Cheapest Car Insurance in California – Company by Company Comparison

There are about 50 auto insurance companies operating in California. Most of these companies offer the standard auto insurance stack like PIP, Collision, etc.  The market share of top ten companies is 64%. Top 20 companies together corner 80 percent of the market. The objective of this article is to explore the auto insurance premium from all 50 companies and find the cheapest car insurance in California.

Comparing cheapest car insurance in California
Comparing Cheapest Car Insurance

The Assumptions

Auto insurance premium varies on a number of factors. The most important ones are:

  • Driving record. Absence of accidents and tickets lead to lower premium and discounts.
  • Sex of the driver.
  • Location.
  • Make of the car. Cars with better safety features have lower insurance.
  • Age of the car. Older cars have lower premium.
  • Number of drivers on the policy including young or student drivers. Addition of new drivers or student driver increases the insurance cost.
  • Type of coverage. Basic (Liability only) v.s. Standard.
  • And many more.

This is what we assumed when hunting for cheap car insurance.

  • Coverage Type – Standard coverage.
  • Location – Los Angeles LA – West
  • Insurance for Male, Female, Married Couple, Married Senior Couple, Married Couple with son, and Young Family Couple.
  • Years licensed. We examined 3 ranges. 3 to 5 years, 6 to 8 years, 9 to 15 years, and 16 to 14 years.
  • For annual milage we took two ranges. 7,600 to 10,000 and 12,600 to 15,000 miles per year.
  • For driving record we assumed no accidents of violations in last three years.
  • For vehicle we choose popular cars like Honda Accord, Honda Civic, Honda Yaris, Toyota Tacoma, Toyota Prius, Ford Mustang, Ford F-150, Toyota Highlander, BMW 328i, Mercedes Benz C300, Chevy Silverado, and BMW 528i.

Cheapest Car Insurance in California

We have analyzed the 5 cheapest auto insurance quotes for 468 combinations. There is no one single insurance company which offers consistently cheap auto insurance across categories. The choice of the company will depend on your unique situation. These results are indications only – a starting point for search for low cost auto insurance. From here you should visit website of insurers, auto insurance quote websites, and talk to auto insurance agents to get a personalized quotes. Auto insurance companies offer discounts. This can lower the cost of a quote which is initially high. You can find a list of auto insurance discounts and credits offered by California auto insurers here. You may also like to read ways of reducing auto insurance premium.

Cheapest Auto Insurance for Single Male or Single Female Drivers

Wawanesa, USAA, Unitrin Direct, Financial Indemnity, and Sterling Casualty offer the cheapest auto insurance quotes in California for this category. The table below compares the 5 cheapest and 5 largest auto insurers for Honda. Notice that for new drivers the smaller companies offer much better rates. For drivers with driving experience of ten years plus the bigger companies offer rates whaich are only slightly higher than smaller companies.

Car Insurance Quote: Single male driving Honda Accord. No accidents and tickets.

Years Licensed 3 to 5 6 to 8 9 to 15 16 to 40
Companies with lowest quotes
Wawanesa 1733 1568 1444 1249
USAA 1741 1474 1303 1276
Unitrin Direct 2841 2077 1756 1777
Sterling Casualty 2141 1532 1413 1394
Financial Indemnity 2931 2543 2112 2111
Quotes from top 5 companies
StateFarm 5289 3438 2362 2121
AAA 3529 3125 2242 1930
All State 3919 2857 2152 1960
Mercury Insurance Group 3600 2854 1866 1568
Midcentury Insurance Company 5950 4127 2737 2140

Cheapest Auto Insurance for Married Couple

We examined auto insurance premium for a married couple living in Los Angeles LA West with annual milage between and 9000 to 1600 miles and no violations or accidents. The highest rate was from Fireman’s Fund of $7764 per annum. The lowest rate was from Metropolitan Direct of $ 2316 per annum. Here is a list of 10 cheapest options for married couple.

Company Annual Premium ($)
Metropolitan Direct 2316
USAA 2628
Wawanesa 2649
Unitrin Direct 2813
Alliance United 2932
Mercury 2934
Access General 3073
Progressive West 3124
Sterling Casualty 3172
Affirmative 3183

As you can see you can save a lot of money by simply selecting the right company. Please note that you should also consider the complaints against the insurer. The cheapest option in this case is from Metropolitan Direct. The justified complaint ratio for this insurer was 5.4% in 2011. It was at number 43 out of 50 companies. This means it does not makes sense to go with the cheapest option in this case. Mercury which had the lowest complaint ratio of 0% in 2011 makes more sense. Customer service is very important.

Cheapest Auto Insurance for Married Couple With Son

Addition of a son in your auto insurance policy really jacks up the premium. Viking will charge you an astronomical $19928 per annum for a son in the policy. But don’t worry there are cheap options by reputable companies like GEICO, USAA, and California Casualty. The table below lists the 10 cheapest options.

Company Annual Premium ($)
Explorer 3406
Wawanesa 3816
GEICO 4115
USAA 4118
Esurance 4141
Mercury 4388
California Casualty 4879
Metropolitan Direct 4892
IDS 4960
Amica Mutual 5059

Premium can be lowered by going for a multi policy discount. Also make sure that the son gets all applicable discounts.


You can save a lot of money by selecting an auto insurance company which offers lower premium. Usually companies which do spend a lot of money of advertising and celebrity endorsements pass on the benefits to customers in terms of lower premium. For this study we have culled the indicative quotes from the website of California Insurance Regulator.

To lower your insurance premium make sure you get all the discounts you are eligible for. Getting quotes from multiple sources will also help.

Happy buying.


6 thoughts on “Cheapest Car Insurance in California – Company by Company Comparison”

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