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What is the Average Cost of Car Insurance in California?

Asking the cost of car insurance in the Golden State is a little like asking what it costs to buy a house. It would be hard to get an answer you can trust without asking a whole lot of follow-up questions. What kind of a house is it? How large? What’s its condition? How many bedrooms? Where’s it located?

Despite all of that, if you learned the average cost of owning a home in California, that would at least be a good starting point in determining what you might have to spend. It’s the same with car insurance. You’ll find that there many factors that 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 car insurance cost in California. Then we will drill deeper to find out how you can maximize you 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. 

The best, as far as the insurers are concerned, are drivers who are predicted to have the fewest claims. That means they drive safely and responsibly. Higher risk customers, on the other hand, are those who might be likely to turn in more claims and cause the insurer more money.

The insurers form a group of people together 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 the rates that customers will pay for their coverage:

Your demographics — Age, sex, 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 rates of car theft, 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. To your insurer, you might seem more reckless and less responsible if you have a low credit score.

Your driving record — This is often your biggest determining factor. If you have had few, if any, tickets or accidents, you will 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 will 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.

 Couple driving in a convertible truck

Average 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 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. 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.

Consult Your Freeway Insurance Agent

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. 

Call us at (800) 777-5120. Or let us give you an online quote. We will answer all of your questions and come up with the most affordable policy for you.

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