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Cheapest Car Insurance in California

Dominating the west coast of the United States, California holds the beaches, national forests and Hollywood stardom that continue to make it one of the most visited states in the U.S. Driving the length of California can take a full 17 hours, and the famous Route 1’s beaches and ocean-front cliffs make the hours fly by. Because California is home to several of the nation’s most populated cities, driving in urban California can be stressful and hazardous, and it’s important to carry auto insurance coverage. This list of useful information for drivers has been compiled by to help drivers find cheap car insurance in California and enjoy their driving experience in the 49ers state — a name that draws credit from the famous Gold Rush of 1849 that brought thousands of people to the territory, all of them hoping to strike it rich but very few succeeding.


California hosts an increasingly wide variety of ethnic groups and peoples. The differing languages and cultures reflect the sometimes confusing blend of auto insurance laws and regulations. To help you sort through the information and find the cheapest car insurance in California, the following list covers the important key points.

Minimum Requirements for Car Insurance in California

  • California drivers must be insured with a minimum liability insurance plan, according to the California State Insurance Department.
  • California Liability Coverage minimums include:
    • $15,000 for an accident involving the death or injury of a single person.
    • $30,000 for an accident involving the death or injury of multiple people.
    • $5,000 for an accident involving property damage.
  • Failure to provide proof of insurance can result in vehicle impoundment, suspension of registration and/or suspension of drivers license, so it’s in your best interest to carry car insurance in California — plus auto insurance coverage is extremely helpful to have in an accident.

New Driver Licensing Requirements

All drivers, and all residents who have lived in California for more than 10 days, are required to have a valid drivers license. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) outlines three tests that must be passed to obtain a regular California drivers license.

  • Vision Test. To pass the vision test, an applicant must be determined to have a vision acuity of 20/40 or greater. If the applicant fails, certain circumstances allow a referral to an eye specialist to be prescribed corrective lenses.
  • Written Test. The written test consists of 30 questions pertaining to traffic signs and laws. The California DMV provides a practice test which can be accessed at Upon successful completion of the written and vision tests, the DMV will issue the applicant a permit to allow him/her to practice driving. While driving with the permit, the applicant must be accompanied by a licensed driver age 18 years or older.
  • Road Test. To successfully be admitted to the road test, the applicant’s vehicle must be in proper driving order and meet the necessary requirements listed on the California DMV’s website. The test administrator will evaluate the driver in the following areas:
    • Safely starting the vehicle
    • Moving forward
    • Stopping
    • Backing
    • Changing lanes
    • Freeway driving
    • Defensive driving
    • Turns
  • Pay a License Fee. A $30 fee is assessed for a new driver and a renewal application.
  • Drivers Under the Age of 18. Applicants between the ages of 15 1/2 years and under 18 can obtain a provisional permit. The California DMV requires a parent or guardian signature on the application. To take the road test, the applicant must not only have passed the vision and written tests, they must have held their permit for 6 months, have completed a driver education course, have completed 6 hours of professional driving training and completed 50 hours of driving training with a licensed driver 25 years of age or older. This must include 10 hours of night driving.


  • BAC limit: .08 California DUI convictions remain on a driver’s record for 10 years, and each offense results in a suspension of the driver’s license effective 30 days after the initial violation.
  • License suspension of 1 year on the first offense and each subsequent offense is a deterrent to drunk driving. In addition to the reinstatement fees, California law enforces severe penalties that vary according to the seriousness of the offense.
  • California’s Zero Tolerance Law targets drivers under 21 years of age. Under this law, the first offense will result in a 1 year license revocation, completion of DUI school and multiple fines.
  • There is a drivers license reissue fee for all drivers involved in DUI. For a list of the fees visit the California DMV’s fees page on their website.

Texting & Driving Laws reports that all drivers are banned from handheld devices and from texting. Additionally, all cell phone use is banned for novice drivers and bus drivers.

Unique Laws

While enjoying your fun-filled vacation in California, keeping in mind a few interesting laws will keep you out of trouble and help prevent an accident. For instance, in Hermosa Beach, it is illegal to spill your margarita on the roadway. It is also illegal to use the roadway for a bed in Eureka, and it is strictly prohibited to plant rutabagas in the road in Chico!


Best Cheap Car Insurance Quotes for California

Los Angeles County Car Insurance

The home of countless actors and waiters, the Golden State's most famous county is also its largest, with more than 10 million residents. Word is that filmmakers fled westward from New Jersey in the late 19th Century to avoid intellectual property claims of inventor Thomas Edison, who held most of the country's film patents. It didn't hurt that the area has mild, cooperative weather and a diverse range of terrain for movie shoots.

Los Angeles is home to roughly one quarter of California residents. Terrain-wise, it has something for everyone: Mountains, beaches and desert are all within reach. Popular attractions are Universal Studios Hollywood, the Getty Center, Santa Monica Beach and the southern end of famed Rodeo Drive.

County Sedan Suv Coupe Truck Hybrid
Los Angeles$948.00$820.00$996.00$884.00$884.00

San Diego County Car Insurance

Persistently sunny, the southwesternmost county in the continental U.S. is considered part of the San Diego-Tijuana metro area, the largest metro area shared with Mexico. Its population is roughly 3.2 million.

The top producer of avocados also boasts the largest number of missions in the U.S., located along the California Missions Trail, and 70 miles of coastline. The San Diego Zoo is one of the few zoos in the world that houses and breeds giant pandas.

County Sedan Suv Coupe Truck Hybrid
San Diego$1,028.00$900.00$1,090.00$1,002.00$960.00

Orange County Car Insurance

Part of the Los Angeles metro area, Orange County is California's third most populated, with just over 3 million residents. The count seat is Santa Ana, but largest and most well-known city is Anaheim, the home of Disneyland.

Unlike most populous U.S. counties, Orange County isn't defined by any urban center, being mostly suburban with a few older cities such as Fullerton and Huntington Beach, or "Surf City," as it is known. Another popular stop for visitors is Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park.

County Sedan Suv Coupe Truck Hybrid

Riverside County Car Insurance

Creating a band across the southern section of California, Riverside County extends to the Arizona border. Encompassing the Coachella Valley, the county is home to many Los Angeles commuters seeking more affordable housing.

The county contains part of the Salton Sea, an enormous lake created by an engineering mistake in 1905 that boomed as a resort in the 1950s, before its increasing salinity and pollution turned off tourists. Today, popular draws in Riverside are the March Air Field Museum, Mt. Rubidoux and California Citrus State Historic Park.

County Sedan Suv Coupe Truck Hybrid

San Bernardino County Car Insurance

Land-wise, San Bernardino is the largest county in California, though none of it is coastline. Its seat, San Bernardino, is the birthplace of McDonalds and fast food fans visit the original McDonald's site and museum.

San Bernardino is the site of the most recorded major earthquakes. The Rolling Stones performed their first U.S. concert here. Most mountains and desert, San Bernardino County includes the Mojave National Preserve and San Bernardino National Forest.

County Sedan Suv Coupe Truck Hybrid
San Bernardino$982.00$860.00$1,068.00$958.00$918.00

Santa Clara County Car Insurance

Located in Silicon Valley, Santa Clara is a geographically small county in west central California and also the nation's most affluent.

Santa Clara County is home to more than 6,500 high tech companies, including Apple Inc., eBay, Facebook, Google and Yahoo. Its seat is San Jose, where a Great America theme park, shopping, museums and a rentable 30-foot Monopoly game in which participants are life-sized "tokens" are popular with visitors. Also not to be missed is the interactive Tech Museum of Innovation in downtown San Jose.

County Sedan Suv Coupe Truck Hybrid
Santa Clara$982.00$846.00$1,038.00$932.00$916.00

Alameda County Car Insurance

With 1.5 million residents, Alameda is a small but densely populated county near the San Francisco Bay. Its seat is Oakland, the only city in the world to have a naturally occurring saltwater lake within its city limits, said to be inhabited by an elusive "Oakness Monster" - reportedly spotted on and off since the 1940s.

The seemingly endless hiking trails in Redwood Regional Park, the Oakland Zoo and Lake Merritt are popular with visitors.

County Sedan Suv Coupe Truck Hybrid

Sacramento County Car Insurance

One of the original counties created in 1850, the central California county of Sacramento is located between the Sacramento and Joaquin rivers. Residents here cite a small town feel, mild winters and dry, hot summers.

The county seat is the City of Sacramento, the state capital that dates back to the Gold Rush era. Its California State Railroad Museum focuses on construction of the first Transcontinental Railroad. Within the city also is the Old Sacramento district, where wooden sidewalks and carriage rides create what many deem a delightful tourist trap. Nearby is the City of Folsom, home to a must-see for Johnny Cash fans, the Folsom Prison Museum.

County Sedan Suv Coupe Truck Hybrid

Contra Costa County Car Insurance

With a name meaning "Against the Coast" in Spanish, Contra Costa County is a mostly suburban part of the San Francisco-Oakland metro area, so named for its position on the San Francisco Bay.

The hometown of Joe DiMaggio, the City of Martinez is the county seat. The most populous city is Concord, which boasts Pixieland theme park and the Contra Costa Canal Trail. Said to be the home of Grizzly Adams in the mid-1850s, Mount Diablo rises 3,849 feet as the center of Mount Diablo State Park, just south of the town of Clayton.

County Sedan Suv Coupe Truck Hybrid
Contra Costa$990.00$862.00$1,050.00$960.00$924.00

Fresno County Car Insurance

Halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco is Fresno County, where the seat is the fifth largest city in the state, Fresno. Like most of California, Fresno has a warm but fog-prone climate. It has been known as the raisin capital of the world ever since a number of grape bunches dried up by accident and created the first crop in 1873.

Fresno's Tower District is a hot spot for entertainment, dining and clubs. The "Concours D' Elegance" antique car show draws auto enthusiasts to Fresno every Spring. Other annual events include a Horned Toad Derby, Selma Raisin Festival and the Tower Classic Car Show.

County Sedan Suv Coupe Truck Hybrid

County Sedan Suv Coupe Truck Hybrid
Contra Costa$990.00$862.00$1,050.00$960.00$924.00
Del Norte$978.00$854.00$1,054.00$940.00$916.00
El Dorado$1,018.00$884.00$1,086.00$968.00$952.00
Los Angeles$948.00$820.00$996.00$884.00$884.00
San Benito$946.00$824.00$998.00$910.00$878.00
San Bernardino$982.00$860.00$1,068.00$958.00$918.00
San Diego$1,028.00$900.00$1,090.00$1,002.00$960.00
San Francisco$1,296.00$1,126.00$1,378.00$1,254.00$1,210.00
San Joaquin$1,038.00$912.00$1,112.00$1,010.00$964.00
San Luis Obispo$880.00$764.00$934.00$834.00$822.00
San Mateo$1,050.00$918.00$1,104.00$1,018.00$976.00
Santa Barbara$882.00$766.00$932.00$842.00$820.00
Santa Clara$982.00$846.00$1,038.00$932.00$916.00
Santa Cruz$942.00$828.00$996.00$916.00$874.00
Yuba$1,010.00$880.00$1,082.00$968.00$946.00 Methodology

Car insurance quotes are for one car and one driver who has state minimum coverage with $500 comprehensive and collision deductibles. The hypothetical driver is 40 years old, female, married, employed, a college graduate, and has good credit. She has no moving violations, accidents, claims, or lapse in coverage. The vehicles are assumed to be garaged on premises, used primarily for commuting, and driven 16,000 miles per year. Car insurance quotes include commonly available discounts and are estimates and not guaranteed.

Average Car Insurance Premiums. shows a mixed relationship between the national average and California’s auto insurance premiums and rates. Currently, both average premiums and average auto insurance premiums as a percentage of income are below the national average.

Drunk Driving Fatalities

Drunk driving fatalities in California indicate a flat trend compared to the national average. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that California has remained steadily below the national average since 2013.

Vehicular Theft in California

Vehicle thefts in California were well above the national average, according to an annual study conducted by the FBI. California’s number of thefts has been dropping since 2013.

Cheap Car Insurance understands you work hard for your money so, why spend more on your affordable auto insurance. Here is a list of some of the car insurance discounts that will help keep your hard-earned money in your pockets:

  • Multi-car insurance discount
  • Good student discount
  • Military discount
  • Car safety features discount
  • Anti-theft discount
  • Bundling your auto with home or renters
  • Defensive driving discount
  • Usage or low-mileage discount
  • Senior citizen discount
  • Mature driver discount

Insurance discounts may vary by state so, contact us today to see if you qualify for any of these car insurance discounts!

Driver RatingBest Rate Option
Good driversGeico
Retired drivers21st Century
Drivers with a military affiliationUSAA


State Department of Insurance

California Department of Insurance
300 S. Spring St., South Tower
Los Angeles, CA 90013
800-927-HELP (4357)
or 213-897-8921
Get directions

Department of Transportation

California Department of Transportation
1120 N St.
Sacramento, CA 94273
(916) 654-5266
Get Directions

Department of Motor Vehicles

California Department of Motor Vehicles
2415 1st Ave., Mail Station C254
Sacramento, CA 95818-2606
(501) 682-4692
Get Directions

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Largest cities:
Los Angeles
San Francisco