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affordable california car insurance

As a California resident, you know the joys and challenges that come with driving in the Golden State. From snarled L.A. traffic to epic coastal drives, California has it all.

So it should come as no surprise that California auto insurance laws are among the strictest in the country. Since California is a "fault" state, if you cause an accident and don't have car insurance, you may be held responsible for damages you cause. As a California driver, you need good, affordable car insurance — whether it be comprehensive and collision car insurance or liability insurance — to be fully prepared.

Keep in mind that if you're new to California, you only have 10 days from establishing residency to register your vehicle and become licensed as a California driver. This means you'll need to get car insurance fairly quickly. Thankfully, comparing California auto insurance quotes is fast and easy. With our simple online quotes, Esurance can help you get quality protection that works for you.

Want more convincing? Take it from our California customers. We're proud to have received the 2017 J.D. Power award for "Highest Customer Satisfaction Among Auto Insurers in California." Tens of thousands of Californians gave us top marks for policy offerings, billing process, and policy information — just for starters.

Whether you live in Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, or anywhere in between, Esurance offers car insurance that saves you time, money, and hassle — and meets the Golden State's requirements. Get a customized quote to protect yourself and your vehicle and hit the road with confidence, from the streets of Bakersfield to the Pacific Coast Highway.

 "Best of Service"

"The customer staff are very caring. They answer questions promptly and have helped in all my inquiries."

— Linda K.

 "Great coverage!"

"Beat all other pricing while not making me sacrifice my personalized coverage."

— Douglas F.

See more Esurance reviews.

auto insurance discounts in california

California residents can get a quote to see if they've struck gold with these money-saving Esurance discounts:

Discounts may vary. If you're a current policyholder and have questions about Esurance discounts in California, call us at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262).

The "good driver" law

California has regulations in place that ensure good drivers are rewarded with lower car insurance rates. Proposition 103 requires car insurance companies (Esurance included) to make your driving history a primary factor when determining your premium.

The state-mandated Good Driver discount

Proposition 103 also guarantees a discount to drivers who:

  • Have been licensed for at least 3 years
  • Have no more than one point on their driving records in the past 3 years
  • Haven't been found at fault in a fatal car accident or a car accident that caused at least $1,000 of property damage in the last 3 years

The discount is 20 percent off what the insurer would regularly charge for the same policy.

california car insurance coverages

Required coverages

California drivers are legally required to carry liability insurance with at least the following limits:

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

You'll typically see these minimums expressed as 15/30/5. Other coverages, like comprehensive and collision, are legally optional but may be required by a leasing or financing company.

Optional coverages

There's a lot more to car insurance in California than just basic liability. These additional coverages give you extra financial protection and can be a real lifesaver in the event of a claim:

  • Comprehensive
  • Collision
  • Medical and funeral services payments
  • Uninsured motorist property damage
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury
  • Rental car
  • Customized parts and equipment
  • Auto loan/lease (or "gap")
  • Towing and labor

car insurance stats and facts

Uninsured drivers in California

According to the Insurance Research Council, about 15 percent of California drivers were uninsured in 2012. Though it's not required, uninsured motorist coverage can come in handy after an accident with an uninsured driver, or in the event of a hit-and-run accident.

Car theft in California

According to stats gathered by the FBI, California led the nation in vehicle theft by a landslide in 2015 — more than doubling Texas, which ranked second. That's why it's important to research vehicles that get stolen the most and learn how to protect your car from would-be vandals.

The following are the top vehicle make/model thefts in 2015 compiled by the National Insurance Crime Bureau:

  1. 1996 Honda Accord
  2. 1998 Honda Civic
  3. 2006 Chevrolet Pickup (full-size)
  4. 1991 Toyota Camry
  5. 2006 Ford Pickup (full-size)
  6. 1994 Acura Integra
  7. 2014 Toyota Corolla
  8. 1997 Nissan Sentra
  9. 1997 Nissan Altima
  10. 1999 Honda CR-V

If you're worried your car has a higher chance of being stolen, you might consider comprehensive coverage. Although optional (unless required by a lease or finance company), it could help cover the replacement cost of a stolen vehicle.

Reporting a traffic incident in California

Most drivers will be involved in at least one accident in their lifetime, according to the California DMV. That's why it's crucial to be on top of post-accident procedures to make the claims process easier (and faster). Additionally, California drivers should be aware that if they're involved in a traffic accident that causes over $1,000 in property damage, they'll be required to submit a Traffic Accident Report, known as an SR-1 form, to the DMV within 10 days — regardless of who's at fault.

documents verifying proof of insurance

You can use your insurance ID card or your electronic insurance ID card to prove that you carry the mandatory minimums.

Carrying your proof of insurance at all times is legally required. If you're caught driving without proof of car insurance in California, you may be fined $100 to $200 for a first offense. Fines of $200 to $500 may be applied for a second offense occurring within 3 years of the first violation.

Esurance customers can access all kinds of great stuff (including ID cards and policy documents) in our mobile app.

alternative auto insurance options

Drivers who can't afford a typical car insurance policy can apply for a state-sponsored policy.

You can find more info on either type of policy on the California Department of Insurance's site.

Claims mediation

The state offers a mediation service to help drivers resolve accident claims with their insurers. A qualified mediator can help you and your insurer resolve any disputes over the specifics of a claim. If you're interested in state-sponsored mediation, visit the California Insurance Claims Mediation Program online.

car repair shops in california

Esurance customers (or drivers involved in a claim with Esurance) who take their cars to an Esurance-approved body shop can take advantage of RepairView®, which allows them to monitor repairs online, and enjoy guaranteed repairs for as long as they own their cars.

Find a repair shop near you.

Related links

Car size and crash safety
Get expert info on how your ride's size may affect its ability to protect you in a crash.

Auto insurance in the City by the Bay
From the Marina to the Outer Mission, Esurance offers reliable, affordable car insurance to San Francisco residents.

Wonder if you could be saving on car insurance?

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