Car insurance in California is required by law. All drivers need to have at least minimum liability insurance in order to legally operate their vehicles in the state. Getting cheap car insurance in California is possible with these tips!

For full coverage car insurance, you can expect to pay about $2,635 per year in California. Minimum liability car insurance coverage will cost you an average of $836 annually.

However, with so many options to select from, it can be difficult to know where to begin when looking for inexpensive car insurance in California. That’s why it’s important to look for car insurance quotes offered by different insurance companies.

Minimum Liability Car Insurance in California

Minimum liability insurance is the cheapest car insurance option you can buy in California. While these plans offer affordable insurance, you should make sure that they offer enough coverage in the event of an accident.

cheap car insurance in California

Key Point: Can You Drive Someone Else’s Car Without Insurance in California?

You don’t need non owner car insurance in California to drive someone else’s car occasionally. Their auto insurance policy will generally include permissive use coverage for other drivers.

However, if you don’t own a car and frequently borrow other people’s vehicles, you may want a non owner auto insurance policy to provide a comfortable level of insurance in California.

Cheap Full Coverage Car Insurance in California

Full coverage car insurance in California is more expensive than liability car insurance, but it offers more protection and larger coverage limits.

Comprehensive and collision insurance are included in a full coverage auto policy, which protects drivers from both road accidents and off-road occurrences.

Auto Insurance for Good Drivers in California

If you haven’t had traffic violations on your driving record, like a speeding ticket, a DUI, or automobile accident, in the last five years, you’ll likely be able to receive the cheapest auto insurance in California.

Car Insurance for Bad Drivers in California

Kemper Auto has cheap car insurance in California for drivers with DUI violations or traffic fines. We also recommend obtaining cheap car insurance quotes in California from Bristol West, which is also a low cost car insurance option for “bad drivers.”

Because drivers with traffic violations are regarded as riskier to insure, the cost of auto insurance will be higher.

Affordable Car Insurance for Young Drivers in California

AAA has the most affordable car insurance in California in both full coverage and minimum liability for teen drivers. We also recommend obtaining auto insurance quotes from Mile Auto, which is also a cost effective option for full or minimum insurance coverage. 

Because young drivers are more likely to be involved in automobile accidents, they are regarded as a higher risk for insurance companies. As a result, the cost of car insurance is generally higher than adults.

Anyone between the ages of 15 and 25 is classified as a young driver. However, when you turn 25, you will get cheaper car insurance.

Cheapest Automobile Insurance Companies in California

Kemper Auto

Kemper is an American insurance provider with over $14 billion in assets, roughly 10,000 employees, and annual revenue of $5.2 billion.

They are best known for providing cheap auto insurance coverage for high-risk drivers, but the car insurance company also offers an array of other insurance, including:

  • Homeowners insurance.
  • Life insurance.
  • Supplemental health insurance.

The Kemper headquarters is located in Chicago, Illinois, but they also have 34 offices located around the U.S.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating: A+

21st Century

21st Century Insurance was founded in 1958 and is a subsidiary of Farmers Insurance. The company now exclusively sells auto insurance in California.

This car insurance company does the majority of its business online and over the phone. 21st Century is best suited to those who don’t mind not having a personal agent.

Some of the pros of 21st Century are their complimentary roadside assistance and ability to file SR-22 forms.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating: A+

Mile Auto

The American insurance provider, Mile Auto, is a newcomer to the game, being founded in 2017. It is known for its pay-per-mile auto insurance programs, where they only charge you for the miles you drive.

In 2021, Mile Auto acquired $10.3 million in SEED funding, which they are using to:

  • Expand their availability to half of the U.S.
  • Hire more employees.
  • Add new distribution channels.
  • Onboard white-label partners.
  • Expanding its automaker network.

The Mile Auto headquarters are located in Atlanta, Georgia, but they are also available in California, Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, and Oregon.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating: A+


Dairyland was formed in 1953 and has its headquarters in Wisconsin. The company specializes in coverage for high risk drivers with bad driving records, no past insurance, or little driving experience. They specialize in non standard auto insurance.

Dairyland offer auto insurance discounts, for things such as.

  • Possessing an anti-theft device.
  • Defensive driving certification.
  • Homeowners’ or renters’ insurance.
  • Bundling numerous vehicles under one policy.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating: A+

Bristol West

Bristol West is a member of the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies, one of the nation’s largest insurer groups that offer a wide variety of insurance options, including auto insurance.

They are best known for offering coverage for high risk drivers and can especially help you out with SR22 insurance in California and it’s required  filing.

The Bristol West headquarters are located in Davie, Florida, but they also have agents and brokers in 43 states across the country.

Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating: A+

Inexpensive Car Insurance in Different Parts of California

Car insurance providers calculate the cost for insurance in California depending on a variety of factors, one of which is the vehicle’s location.

Here are the average annual prices for car insurance within some of the largest California cities over the past several years:

CityAnnual Price 
Los Angeles$3,802
San Diego$2,543
San Jose$2,706
San Francisco$3,270
Long Beach$3,008
Average $2,972

Tips for Choosing Cheaper Car Insurance in California

Minimum auto insurance requirements: A minimum amount of liability insurance coverage is required by law for California drivers. This includes minimum coverage for bodily injury liability and property damage liability.

Uninsured motorist bodily injury and property damage coverage must also be offered to you by your vehicle insurance provider, but you can decline it in writing if you do not wish to have it provided.

Lender requirements: If you’re financing or leasing your car, you’ll likely have to get full coverage auto insurance to meet the needs of your lender.

For example, many lenders require you to get collision and comprehensive insurance if your car is leased or loaned. Automobile insurance policies like these are referred to as full coverage policies.

Individual needs: There is no one-size fits all approach to affordable car insurance. Some people might live in areas where traffic and tourism are intense (such as Los Angeles or San Francisco), others might have a bad driving record, or insure a young driver.

Depending on your specific requirements, having collision and comprehensive coverage, uninsured motorist coverage, or towing and rental reimbursement might be a good idea.

California Car Insurance FAQs

Am I required to carry car insurance in the state of California?

Yes, California requires drivers to carry at least the minimum auto insurance coverages. If you do not have auto liability insurance:

  • You can be fined.
  • Your license may be suspended.
  • Your vehicle could be impounded.

Which company has the cheapest car insurance in California?

We found that AAA offers the lowest quotes for minimum liability car insurance in California. Remember, this is liability insurance only.

How much does car insurance cost in California?

On average, minimum-coverage car insurance in California costs $604 per year, or $50 per month, while full coverage costs around $179 per month or $2,148 per year.

What is the best car insurance in California?

Looking for affordable auto insurance, stellar customer service, a digital app, and the needed insurance coverage might help you identify which California car insurance company can a fit. You can then get car insurance insurance quotes from several of these insurance companies to see which is the best fit.

How Much Car Insurance Do I Need in California?

California requires both liability insurance and uninsured motorist liability insurance. The minimum level of auto coverage required by state law is:

  • Bodily injury liability insurance: $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident.
  • Property damage liability coverage: $5,000.
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage: $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident.


Cheap Insurance strives to keep all listed information accurate and up-to-date. The information we provide shouldn’t be considered as the price or amount you will pay for any form of insurance provided by the auto insurance companies discussed on the website. All information displayed on this website is presented without warranty and is non-binding. Visitors to the website should contact, their insurance broker, or their financial provider for final pricing, offers, and quotes.


Our researchers sourced insurance quotes from auto insurance companies that operate in the regions we investigated. We used a standardized base profile for each section to compare auto insurance offers. For the following sections:

  • Minimum Liability Car Insurance
  • Cheapest Full Coverage Insurance
  • Cheapest Car Insurance for Good Drivers (Clean Driving Records)
  • Cheap auto insurance for bad drivers

Base profile used:   Gender: Male    Marital Status: Married    Age: 32    Vehicle: The most popular sedan by sales in the state    Vehicle Year: 2017    Model Type: The most basic type/entry-level model.    Mileage: 12000 miles

  • Cheapest Car Insurance for Young Drivers

Base profile used:   Marital Status: Single    Age: 20    Gender: Male    Vehicle: Drives the most popular sedan by sales in the state    Vehicle Year: 2017    Model Type: The most basic type/entry-level model.    Mileage: 12000 miles

California Car Insurance Discounts

Make your cheap car insurance even more affordable with a couple of discounts available for California drivers. Request a car insurance quote from to see if you qualify for them.

Good Driver Discount

The Good Driver Discount policy is a special law that requires auto insurance companies to offer a 20 percent discount on premiums to motorists who drive exceptionally well. To be eligible, a Good Driver must be:
  • A valid license holder for at least three years
  • Licensed in the US or Canada in the past 18 months
  • Without more than one point received from the DMV in the last three years
  • Without offenses or felonies related to driving in the past 10 years

Good Student Discount

Young drivers in their teenage years or twenties can be eligible for a Good Student Discount with their coverage premiums here in California. The discount percentage varies per insurer, but it can be as low as 7% or up to 20%. Their requirements are as follows:
  • Have 8 years or less of driving experience.
  • Be currently enrolled full-time in high school, college, university, or homeschooling.
  • Maintain an average of B, 3.0 GPA, top 20% in SATs, or other academic equivalents.

Other Available Insurance Discounts

Though it depends on what the insurance company offers, other California car insurance discounts you could qualify for include:

  • Multi-car coverage. This is for drivers who will insure more than one vehicle with the same insurer.
  • Defensive driver/mature driver discount. Drivers over 50 years old can get a small discount by finishing a certified defensive driving course.
  • Multiple Policy. You can be eligible for this by purchasing other insurance policies besides your auto insurance policy.

Driving in California is quite similar to driving in other states: fewer cars in smaller cities, more cars in bigger cities. Urban centers like Los Angeles are notorious for their traffic jams. 

California has a large motorist population, with over 27 million licensed drivers. With many people driving, you can expect a high number of dangerous accidents. More than 16 percent of California drivers are also uninsured, which means you can’t file an insurance claim against them if they injure you in an accident.