The average car insurance cost in California can range from $733 for minimal coverage to $2,065 for full coverage. Getting an exact answer is difficult without answering a lot of questions like where you live, and your car model, among others.
Despite all of that, knowing the average cost is at least a good starting point in determining what you might have to spend. You’ll find that many factors can raise or lower the cost, but at least you’ll get a rough idea of what you might pay.
So, with that in mind, we’ll review the average cost of car insurance in California. Then we’ll dig deeper to find out how you can maximize your savings while getting the coverage you need.
The Factors that Influence Average Car Insurance Costs in California
It’s probably no surprise to find that not everyone pays the same rates for auto insurance in California. That’s because insurance companies try to determine who’s the best and the worst risk for coverage.
As far as the insurers are concerned, the best are drivers who are predicted to have the fewest claims. That means they drive safely and responsibly. On the other hand, higher-risk customers are those who might be likely to turn in more claims and cause the insurer more money.
The insurers look at groups of people to figure risk based on how others in the same group typically behave. For instance, young males typically get more moving violations and are in more accidents than women or those in older age groups. Therefore, young men will typically be charged more for their auto insurance than those who are older or female.
There are seven factors that tend to determine car insurance rates that customers will pay for their coverage:
Your demographics. Age, gender, and marital status are considered here. As mentioned, young males tend to be at a higher risk. Younger and less experienced drivers tend to drive faster and get into more accidents. And married people are often safer drivers than single people. Rates reflect all of that.
The make and model of your car. Some vehicles are designed and built with more safety features than others. Some are very expensive to repair, so insurers charge more for coverage. That’s why it makes sense to ask your agent about premium costs for a particular model before you buy it.
Where you live. If your city or zip code has high car theft rates, tampering, or vandalism, you could pay more for your coverage since your insurer expects more claims.
Your expected mileage. How do you use your car? If you commute daily for long distances, you can probably expect to pay more for your policy than if you only put a few thousand miles a year on the odometer.
Your credit history. It might not seem fair, but you’re likely to pay more for your coverage if you have a poor credit history. You might seem more reckless and less responsible to your insurer if you have a low credit score.
Your driving record. This is often your biggest determining factor. If you’ve had few, if any, tickets or accidents, you’ll pay less for coverage compared to those with multiple moving violations, DUIs, or accident claims.
Your deductible and types of coverage. Your deductible is the amount you’ll pay before your insurance coverage kicks in. For instance, if you take a $500 deductible, that means you’ll pay that amount for repairs first before the insurance company pays the rest. Your rates will go down if you take a larger deductible. You can also choose to take only minimal coverage as mandated by your state. That would be liability coverage, which we’ll explain later.
Average Annual Car Insurance Cost in California
As you can see, there are a lot of factors that will influence the cost of car insurance in California for you. How old are you? Male or female? What’s your credit score? How safe a driver are you? How much of a deductible will you accept? Where do you live?
Your insurance agent will look into these and other factors to determine what you will pay. But here’s the average annual car insurance rates in California in 2021 for general guidance.
Full coverage: $2,065
Minimal coverage: $733
What Minimal and Full Coverage Insurance Means
The best explanation of those terms is that full coverage offers the best financial protection. Minimum coverage provides the least expensive level of auto insurance that each state will allow a driver to have.
In California, minimal coverage offers protection only to others, not to the driver with that coverage. This is called liability coverage. If you were responsible for an accident that injured another driver and damaged a vehicle, your insurance would pay up to a certain dollar amount for the injury and damage to the other car. But you would not be able to turn in a claim for the damage to your own vehicle.
Full coverage, on the other hand, includes both liability coverage to pay the other driver if the accident is your fault and payment to you for your damage. This includes two other forms of coverage:
Collision. This form of coverage pays for damage to your vehicle due to an accident with another vehicle or one that only involved your own, such as a rollover or collision with inanimate objects like trees.
Comprehensive. This will cover your vehicle if it’s lost or damaged through such events as theft, fire, vandalism, or collision with an animal.
How to Find Cheap Car Insurance in California
As you can see, virtually no two policies are the same. That’s because every driver has different needs and opportunities. At Freeway Insurance, it’s our mission to find coverage that fits every need at every budget point.