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 19, 2022

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California residents have some of the highest real estate prices in the nation and you can also add auto insurance to the list of things which cost more in the Golden State.

The national average cost of auto insurance is around $1,430 annually, but California drivers get to pay over 20 percent more, at $1,775 annually. Of course, a lot of things influence the cost of auto insurance in California, and if you are a woman, you can certainly expect to pay less. Almost any national average is typically based on male drivers with a good driving record.

Compare auto insurance quotes from California auto insurance companies online now!

However, California is not the highest state for auto insurance. Louisiana, Michigan, Oklahoma, and Montana all have higher auto insurance rates according to In fact, Louisiana and Michigan residents average well over $2,000 annually in auto insurance premiums due to state laws that expose auto insurance companies to much more risk than other states.

How much auto insurance do I need in California?

All California drivers must purchase auto insurance that complies with at least the state minimum requirements. The current (2011) minimum auto insurance requirements in California are:

  • $15,000 / $30,000 bodily injury liability insurance
  • $5,000 property damage liability

Low-income drivers can even apply for state approval to carry less coverage however no matter if you are rich or poor just having auto insurance which complies with California state minimum requirements is like walking around with a “bankrupt me” tattoo on your forehead. These required levels of insurance are so low the odds of personal liability in an accident are extremely high.

Furthermore, liability insurance only covers damage to other people’s vehicles in an at-fault car accident — this means you have no insurance to cover your own damages.

You should always consider more auto insurance than California state minimum requirements!

With the high cost of medical care, auto expenses and tort laws in California even a minor accident can end up in $30,000 or more of expenses. What happens if you don’t have enough auto insurance to cover the damages in a car accident? Break out the checkbook since you will have to pay and car accident injury attorneys love to sue.

Who are the best California auto insurance companies?

Almost all the major auto insurance companies have a presence in California along with numerous local and regional providers. California drivers have almost 200 auto insurance companies to choose from, providing an extremely competitive marketplace.

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According to the California Department of Insurance the top providers of personal auto insurance coverage by market share in California are:

  • 21st Century Insurance
  • AAA
  • Allstate
  • CSAA (California State Automobile Association)
  • Farmers Auto Insurance
  • Infinity Insurance
  • Mercury Insurance Company
  • Mid Century Insurance
  • Progressive
  • State Farm

But almost everybody from Geico to Nationwide sells auto insurance in California and even local providers often have 1 million or more policyholders. You should never restrict your search for auto insurance only to the companies who have the largest market share in California. Millions of drivers are happy with numerous other companies who are not, and never will be, on the list.

How do I compare auto insurance rates in California?

Shopping for auto insurance in California is much like any other state. You simply have to contact different auto insurance companies and compare quotes.

However the trick to find the best rates (and the best auto insurance company) is to learn how auto insurance works, ask around for recommendations and read reviews online.

The internet is not just for poking, tweeting and games but a wealthy resource of information for helping people shop for almost any good or service.

Enter your ZIP code and Compare Auto Insurance Quotes for new and used cars in California today!

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