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California Car Insurance
*The table shows the average annual rate of nearly every ZIP code in California from up to six major insurance companies. Rates are for a male driver, age 40, with a clean record and good credit for a 2016 Honda Accord. Data was provided for CarInsurance.com by Quadrant Information Services.
Recommended car insurance coverage
When deciding how much car insurance to buy, you need to assess your particular situation. To drive legally, you must buy at least the minimum liability insurance required by your state. If you didn t borrow money from a lender to buy your car and you don t have a lot of money or assets to protect, that might be a wise choice. If, however, you don t own your car outright, you will be required to get comprehensive and collision coverage. Additionally, if you have a home and savings to protect, it s wise to buy more coverage.
The more money and assets you have, the more likely it is that you may be sued following a car accident. Unless you are determined to pay the lowest car insurance rate possible, we recommend you buy higher than minimum liability coverage. If your net worth is:
- less than $50,000, choose at least 50/100/50
- between $50,000 and $100,000, choose at least 100/300/100
- more than $100,000, choose at least 250/500/100
If you’re leasing or financing your car, you automatically need coverage of 100/300/100 or higher.
Collision and comprehensive
Collision coverage pays for damage to your car after an accident that you cause. Comprehensive insurance pays to replace stolen cars and for damages from vandalism, flooding, hail, fire and animal strikes. If your car is:
- less than 10 years old, you should strongly consider buying collision and comprehensive.
- more than 10 years old, only buy collision and comprehensive if your car is worth $3,000 or more, if you couldn t afford to replace your car if it s wrecked, or if you just want more protection on your policy.
Uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage pays for damages if you re hit by a driver with no insurance or a driver with coverage that s insufficient to pay for your repairs and medical expenses. These should match the liability limits you choose. In most states, including California, these coverages are optional.
Medical coverage (MedPay)
Medical payments coverage can help pay for the medical or funeral expenses of covered drivers and passengers after an accident, regardless of fault, up to $25,000. In most states, including California, it’s an optional addition to your car insurance policy. MedPay does the following:
- Covers you and your passengers medical expenses
- Pays for expenses after health insurance limits are exceeded
- Offers additional protection to insured drivers who are hit by a car while walking or biking
If you and your passengers:
- Don t have health insurance, or have a plan that doesn t cover car accidents or has low limits, we recommend that you add medical coverage of at least $5,000 to your car insurance policy.
- Do have health insurance, it s still a good idea to have medical coverage if you want the best protection in your policy, as it can pay out after your health benefits are maxed out.
If you got a loan to pay for your car and have an accident, gap insurance pays the difference between the cash value of your car and the current outstanding balance on your loan or lease.
- If you re financing your car, your car is less than one year old and you ve put less than 20 percent down on it, you should buy gap insurance. If not, you don t need gap insurance.
- If you re leasing your car, it s a good idea to buy gap insurance if you don’t already have the coverage in your lease agreement.
- If you own your car outright, you don t need gap insurance.
California car insurance rates by company
Below you’ll see average annual rates for California, ranked cheapest to most expensive, for three coverage levels:
- State minimum liability requirements
- Liability limits of $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident and $50,000 property damage
- Liability of $100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident and $100,000 property damage, with comprehensive and collision at $500 deductible
State Minimum average annual rate
California car insurance rates by company and city
Car insurance companies in California
Scores are based on Insure.com s Best Insurance Companies customer review survey of 3,700 customers. Companies not in the top 10 of market share do not qualify. All scores are out of 100.
Best car insurance companies in California
Best customer service:
- USAA 100
- Mercury — 94
- Auto Club of Southern California 93.9
- State Farm 92
- Allstate 91.8
Best claims service:
- USAA 100
- Auto Club of Southern California 96.3
- Liberty Mutual 96
- Geico 93.9
- CSAA Insurance Group 92.5 Progressive 92.5
Best value for the price:
- Auto Club of Southern California 95
- Mercury 92.5
- CSAA Insurance Group 91.7
- USAA 91.3
- Progressive 86.3