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Best Car Insurance in California of 2023


Aug 27, 2023 #California, #car, #insurance

Car insurance is a requirement to drive in almost all U.S. states, including California. And it’s generally not cheap, especially in this state. The average Californian spends $2,291 for full coverage on car insurance, according to Bankrate data. That’s higher than the national average of $2,014 per year for full coverage.

Fortunately, it’s possible to save on your car insurance whether you’re up in San Francisco or down in Los Angeles. CNBC Select looked at dozens of auto insurance companies in the Golden State, and picked the top five that stand out based on cost, coverage, and customer service. (Read more about our methodology below.)

Best car insurance in California

Best overall

Capital Insurance Group Car Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • Policy highlights

    Capital Insurance Group focuses on the west coast and offers affordable prices. It features a number of discounts available for car insurance customers and has a relatively low complaint index with the NAIC.

  • App available


  • Affordable sample premiums for customers in California
  • Low NAIC complaint index rating


  • Must be purchased through an agent
  • Quotes not available online

Capital Insurance Group is a member of the Auto-Owners Insurance Group, a well-known provider for cheap car insurance coverage. Its sample premium in California was generally near the top in terms of affordability, and the company has a low NAIC complaint index.

Average annual California sample premium: $2,068


Safeco Car Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • Policy highlights

    Safeco customers can benefit from accident forgiveness, claims-free cash back, or diminishing deductibles if they qualify. Several discounts are available for those who have specific safety features, and those who bundle home, auto and other policies with the company.

  • App available


  • Bundling discounts are available
  • Add-on coverages available to customize your policy


  • Above average NAIC complaint index

Safeco is a part of Liberty Mutual and has strong car insurance coverage options for California drivers. With consistently low sample premiums and a number of savings options from discounts to diminishing deductibles, Safeco’s car insurance coverage can be an affordable option for many drivers.

Average annual California sample premium: $2,180

Best for customer satisfaction

Wawanesa Auto Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • Policy highlights

    Wawanesa is rated highly for its customer satisfaction and offers a number of discounts on already affordable coverage for California customers. Policies can be managed online and quotes are available through the company’s site.

  • App available


  • Highly rated by J.D. Power for customer satisfaction
  • Quotes available online


  • High NAIC complaint index
  • Not rated highly for financial strength by AM Best when compared to other large insurers

Wawanesa’s car insurance has been J.D. Power’s top pick for customer satisfaction in California for four years running, including in 2023. The company offers several other types of insurance to bundle your policies and save, including pet insurance and homeowners insurance. It also offers many add-on coverage options, such as roadside assistance and rental expense.

Average annual California sample premium: $2,470

Best for discounts

American National Auto Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • Policy highlights

    American National auto insurance has affordable rates for California drivers. Comprehensive and collision coverage includes rental car coverage for no extra cost, and the ability to customize your policy with endorsements can help you make your policy exactly what you need.

  • App available


  • Low NAIC complaint index
  • Ability to bundle home, auto, and life insurance for a discount

American National offers a number of discounts to make already affordable coverage even cheaper for California drivers. It offers discounts for bundling your policies and cash back for being claim-free when both your home and car are bundled.

Average annual California sample premium: $2,275

Best from a big-name insurer

Travelers Auto Insurance

  • Cost

    The best way to estimate your costs is to request a quote

  • App available

  • Policy highlights

    Travelers auto insurance policies are affordable and backed by the sixth largest company for car insurance by market share according to the NAIC. The company also offers a number of discounts to customers, including discounts for bundling, owning a hybrid or electric car, and good student discounts.


  • Sixth largest auto insurer in the U.S. by market share
  • Many discounts available


  • Not all discounts available in every state

Travelers is one of the larger auto insurers in the U.S. and offers relatively affordable car insurance in California. While it’s a little bit more expensive than others we considered, Travelers stands out with high financial strength ratings and many discounts. It also has a low NAIC complaint index for a company of its size and offers many optional coverages and bundling opportunities.

Average annual California sample premium: $2,698


How much does car insurance cost per year in California?

Car insurance costs about $2,291 per year for full coverage in California and $646 per year for minimum coverage according to Bankrate data.

What is California’s minimum car insurance coverage?

Minimum car insurance coverage in California includes:

  • $15,000 of bodily injury coverage per person
  • $30,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident
  • $5,000 worth of property damage

However, many people opt for more than this coverage and choose to get comprehensive and collision coverage, which can pay to fix your car after an accident or other damage.

What is California full coverage car insurance?

Full coverage car insurance in California includes bodily injury coverage per person, per accident, and coverage for property damage like minimum coverage does. However, full coverage can include higher limits, and will also include comprehensive and collision coverage.

Is California a no-fault state?

California is not a no-fault state, so if you are found to have been responsible for an accident, then you would be financially responsible for any injuries and property damage resulting from the accident.

Bottom line

Why trust CNBC Select?

Our methodology

To determine the best car insurance companies in California, CNBC Select analyzed dozens of U.S. insurance companies offering car insurance coverage in the state.

When narrowing down and ranking the best car insurance companies, we focused on cost with a sample premium, coverage, ease of use, customer satisfaction ratings from J.D. Power, and complaint indexes from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Sample premium data was gathered from the California Department of Insurance’s Automobile Insurance Comparison Tool, and was based on full coverage for a single driver who:

  • Has 5 to 7 years of driving experience
  • Drives 10,000 miles per year
  • Has no violations on their record
  • Drives a Honda Accord

We considered sample premium data in several cities across California and gathered sample premium data for the same driver with the qualifications above in Burbank (Los Angeles County), Nob Hill (San Francisco County), Pacific Beach (San Diego County) and Rosemont (Sacramento County). These were averaged to create the state average annual sample premium.

After reviewing the above features, we sorted our recommendations by the best overall and runner-up, best for customer satisfaction and best for discounts.

Note that the premiums and policy structures advertised for car insurance companies are subject to fluctuate in accordance with the company’s policies.

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.


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