Car insurance isn’t the most expensive in the country, but it can hover just above the national average in some areas of the Golden State. We’ll look at the averages first. Basic car insurance in California costs around $49 to $60 per month. This adds up to anywhere from $588 to $720 annually for the absolute minimum car insurance amount. Naturally, full car insurance coverage costs more but offers far more protection. Full coverage can be found in California for anywhere from $129 to $180 a month for a total annual cost of anywhere from $1,548 to $2,160. However, there are some reports of some drivers finding even lowering rates from different providers. The fact of the matter is that California has several different car insurance rates depending on location, the driver, and the car and its use.
Factors That Influence Car Insurance in California
The entire practice of car insurance is based on assessing the risk of the driver, their location, and their car. This is the case in every state that requires its drivers to have it. Let’s first look at the personal factors that determine how much you can pay for car insurance:
- Age – You may have heard that new, young drivers often pay the most for car insurance behind seniors. This is a common practice for all car insurance companies and is backed up by several stats. Younger drivers with little to no driving history are assumed to be at high risk for accidents. Rates tend to average out when the driver turns 26 but then increase once they turn 65. A new teen driver can pay at least 246% more than the average driver.
- Marital status – Another study conducted by car insurance companies and highway patrols is the correlation between accidents and marital status. It’s shown that single drivers are more likely to get into an accident because they are more likely to make riskier decisions on the road. Married drivers make safer driver decisions and pay around 4% less than single drivers.
- Annual mileage – In other words, how often you use your car can influence your car insurance. It’s cause and effect –the more time you spend on the road the more likely you are to experience an accident. So, someone driving more miles annually than someone else would pay more for car insurance than they do. An example would be that a driver who logs 20,000 miles in a year pays about 31% more than a driver logging 7,500 annual miles.
- Coverage type and amount – As previously mentioned, basic and full coverage car insurance have different price tags. Full car insurance costs at least 198% more than basic car insurance, just satisfying the state’s requirements. At the same time, it’s highly recommended that drivers carry well beyond the minimum requirements because they are hardly enough to cover a real accident scenario.
Your Driving Record And Car Insurance in California
Nearly every aspect of your driving record will play into determining how much you pay for car insurance. The following is what car insurance companies look for when examining your driving record:
- Speeding tickets – Even a single speeding ticket can cause your insurance rates to increase –around a 37% increase, to be exact. If speeding violations are a regular habit, then the rates can only increase.
- At-fault accident – Causing a car accident and having to use your insurance can cause nearly a 70% increase. The goal of car insurance is to not use it and be involved in accidents.
- Red light violation – Running a red light and receiving a citation can increase car insurance rates in California by 37%.
- Open container violation – Driving with an open bottle of alcohol, regardless of sobriety, is illegal in every state and not just punishable by law but also increases insurance rates by at least 74%.
- DUI – There is no violation that can increase your car insurance rates any more than a DUI. At the same time as increasing rates, you’ll be required to file specialized SR-22 insurance and may even lose your license. A DUI alone increases your rates by at least 138%. A suspended license can increase them by 108%. SR–22s are also known to increase car insurance rates by 4%. Add these all together, and you have nearly a 250% increase.
Where Car Insurance in California is The Cheapest
Location and residence also dictate the cost of car insurance. An insurance provider can tell a lot about the area with its zip code. Crime rates and traffic patterns are accounted for, which means the larger cities have the higher rates. Some of the towns where car insurance is the cheapest are the smaller ones in California. Chula Vista, Salinas, and Santa Rosa are where you will find annual full California car insurance rates for less than $1,100. Cheap car insurance can also be found by looking into more local companies that only have experience with California car insurance.