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Best Cheap Auto Insurance in California (2021)

California Statistics
California Statistics SummaryDetails
Road MilesTotal in State: 225,531
Vehicle Miles Driven: 332.9 Billion
Driving DeathsSpeeding: 1,070 - 30%
Drunk Driving: 1,120 - 31%
VehiclesRegistered: 27,872,875
Total Stolen: 151,852
Most Popular VehicleHonda Civic
Average Premiums (Annual)Liability: $490
Collision: $397
Comprehensive: $101
Combined Premiums: $987
Percent of Motorists Uninsured15.2%
State Rank: 12th
Cheapest ProviderUSAA
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Auto insurance in California can be very expensive, but there are ways to save and find cheap auto insurance in your state.

A 2018 Gallup poll reports that 83 percent of Americans drive a car “at least several times a week,” with 64 percent who said they drive “every single day.”

That’s a lot of people who need auto insurance since it’s required by law and all. In 2016 there were over 26 million licensed drivers in California alone, which makes this a very important topic.

The problem? Studies show most Americans have huge misconceptions about auto insurance. The majority of auto insurance customers don’t fully understand what they’re paying for or when the coverage will actually help them. Sadly, many find out when it’s much too late.

Drivers must pay about $1,000 a year in California just to reach the state’s minimum required auto insurance coverage. Add even the smallest claim and that number jumps way up.

That’s a lot of money to be spending on something the average American feels (and proves to be) clueless about.

Before you buy California auto insurance, shop around to make sure you are getting the best deal out there.

Start comparing California auto insurance rates today. Enter your ZIP code into our free comparison tool above to find affordable California auto insurance.

Table of Contents

What are California auto insurance coverage and rates?

Are you tired of spending thousands of dollars on something that you don’t fully see the benefit of?

We are here to help. This guide will break down your seemingly endless policy options, explain why the coverage is important, compare average rates from state to state, and help make sense of the confusing lingo agents love to use.

See, you can trust us . . . we aren’t selling anything. Just experts on auto insurance who are here to help you.

Did you know? California is one of the best states for classic car owners.

Read on to find out what insurance you need for your vehicle or classic car before you get back on the road without the proper protection for your investments.

What are the minimum auto insurance requirements in California?

When it comes to car insurance, California doesn’t have huge minimums.

California Minimum Liability Auto Insurance Requirements
Liability Insurance RequiredMinimum Coverage Limits Required
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage$15,000 per person
$30,000 per accident
Property Damage Liability Coverage$5,000 minimum
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Liability insurance pays all individuals – drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, etc – who are owed compensation for property damage and/or injuries resulting from a car accident that you or anyone under your policy causes.

Your liability coverage will be in effect when any family member – or anyone you have given permission – is driving your vehicle. In California, this usually covers you in a rental car as well.

California law requires this minimum liability coverage as protection for others in the event you cause an accident:

  • $15,000 for injury or death for one person
  • $30,000 for injury or death if there’s more than one person
  • $5,000 for damage to property in an accident

Remember that these are only bare-bones coverage amounts. This is just what California motorists are required to have to drive in order to not be a liability to all others on the roads around them.

Though it is cheap, it is not always what you may need to fully cover your car.

In the tragic event of a deadly crash, there will be extensive injuries, damage, or possibly deaths. If you are found to be at fault, you alone will be held financially responsible. Minimum coverage will quickly run dry.

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Can’t afford the minimum auto insurance in California? See if you qualify for CLCA which is discussed in detail below.

What are the required forms of financial responsibility in California?

California law requires every driver and every owner of a vehicle to have proof of financial responsibility (proof of liability coverage) at all times.

Here are the four acceptable Forms of Financial Responsibility:

  1. Liability insurance policy card
  2. Receipt of deposit of $35,000 with the California DMV
  3. Surety bond for $35,000 obtained from a company licensed to do business in California
  4. Self-insurance certificate issued from the California DMV

Can police check your car insurance?

Every time a motorist operates a vehicle he or she is required to have – on hand – one of the above four forms proving financial responsibility. This form must be available to show an officer at a traffic stop or after an accident.

If you fail to show proof of financial responsibility in California, you face a fine or having your vehicle impounded. Don’t let that be you.

Now let’s look at how much California residents are making versus how much they’re spending on auto insurance.

What are auto insurance rates as a percentage of income in California?

In 2017, the annual per capita disposable personal income in California was $49,731.

Clarification: disposable personal income (DPI) is the total amount of money available for an individual to spend (or save) after their taxes have been paid.

The 2017 annual minimum coverage auto insurance in California cost $1,120, which was over two percent of the average disposable personal income.

The average Californian has only $4,144 each month to buy food, pay bills etc. The auto insurance bill alone will deduct about $100 out of that – and much more for anything over the minimum coverage and/or with a less-than-perfect driving record.

American Consumer Credit Counseling suggests saving 20 percent of every paycheck.  With California’s DPI, that’s a whopping $829 each month. How much are you putting aside for savings?

What are the average monthly auto insurance rates in CA?

Just how much does auto insurance in California cost each month? Check out this table to find out.

California Auto Insurance Coverages
Coverage TypeAnnual Costs (2015)
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This chart will show you how California stacks up to other states.

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The above table and chart illustrate the most recent data provided by the leading source on the matter, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Expect auto insurance rates in California to be significantly higher for 2018 and on.

California is full of military families, and the cheapest car insurance for military families is usually USAA, which is not available to anyone outside of the military and their family members.

Don’t forget: California has minimum requirements for liability coverage, but experts suggest drivers purchase more than what state law requires especially when the coverage amounts are as low as 15/30/5.

Great news. In California insurance providers are not allowed to increase your rates due to a claim when you were not found to be “at fault” for the accident.

Let’s dig into some of the most popular types of auto insurance coverage options to add to a basic auto insurance policy.

You can also look for car insurance discounts to lower your rates. Common ways to save are multi-car, multi-policy, good student, and safe driver discounts. Speak with your agent to see what discounts you can add.

What additional liability coverage is available in California?

Med Pay, Uninsured, and Underinsured Motorist coverage are all optional in California, but they’re still important to have. Why?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, 15.2 percent of motorists in California were uninsured – these drivers would likely go bankrupt before they could pay off bills for damage and injuries they caused in a car accident.

Take a look at this table that details the loss ratios in California.

California Med Pay and UIM/UM
Loss Ratio201220132014
Medical Payments (Med Pay)73%69%62%
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist60%59%58%
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California is ranked 12th in the nation for having such a high percentage of drivers choosing to ignore the minimum required auto insurance laws.

The Golden State’s falling behind: The consecutive years of declining loss ratios seen above are concerning for the insurance customers.

In 2015 the top insurance companies in the U.S. had loss ratios that ranged from 94 to 112 percent, which is far from what we’re finding in California.

Here’s how the attorneys at Murphy & Prachthauser explain it:
“Lower pay loss ratio means the insurance company is paying more for salaries, defense costs, and advertising, rather than paying the policyholders who purchased their coverage. All other things being equal, try to find auto insurance companies with a higher pay loss ratio.”

Auto insurance providers paid for claims amounting to only 60 percent of the rates California residents paid on average in these two categories in 2014.

A real-time example of a 60 percent loss ratio: you pay $1,000 for coverage and your provider pays $600 for damages.

What add-ons, endorsements, and riders are available in California?

We know getting the complete coverage you need for an affordable price is your goal. Good news. There are lots of powerful but cheap extras you can add to your policy.

Here’s a list of useful coverage available to you in California:

  • Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP)
  • Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP)
  • Rental Reimbursement
  • Emergency Roadside Assistance
  • Mechanical Breakdown Insurance
  • Non-Owner Auto Insurance
  • Modified Auto Insurance Coverage
  • Classic Auto Insurance

Also, AAA offers many coverages in California, but the state is split into different regions. So if you move from one area to another, your AAA membership may change.

You can also save money if you don’t drive much. Read on to find out how.

Is pay-as-you-drive or usage-based insurance an option in California?

Motorists across the U.S. are putting tracking devices in their vehicles and with safe-driving reports, they’re shaving nearly $300, per car, off their rates. Sounds like a major win for safe drivers, right?

Well, California’s Department of Insurance doesn’t see it that way. Legislators identify two major problems:

  1. Lack of privacy: motorists can be tracked and their destinations can be saved
  2. Unfair judgment: motorists shouldn’t be charged more because they drive through (or to) poor areas

California only allows insurance providers to track mileage and adjust rates accordingly. Throughout the state, insurers are not allowed to discount or up-charge based on driving behavior.

Usage-based insurance can still be beneficial for California drivers depending on their driving habits and commutes.

Actually, there’s more (scroll down) that California motorists might find is unfair about their auto insurance rates.

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What are the average auto insurance rates by age and gender in CA?

A popular myth is that women pay more for auto insurance. In most states that isn’t always true, and California is one of them.

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In California, both GEICO and Progressive charge males more than females who have the exact same profile and driving record.

How much more are men charged? Our researchers discovered that males in California are charged as much as $50 a year more than females who are the same age and have identical backgrounds and driving records.

There are other key factors that play major roles in determining an individual’s auto insurance rates. See the annual rates below we collected with the help of Quadrant Information Services:

California Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates by Demographics
CompanySingle Female (17) Annual RateSingle Male (17) Annual RateSingle Female (25) Annual RateSingle Male (25) Annual RateMarried Female (35) Annual RateMarried Male (35) Annual RateMarried Female (60) Annual RateMarried Male (60) Annual Rate
Allstate Northbrook Indemnity$8,098.88$10,188.73$3,742.44$4,115.50$2,921.24$2,923.87$2,126.03$2,148.03
AMCO Insurance$8,318.27$9,186.72$3,904.76$3,858.43$3,272.83$3,124.42$2,863.68$2,699.52
Farmers Ins Exchange$8,667.08$14,189.14$3,218.46$3,585.17$2,715.31$2,715.31$2,451.83$2,451.83
Geico General$5,433.56$5,529.48$2,566.22$2,624.98$1,786.81$1,787.80$1,680.52$1,680.52
SAFECO Ins Co of America$5,014.43$5,348.46$2,593.72$2,620.60$2,303.99$2,177.93$2,145.20$2,077.01
State Farm Mutual Auto$6,089.50$7,555.39$3,663.92$3,777.69$3,310.18$3,310.18$2,957.44$2,957.44
Travelers Commercial Ins Co.$5,165.60$5,906.73$3,249.64$3,179.78$2,497.45$2,417.86$2,206.26$2,182.92
United Financial Casualty$4,767.78$5,748.65$2,576.92$2,771.33$1,785.37$1,837.82$1,518.62$1,802.64
USAA CIC$4,404.58$4,428.83$2,670.51$2,523.86$1,929.46$1,827.74$1,882.10$1,889.89
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But, maybe those gender rate differences are a thing of the past considering the new law that was just passed.

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has issued new regulations that prohibit the use of gender in private passenger automobile insurance rating in California. The Gender Non-Discrimination in Automobile Insurance Rating Regulation became effective on January 1, 2019.

This is Jones’ third attempt since 2009 to remove gender as a price-setting factor. Hopefully, this one will stick.

What are the cheapest California auto insurance rates by city and ZIP code?

Like most states, auto insurance rates can vary based on where you live.

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The table below lists the 25 most expensive ZIP codes in California.

California 25 Most Expensive Zip Codes
25 Most Expensive Zip Codes in California CityAverage Annual Rate by Zip CodeMost Expensive CompanyMost Expensive Annual Rate2nd Most Expensive Company2nd Most Expensive Annual RateCheapest CompanyCheapest Annual Rate2nd Cheapest Company2nd Cheapest Annual Rate
90004LOS ANGELES$5,928.00Allstate$8,189.47Nationwide$8,127.33USAA$3,847.79Progressive$4,373.15
90005LOS ANGELES$6,040.60Allstate$8,065.54Nationwide$8,057.13USAA$4,004.33Progressive$4,592.87
90010LOS ANGELES$6,201.00Nationwide$8,610.21Allstate$8,225.60USAA$4,226.92Liberty Mutual$4,883.02
90017LOS ANGELES$5,898.73Allstate$8,014.89Nationwide$8,005.94USAA$3,945.10Liberty Mutual$4,632.60
90020LOS ANGELES$6,132.45Nationwide$8,382.09Allstate$8,360.06USAA$4,004.33GEICO$4,512.30
90027LOS ANGELES$5,897.67Nationwide$8,413.29Allstate$8,189.47Progressive$4,012.84USAA$4,015.30
90028LOS ANGELES$6,063.25Allstate$8,360.06Farmers$8,208.73USAA$4,004.33GEICO$4,393.74
90029LOS ANGELES$5,934.84Farmers$8,227.86Allstate$8,197.40USAA$3,735.84GEICO$4,161.04
90038LOS ANGELES$6,048.15Nationwide$8,518.96Allstate$8,360.06USAA$3,693.78GEICO$4,309.89
90046LOS ANGELES$6,045.78Allstate$8,225.60Nationwide$8,193.23USAA$3,966.93GEICO$4,399.92
90048LOS ANGELES$5,877.67Allstate$8,276.46Nationwide$8,189.87USAA$3,719.43GEICO$4,058.38
90057LOS ANGELES$5,894.37Allstate$8,016.78Nationwide$8,012.71USAA$3,847.79Progressive$4,225.65
90069WEST HOLLYWOOD$5,844.28Allstate$8,276.46Farmers$8,037.83USAA$3,671.99Liberty Mutual$4,191.86
90077LOS ANGELES$5,878.05Allstate$8,190.66Farmers$7,517.86Liberty Mutual$3,925.51USAA$4,125.06
90210BEVERLY HILLS$6,324.83Nationwide$8,533.47Allstate$8,190.66Liberty Mutual$4,414.40USAA$4,692.62
90211BEVERLY HILLS$6,199.34Nationwide$8,922.36Allstate$8,190.66USAA$4,245.23Liberty Mutual$4,439.85
90212BEVERLY HILLS$6,041.05Allstate$8,190.66Farmers$7,792.29USAA$4,245.23Liberty Mutual$4,539.22
91201GLENDALE$5,847.26Nationwide$8,736.98Allstate$7,952.29USAA$3,808.95Liberty Mutual$4,011.77
91203GLENDALE$6,086.66Nationwide$9,116.47Allstate$7,952.29USAA$4,004.56Liberty Mutual$4,116.05
91204GLENDALE$6,015.40Nationwide$8,721.88Allstate$7,952.29USAA$4,004.56Liberty Mutual$4,268.49
91205GLENDALE$5,990.19Nationwide$8,439.18Farmers$7,685.36USAA$4,004.56Liberty Mutual$4,296.53
91401VAN NUYS$6,073.88Nationwide$8,651.65Allstate$8,335.75USAA$3,828.03Liberty Mutual$4,506.46
91405VAN NUYS$6,198.55Nationwide$8,789.36Allstate$8,155.64USAA$3,931.76Liberty Mutual$4,683.16
91605NORTH HOLLYWOOD$6,034.64Nationwide$8,737.86Farmers$7,959.34USAA$3,808.95Liberty Mutual$4,383.46
91606NORTH HOLLYWOOD$6,219.57Allstate$8,174.05Farmers$8,102.32USAA$3,931.76Liberty Mutual$4,611.35
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Conversely, this table shows the areas with the 25 cheapest auto insurance rates in the state.

California 25 Least Expensive Zip Codes
25 Least Expensive Zip Codes in California CityAverage Annual Rate by Zip CodesMost Expensive CompanyMost Expensive Annual Rate2nd Most Expensive Company2nd Most Expensive Annual RateCheapest CompanyCheapest Annual Rate2nd Cheapest Company2nd Cheapest Annual Rate
93401SAN LUIS OBISPO$2,731.32Allstate$3,488.65Nationwide$3,336.13Progressive$2,177.96Liberty Mutual$2,285.77
93402LOS OSOS$2,821.16Nationwide$3,411.51Allstate$3,392.02Liberty Mutual$2,324.69Progressive$2,336.39
93420ARROYO GRANDE$2,824.43Nationwide$3,543.40Farmers$3,404.34Progressive$1,980.83Liberty Mutual$2,298.66
93430CAYUCOS$2,850.58Nationwide$3,460.36Allstate$3,361.53Liberty Mutual$2,344.53USAA$2,423.24
93433GROVER BEACH$2,834.19Nationwide$3,752.44Allstate$3,468.52Liberty Mutual$2,282.99Progressive$2,297.06
93441LOS OLIVOS$2,840.56Nationwide$3,594.51Allstate$3,442.05Progressive$2,327.04USAA$2,426.99
93442MORRO BAY$2,807.97Allstate$3,396.50Nationwide$3,358.53Progressive$2,126.82Liberty Mutual$2,400.87
93444NIPOMO$2,843.90Nationwide$3,495.01Farmers$3,445.56USAA$2,299.41Liberty Mutual$2,337.28
93449PISMO BEACH$2,829.93Nationwide$3,707.40Allstate$3,450.72Liberty Mutual$2,283.28USAA$2,449.96
93452SAN SIMEON$2,858.30Nationwide$3,497.26Allstate$3,487.46Progressive$2,305.34USAA$2,330.63
93455SANTA MARIA$2,877.52Nationwide$3,554.69Allstate$3,453.85GEICO$2,325.67USAA$2,363.73
96032FORT JONES$2,885.83Farmers$4,329.09Nationwide$3,547.47Progressive$2,122.70USAA$2,266.86
96067MOUNT SHASTA$2,777.89Farmers$4,029.52Nationwide$3,347.10Progressive$1,989.83GEICO$2,080.16
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Okay now that you have all that background information on auto insurance requirements and rates in your state, let’s find out which insurance providers in California have the best ratings and reviews. Don’t worry, we’ll share the ones with the most customer complaints too.

Read on to find out the true reputation of the insurance provider who would be lucky to have your business.

What are the best California auto insurance companies?

With the hundreds of auto insurance companies out there today, it’s nearly impossible to know who you can trust.

You might be wondering, “Is it safe to switch to a new, smaller company that offers lower rates?” Let us help you figure that out.

Keep reading to get the inside scoop on who the best providers are and why across the Golden State.

How do California auto insurance companies’ ratings compare?

Let’s dive right in and begin with their financial strength.

Check out the 10 largest California auto insurance companies’ financial ratings.

A.M. Best Ratings for Auto Insurance Companies
Insurance CompaniesA.M. Best Rating
Berkshire HathawayA++
State FarmA++
United ServicesA++
Allstate InsuranceA+
Mercury GeneralA+
CSAA InsuranceA
Farmers InsuranceA
Liberty MutualA
Auto Club EnterprisesA-
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What’s just as important as how financially secure they are? How they treat you, the customer. Let’s see what the auto insurance customers in California have to say.

Which California auto insurance companies have the best customer ratings?

With an impressive total of 862 out of 1,000 possible points, Ameriprise was the auto insurance provider in California to win J.D. Power’s 2018 Study.

“Cost is not the sole indicator of customer satisfaction in the auto insurance industry. Low prices may attract new customers, but it’s service that keeps them.” – J.D. Power Business Consultant

Due to how the regions were split up, there were only 11 first-place winners in the U.S. and Ameriprise was one of them. California residents had five auto insurance companies they rated “better than most” or “among the best.”

Yes, it’s good to focus on the positive, but to be fully informed you need to know when customers aren’t happy too.

One bad review isn’t a big deal, but when a provider is getting the most complaints in the entire state, it’s certainly worth noting.

What California auto insurance companies have the most customer complaints?

With 400 complaints in just three years, it’s clear customers aren’t always satisfied with the largest provider in the state of California.

Customer Complaints in California by Auto Insurance Company
Number of Justified Customer Complaints201520162017Total
Access Insurance88263460811
Alliance United12315687366
Allstate Insurance385061149
CSAA Insurance635564182
GEICO General924432168
Infinity Insurance867646208
Interinsurance Exchange374342122
Mercury General444238124
State Farm20411977400
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However, State Farm did manage to rank 10th in the state for customers’ overall satisfaction. Hopefully being the biggest doesn’t make State Farm forget what’s essential to being the best.

What are California’s auto insurance rates by company?

Here are how each insurer’s rates compare to the state average.

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This table shows you how companies are doing compared to the state average.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates Compared to California Average
CompanyAverage Annual RateCompared to State Average (-/+)Compared to State Average (%)
Allstate Northbrook Indemnity$4,533.09$843.4718.61%
AMCO Insurance$4,653.58$963.9620.71%
Farmers Ins Exchange$4,999.27$1,309.6426.20%
GEICO General$2,886.24-$803.38-27.84%
Safeco Ins Co of America$3,035.17-$654.45-21.56%
State Farm Mutual Auto$4,202.72$513.1012.21%
Total Average$3,689.62--
Travelers Commercial Ins Co.$3,350.78-$338.84-10.11%
United Financial Casualty$2,851.14-$838.48-29.41%
USAA CIC$2,694.62-$995.00-36.93%
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You can see that about half of the companies are under the state average, while some are significantly over.

What are California’s best companies by commute and annual average mileage?

Commute time is another data point that can impact your rates. The table below shows how 10- and 25-mile commutes affect provider rates.

California Average Annual Auto Insurance by Commute And Annual Mileage
GroupCommute and Annual MileageAnnual Average
Allstate10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$4,086.25
Allstate25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$4,979.93
Farmers10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$4,535.69
Farmers25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$5,462.84
GEICO10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$2,621.93
GEICO25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$3,150.55
Liberty Mutual10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$2,786.10
Liberty Mutual25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$3,284.23
Nationwide10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$4,108.79
Nationwide25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$5,198.37
Progressive10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$2,587.19
Progressive25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$3,115.09
State Farm10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$4,049.89
State Farm25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$4,355.54
Travelers10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$3,014.07
Travelers25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$3,687.49
USAA10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.$2,482.96
USAA25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.$2,906.28
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Commute distance does not have as much of an impact on your rates as some other factors.

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You can see that factors like bad credit and getting a DUI can have huge impacts on your car insurance rates.

What are California’s best companies by coverage type?

Each insurer offers various levels of coverage. This will help you find insurance that fits your budget.

California Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates by Coverage Type
GroupCoverage TypeAnnual Average
Liberty MutualHigh$3,219.54
Liberty MutualMedium$3,061.95
Liberty MutualLow$2,824.01
State FarmHigh$4,541.30
State FarmMedium$4,273.41
State FarmLow$3,793.44
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High coverage is of course much more expensive, but you gain peace of mind.

What are California’s best companies by driving record?

How does your driving record affect your rates? Take a look at this table to see.

California Average Annual Auto Insurance Rate by Driving Record
GroupDriving RecordAnnual Average
AllstateWith 1 DUI$7,223.45
AllstateWith 1 accident$4,597.86
AllstateWith 1 speeding violation$3,582.21
AllstateClean record$2,728.84
FarmersWith 1 DUI$6,268.29
FarmersWith 1 accident$5,033.47
FarmersWith 1 speeding violation$4,998.06
FarmersClean record$3,697.25
GEICOWith 1 DUI$3,908.23
GEICOWith 1 accident$3,114.92
GEICOWith 1 speeding violation$2,503.62
GEICOClean record$2,018.18
Liberty MutualWith 1 accident$3,529.11
Liberty MutualWith 1 DUI$3,185.41
Liberty MutualWith 1 speeding violation$2,791.65
Liberty MutualClean record$2,634.50
NationwideWith 1 DUI$7,043.06
NationwideWith 1 accident$4,162.31
NationwideWith 1 speeding violation$4,162.31
NationwideClean record$3,246.63
ProgressiveWith 1 DUI$3,680.03
ProgressiveWith 1 accident$3,171.49
ProgressiveWith 1 speeding violation$2,687.54
ProgressiveClean record$1,865.51
State FarmWith 1 DUI$6,756.08
State FarmWith 1 accident$3,576.40
State FarmWith 1 speeding violation$3,480.06
State FarmClean record$2,998.34
TravelersWith 1 DUI$4,234.85
TravelersWith 1 accident$3,644.10
TravelersWith 1 speeding violation$3,290.14
TravelersClean record$2,234.04
USAAWith 1 DUI$4,363.10
USAAWith 1 accident$2,664.41
USAAWith 1 speeding violation$1,960.95
USAAClean record$1,790.02
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Accidents, traffic tickets, and DUIs can literally cost you thousands of dollars for auto insurance.

What are the 10 largest auto insurance companies in California?

The insurers listed below make up the largest part of the market in California.

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State Farm and Farmers Insurance makes up around 25 percent of the market share in California.

Largest Auto Insurance Companies in California
ProviderPremiums WrittenMarket Share
State Farm$3,910,35114.34%
Farmers Insurance$3,158,81411.59%
Berkshire Hathaway$2,502,8549.18%
Allstate Insurance$2,446,5648.97%
Auto Club Enterprises$2,312,2308.48%
Mercury General$2,095,5317.69%
CSAA Insurance$1,950,2577.15%
United Services$1,218,7924.47%
Progressive$1,147,1864.21 %
Liberty Mutual$929,0583.41 %
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Market share alone isn’t why you choose an auto insurance company. Keep reading to learn more.

How many auto insurance providers are in California?

There are plenty of insurers to choose from in the State, as this table shows.

Auto Insurance Providers in California
Property & Casualty InsuranceNumber Of Providers
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With so many choices, it’s important to shop around to make sure you are getting the best deal.

What are the driving laws in California?

In order to keep your auto insurance rates low, you must follow the law. Well, you can’t do that if you don’t know the laws in your state.

It doesn’t get much worse than getting blindsided with a fine for doing something you didn’t realize was against the law.

Have no fear. We’re here to help prevent that from happening. Scroll down so you can know the laws in California and stay above them.

What are California’s auto insurance laws?

You’ll probably be surprised when you see how many laws are in place for auto insurance. Their main purpose is to keep dangerous drivers off the road and hold the insurance providers accountable. That’s good for the responsible, safe drivers of California.

How are California’s insurance rates and laws are determined?

Back in the 70s and 80s, California’s auto insurance rates were rapidly increasing and becoming too expensive for the average citizen to afford.

Finally, in November of 1988, California’s Proposition 103 was voted into law and immediately went to work regulating insurers across the state.

In 1988, Proposition 103 required insurance companies to reduce their rates by 20 percent immediately, and it mandated that any future rate changes be approved by the California Department of Insurance.

All auto insurance rates and forms must be filed and approved by California’s Department of Insurance before they can be used. No forms can be issued without commissioner approval or until 30 days after the filing was made.

Is high-risk insurance required in California?

In California, a high-risk driver must purchase something called SR-22. This is a state filing that is added to your insurance policy.

Here are some reasons California drivers need an SR-22 once their driving privileges are reinstated:

  • License suspension or revocation due to a DUI
  • Being involved in an accident without insurance
  • Getting labeled a negligent operator
  • Having too many points on your driving record

The above events are just a sampling of reasons a motorist would be required to carry this more expensive, high-risk auto insurance as proof of their liability in California, usually for a minimum of three years.

Your insurance provider will file your SR-22 with the California DMV for all vehicles that are registered under your name or that are driven by you.

California also has an Automobile Assigned Risk Plan that helps high-risk drivers find car insurance.

Is low-cost or low-income auto insurance offered in California?

Worried you can’t afford auto insurance required in California but don’t want to break the law? There’s a program in place that might be perfect for you.

In 1999 California adopted an insurance program into law, California’s Low-Cost Auto (CLCA), so that lower-income drivers could afford liability auto insurance.

Here’s a list of requirements for drivers to qualify for CLCA:

  • Be 19 years old or older
  • Have a current driver’s license
  • Have a safe driving record
  • Meet income eligibility-dependent on combined household income
  • Own a car valued at $20,000 or less without unpaid loans

This is huge. Rates for motorists under CLCA aren’t allowed to exceed $388 a year.

Check out this table to see the CLCA auto insurance coverage.

CLCA Minimum Coverage Requirements
Insurance RequiredMinimum Limits: 10/20/3
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage$10,000 per person
$20,000 per accident
Property Damage Liability Coverage$3,000 minimum
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Motorists who qualify for CLCA have lower liability requirements than what the state law typically mandates.

What are California’s windshield and glass repair laws?

It is against the law to drive on California roads with a crack or chip in the front or back of the vehicle that blocks the driver’s view in any way.

In regards to your vehicle repairs, state law prohibits CA auto insurance providers from doing any of the following:

  • Require that you go to a specific shop
  • Suggest a repair shop (unless you ask or it’s in writing you can go where you want)
  • Require you to travel far for an inspection or to get an estimate

Motorists in California have the option of adding a zero deductible glass replacement benefit to their insurance policy, but this coverage is not required by state law.

In California, you are allowed to use aftermarket parts for your vehicle repairs if they are equal in quality to the original parts in safety, fit, and performance.

Are there laws about auto insurance cancellations or non-renewals in California?

California law prohibits insurance providers from dropping customers whenever they feel like it, but there are certain reasons an auto insurance company can cancel your coverage.

Here are several reasons California insurers are allowed to send you a non-renewal:

  • If you don’t pay your rates
  • If you or any of the operators on your plan have had their license suspended or revoked
  • If your provider discovers you have been involved in fraudulent behavior
  • If your policy is a renewal type and it’s in the 180 day period before the effective date
  • If you or any operators on your plan give false information in regards to a claim
  • If you or any operators on your plan lie about any of the following: safety record, annual miles, year of driving experience, prior insurance claims, or any other factors that affect rates/claims
  • If there is a substantial, proven increase in the hazard your insurer has to cover

There’s still hope. You have 20 days after receiving your cancellation or non-renewal notice to rectify the situation with your insurer.

What is the statute of limitations in California?

Injured? Vehicle damaged? Here’s how long you have to file a claim and fight for the money owed to you.

California Statutes of Limitations
DamagesPeriod to File
Personal Injury2 years
Property Damage3 years
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After three years, you are unable to file any type of claim.

Is automobile insurance fraud a problem in California?

Unfortunately, you can’t trust all auto body shops or insurance providers.

Beware. Scams, lies, and fraud have surrounded auto insurance in California for many years.

Below are illegal tricks and practices in regards to vehicle repairs that car owners need to watch out for in California:

  • Reporting parts lost or damaged when they’re not
  • Increasing cost above the original damage estimate
  • Billing for repairs that were not requested or signed for
  • Charging for original parts but using aftermarket or used/junkyard parts
  • Charging for brand new parts but pounding out dents or using glue
  • Reporting stolen or vandalized vehicles that were neither taken nor damaged

The California Department of Insurance warns:

“It is always important for the consumer to review carefully all paperwork from auto body and repair shops in order to protect against potential fraud. Also, consumers should be cautious of any auto body or repair facility that makes referrals to medical or legal offices. This practice may be an indicator of “capping.” Capping (a felony in California) is the illegal referral of clients to legal offices for a fee.”

Another scary, fairly common insurance fraud practice in California is staging car accidents and lying about accident details.

Here is fraudulent behavior to look out for:

  • Suddenly stopping for no reason
  • Purposefully ignoring the right-of-way
  • Giving up the right-of-way to cause an accident
  • Reporting passengers in an accident that weren’t in the vehicle
  • Listing witnesses who weren’t at the scene of the accident
  • Claiming injuries that don’t make sense compared to vehicle damage
  • Driver with temporary vehicle registration
  • Prior damage exists that a driver wants to be covered in a new “accident”
  • Getting contacted by a lawyer when you never asked for one

The government warnings go on to say:

“Organized accident rings and cappers actively solicit others in the community to participate in the creation of accidents. Often these accidents only exist on paper.

Paper accidents have gained in popularity among fraud perpetrators, as they are less dangerous from a bodily injury standpoint, and there is less likelihood of police involvement.”

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What are California’s laws against insurance fraud?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, “Premium leakage, defined as missing or erroneous underwriting information, amounts to about $29 billion a year for personal auto insurers.”

Here are four ways the state of California works to fight fraud and protect insurance customers:

  1. California law classifies insurance fraud as a crime
  2. California has immunity statutes to protect those who report suspected fraud
  3. California has established fraud bureaus to identify fraud and investigate cases
  4. California requires all insurers to have a fraud plan to identify and stop fraud

There are several penalties that go along with insurance fraud in California.

California Insurance Fraud Penalties
Insurance Fraud Penalties & SentencesJail Time:Fine:
Misdemeanorup to 1 yearup to $10,000
Felonyup to 5 yearsup to $50,000
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That’s not all. The fine can be up to double the value of the attempted stolen amount, and a previous fraud conviction will add two years for each prior offense to the prison time.

California Insurance Code 1871 states:

“Insurance fraud is a particular problem for automobile policyholders; fraudulent activities account for 15 to 20 percent of all auto insurance payments. Automobile insurance fraud is the biggest and fastest-growing segment of insurance fraud and contributes substantially to the high cost of automobile insurance with particular significance in urban areas.”

Turns out, there’s more behind those steep bills than you thought.

What is California’s automobile claims mediation program?

Is your insurance company not paying for medical bills or vehicle damages that should be covered? Mediation might be your next step.

Who is eligible for mediation?

Drivers Eligible for California Auto Mediation
EligibleNot Eligible
Customers with damage coverage3rd party claims
Active claim disputesCommercial coverage
Claims over $7,500Claims under $7,500
Dispute amounts over $2,000Dispute amounts under $2,000
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What issues are eligible for mediation?

Issues Eligible for California Auto Mediation
EligibleNot Eligible
Extent/amount of damageCoverage issues
Repair methodLegal interpretations
Cause of damageStatute of limitations
Prior vs. recent damageAgent/broker actions
Total loss vs. repairLender inclusion on claim
Value of total lossBad faith or extra demands
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If you and your dispute are eligible, you should visit the page dedicated to this matter created by the California Department of Insurance. Here you’ll find seven detailed steps you’ll need to take to complete the mediation process.

What are the fair claims settlement practices in California?

The Fair Claims Settlement Practices Regulations list many rules insurance companies must follow as they sell insurance and deal with claims.

California has more laws to protect insurance policyholders than any other state in the country. These laws tell insurers what they must, can, and cannot do. – United Policyholders

Below are just some of those regulations made law by California judges and legislators.

By California law, insurance providers must:

  • Accept or deny claims within 40 days of receiving proof, unless written notice for additional time is provided
  • Provide written explanation with a factual and legal reason for any claim that is rejected or denied
  • Thoroughly, fairly, and objectively investigate all claims, and only collect information that’s required to resolve the claim
  • Providing written notice to the customer of any statute of limitation or time requirement a claim may be denied
  • Never make unreasonably low settlement offers to close a claim
  • Never discriminate a customer or claim based on age, gender, race, religion, income, language, ancestry, or disability
  • Make payments or otherwise fulfill obligations on accepted claims within 30 days, unless an exception is provided in writing

The above list is a simplified, whittled down example of the rules governing insurance providers in the Golden State.

Do you believe your insurance company is breaking California law in the way they are treating you or handling your claims?

What are California’s vehicle licensing laws?

Are you frustrated with how expensive auto insurance in California is? You aren’t alone.

But let’s face it, it’s better to pay for the coverage than to break the law and drive without auto insurance.

Here’s why it is never worth driving without auto insurance in California:

California Penalties for Driving Without Auto Insurance
1st OffenseFine up to $200 + penalty assessments
Possible vehicle impounding
2nd OffenseFine up to $500 + penalty assessments
Possible vehicle impounding
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California DMV can also suspend your vehicle’s registration.

Three reasons this can happen are if you:

  1. Cancel your insurance policy and don’t renew or replace it within 45 days
  2. Fail to provide proof of coverage to the DMV within 30 days of vehicle registration or transfer of ownership
  3. Register your vehicle with phony information or false evidence of insurance

The California DMV will send you a letter if your vehicle registration has been suspended. At that time you can properly register your vehicle by providing valid proof of insurance and paying $14.

Please note. You don’t just need to have active, valid auto insurance, you have to be able to prove it to an officer.

“Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law Assembly Bill 1708, which makes California the seventh state in the country that allows motorists to show they have auto insurance via their smartphone or other mobile electronic device.”
– Sacramento Business Journal

Since 2012, California drivers have been able to show proof of insurance much easier. In the more tech-advanced states, the traditional mode via insurance card isn’t the only acceptable form of proof.

What are the teen driver laws in California?

In the state of California, teens cannot get a learner’s permit, also called a learner’s license, until they are at least 15 1/2 years old, and that’s just the beginning.

California Teen Driver Requirements
Requirements: Getting a Driver's License in CADetails
Mandatory holding period6 months
Minimum supervised driving time50 hrs; 10 at night
Minimum age16 years old
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For a teenager, finally having a driver’s license might feel like total freedom, but there are still quite a few restrictions in place for these young drivers in California.

California Teen License Restrictions
Restrictions: Intermediate License in CADetails
DrivingProhibited from 11pm to 5am
PassengersUnder 20 yrs-old prohibited (unless immediate family)
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Dying for complete freedom? It might feel like it will never end, but the early license restrictions are lifted after 12 months and when the driver is at least 17 years old.

What do you need to know about license renewal procedures and older drivers in California?

Did you know? No matter how old you are, every driver in California must get their license renewed every five years.

Here are the two ways it’s different for drivers, aged 70 and older:

  1. They can’t renew online or by mail
  2. They must get their vision checked at every renewal

Who enjoys going to the DMV? Anyone? It’s usually a dreaded trip.

California allows drivers aged 69 and under to renew their license by mail or online; however, this method is limited to two consecutive renewals. They need to see you in person and check your vision at some point.

But hey, 10 years is a long time to avoid a trip to the DMV.

Do new residents or people visiting need a California driver’s license?

Very Important. Not all auto insurance providers are allowed to insure you in California, and your agent might not come right out and warn you if this is the case.

Even with valid, sufficient auto insurance from another state, you could get a hefty fine and get your license suspended for driving without California approved insurance.

Visiting or moving to California? Here are three things you need to do so you don’t lose your license if you get in an accident while you’re there (which can impact your insurance costs.

  1. Ensure you have bodily injury and property damage coverage equal to or greater than California’s requirements
  2. Have your insurer file a power of attorney allowing the CA DMV to act as your agent if legal services are needed
  3. Insure your vehicle before you arrive because you can’t renew an out-of-state policy once it’s registered in California

Okay, now you know what you need to do before you get to California to be properly insured. Let’s look at what will quickly increase your rates – points.

How do driving record points work in California?

Like in golf (only in this case your driving privilege depends on it) . . . these are the kind of points you want to avoid earning.

Examples of 1 and 2 Point Violations in California
One PointTwo Points
SpeedingReckless driving
Driving in bicycle laneDrunk driving
Running a red lightRacing
Disobeying a traffic signNarcotics
Following too closelyHit and run
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The California DMV will keep a public record of all of your traffic citations and collisions. Every violation stays on your driving record for at least 36 months. More serious convictions will haunt you longer.

If you get too many points, you’ll get your license suspended or revoked. Learn more about this process below.

Does California have a Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS)?

California has a very organized, systematic way of dealing with dangerous drivers called the Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS).

Negligent operators will receive warning letters and progressive penalties referred to as “NOTS Actions” in four levels:

Level 1 gets a warning letter.

Negligent Operator Treatment System Level 1
212 months
424 months
636 months
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Level 2 receives a notice of intent to suspend your driver’s license.

Negligent Operator Treatment System Level 2
312 months
524 months
736 months
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Level 3 receives a six-month suspension and one year of probation.

Negligent Operator Treatment System Level 3
412 months
624 months
836 months
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Level 4 has driving privileges suspended.

Negligent Operator Treatment System Level 4
Violation or collision during suspension
1 or 2 pt violation or at-fault collision during probation
Failure To Appear (FTA) or violation during probation
Under 18 driver violates probation or gets a violation
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And since four levels aren’t enough for some drivers, California law breaks down probation violations by occurrence:

  • 1st and 2nd Violation of Probation: six-month suspension and a 12-month extension of probation
  • 3rd Violation of Probation: 12-month license revocation

Drive safely and obey traffic laws to avoid these penalties.

What are the California rules of the road?

After reading through all of the violations, penalties, and ways you can quickly pile on the points, don’t you want to do all you can to stay above the law?

We’re here to help. Scroll down to quickly learn the must-know laws in California that every driver needs to follow or else they’ll pay – in more ways than one.

Is California a fault or no-fault state?

California is a “Fault State” in regards to auto insurance. But what does this mean??

When a car accident occurs in California, one of the drivers will be found to be at-fault by the police. The at-fault driver will have to pay for medical expenses, damages, and all other costs caused by the collision.

There are no restrictions on how much the others involved in the accident can sue and file their claim against the at-fault driver.

What are the speed limits in California?

Before 1995, the U.S. Congress would withhold highway funds from states that had maximum speed limits set at over 55 mph.

Speed limit laws in America have loosened greatly in the past 30 years, and today California is one of 41 states that has speed limits at or above 70 mph.

Here are the speed limits across the state of California:

California Speed Limits
Access Roads
Cars70 mph65 mph70 mph65 mph
Trucks55 mph55 mph55 mph55 mph
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Obey the posted speed limits to avoid costly fees.

What are the seat belt and car seat laws in California?

Since January 1, 1993, seat belt rules in California have been primary laws, meaning that police officers can pull over drivers if anyone in the car appears to be breaking the restraint requirements. When it’s a secondary law, officers need another, bigger reason to pull the driver over.

California Seat Belt Laws
Effective SinceJanuary 1, 1986
Primary EnforcementYes
Age/Seats Applicable16+ years old in all seats
1st Offense Fine$20 plus fees
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That’s not all. California is one of 30 states that have laws in place prohibiting passengers from riding in the bed of pick-up trucks.

Laws get a lot more strict when kids are involved. We have to do all we can to keep those little passengers safe.

The chart below lays out the location in the vehicle, type of seat, and even the buckle that is required for your child passenger on California roadways.

California Child Seat Laws
Car Seat RequiredChildren 7 yrs old
and under

Rear-Facing Seat RequiredChildren who are:
- under 2 yrs old
- under 40 lbs
- under 40" tall
Forward-Facing Seat AllowedChildren who are:
- 2 to 7 yrs old
- 40" to 57" tall
Booster Seat AllowedChildren over 40 lbs
Adult Seat Belt AllowedChildren who are:
- 8 to 15 yrs old
- at least 57" tall
Rear Seats RequiredChildren who are:
- 7 yrs and under
- under 57" tall
1st Offense Fine$100 plus fees
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Steep penalties are assessed. On top of the $100 fine, motorists also face points being added to their record when breaking the child car seat laws in California.

What ridesharing services are in California?

In July of 2018 laws tightened for private ridesharing and public for hire ride-hailing services – such as Uber and Lyft – in California.

Drivers who are paid to transport passengers in California (ride-hailing services) may not have a BAC of .04 or higher, which is half the normal legal limit for motorists.

“People count on these drivers to get them home when they’ve been drinking, they don’t expect them to be drinking. They should be held to that standard of a lower BAC level.” – San Diego Police Officer, John Perdue

Commercial driver licenses will be revoked for drivers caught with a BAC of .04 or higher in California.

More Laws: private (not for hire) drivers – such as shuttle and church bus drivers – must now get their intrastate authority certificates from the California DMV.

And, in these large passenger vehicles, seat belts are required when available for passengers over 15 years old; passengers aged 8-15 must be in a seat belt at all times.

In September of 2018, California became the first state to regulate the pollution produced from ridesharing.

“Gov. Jerry Brown signed SB 1014, a bill requiring transportation network companies (TNCs) to account for, and reduce, the greenhouse gas emissions of their operations.” – Auto Rental News

At the start of 2018, an executive order was signed to have five million zero-emission vehicles on California roads by 2030.

California also recently passed a new bill (AB 5) that will change ridesharing, although in a less positive way than regulating pollution. The new bill will result in most rideshare drivers being classified as employees rather than contractors.

The downside of this? Rideshare driving will now become a job for most rideshare drivers, rather than a flexible way to make extra cash.

Is automation allowed on the roads in California?

Ahead of the game. While most states only allow automatic vehicles to be tested, California is one of only 12 states that allows “full deployment” of automatic vehicles on its public roads.

Laws regarding autonomous vehicles in California – updated November 2018:

Autonomous Vehicle Laws in California
Driving AllowedFull deployment
Operator License RequiredNot addressed
Operator Required to be in the VehicleNo
Liability Insurance Required$5,000,000
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Are there keep right and move over laws in California?

On California roadways, motorists must keep right when they are driving slower than the “normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction” except when they are:

  • passing another vehicle
  • preparing to take a left turn

It’s important to note, in 2010 California passed a Move Over Law . . . which means you can’t always keep right.

“If you are driving down the freeway, and you see emergency lights on the side of the road, you must move over and pass, leaving an extra lane of clearance between you and the incident.” – CBS 8

Back to the Keep Right Law, the California DMV states:

“When you tow a vehicle or trailer or drive a bus or 3 or more axle truck, you must drive in the rightmost lane or in a lane specially marked for slower vehicles. If no lanes are marked and there are 4 lanes or more in your direction, you may only drive in either of the 2 lanes closest to the right edge of the road.”

If you get a ticket for failing to move over, the penalty is one point on your record and a $150 fine.

What are California’s laws against driving impaired?

With nearly 30 percent of all the traffic deaths being caused by a driver impaired by alcohol, California is a top 15 worst states in the nation for drunk driving. Below are the laws and penalties in place.

DUI Laws in California
DUI Laws Details
Name for OffenseDriving Under the Influence (DUI)
BAC Limit.08
High BAC Limit.15 to .20+
Criminal StatusNon Injury DUI = Misdemeanor
4th+ DUI = Felony
Look Back Period10 years
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Jargon Explained: the look-back or washout period is the amount of time an offense remains on your record. In regards to a DUI, California is one of the least forgiving states with this period lasting a decade – some states let you have a clean slate after only five years.

Here’s the break down for the first, second, third, and fourth DUIs in California:

This table shows you penalties for 1st offense DUI.

California DUI: 1st Offense
License Revoked4 to 10 months
Jail Time96 hours to 6 months
Fine$390 to $3,600
Vehicle Impoundedup to 6 months
DUI Program3 months of Alcohol & Drug Education
Community ServiceDetermined in court
Mandatory Ignition
Interlock Device
Yes - in 4 counties
Required to get
License Reinstated
$125 fee
SR 22 insurance
Probation3 to 5 years
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Next, we have 2nd offense DUI penalties.

California DUI: 2nd Offense
License Revoked2+ years
Jail Timeup to 1 year
Fineup to $4,000
Vehicle Impoundedup to 1 year
DUI Program12 hr Alcohol & Drug Education
1.5 year Multi-Offender Program
Community ServiceDetermined in court
Mandatory Ignition
Interlock Device
Yes - can't drive
anywhere without it
Required to get
License Reinstated
$125 fee
SR 22 insurance
52 hrs counselling
6 hrs Reentry Monitoring
12 mo Bi-Weekly Interviews
Probation3 to 5 years
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3rd offense DUI brings heftier charges.

California DUI: 3rd Offense
License Revoked3+ years
Jail Timeup to 16 months
Fineup to $18,000
Vehicle Impoundedup to 1 year
DUI Program12 hr Alcohol & Drug Education
2.5 year Multi-Offender Program
Community Serviceup to 300 hrs
Mandatory Ignition
Interlock Device
Yes - can't drive
anywhere without it
Required to get
License Reinstated
$125 fee
SR 22 insurance
Regular Interviews & Monitoring
78 hrs Counseling
Habitual Offender Status
Probation3 to 5 years
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4th offense can lead to having your driver’s license revoked permanently.

California DUI: 4th Offense
License Revoked4+ years
Possibly permanent
Jail Timeup to 16 months in state prison
Fineup to $18,000
Vehicle Impoundedup to 1 year
DUI Program12 hr Alcohol & Drug Education
2.5 year Multi-Offender Program
Community Serviceup to 300 hrs
Mandatory Ignition
Interlock Device
Yes - can't drive
anywhere without it
Required to get
License Reinstated
$125 fee
SR 22 insurance
Regular Interviews & Monitoring
78 hrs Counseling
Habitual Offender Status
Probation3 to 5 years
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Ask yourself: Is having “one too many” worth risking the above penalties? We don’t think so.

So, we agree drinking and driving is a deadly combo with serious consequences, but marijuana is much safer and even legal in some states, right?

On January 1, 2018, recreational use of marijuana became legal in the state of California, and it’s now home to the largest legal pot market in America.

“You can’t smoke, vape, or eat cannabis while sitting in a car, driving, or while riding in the passenger seat of a car. That also goes for a boat, aircraft, and any other vehicle used for transportation. You can travel with cannabis in your vehicle, but it must be in a sealed container or in the trunk. It’s illegal to take it across state lines, even to another state where cannabis is legal.” – Los Angeles Times

There are strict laws that govern it, especially in regards to those operating heavy equipment such as motor vehicles.

What are the distracted driving laws in California?

Crash data proves that driving distracted can be just as deadly as driving impaired.

California is one of 16 states where hand-held cellphone use while driving is illegal.

Here are the laws in California regarding phone use behind the wheel – updated November 2018.

California Cellphone Use Laws
Laws on Cellphones while Driving in CADriver
Hand-held use bannedAll drivers
Primary Enforcement
All use bannedDrivers under 18
Secondary Enforcement
Texting bannedAll drivers
Primary Enforcement
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California takes cellphone use behind the wheel very seriously. In 2008, it was one of the first six states in the nation to adopt the texting ban.

What are the California can’t-miss facts?

We have given you quite a bit of information in this California Auto Insurance Guide so far. Skimming through the above guide would allow you to have a good understanding of the laws surrounding auto insurance in the Golden State.

So you know how auto insurance works and the laws governing drivers, but do you know the risks involved with driving and owning a car in California?

As much as we want you to have insurance for when things go wrong, it’s more important to us that you know how to avoid having things go wrong in the first place.

The section below will give you quick, clear facts to help you know what dangers to look out for as a responsible car owner and operator in California

What are the vehicle theft stats in California?

What car do you drive? Check out these stolen vehicles totals for 2015:

10 Most Stolen Vehicles in California
Make & ModelVehicle YearTotal Thefts
Acura Integra19944,273
Chevrolet Pickup20066,048
Ford Pickup20064,504
Honda Accord199628,345
Honda Civic199828,045
Honda CR-V19992,033
Nissan Altima19972,281
Nissan Sentra19972,555
Toyota Camry19915,345
Toyota Corolla20143,339
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Wow. That is a crazy jump from the third to second most-stolen car – 21,997 more. Beware Honda owners.

Most people think this stuff doesn’t happen where they live . . . hate to break it to you, but it does.

Here are the totals provided by the FBI for 2013:

10 Cities in California with the Most Vehicle Theft
CitiesNumber of Stolen Vehicles:
Long Beach2,355
San Bernardino2,691
San Francisco5,866
San Diego6,143
San Jose7,926
Los Angeles14,382
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6,456 more cars stolen (in just one year) in Los Angeles than in the city with the second-most thefts.

What are California’s deadly car crash statistics?

Let’s dive right into an alarming Ten-Year Trend of Deaths resulting from car crashes on California roadways.

California 10 Year Trend for Traffic Fatalities Rural vs Urban
Road Type2008200920102011201220132014201520162017
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Big Question: “Where are these deadly crashes happening?”

Below are the ten cities in California with the highest death rates. The traffic death rate and the total number of deaths in 2016 are listed for each city.

10 California Cities with the Highest Fatality Rates
CityTotal DeathsDeath Rate (per 100k residents)
San Bernardino2712.49
Santa Clarita179.34
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And, here is a five-year trend for the ten counties in California with the most car crashes resulting in deaths:

10 California Counties with the Highest Traffic Deaths
Los Angeles625639651837658
San Bernardino262285260273271
San Diego198233246243231
San Joaquin938398119116
Santa Clara95106133114105
10 County Total2,0602,1072,1922,5552,363
State Total3,1073,1023,3873,8373,602
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Okay, we have covered the where now let’s move on to who.

What were these people doing when they were killed? Walking, riding a bike, traveling by car (and what type?), driving a motorcycle??

Here’s a five-year trend for California traffic deaths by who exactly was killed:

California Traffic Deaths by Person Type
Person Type20132014201520162017
Passenger Car Occupants1,0981,0661,1701,3571,269
Pick-up Truck Occupants239209294278279
Utility Truck Occupants241271288307336
Van Occupants6779888884
Large Truck Occupants3833324853
Bus Occupants11171203
State Total3,1073,1023,387 3,8373,602
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Now let’s answer another big question: “What types of crashes are killing all these people in California??”

Check out this very telling five-year trend for California’s traffic fatalities:

California Fatalities by Crash Type
Crash Type20132014201520162017
Single Vehicle Crash1,9221,8611,9872,2732,067
Large Truck Involved259301305354361
Speeding Involved9929951,0321,1511,070
Rollover Involved697696770800796
Involving an Intersection7978118811,024927
Roadway Departure Involved1,4421,3741,5301,7541,588
State Total3,1073,1023,3873,8373,602
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As you can, see motorists driving too fast is a huge problem in California.

Speeding has been the cause of over a thousand deaths in California for three consecutive years now.

Look below to see where specifically in California speeding is the biggest problem.

10 Counties in California with the Most Speeding Deaths
Los Angeles245240231308214
San Bernardino9290827288
San Diego6771757678
San Joaquin3626343635
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Still not convinced speeding is a big deal? Well, it is. Don’t do it.

Shaving a few minutes off of your commute isn’t worth killing someone.

Cold hard fact: in many parts of California, speeding claims more lives than drunk driving.

See for yourself. Compare the speeding death counts above with the drunk driving death counts below.

How many drunk driving deaths happen in California?

Now that you know the DUI penalties in California including the fines and jail time, let’s look at the most serious consequence of driving drunk: death.

Check out this eye-opening trend for deaths caused by drivers impaired by alcohol in California:

10 Counties in California with the Most Drunk Driving Deaths
Kern 3433394048
Los Angeles187172149240192
San Bernardino6789748076
San Diego5455718378
San Joaquin3425194338
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You can clearly see how deadly drunk driving is by the number of lives it claims each year, but are you aware of how early this treacherous behavior is starting?

There is no age when drunk driving is acceptable, but under age (illegal) drinking mixed with less experienced teen drivers is a downright horrifying combination.

Here are some underage drunk driving stats for California in 2016.

California Under Age Drunk Driving Stats
Under 18 DUI ArrestsUnder 18 DUI Arrest RateUnder 21 Drunk Driving Death Rate
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Note: The above drunk driving arrest rate is for every 100,000 residents under the age of 18, while the death rate listed is per 100,000 California residents of all ages.

What is the EMS response time in California?

Enough morbid death talk. Time to move on to more encouraging statistics about California.

If you’re hurt in a car accident, the state is well equipped with medical teams to help.

Let’s see how fast California’s Emergency Medical Services are to arrive on the scene and get the wounded the help that they need.

EMS Response Time in California
Time of Crash to EMS Notification5 minutes 5 seconds
Notification to EMS Arrival4 minutes 7 seconds
EMS Arrival to Hospital Arrival21 minutes 24 seconds
Time of Crash to Hospital Arrival35 minutes
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Not bad. Only four minutes for help to arrive and just twenty for them to get you to the hospital.

The average EMS response times in California listed above were provided by the NHTSA for urban fatal car crashes in 2016.

What does California transportation look like?

Ever wonder how many cars most Cali residents have in their driveways?

Interesting Fact: In California more families have three, four, or five plus cars to their name than the average U.S. family.

In 2017, 18.7 percent of California households had one car, 38.5 percent had two, and 22.2 percent had three.

Overpopulation is a concern for California. A college student from Standford wrote:

“There are many reasons why Americans move to California: favorable weather and leading culture of growth and advancement being a few of them. The lure of California has been so great that the state’s population has nearly doubled within the last 40 years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The state grows at a rate of one person per minute, and is projected to be populated by 60 million people by 2050…”

What’s a major result of overcrowding? Traffic.

Drivers who commute in Los Angeles sit stuck in traffic for over 100 hours each year – more than any other city in the world.

You can see in the below chart, for four consecutive years, California residents have had longer commute times than the average American.

For over 20 percent of California employees, it’s taking 45 to 90 minutes just to get to work. Some California workers are sitting in their cars for over three hours every weekday. That sounds insanely depressing.

Another interesting find: for four straight years now a higher percentage of the California workforce carpools than the national average.

Probably because sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic for over an hour each day is less boring with a friend.

While we are on the topic of traffic, let’s look at what parts of California have it the worst.

What California cities have the most traffic congestion?

It would be compelling enough to tell you the cities in California that have the most traffic. But, today you get one better. We’re going to expand that to see how traffic congestion in California cities compares to the rest of the world.

In 2017, INRIX (a team of traffic experts) performed the largest global traffic study in history, which analyzed congestion in over 1,360 cities in 38 counties. The findings were shocking for California.

Not just one, but two cities in California rank top five in the world for having the most traffic congestion. Commuters in these two cities, spend an average of 79 to 102 hours stuck in traffic each year.

Ranked first in 2017 for having the worst traffic in the world is Los Angeles, California. An award no city wants.

Let’s take a look at the five cities that fare the worst:

5 Cities in California with the Most Traffic Congestion
CitiesAnnual Hours Stuck in TrafficPortion of Commute Stuck in Traffic
Los Angeles10212%
San Diego4810%
San Francisco7912%
Santa Cruz3714%
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California has its lures, but free-flowing roads sure aren’t one of them.

Don’t wait a minute longer to protect what’s most important — start comparing quotes today to find the cheapest car insurance in California.

Enter your ZIP code to compare California auto insurance quotes.

    1. https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-uninsured-motorists
    2. http://www.insurance.ca.gov/01-consumers/105-type/95-guides/01-auto/AutoMediation.cfm#howdoesthemediationprocesswork

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