If you live in California you have four choices of how you wish to cover any potential damage in the event of an auto accident. Instead of regular car insurance, Californian residents can – if they choose – make a cash deposit of $35,000 with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), lodge a surety bond from their employer if they are driving a corporately owned vehicle, or obtain a self-insurance certificate from the DMV – although in California, this option only exists if you own a minimum of twenty five vehicles.
California Car Insurance Requirements
To the private Californian vehicle owner, therefore, it makes more sense to take out an auto insurance policy which provides the minimum liability insurance requirements of:-
$15,000 for injury/death to one person
$30,000 for injury/death to more than one person
$5,000 for damage to property
California Insurance Laws
An auto insurance policy (or one of the other means of displaying your “financial responsibility” above) is required on any vehicle operated or parked on California roadways. You have to show your insurance papers whenever requested to by a law enforcement officer, when renewing your vehicle registration and when the vehicle is involved in a traffic collision, so it is a mandatory requirement that you carry your insurance documents with you at all times.
You may also be asked to present an identification card from your insurance company and, in certain circumstances, an SR-22 if you have been arrested – not necessarily convicted – for driving under the influence (DUI). Both your car insurance in California and any SR-22s will have been registered by the auto insurance company with the DMV, and should your car insurance policy lapse, or you get re-arrested for DUI, the DMV will suspend your vehicle registration.
Recommended California Car Insurance Coverage
As well as the legal requirement to obtain liability insurance (or one of the three alternatives cited at the top of the page), Californian residents are recommended to have collision coverage to cover accidents caused to your vehicle by your own actions or a rollover, and comprehensive auto insurance to enable you to repair damage to your car in the event of fire, vandalism, theft, or severe weather conditions.
Car drivers in California are also recommended to include Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury coverage on their car insurance policy. Although not legally required for car insurance in California, this additional protection will provide financial peace of mind if you are involved in an accident where the liable party is either uninsured or underinsured. In some States, as many as 25% of drivers fall into this category!
Cheap California Auto Insurance Quotes
By shopping around, Californian residents can find the best deal for their auto insurance. The best California auto insurance quotes may not always be the cheapest, so read the terms and conditions of the auto insurance carefully before committing to a policy with a very high deductable, or which fails to cover you and your family in certain events.
The most convenient way to shop around for cheap car insurance in California is to compare car insurance quotes online. The cheapest rates of car insurance for motorists in California are easier to find this way, and you may also qualify for a discount as online car insurance companies generally tend to have lower business overheads.
California has recently introduced legislation to permit pay-as-you-drive auto insurance policies, and a number of auto insurance companies provide this service to private California car owners. These auto insurance policies are beneficial to an owner with a low annual mileage and you could get very cheap California auto insurance quotes if you qualify for one of these plans.
California Car Insurance Ratings
California car insurance quotes are affected by a number of different factors. The California car insurance ratings on the elements below will determine how high or low your insurance premiums will be. We have also included below lists of the worse (for car theft) cities in which to try to insure your car and also the most common make of car which is stolen in those areas.
- Your zip code – The area in which you live will greatly influence the car insurance quote you receive. Some cities represent a greater level of risk to the insurance company than others.
- Your age – Younger and older drivers are more likely to be involved in a claim than a driver in their mid thirties. Car insurance companies will take this into account when offering you a car insurance quote
- The years you have driven – Car insurance companies believe that the more experience you have of driving, the safer you will be on the roads
- Driving violations – Similarly, drivers who have previously been involved in an accident for which they were to blame, or who have a history of being ticketed are considered more likely to re-offend in the future
- Marital status – Incredibly, if you are married, you are perceived to be a safer driver. In California, this will reflect favorably on your car insurance quote.
- Type of Vehicle – The type of vehicle that you are driving will affect your car insurance quote if you are looking for collision cover and comprehensive car insurance. The make of vehicle will also influence the car insurance rates you are quoted if it is one of those quoted below.
Most Stolen Cars and Vehicles in California
Each year the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) publishes a list of the top ten most stolen cars and vehicles. Nicknamed “Hot Wheels”, these were the top ten most stolen cars and vehicles stolen in California in 2009.
1. Honda Accord
2. Honda Civic
3. Toyota Camry
4. Acura Integra
5. Nissan Sentra
6. Toyota Corolla
7. Saturn SL
8. Nissan Altima
9. Ford F150 Pick Up
10. Toyota Pick Up 4×2
Where Your Car Will Get Stolen in California
The NICB also publishes a list of the metropolitan areas in which your car is most likely to get stolen. The list below is of the most “popular” locations in California for car theft, with the figures in brackets indicating that area’s national position. California car insurance quotes are heavily influenced by these statistics.
1. Modesto (2)
2. Bakersfield (3)
3. Stockton (4)
4. Fresno (5)
5. Oakland/Freemont (7)
6. Porterville (8)
7. Sacramento (11)
8. San Diego (13)
9. El Centro (14)
10. Fairfield (15)
As you can see, Californian locations fill ten of the top 15 metropolitan areas in which your car is most likely to get stolen, and if your zip code is in one of these areas expect to pay a little more for your car insurance. In case you were wondering, number one on the national list is Laredo in Texas.
Typical California Car Insurance Rates
Because of the prevalence of car theft in California, car insurance for Californians tends to be a little higher than the national average. These are the average rates paid by drivers for car insurance in California in 2009, but bear in mind your personal circumstances, the car you drive and the level of insurance you require will influence you final car insurance quote.
Car Insurance in San Diego – $1,318
Car Insurance in Oakland – $1,435
Car Insurance in Long Beach – $1,439
Car Insurance in Fresno – $1,461
Car Insurance in San Francisco – $1,493
Car Insurance in San Jose – $1,494
Car Insurance in Sacramento – $1,501
Car Insurance in Anaheim – $1,570
Car Insurance in Santa Ana – $1,616
Car Insurance in Los Angeles – $1,678
California Car Insurance Companies
The following car insurance providers are the best California car insurance companies from which to get an online car insurance quote. You can read our reviews of each company by clicking on their name, or by completing your zip code in the box at the top of the page
There are a further 115 companies which can provide you with car insurance in California – some of which will offer discounted car insurance for members of specific professions.
|21st Century||Fidelity National||Omni|
|ACA||Financial Indemnity||Oregon Mutual|
|Access||Firemans Fund||Pacific Property & Casualty|
|Aegis Security||First National||Pacific Specialty|
|AIU||Grange Insurance Assoc||Permanent General|
|Alliance United||Granite State||Praetorian|
|Allied Property & Casualty||Great American||Progressive|
|American Family Home||Infinity||Safeco|
|American Home Assurance||Insurance Company of the||Safeway|
|American International||State of Pennsylvania||Sequoia|
|American Modern||Insurance Company of the||Standard Fire|
|AMEX Assurance||Integon||State National|
|AMICA||InterInsurance Exchange of||Sterling Casualty|
|Anchor General||the Automobile Club||Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire|
|Balboa||Liberty Mutual||Twin City Fire|
|California Automobile||Lincoln General||Unigard|
|California Casualty||Markel||Universal Underwriters|
|California State Auto||Mendota||USAA|
|Civil Service Employees||Mercury||Victoria|
|Commerce||MGA Insurance||Western General|
|CSE Safeguard||MIC Insurance||Western United|
|Danielson National||Mid-Century||Workmens Auto|
|Deerbrook||National American of California|
|Electric||National Union Fire|