coverage.

  • Domestic: 99
  • Foreign: 671

You'll note that your foreign options vastly outweigh your domestic options. Give domestic providers a fair shake, though, and you may find that local rates are more amenable to your budget than nationally-reaching ones.

California's Laws and Legalities

Maybe you like a challenge. Maybe you're the type of person who crushes it at trivia night and who could, feasibly, memorize all of California's driving laws over the course of several weeks.

If you are, we salute you.

If you're not, though, it's good to have a guide to the different laws and legalities that dictate how you're supposed to drive on California's roadways.

High-Risk Insurance

If you have a number of infractions on your license, have been in more than one accident in your lifetime, or have wracked up tickets, then car insurance providers will consider you a high-risk driver. If you're not quite sure whether or not you make the high-risk cut, ask yourself:

Have I had to fill out an SR-22?

SR-22 forms allow you to have your license reinstated after a suspension. The state of California will require you to fill out one of these forms in the case of:

  • Driving while uninsured and getting in an accident
  • Receiving a DUI
  • Receiving a wet-reckless suspension or revocation
  • Being declared a negligent operator

Note that providers in California are not required to provide high-risk drivers with car insurance. If you've been denied car insurance within thirty days, though, due to your driving history, you may be able to qualify for the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan, or CAARP.

You'll need to complete an online questionnaire to see whether or not you qualify for this type of coverage. Alternatively, you can call the following number to speak with an appropriate representative: 1-800-622-0954.

Be aware that even though you can get coverage through CAARP, this coverage won't be any less expensive than normal coverage. In many cases, it will even cost more than a standard plan.

Low-Cost Insurance

Most states don't have a low-cost insurance program. Luckily, California's always been a little different. California's Low-Cost Auto, or CLCA, is available to drivers with clean driving histories who don't make enough money a month to pay for the state's minimum required liability coverage.

In order to qualify for CLCA, you must:

  • Have a valid California driver's license
  • Meet the program's income eligibility guidelines
  • Own a vehicle valued at $25,000 or less
  • Be at least 16 years old

You will also need the following to apply for the program:

  • A valid driver's license
  • A current vehicle registration
  • An initial deposit for payment
  • And any of the forms of income proof listed here

Windshield Coverage

California doesn't have any specific laws that tell your car insurance providers whether or not they have to pay for your windshield to be replaced upon its damaging. Your provider of choice, however, may dictate what kind of repair shop you have to go to in order to be covered for that damage.

You are able to use aftermarket parts through California insurance companies so long as you have written notice and the replacement is at least equal in terms of fit, quality, performance, and warranty through the OEM.

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Automobile Insurance Fraud in California

It's pretty difficult to commit car insurance fraud by accident. That said, it's not impossible. Insurance fraud is the second most common economic crime in the United States, and a number of states crack down hard on anyone who commits it for any reason.

You can break down auto insurance fraud one of two ways:

  • Hard Fraud — when a claim has been deliberately fabricated or faked
  • Soft Fraud — padding a claim or misinterpreting information to your provider

Naturally, insurance providers see more soft fraud than they do hard fraud. What some drivers think of as simple comeuppance is actually illegal, though. Don't misrepresent the facts to your provider after an accident just to get a little extra money. You may well end up paying much, much more in the long run.

Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations refers to the amount of time after an accident you have to file an insurance claim. In California, you have two years to file for personal injury and three years to file for property damage.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

We've already noted that it is illegal to drive in California if you don't have the state's minimum liability coverage. If you get caught on the road without insurance, there are significant consequences for your actions, as you can see in the table below.

OffensePenalty
First OffenseFine up to $200 + penalty assessments
Possible vehicle impounding
Second Offense (within three years)Fine up to $500 + penalty assessments
Possible vehicle impounding
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You absolutely need car insurance while driving in California, if only because the state is an at-fault state. If you get into an accident without insurance, you could easily go bankrupt paying for your own and the other driver's long-term expenses.

Teen Driver Laws

It's an exciting — and sometimes terrifying — time when a teenager first learns how to drive. However, because teenagers are so inexperienced behind the wheel, the state of California has specific rules and regulations in place designed to keep teen drivers safe on the road.

RestrictionPermitProvisional LicenseFull License
Minimum Age15 1/21618
PrerequisitesTeen and parent must bring proof of residency, SSN, and a copy of the birth certificate to a driver exam office.
Teen must pass a written test.
Teen must have completed or be enrolled in a driver education course
Must have completed: 50 hours behind the wheel (10 of which at night)
Drivers education program
Pass a driving test
None
PassengerMust be accompanied by a licensed parent, guardian, spouse, or instructor over 25 years oldNo passengers under 20 except when accompanied by a licensed driver over 25No restrictions
Cell PhoneCell phones prohibited (even hands-free)Cell phones prohibited (even hands-free)Hand-held prohibited. Hands-free cell phone use allowed
Time of DayNo restrictionsFirst 12 months: no driving between 11 pm and five am (some exceptions)No restrictions
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As you can see, teenagers are required to meet a minimum supervised driving time and be at least 16 years old before they can get their license.

The rules for intermediate licensing differ slightly. Drivers with intermediate licenses in California cannot have passengers in the car who are under 20 years old unless those passengers are related to them. These drivers are also not allowed to drive in California between the hours of 11 pm and 5 am.

Older Driver License Renewal Procedures

As we age, we become slightly less reliable drivers. As such, the rules for older drivers' license registration in California are designed with road safety in mind.

Renewal ActionGeneral PopulationOlder Population
License Renewal Cycle5 years5 years
Proof of adequate vision required at renewalwhen renewing in person70 and older, every renewal
Mail or online renewal permittedboth, limited to 2 consecutive renewalsnot permitted 70 and older
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Once you reach 70 years old, you'll need to show proof of adequate vision every time you renew your license. You'll also have to go to the DMV in person as opposed to using the Internet or renewing your license via the mail.

New Residents

New California residents should get a state license within 30 days of moving into the state. Otherwise, so long as your car insurance meets the state's minimum required amount and your vehicle is registered with a nearby DMV, you'll be as golden as the state itself.

License Renewal Procedures

California drivers need to have their licenses renewed on a five-year basis.

The good news is that so long as you're under 70 years old, you can renew your license online or via the mail. However, you can only do so two cycles in a row. After 10 years, you'll need to visit the DMV in person to get your license renewed.

Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS)

The California Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS) was created by the state's DMV to keep "negligent operators" from driving. The system assigns a point value to various traffic offensives as seen in the table below:

One-Point ViolationOne-Point ViolationOne-Point ViolationOne-Point ViolationOne-Point ViolationOne-Point ViolationOne-Point ViolationOne-Point ViolationOne-Point ViolationTwo-Point Violation
Disobedience to traffic officerIllegal movement/yellow light/arrowDriving on sidewalkYielding right-of-way to horseback riderBasic/prima facie speed limitStop required/railroad crossingUnsafe/unlawfully equipped vehicleAirbrake systemRemovable containers/regulationsEvading peace officer/reckless driving
Evading peace officerIllegal movement/red/light/arrowFreeway ramp/entering/exitingYielding right-of-way to emergency vehicleExceeding posted/freeway speed limitStop for school busOperation after notice by officerEmergency stopping systemExplosives transportationDriving while suspended/revoked
Disobedience to fire officialTraffic signalsLoad obstructing driver's viewUnsafe operation of emergency vehicleMaximum speed 70 mphSpeed contest/aiding or abettingLighting equipmentVacuum brakesInhalation hazard transportationDriving, suspended/revoked for refusing test
Unsafe vehicle loadDisobedience to flashing signalsInterfering with driver's control of vehicleYielding right-of-way to pedestrianSpeed in excess of local limitsTransporting person in truck load spaceFailure to dim lightsChild Passenger restraintInhalation hazard transportationHit and run/injury/property damage
Disregarding non-student crossing guardDouble lines/one broken lineDriving hours limitationDue care for pedestrian on roadwaySpeed in excess of local limitsDriving on trails and pathsLamps/flag for extended loadChild seat beltTank vehicle regulationsDriving wrong side/divided highway
Youth bus/children crossing highwayUse of two-way left turn laneFollowing too closelyProhibited use of freewaySpeed/construction zoneDrinking while drivingLamps on projecting loadMotorcycle/passengers and equipmentDriving hours limitationsSpeed over 100 MPH
Disregarding funeral escort officerDisobedience to traffic control deviceDriving in fire areaYielding right-of-way to blind pedestrianRestricted speed/weather conditionsMarijuana or open container/drivingBrakesFifth wheel connecting/locking deviceDriving hours, equipment, maintenance, operationReckless driving
Crossing safety flares/conesKeep rightDriving in safety zoneTurning and U-turnsSpeed/traffic lanesIgnition interlock verificationBrakes/combination vehiclesHitch and coupling deviceSafety regulation violationReckless driving/causing bodily injury
Violation of license restrictionsCrossing divided highwayTowed vehicle swervingUnsafe starting/backing of vehicleDriving too slowDefeating ignition interlock deviceForklift truck brakesTowed vehicle couplingVanpool vehicle maintenance inspectionSpeed contest /exhibition of speed
Disregarding traffic officer's directionsEntering highway from service roadUnlawful riding/towingSignaling turns and stopsSpeed/bridge/tunnelDisobedience to toll highway officerAll wheel service brakesPole dolly/load and lengthViolation of special permitMinor driving with BAC of 0.05% or more
Driving in bicycle laneLane use/slow moving vehicleTurning across bicycle laneSchool bus signalingMaximum designated vehicle speedUnauthorized towingBrakes/stopping distanceCaldecott tunnel restrictionsExtralegal load/weightDUI/alcoholic beverage or drugs
Disobedience to traffic signs/controllerHigh-occupancy vehicle lane/entering/exitingIllegal passingSpeed/use of designated lanesSpeed/solid/metal tiresWidth/load of vehicle at crossingBraking system/towing vehiclesHazardous waste transportationLift-carrier/speedDUI/causing bodily injury or death
Illegal movement/green light/arrowImproper lane useRight-of-wayMaximum speedSpeed limit on gradesDisobedience to sign/vehicle crossingAdjustment/use of air brakesFarm labor vehicle/unsafe operationBale wagon load width during darknessExplosives transportation
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The severity of warnings and sanctions increases as points accumulate. These not only impact your driver status in California but may also cause an increase in your insurance rates.

LevelPoint CountTime Period
Level I Warning Letter2Within 12 months
Level I Warning Letter4Within 24 months
Level I Warning Letter6Within 36 months
Level II Notice of Intent to Suspend3Within 12 months
Level II Notice of Intent to Suspend5Within 24 months
Level II Notice of Intent to Suspend7Within 36 months
Level III Probation/Suspension4Within 12 months
Level III Probation/Suspension6Within 24 months
Level III Probation/Suspension8Within 36 months
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Rules of the Road

That's the deal with insurance, though. What do the rules of the road look like in California?

Fault vs. No-Fault

As we've mentioned, California is an at-fault state. You need to be especially careful while driving, or else you may find yourself responsible for not only your property damage and personal injury bills but someone else's.

Keep Right and Move Over Laws

If you're driving more slowly than an interstate's posted speed limit, California state law requires you stay to the right side of the road.

Similarly, you're required to move to the right side of the road if you see an oncoming EMS vehicle or state vehicle with its lights flashing. These vehicles are not limited to but include:

  • Firefighters
  • Ambulances
  • Utility Workers
  • Law Enforcement
  • Utility Trucks
  • Drivers with Hazard Lights on

Speed Limits

The speed limits in California will vary based on the location of the road. Note, though, that the below-mentioned speed limits are the MAXIMUM speed you can go on these types of roads.

RoadwaySpeed LimitTruck Speed Limit
Rural interstates (mph)7055
Urban interstates (mph)6555
Other limited access roads (mph)7055
Other roads (mph)6555
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Take it easy, Speed Racer, and don't get into any trouble.

Seat Belt and Car Seat Laws

The seat belt laws in California are reasonably straightforward. Put into effect as of 1986, not wearing a seat belt is a primarily enforceable act. This means that if law enforcement spots you driving without wearing a seat belt or spots one of your passengers riding without a seat belt, they need no other reason to pull you over.

Anyone who is over 16 years old needs to be wearing a seat belt while in a moving vehicle in California.

There are varying rules for children under the age of 16. Car seats are required for any child under 7 years of age.

  • Children who are under 2 years old, weigh less than 40 pounds, and who are less than 40 inches tall need to be in a rear-facing seat NOT PLACED in the front passenger's seat of your car.
  • Children between the ages of 2 and 7 who are between 40 and 57 inches tall are able to sit in forward-facing seats.
  • Boost seats are appropriate for any child who weighs more than 40 pounds.

Once a child is over 57 inches tall or older than 8, they'll only be required to wear an adult seat belt. However, any child under 57 inches tall will need to remain in the back passenger's seats until they hit another growth spurt.

Ridesharing

With the rise of Lyft and Uber, more drivers have taken car-sharing into their career considerations. If you're interested in using your car for a ridesharing service, you'll need a particular type of car insurance. At present, the car insurance providers in the state of California who support ridesharing car insurance include:

  • Allstate
  • Farmers
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Mercury
  • Metlife
  • Metromile
  • State Farm
  • USAA

However, the California governor recently signed a new bill (AB 5) that could negatively affect rideshare drivers.

The majority of rideshare drivers for Uber and Lyft will now fall under the status of employees, meaning most rideshare drivers can no longer work as independent contractors for rideshare companies in California.

DUI Laws

Under no circumstances should you be driving while under the influence of alcohol. However, these things have happened before.

According to MADD, California ranks 25th in the United States for drunk driving fatalities.

If you get caught driving with a blood-alcohol level above .08 in California, you'll face the following consequences:

Penalty TypeFirst OffenseSecond Offense (in 10 years)Third and Subsequent Offenses
License SuspensionFour monthsOne yearOne year
Imprisonment96 hours to six months with 48 hours continuous96 hours to six months with 48 hours continuous30 days to one year with 48 hours continuous
Fine$390 - $1000 plus $125 license reinstatement fee $390 - $1000 plus $125 license reinstatement fee$390 - $1000 plus $125 license reinstatement fee
SR-22 Requirementyesyesyes
OtherCompletion of a DUI program for license reinstatementCompletion of a DUI program for license reinstatement
Installation and use of an ignition interlock device (IID) for license reinstatement
Completion of a DUI program for license reinstatement
Installation and use of an IID for license reinstatement
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Distracted Driving Laws

Cellphones are also actively causing some problems for drivers in California. At present, the state has banned all hand-held devices, and drivers under the age of 18 are not allowed to use their cellphones while in the car. No drivers are legally allowed to text while driving, either.

Texting while driving is a primarily enforceable crime, meaning law enforcement can stop you if they spot you with your phone out and need no other reason to do so. Calling while driving, comparatively, is a secondarily enforceable act.

Driving in California

With the rules of the road out of the way, let's explore some of the other facts that keep a driver's life in California interesting.

Vehicle Theft in California

You might expect sports cars to be among the most commonly stolen cars in California. Not so. Take a look at the top 10 most frequently stolen cars in the state and see if you're classy enough to crack the list.

CityMotor
vehicle
thefts
Los Angeles14,382
San Jose7926
Oakland6833
San Diego6143
San Francisco5866
Fresno4057
Bakersfield2937
Sacramento2861
San Bernardino2691
Long Beach2355
Stockton2143
Riverside1718
Anaheim1681
Hayward1671
Richmond1510
Salinas1488
Santa Ana1459
Modesto1389
Antioch1217
Vallejo1209
Ontario1091
Fontana999
Pomona956
South Gate913
San Leandro912
Downey846
Moreno Valley826
Compton799
Chula Vista781
Escondido772
Rialto771
Concord768
Jurupa Valley763
Santa Maria730
Fremont669
Berkeley664
Oxnard664
Inglewood640
Victorville637
Fairfield629
Pittsburg629
Visalia619
Huntington Park589
El Monte576
Indio572
Norwalk564
Hemet559
Lynwood554
Redding549
Garden Grove539
Paramount504
West Covina501
Montebello496
Corona490
Carson489
Bellflower487
Perris482
Rancho Cucamonga478
El Cajon462
Delano443
Turlock425
National City415
Hesperia409
Sunnyvale404
Lancaster403
Oceanside400
Upland399
Merced395
Santa Clara393
Colton386
Hawthorne386
Chico382
Coachella380
Montclair373
Tulare371
Buena Park369
Redlands368
Palmdale367
Lodi365
Baldwin Park363
Torrance362
Fullerton359
Highland355
San Pablo353
Citrus Heights345
Huntington Beach345
Ceres339
Westminster336
Pico Rivera335
San Rafael332
Union City332
Yuba City332
Alameda330
Vista329
Manteca327
Menifee310
Santa Rosa309
Gardena307
Clovis305
Cathedral City302
Costa Mesa296
Palm Springs296
Daly City291
Lakewood287
Pasadena287
Milpitas285
Chino277
Commerce277
Calexico275
Orange272
Bell Gardens271
Watsonville266
Ventura257
Madera256
Whittier253
Glendale251
Santa Clarita249
Selma249
San Jacinto244
Santa Fe Springs241
Temecula240
Roseville238
Gilroy235
Tracy235
Alhambra234
La Mesa233
Porterville233
Vacaville231
Santa Cruz228
Industry226
Redwood City226
Rancho Cordova225
Apple Valley223
Burbank219
Cerritos218
Lake Elsinore218
Monterey Park209
West Sacramento209
Campbell206
Murrieta206
Woodland194
Hanford193
Elk Grove190
Eureka182
Martinez181
South San Francisco181
Newark173
Azusa171
San Marcos170
Livermore168
Santa Monica165
Rosemead164
Walnut Creek163
Oroville160
Atwater158
Covina157
Stanton156
San Mateo155
Emeryville154
Loma Linda153
Pleasant Hill153
Irvine149
Desert Hot Springs141
Maywood136
Eastvale135
Marysville135
Mountain View135
Adelanto133
Redondo Beach133
Palm Desert132
Simi Valley132
Banning130
East Palo Alto130
Napa130
Yucaipa130
McFarland128
La Puente125
Novato125
Orange Cove125
Carlsbad124
El Centro124
El Cerrito123
Anderson120
Santa Barbara120
South El Monte119
Suisun City119
Pleasanton117
Culver City115
La Habra114
La Mirada114
Sanger114
Arvin113
Brentwood113
Tustin113
Reedley112
Lemon Grove110
Parlier108
Los Banos107
Santee107
Vernon106
Newport Beach104
San Ramon104
Beaumont103
Barstow102
Imperial Beach101
West Hollywood99
Morgan Hill98
Patterson98
Cypress97
Lawndale96
Oakley94
Dinuba92
San Bruno91
Thousand Oaks91
La Quinta90
Clearlake89
Lemoore88
Chino Hills87
Davis87
Monrovia86
Shafter85
Oakdale84
Kerman83
Wildomar83
Cudahy82
Pinole82
Lompoc80
Placentia80
Signal Hill80
Norco78
Bell77
Dublin77
Red Bluff77
Riverbank77
Camarillo76
Petaluma76
Albany75
Santa Paula75
Paradise74
Fountain Valley73
Hollister73
Folsom72
San Fernando72
Encinitas71
Glendora71
Pacifica71
Grass Valley69
Lomita69
Claremont68
Palo Alto67
San Dimas67
Brea66
Diamond Bar66
Galt64
Rohnert Park64
San Luis Obispo63
Arcadia62
Central Marin61
Arcata60
Rocklin60
Grand Terrace59
Brawley56
Greenfield56
San Gabriel56
Artesia55
Duarte55
Dos Palos54
Kingsburg54
Yucca Valley54
Monterey53
San Clemente53
El Segundo52
Hawaiian Gardens52
Seaside51
South Pasadena51
Benicia50
Lindsay50
Piedmont50
Cupertino49
Hercules48
La Verne47
Soledad47
Corcoran46
South Lake Tahoe46
Yorba Linda46
Burlingame45
Dixon45
Poway45
Ridgecrest45
Irwindale44
Lincoln44
Chowchilla43
Laguna Hills43
Lake Forest43
Los Gatos43
Mendota43
Paso Robles42
Port Hueneme42
Waterford42
Beverly Hills41
Fowler41
Huron41
Twentynine Palms41
Mission Viejo40
Belmont39
Los Alamitos39
Corning38
Rancho Mirage37
Taft37
Manhattan Beach36
Newman36
Rancho Palos Verdes36
Walnut36
Blythe35
Farmersville35
Grover Beach35
Hermosa Beach35
Coalinga34
Seal Beach33
Temple City33
American Canyon32
Needles32
Arroyo Grande30
Livingston30
Placerville30
Laguna Niguel29
Coronado28
Danville28
Lafayette28
Marina28
Menlo Park28
Tehachapi28
Capitola27
Ukiah27
Auburn26
Laguna Beach26
Moorpark26
Atascadero25
La Palma25
Dana Point24
King City24
Fortuna23
Gridley23
Malibu23
Ripon23
Colma22
San Juan Capistrano22
Moraga21
Solana Beach21
Susanville21
Aliso Viejo20
Carpinteria20
Colusa20
Fillmore20
Foster City20
Gustine20
Hughson20
Lakeport20
Willits20
California City19
Escalon19
Exeter19
Gonzales19
Avalon18
Avenal17
Los Altos17
Pacific Grove17
Sonora17
Crescent City16
Orland16
Woodlake16
Calimesa15
Fort Bragg15
Imperial15
Nevada City15
Rio Vista15
Canyon Lake14
Kensington14
Yreka14
Goleta13
Rancho Santa Margarita13
Agoura Hills12
Big Bear Lake12
Cloverdale12
Pismo Beach12
Sausalito12
Winters12
Del Mar11
Guadalupe11
La Canada Flintridge11
Scotts Valley11
Clayton10
Laguna Woods10
Saratoga10
Sonoma10
Holtville9
Morro Bay9
Willows9
Healdsburg8
Indian Wells8
Ione8
Mill Valley8
Ojai8
Orinda8
Sebastopol8
Williams8
Windsor8
Calabasas7
Cotati7
Jackson7
Mount Shasta7
Rolling Hills Estates7
Truckee7
Brisbane6
Broadmoor6
Fairfax6
Mammoth Lakes6
Sierra Madre6
Westlake Village6
Yountville6
Biggs5
Wheatland5
Bishop4
Palos Verdes Estates4
Sand City4
Solvang4
Atherton3
Calistoga3
Carmel3
City of Angels3
Dorris3
Firebaugh3
Rio Dell3
Ross3
Sutter Creek3
Weed3
Alturas2
Bradbury2
Hillsborough2
La Habra Heights2
Lake Shastina2
St. Helena2
Belvedere1
Buellton1
Dunsmuir1
Ferndale1
Los Altos Hills1
Monte Sereno1
San Marino1
Bear Valley0
Del Rey Oaks0
Etna0
Fort Jones0
Hidden Hills0
Isleton0
Montague0
Rolling Hills0
Stallion Springs0
Tiburon0
Tulelake0
Villa Park0
Westmorland0
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It's Hondas and Nissans that really have to worry. Do what you can, then, to lock up your car and keep an eye on it over the course of a day. There are even insurance providers who offer additional discounts on your rate for specialized security features. If you like saving money and staying safe, why not give them a gander?

Risky Driving Behavior

That said, there are some cities in California that are more dangerous than others. The fatality rates in the to-be mentioned cities, for example, should encourage you to drive a little more cautiously in urban areas.

CountyFatalities 2013Fatalities 2014Fatalitites 2015Fatalities 2016Fatalitites 2017Rates per 100K Population 2013Rates per 100K Population 2014Rates per 100K Population 2015Rates per 100K Population 2016Rates per 100K Population 2017
Alameda86839079995.435.155.54.785.95
Alpine1117488.7392.2591.91662.25357.14
Amador578141213.6519.0521.5937.3631.07
Butte21243336389.4710.7314.6815.8916.57
Calaveras781192015.6717.9124.4719.8643.79
Colusa97551042.1832.9123.4323.145.86
Contra Costa50447681634.563.966.757.115.49
Del Norte128158643.1229.4155.0429.1421.84
El Dorado262326192614.3212.5514.0610.213.76
Fresno11911710215015612.4812.1510.4915.3115.77
Glenn512611917.944321.5539.3332.04
Humboldt283328213920.8324.5220.7115.3928.52
Imperial284628342315.825.7215.5718.7912.58
Inyo30671116.32032.9738.8261.02
Kern13111113814918215.1612.7315.6916.8320.38
Kings161235302510.628.0123.2620.0316.66
Lake22717151734.4510.9226.4323.4626.46
Lassen95910828.0115.7628.6732.3225.67
Los Angeles6256396518376586.246.346.438.256.47
Madera213229392613.8320.7718.7825.1716.57
Marin1410812125.413.833.064.594.6
Mariposa3535716.8428.21728.5339.84
Mendocino141910253016.0621.7511.4528.5434.08
Merced483754727018.2713.9520.1926.7825.67
Modoc3331032.7733.0333.1511.180
Mono156157.1435.53437.0935.29
Monterey33324955517.77.4311.3212.611.65
Napa16615121411.434.2610.68.479.93
Nevada15513121615.315.0713.1712.1116.03
Orange1861731832041785.975.525.796.425.58
Placer21132140295.743.525.6210.537.51
Plumas36510615.8732.1426.9953.2332.01
Riverside2282462422972949.9510.610.2912.4412.13
Sacramento1231141391691728.437.729.2911.1711.24
San Benito79911912.215.5215.4218.5414.92
San Bernardino26228526027327112.5613.5512.2612.7712.56
San Diego1982332462432316.167.157.487.336.92
San Francisco35333836254.163.874.394.112.83
San Joaquin93839811911613.2111.6313.5416.2115.56
San Luis Obispo283234323410.1511.4912.1311.3411.34
San Mateo57253352337.63.294.36.764.28
Santa Barbara31233534397.115.227.887.628.7
Santa Clara951061331141055.085.596.935.95.42
Santa Cruz14201920195.27.376.937.276.89
Shasta242240262913.4512.2922.4114.5416.12
Sierra2011366.01033.433.74100.03
Siskiyou6912111413.7820.7427.6825.2831.92
Solano39494537319.1911.410.358.46.96
Sonoma30404645356.068.019.168.936.94
Stanislaus546249797410.2911.719.1614.5913.51
Sutter14111782314.7811.5817.88.3323.8
Tehama111419181317.4822.2930.128.3720.34
Trinity4858529.860.9738.1962.3139.34
Tulare546075808511.913.1416.3517.3618.3
Tuolumne131117111424.0720.4331.7220.4525.81
Ventura66465657477.865.456.66.75.5
Yolo211926362010.169.112.2416.679.13
Yuba1799101123.2412.2212.1313.314.28
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Traffic Fatalities by Road Type

It's no surprise that bigger cities see more fatalities. That said, rural roads in California see far more fatalities than their urban counterparts.

Road Type2008200920102011201220132014201520162017
Rural1,3241,3201,1621,1901,2001,2011,1701,4041,5931,404
Urban2,1101,7701,5581,6261,7661,9061,9311,9822,2442,195
Total3,4343,0902,7202,8162,9663,1073,1023,3873,8373,602
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This is likely because rural roads have less of an authoritative presence, making speeding and other risky behaviors all the more likely.

Fatalities by Weather

One thing drivers can't control, though, is the weather. Weather and light contribute significantly to the number of fatalities that occur in California on a yearly basis, as you can see below:

Weather ConditionDaylightDark, but LightedDarkDawn or DuskOther / UnknownTotal (2015)
Normal1,28688377913653,089
Rain51585460169
Snow/Sleet404109
Other107170034
Unknown021003
TOTAL1,35195085514353,304
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It should be noted that this data does not account for California wildfires and any car-related fatalities that occur in or near those cases.

Fatalities by Person Type

But how does a person type play into the number of fatalities a state sees in a year? Note that here, "person type" refers to a person's relationship to the car in question — are they a pedestrian, a passenger, and so on.

California Traffic Deaths by Person Type20132014201520162017
Motorcyclists463522494576529
Pedestrians734709819933858
Bicyclists147129136155124
Passenger Car Occupants1,0981,0661,1701,3571,269
Pick-up Truck Occupants239209294278279
Utility Truck Occupants241271288307336
Van Occupants6779888884
Large Truck Occupants3833324853
Bus Occupants11171203
State Total3,1073,1023,387 3,8373,602
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Passenger car occupants see far more fatalities than most other types of people, with pedestrians close behind and motorcyclists following them. This, if nothing else, is a call for awareness while on the road.

Fatalities by Crash Type

Crash types can also vary and impact the fatality rate of a state.

Crash Type2013 Fatalities2014 Fatalities2015 Fatalities2016 Fatalities2017 Fatalities
Single Vehicle Crash1,9221,8611,9872,2732,067
Large Truck Involved259301305354361
Speeding Involved9929951,0321,1511,070
Rollover Involved697696770800796
Involving an Intersection7978118811,024927
Roadway Departure Involved1,4421,3741,5301,7541,588
Total3,1073,1023,3873,8373,602
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As you can see, single-car crashes and fatalities are far more common than the other types of crashes in California.

Five-Year Trend For The Top 10 Counties

With those statistics out of the way, how has the rate of fatalities changed over the past five years in California, and where, based on this data, do we see it going in the years to come?

County20132014201520162017
Fresno119117102150156
Kern131111138149182
Los Angeles625639651837658
Orange186173183204178
Riverside228246242297294
Sacramento123114139169172
San Bernardino262285260273271
San Diego198233246243231
San Joaquin938398119116
Santa Clara95106133114105
10 County Total2,0602,1072,1922,5552,363
State Total3,1073,1023,3873,8373,602
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While 2016-17 saw a drop off in fatalities, it seems for the most part as though driving in California is getting more dangerous. This is all the more reason to consider investing in a bit more car insurance than the state's minimum liability coverage. The more coverage you have, the safer you are.

Fatalities Involving Speeding by County

Unlike the weather, speeding is something drivers can control. And yet, the number of fatalities related to speeding in California continues to fluctuate.

CountyFatalities 2013Fatalities 2014Fatalities 2015Fatalities 2016Fatalities 2017Rate per 100K Population 2013Rate per 100K Population 2014Rate per 100K Population 2015Rate per 100K Population 2016Rate per 100K Population 2017
Alameda33243725322.081.492.261.511.92
Alpine1106188.7392.250567.6489.29
Amador0102002.7205.340
Butte611134152.714.925.781.776.54
Calaveras221344.484.482.226.628.76
Colusa112224.694.79.379.249.17
Contra Costa16132636171.461.172.313.161.48
Del Norte4225114.377.357.3418.213.64
El Dorado5869132.754.363.254.836.88
Fresno26242244512.732.492.264.495.16
Glenn112323.593.587.1810.737.12
Humboldt798685.216.695.924.45.85
Imperial8119374.516.1551.663.83
Inyo101025.4405.5011.1
Kern32274049453.73.14.555.545.04
Kings3311561.9927.313.344
Lake606439.409.336.254.67
Lassen315119.343.1515.933.233.21
Los Angeles2452402313082142.452.382.283.032.11
Madera5781043.294.545.186.452.55
Marin531361.931.150.381.152.3
Mariposa02001011.28005.69
Mendocino553395.745.723.443.4210.23
Merced1291614164.573.395.985.215.87
Modoc1000010.920000
Mono02000014.21000
Monterey3749110.71.630.922.062.51
Napa7223151.421.412.120.71
Nevada735447.143.045.074.044.01
Orange62565153601.991.791.611.671.88
Placer63211101.640.810.542.92.59
Plumas2224110.5810.7110.821.295.34
Riverside66938795842.884.013.73.983.47
Sacramento40354256532.742.372.813.73.46
San Benito350225.238.6203.373.32
San Bernardino92908272884.414.283.873.374.08
San Diego67717576782.082.182.282.292.34
San Francisco118101251.310.941.151.370.57
San Joaquin36263436355.123.644.74.94.7
San Luis Obispo81178132.93.952.52.834.59
San Mateo1751216112.270.661.562.081.43
Santa Barbara1161014182.521.362.253.144.02
Santa Clara28323933291.51.692.031.711.5
Santa Cruz7115472.64.051.821.452.54
Shasta6619463.363.3510.652.243.33
Sierra1000333000100.03
Siskiyou122242.34.614.614.69.12
Solano1522231463.535.125.293.181.35
Sonoma5171112111.013.42.192.382.18
Stanislaus17271213173.245.12.242.43.1
Sutter111491.061.051.054.169.31
Tehama464316.369.556.344.731.56
Trinity2512014.938.17.6415.580
Tulare8131513171.762.853.272.823.66
Tuolumne320125.553.7101.863.69
Ventura1991216142.261.071.411.881.64
Yolo7610983.392.874.714.173.65
Yuba263522.738.154.046.652.6
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Fatalities in Crashes Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver

While we've discussed the consequences of drinking and driving, it's still worth noting the counties that see the most alcohol-related fatalities in California.

Between 2003 and 2012, the state of California saw 10,327 deaths due to drunk driving, with .9 percent of those deaths being teenager deaths.

CountyFatalities 2013Fatalities 2014Fatalities 2015Fatalities 2016Fatalities 2017Fatallitiy Rate per 100K Population 2013Fatallitiy Rate per 100K Population 2014Fatallitiy Rate per 100K Population 2015Fatallitiy Rate per 100K Population 2016Fatallitiy Rate per 100K Population 2017
Alameda22172021331.391.051.221.271.98
Alpine1000288.73000178.57
Amador102442.7305.410.6710.36
Butte7101412153.164.476.235.36.54
Calaveras245364.488.9511.126.6213.14
Colusa0100404.70018.34
Contra Costa13141923221.191.261.692.021.92
Del Norte4222314.377.357.347.2910.92
El Dorado16115578.8162.72.683.7
Fresno31322935523.253.322.983.575.26
Glenn212157.183.587.183.5817.8
Humboldt51197163.728.176.665.1311.7
Imperial694953.385.032.224.972.73
Inyo101235.4405.511.0916.64
Kern34333940483.943.784.434.525.37
Kings338791.9925.324.676
Lake526567.833.129.337.829.34
Lassen314519.343.1512.7416.163.21
Los Angeles1871721492401921.871.711.472.361.89
Madera21171571.327.144.539.684.46
Marin242230.771.530.760.761.15
Mariposa2222511.2211.2811.3311.4128.46
Mendocino6311176.883.431.1512.567.95
Merced1481721185.333.026.367.816.6
Modoc1120010.9211.0122.100
Mono0120407.1114.33028.23
Monterey381116150.71.862.543.673.43
Napa517343.570.714.952.122.84
Nevada613156.121.013.041.015.01
Orange51414955471.641.311.551.731.47
Placer53510101.370.811.342.632.59
Plumas132135.2916.0710.85.3216.01
Riverside81717692953.533.063.233.853.92
Sacramento41354754542.812.373.143.573.53
San Benito361125.2310.351.711.693.32
San Bernardino67897480763.214.233.493.743.52
San Diego54557183781.681.692.162.52.34
San Francisco777740.830.820.810.80.45
San Joaquin34251943384.833.52.625.865.1
San Luis Obispo481211131.452.874.283.94.59
San Mateo17471462.270.530.911.820.78
Santa Barbara68810151.381.821.82.243.35
Santa Clara28363034301.51.91.561.761.55
Santa Cruz558551.861.842.921.821.81
Shasta10121110105.66.76.165.595.56
Sierra001010033.4033.34
Siskiyou245234.599.2211.534.66.84
Solano11111310122.592.562.992.272.69
Sonoma7161012151.413.21.992.382.97
Stanislaus14231623262.674.342.994.254.75
Sutter126381.062.116.283.128.28
Tehama555657.957.967.929.467.82
Trinity2522214.938.115.2815.5815.74
Tulare16131724303.532.853.715.216.46
Tuolumne237363.75.5713.065.5811.06
Ventura10151119201.191.781.32.232.34
Yolo857963.872.393.34.172.74
Yuba603528.204.046.652.6
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Note that the aforementioned statistics include teenage drivers.

EMS Response Time

If you happen to get in an accident, you'll need to get in touch with EMS as quickly as you can. California's EMS have recorded response times that will vary based on where an accident takes place, but in general, you'll be able to make it from the site of an accident to the hospital in under an hour.

Road TypeTime From of Crash to EMS NotificationTime From EMS Notification to ArrivalTime From Arrival at Scene to Arrival at HospitalTime From Crash to Arrival at Hospital
Urban2.714.008.0024.17
Rural2.0039.00NA5.00
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Transportation

With all of that out of the way, what does driving through California look like on a daily basis?

Well, let's just say that California's traffic has not been undersold. Rush hour traffic isn't a pretty sight, and you'll have to calculate your morning commute with care in order to get from one place to another in a timely manner.

Car Ownership

On average, Californians keep two cars in their garages. This contributes to California's traffic to a point, but it also reflects the DPI that Californians have available to them. To those drivers who have more than five cars — want to share one with us?

Commute Time

On average, you'll be spending 27.7 minutes on your daily commute to and from work in California, with variations taken into account based on where you live.

California's average commute rate is two minutes or so longer than the national average of 25.3 minutes, which means, on one hand, that you'll have more time to wake up in the morning. On the other, you'll have to get up earlier to get to work on time.

You should also be aware that 4.06 percent of drivers in California have to endure a super-commute — a commute that takes 90 minutes or longer to make. To those of you making that drive every day, we salute you.

Commuter Transportation

It won't surprise you to learn that Californians prefer to drive alone to and from work every day. Carpooling follows behind this significant statistic, contributing to just over 10 percent of California's traffic, while single drivers make up over 75 percent of roadway blockage.

Top California Cities for Traffic Congestion

And speaking of blockage: you won't be all that surprised to learn that several of California's cities rank among the most congested cities in the world. Los Angeles alone is the fifth most congested city in the United States.

If you're living in any of the cities mentioned below, make sure that you have ample time to make it from one place to another during the day.

CitiesCongestion LevelMorning PeakEvening Peak
Los Angeles45% 62%84%
San Francisco 39% 55%73%
San Jose32% 52%74%
San Diego27%44%60%
Sacramento 22%38%54%
Fresno 19%25%33%
Bakersfield18% 20%31%
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura 18%19%35%
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And with that, we come to the end of our guide to car insurance policies in California. While digging through the information you need to find the best car insurance policy for yourself is never easy, we hope we've provided you with the resources you need to find the most affordable coverage for your driving style.

Want to learn a little more? You can use our FREE online tool to explore available car insurance rates in your area. Let us help you budget more effectively for the year to come so you can enjoy the Eureka State to its fullest.