How to Shop and Save Money on Car Insurance in California

Find the best and cheapest car insurance in California

This is advertising content created in partnership with Clearsurance.

If you live in California, you probably already know that car insurance in the state can be expensive. In fact, car insurance customers in California pay higher premiums than most — approximately 14% higher than the average national rate.

Car insurance in California is costly for a number of reasons. Knowing why it’s so expensive may help you to ask the right questions when you shop for car insurance.

Why Is Car Insurance in California So Expensive?

Although many factors go into determining the premium amount a customer pays, the biggest factor in California’s higher rates is the sheer number of drivers in the state. Population impacts insurance rates and California is both populous and geographically large.

Public transportation options are also somewhat limited, so Californians often depend on their cars to get from one place to another. Having more people on the road means that there’s a potential for more accidents, thus causing insurance rates to be higher than in a state with fewer drivers.

How Can a Driver Find Cheaper Insurance Rates in California?

While some things (such as the population numbers in California) are out of your control, there are steps drivers can take to find the cheapest and best car insurance in California.

Shop Around and Get Quotes from Multiple Companies

This is time consuming, but it’s your best option if you want cheaper car insurance rates while still getting quality insurance. Doing your research is very important. Why is this so important? While cost is a key factor for just about everyone, you don’t want to go with an insurer that has bad customer service or doesn’t make timely payouts for claims.

The best way to uncover those types of details is to read customer reviews and California rankings of top customer-rated car insurance companies, which you can do on Clearsurance.com. Be sure to enter your information into the quick calculator (no name or address required) to get the best and cheapest car insurance carrier recommendations for you.

Ask About Multiple Policies

If you have more than one policy with the same company, you might be able to save money on your car insurance. “Bundling” your policies may save you money, so ask your insurer if this is available. If your company doesn’t offer this, shop around and see if a different company can offer you a better bundling deal.

Look Into Other Discounts

Other discounts to look into include safe driver discounts or discounts due to reduced mileage or less frequent driving. Before you commit to a particular carrier, ask about additional discounts that the company offers to make sure that you’re receiving as many car insurance discounts as possible to find the most competitive car insurance rate.

If You’re Planning to Move, Do Research Ahead of Time

While this isn’t always going to be an option, if you are paying a lot for car insurance in California and are thinking of moving, before you settle on a neighborhood, look into the insurance rates in the area. Where you live factors into what you pay for car insurance and is a big component of rate-setting. By picking the right neighborhood for your next home or apartment, you could save big on your car insurance costs.

>>>>SEE ALSO: Watch our YouTube video "How to Find Cheap Car Insurance in California."

The Top 3 Car Insurance Companies in California According To Customers’ Insurance Ratings

We’ve identified the highest-rated car insurance companies in California, according to customer reviews submitted to Clearsurance.com, as of June 2020.

Below are the top companies in California that offer quotes on Clearsurance.com, along with some analysis of customer feedback, including common trends discovered in the car insurance carrier reviews.

Please note: In order to qualify for the list, companies must sell car insurance in California, have at least 25 car insurance reviews, and they must be a Clearsurance affiliate and offer quotes on the site. For a complete and updated list of the top-rated companies in California, you can visit the California car insurance rankings page.

Progressive

Progressive is one of the most popular and highest rated insurance companies that offers car insurance in California. According to customer reviews on Clearsurance.com as of June 2020, Progressive received a score of 4.05 out of 5.00 stars for car insurance.

Pros: After analyzing all Progressive reviews, trends emerged on what customers like and don’t like about the company. The pros identified in reviews are that Progressive has an easy-to-use website, explains coverage well, has transparent billing, flexible billing options, and a variety of coverage options.

Cons: There are no common trends of cons that emerged from Progressive reviews.

Progressive policyholders tend to be happy with the company, according to the following statistics:

  • 80% say they’re likely to renew their Progressive policy,
  • 77% say they would recommend Progressive to a friend, and
  • 74% rated their Progressive claim experience positively.

An example of a positive Progressive experience from a review on Clearsurance is below. 

Clearsurance

Read all Progressive reviews

Allstate

Allstate is one of the country’s largest insurance providers. Customers feel good about their prices (auto insurance rates) and service. Some of the key attributes listed include great customer service, fast response times on insurance claims, and an easy-to-use mobile app.

With a score of 4.03 out of 5.00 stars on Clearsurance.com, Allstate is the second highest customer-rated company that offers quotes on Clearsurance.com in California that doesn't sell to a certain affinity group. Below, you can see pros and cons trends as seen in Allstate customer reviews.

Pros: Allstate customers are pleased with many aspects of the company’s offerings. Feedback included positive comments about transparent pricing and an easy-to-use website. Others praise Allstate’s flexible billing options and the fact that agents explain coverage well. Overall, customers are pleased with their auto insurance policies through Allstate.

Cons: No consistent themes of “cons” emerged in the analysis of customer reviews about Allstate auto insurance.

One California Allstate reviewer discussed their experience in the following review.

Clearsurance

Read all Allstate reviews.

Allstate is a good option to consider if you’re shopping for car insurance in California, according to those who have reviewed the company on Clearsurance.com. An examination of customer reviews found the following:

  • 80% are planning on renewing their policies with Allstate,
  • 78% would recommend Allstate to a friend, and
  • 77% cited a positive claim experience with Allstate.

Esurance

Esurance is an insurance company that is well-known for its easy-to-use website and utilization of technology in the insurance process. According to customer reviews, Esurance is positively rated for its website experience and ease of use. As of June 4, 2020, Esurance earned a score of 4.01 out of 5.00 stars on Clearsurance.com.

Pros: Among all Esurance reviews on Clearsurance.com, customers commonly rate Esurance highly for its easy-to-use website, explaining coverage well, transparent pricing, flexible billing options, and the variety of coverage options.

Cons: Esurance reviewers think the company could improve by offering loyalty discounts to customers who keep their Esurance policy for a number of years.

Most Esurance policyholders are generally happy with the company, as you can see with the following statistics:

  • 77% are likely to renew their policy with Esurance,
  • 77% would recommend Esurance to a friend, and
  • 75% rated their claim experience with Esurance positively.

A California Esurance customer discussed their experience with filing an Esurance claim in the Clearsurance review below. 

Clearsurance

Read all Esurance reviews.

Best Car Insurance for Military Members: USAA

USAA is the highest-rated car insurance company. However, USAA is only available to active and former military members and their families. USAA earned a score of 4.71 out of 5.00 stars from customer reviews submitted to Clearsurance. You can see trends in reviews below.

Pros: In Clearsurance USAA reviews, there are common trends in things that customers like about USAA. Pros include an easy-to-use website, the company explains coverage well, transparent pricing, good discount offerings, flexible billing options, and a variety of coverage options.

Cons: There are no clear cons that emerged in trends in the reviews.

USAA customers are extremely loyal and happy with their USAA insurance policy and experience.

  • 93% are likely to renew their USAA policy,
  • 94% would recommend the company to a friend, and
  • 94% rated their claim experience positively.

Read More: USAA eligibility requirements

An example of a California USAA customer praising the company can be seen in the review below.

Clearsurance

Read all USAA reviews.

Best Car Insurance for Drivers Age 50 and Over: AARP Auto Insurance Program from the Hartford

If you’re a driver that is of 50 years or older, you may qualify for car insurance through an AARP membership. AARP Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford is available for AARP members. This insurance program has a score of 4.63 out of 5.00 stars for car insurance. AARP Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford is one of the best car insurance companies for senior drivers.

Pros: Some of the common things customers cite liking about this car insurance company include, easy-to-use website, explains coverage well, transparent pricing, good discount offerings, flexible billing options, variety of coverage options.

Cons: Customers believe AARP Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford doesn’t reward loyal customers.

An AARP Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford customer in California talks about how it helped save money on car insurance in their review.

Clearsurance

Read all AARP Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford.

The majority of AARP Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford customers are happy with their experiences, as you can see with the following data.

  • 73% are likely to renew their USAA policy,
  • 81% would recommend the company to a friend, and
  • 79% rated their claim experience positively.

Best Car Insurance for Educators: Horace Mann Companies

Horace Mann is a highly-rated insurance company that offers coverage to educators, including teachers and school employees. For car insurance, Horace Mann has a score of 4.02 out of 5 stars. You can see trends in reviews below.

Pros: Among Horace Mann reviews, common pros mentioned include, explains coverage well, transparent pricing, good discount offerings, flexible billing options, and a variety of coverage options.

Cons: Reviewers say a negative factor about Horace Mann is that the company doesn’t reward loyal customers.

A Horace Mann reviewer discussed their customer service experience in a review on Clearsurance.

Clearsurance

Read all Horace Mann reviews.

Horace Mann customers respond positively to their experiences with the company, as you can see in the following Clearsurance data.

  • 79% are likely to renew their USAA policy,
  • 78% would recommend the company to a friend, and
  • 85% rated their claim experience positively.

Top 3 California Auto Insurance Companies Based on Customer Price Rating

Price is an important factor to consider when you’re shopping for car insurance. It’s important to make sure you aren’t paying too much for car insurance. We analyzed California companies and how customers rated the company for the price of their policies.

Below you can find the top 3 California companies rated by customers for their perceptions of price. Please note: for this ranking, we looked at all car insurance companies in California that had at least 100 reviews that included a rating on price. The ratings displayed are shown out of a 5-star scale.

  1. USAA*: price rating of 4.50
  2. Esurance: price rating of 4.16
  3. GEICO: price rating of 4.05

*USAA is only available to military members and their families. Read: Am I eligible for USAA?

California can be an expensive state to live in. However, with some time and research, you’ll find that shopping for car insurance in California can yield lower rates for premiums from highly-rated car insurance companies. Learn more about the best California car insurance companies, according to customer reviews, on Clearsurance.