Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: Jan 30, 2020

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California is a vast state with many different types of demographic areas. There are rural towns, large cities, and everything in between. The geography ranges from mild climates in the south to mountainous regions in the north. All types of people, of every ethnic group imaginable, inhabit the state.

Due to the extreme variations in California’s demographics, auto insurance rates vary widely in the state. By and large, California is considered a higher-end market, especially around major urban areas such as Los Angeles and San Francisco.

However, in order to obtain a true picture of the range of the state’s premiums, it is helpful to look at some various localities and groups of people. Remember that rates are dependent on a variety of factors, and the chosen examples may not fit your particular information.

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Glendale California Auto Insurance

In Glendale, an area of Los Angeles, premiums are higher than in some areas of the state. For example, a young male with a clean record can find annual premiums for basic liability ranging from $671 to $2,463 annually. An older, married couple would anywhere from $968 to $2,289 for the same coverage.

For full coverage, including collision and comprehensive, the couple would pay between $2,058 and $4,167 for Traveler’s, while the young man’s premiums range would be $1,843 to just over $5,000.

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San Jose Auto Insurance

In another part of the state, premiums are quite different. In San Jose, a much smaller community near San Francisco, the same young man with a clean record can expect to pay around $467 to $1,610 in annual premiums. The older, married couple would pay between $678 and $1,530 for basic liability.

For full coverage, the young man would pay between $1,291 and $3,853, while the married couple would have an annual auto insurance cost of between $1,775 and $3,094.

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Northern California

Finally, in Eureka, in the northern part of the state, a young male driver can expect premiums to range between $476 and $1,093 for liability only, and a married couple would pay around $691 to $1,041 every 12 months.

For full coverage, auto insurance premiums would cost a young male driver around $1,300 to $2,500 and married couples between $1,800 and $2,000.

It is clear from these comparisons that various parts of the state are much cheaper than others for auto insurance, primarily the places with less industrialization and urbanization. Further, young men pay far more for premiums in any part of the state than older, married couples.

All figures are also given with no violations on record. One speeding ticket can change the amount of the premium by hundreds of dollars every year.

California Low-cost Auto Insurance Program

California also offers a “low-cost auto insurance program” which allows drivers to purchase basic coverage at a reduced cost. This program was instituted to help people with low incomes keep their vehicles insured without undue financial stress.

The coverage is very basic, offering only $10,000 in bodily injury per person or $20,000 per accident, and property damage liability of $3,000. This is barely enough to meet state requirements and is only for people with no assets which can be attached if the liability limits do not cover the cost of the accident.

The state quotes various rates for different areas, including $314 for San Francisco, $248 for San Luis Obispo, $277 for Shasta, and $358 for Los Angeles.

Additional coverage can be purchased for a higher price, including $1000 in medical payments per person, and uninsured motorists coverage of $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident. This additional coverage will cost $71.00 in San Francisco, $60 in San Luis Obispo, $48 in Shasta, and $109 in Los Angeles.

All rates are quoted for households without single male drivers; the addition of such a driver adds a 25 percent surcharge to the cost. Even with the additional fees, this is the most affordable form of car insurance available; however, it is not the type of coverage for anyone with any valuable assets, as these can be seized in the event of a lawsuit.

The coverage was designed to help indigent families and young, single people who have trouble affording traditional car insurance.

No matter where you live in California, you can compare auto insurance quotes from a long list of providers to find the best rate for your particular needs.

Well over 100 licensed auto insurance companies do business in California and auto insurance rates can vary from one auto insurance company to the next.

Compare auto insurance rates by using our FREE quote tool today!

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  5. How much does auto insurance cost in California?