The Ultimate California Car Insurance Guide (Costs + Coverage)

If need to know anything about California car insurance, you've come to the right place. California car insurance laws and California car insurance requirements are not too different than other states, but knowing the details and the specifics can keep you safe, protected, and from violating California auto insurance laws. Not only can we tell you about all the different CA car insurance laws and how they have changed over the years, but we can tell you how you can find cheap car insurance for any ZIP code in the state. You can see how different car insurance rates in Los Angeles are from rural CA auto insurance premiums, learn about all your auto insurance options, and find car insurance quotes personalized for you. Read on.

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Laura Gunn

Insurance and Finance Writer

Laura Gunn is a former teacher who uses her passion for writing and learning to help others make the best decisions regarding finance and insurance. After stepping away from the classroom, Laura used her skills to write across many different industries including insurance, finance, real estate, home improvement, and healthcare.  Her experience in various industries has helped develop both her ...

Insurance and Finance Writer

Scott W. Johnson

Licensed Insurance Agent

Scott W Johnson is an independent insurance agent in California. Principal Broker and founder of Marindependent Insurance Services, Scott brings over 25 years of experience to his clients. His Five President’s Council awards prove he uses all he learned at Avocet, Sprint Nextel, and Farmers Insurance to the benefit of his clients. Scott quickly grasped the unique insurance requirements of his...

Licensed Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Feb 16, 2024

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California Statistics SummaryDetails
Road Miles225,531
Vehicles Registered27,872,875
Most Popular VehicleHonda Civic
Total Traffic Fatalities (2017)3602
Speeding Fatalities1,070
DUI Fatalities1,120
Average Premiums (Annual)Liability: $490
Collision: $397
Comprehensive: $101
Combined Premiums: $987
Percent of Motorists Uninsured15.2%
Cheapest ProviderUSAA

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The Golden State is one of the most storied and sung about places in the United States. From Hollywood dreams to Disneyland fantasies, Silicon Valley start-ups to Napa Valley wineries, it’s a place as varied as its people.

Although beaches are what most people picture when they think of California, residents know there’s much more to explore. California includes miles of farmland, snow-covered mountain peaks, and stretches of desert that include Death Valley, the hottest place in North America.

California is a place for drivers. Californians even have their own way of referring to the many freeways – it’s not I-5, it’s the Five.

When you escape the city traffic, California’s roads offer some of the most scenic drives in the world, not least of which is the Pacific Coast Highway.

Before you experience those views, you will need to make sure you’ve got car insurance. Every driver in California needs it, but no one wants to shop for it!

Shopping around for California car insurance is time-consuming, and it’s hard to know when you’re really getting a good value from your policy. Understanding all your auto insurance coverage options can be a real headache. It would be nice to have all of the information you need at your fingertips, right?

We have everything you need to know right here.

Read on for details on California’s car insurance laws, insurance company ratings, vehicle and driver licensing, and a whole lot more. This is your comprehensive and complete guide to getting on the road.

Start your search for the best price on California auto insurance using our FREE rate comparison tool above!

How much is California car insurance coverage and rates?

California isn’t the cheapest place to live, particularly if you call any of the big metro areas home.  With housing prices through the roof, you’re looking to save wherever you can, including on your car insurance, but without giving up the coverage you need.

That’s easier said than done when you don’t have time to figure out the details of coverage, research insurance companies, and make dozens of calls to get rates.

Don’t worry, we have taken care of all of that for you.

Right here you’ll find a simple breakdown of the coverage you need to have, your add-on options, and which car insurance companies are taking the best care of their California customers.

Enter your ZIP code below to compare auto insurance rates.

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What is California’s car culture?

Over the past decade, California has been leading the charge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, particularly emissions coming from fossil-fuel burning vehicles.

In our list of the best states to own an electric vehicle, it places 1st with 18 electric vehicle incentives, the highest number of electric vehicle registrations per capita, and a robust charging station infrastructure.

What is California minimum coverage?

Here’s the insurance you’re required by California law to carry, at the very minimum.

Coverage TypeRequired Limits
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage$15,000 per person
$30,000 per accident
Property Damage Liability Coverage$5,000

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The first thing you’ll notice is that these minimum requirements are pretty low.

If you’ve spent much time in areas like Los Angeles or San Francisco, you’ll know there are some high-end vehicles around. $5,000 in property damage covered isn’t going to cut it if you total someone’s brand-new Mercedes and you’re at fault.

California is a tort state and you can be sued for damages.

So while these are the limits you have to carry in order to be legally on the road, it’s a really good idea to carry higher limits in order to protect yourself from liability in an accident.

What are forms of financial responsibility?

Car insurance is the most common form of financial responsibility for drivers in the state, but there are a few ways to prove responsibility without an insurance policy.

California does allow for a certificate of self-insurance, which has to be issued by the DMV.

Alternately, you can make a cash deposit with the DMV in the amount of $35,000, or provide a surety bond in that same amount issued by a company licensed in California.

All of these will satisfy the financial responsibility requirement, but insurance still remains your best bet.

Whichever option you choose, make sure to carry proof of financial responsibility at all times when you’re driving. You will be asked to provide that proof at a traffic stop or at the scene of an accident.

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How much are premiums as a percentage of income?

The cost of car insurance has been rising over the years, while average disposable income for Californians has fluctuated up and down.

The three-year trend below shows that the average percentage of disposable income spent on car insurance in California rose over three years by 6 percent.

YearFull Coverage CostDisposable Income Percent of Income Spent on Car Insurance
2012$891.68$42,451.00 2.10%

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Californians are using more of their disposable income to pay for car insurance each year, but the percentage still falls below the national average of 2.40 percent for 2014.

It’s also lower than neighboring states like Oregon and Arizona, where the average disposable income is lower, making for a higher percentage spent on car insurance.

Core Coverage

Core coverage in California includes the liability portion of the policy along with comprehensive and collision. All together these three form what is known as a full coverage policy.

Coverage TypeAverage Annual Cost in California (2015)National Average (2015)

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Although collision coverage costs more in California than the national average, overall rates come in below average.

What are additional liability options?

On top of the liability insurance required by law in California, there are a couple of other add-on options you can choose for additional coverage.

Medical Payments (Med Pay) helps to pay for injuries to you and your passengers no matter who is at fault in an accident.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) coverage is designed to kick in to cover you if you’re involved in an accident in which the other driver is at fault but either has no insurance or not enough coverage.

15.2 percent of Calfornians drive without insurance, ranking the state at number 12 nationwide for uninsured drivers.

Additional liability can make dealing with the costs of an accident a lot easier on you.

Loss ratios, provided by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), tell us how much insurance companies are paying out compared to how much they earn in premiums.

A good loss ratio is neither too high nor too low. High means they are paying out too much and at risk of financial problems; low means they aren’t paying out as much as they should.

Loss Ratio201220132014
Medical Payments (Med Pay)73%69%62%
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist60%59%58%

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The three-year trend shows California’s loss ratios on additional liability going down over time.

The national average for Med Pay loss ratios was 74.05 in 2014, and for UM/UIM it was 67.33. California came in lower on both types of coverage, indicating that car insurance companies should be paying out more claims.

Add-ons, Endorsements, and Riders

Let’s talk about that last option a little more. While many big-name companies in California have offered usage-based insurance programs for a while, there’s a new kid in town – pay-per-mile insurance.

Usage-based car insurance is a program in which the car insurance company monitors your driving habits and gives you a discount based on the information they collect.

True pay-per-mile insurance, however, is a different animal. Metromile is the company that can generally be credited for popularizing it, and it’s a California-based company. Under their program, you pay based on the actual number of miles you drive.

A couple of other companies have jumped on this bandwagon. Allstate and their subsidiary Esurance both offer a pay-per-mile program, but neither company offers the plan in California.

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What are Demographic Rates: Male Vs. Female and By Age?

Age and gender have long been two important rating factors used by car insurance companies.

In January of 2019, California passed a law stating that gender can no longer be used in calculating car insurance rates.

The new law is part of Prop 103 (more on that later), banning discrimination in determining rates.

The data below shows how rates have differed in the past based on gender; going forward with the new law we can guess that the rates will average out somewhere in between.

The biggest takeaway from the numbers below, however, has less to do with gender and more to do with age.  Rates drop drastically from 17 to 25 years of age but seem to level off for drivers into their 30s and beyond.

CompanyMarried 35-year old femaleMarried 35-year old maleMarried 60-year old femaleMarried 60-year old maleSingle 17-year old femaleSingle 17-year old maleSingle 25-year old femaleSingle 25-year old male
Allstate Northbrook Indemnity$2,921.24$2,923.87$2,126.03$2,148.03$8,098.88$10,188.73$3,742.44$4,115.50
AMCO Insurance$3,272.83$3,124.42$2,863.68$2,699.52$8,318.27$9,186.72$3,904.76$3,858.43
Farmers Ins Exchange$2,715.31$2,715.31$2,451.83$2,451.83$8,667.08$14,189.14$3,218.46$3,585.17
Geico General$1,786.81$1,787.80$1,680.52$1,680.52$5,433.56$5,529.48$2,566.22$2,624.98
SAFECO Ins Co of America$2,303.99$2,177.93$2,145.20$2,077.01$5,014.43$5,348.46$2,593.72$2,620.60
State Farm Mutual Auto$3,310.18$3,310.18$2,957.44$2,957.44$6,089.50$7,555.39$3,663.92$3,777.69
Travelers Commercial Ins Co.$2,497.45$2,417.86$2,206.26$2,182.92$5,165.60$5,906.73$3,249.64$3,179.78
United Financial Casualty$1,785.37$1,837.82$1,518.62$1,802.64$4,767.78$5,748.65$2,576.92$2,771.33
USAA CIC$1,929.46$1,827.74$1,882.10$1,889.89$4,404.58$4,428.83$2,670.51$2,523.86

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What are the Highest/Lowest Rates by ZIP Code?

Whether you live in the famous 90210 or a lesser-known area, your ZIP code will have an impact on your car insurance rates.

Search by ZIP code below to find out what rates look like in your part of California.

25 Most Expensive Zip Codes in California CityAverage by Zip CodeMost Expensive CompanyMost Expensive Rate2nd Most Expensive Company2nd Most Expensive RateCheapest CompanyCheapest Rate2nd Cheapest Company2nd Cheapest Rate
90210BEVERLY HILLS$6,324.83Nationwide$8,533.47Allstate$8,190.66Liberty Mutual$4,414.40USAA$4,692.62
91606NORTH HOLLYWOOD$6,219.57Allstate$8,174.05Farmers$8,102.32USAA$3,931.76Liberty Mutual$4,611.35
90010LOS ANGELES$6,201.00Nationwide$8,610.21Allstate$8,225.60USAA$4,226.92Liberty Mutual$4,883.02
90211BEVERLY HILLS$6,199.34Nationwide$8,922.36Allstate$8,190.66USAA$4,245.23Liberty Mutual$4,439.85
91405VAN NUYS$6,198.55Nationwide$8,789.36Allstate$8,155.64USAA$3,931.76Liberty Mutual$4,683.16
90020LOS ANGELES$6,132.45Nationwide$8,382.09Allstate$8,360.06USAA$4,004.33Geico$4,512.30
91203GLENDALE$6,086.66Nationwide$9,116.47Allstate$7,952.29USAA$4,004.56Liberty Mutual$4,116.05
91401VAN NUYS$6,073.88Nationwide$8,651.65Allstate$8,335.75USAA$3,828.03Liberty Mutual$4,506.46
90028LOS ANGELES$6,063.25Allstate$8,360.06Farmers$8,208.73USAA$4,004.33Geico$4,393.74
90038LOS ANGELES$6,048.15Nationwide$8,518.96Allstate$8,360.06USAA$3,693.78Geico$4,309.89
90046LOS ANGELES$6,045.78Allstate$8,225.60Nationwide$8,193.23USAA$3,966.93Geico$4,399.92
90212BEVERLY HILLS$6,041.05Allstate$8,190.66Farmers$7,792.29USAA$4,245.23Liberty Mutual$4,539.22
90005LOS ANGELES$6,040.60Allstate$8,065.54Nationwide$8,057.13USAA$4,004.33Progressive$4,592.87
91605NORTH HOLLYWOOD$6,034.64Nationwide$8,737.86Farmers$7,959.34USAA$3,808.95Liberty Mutual$4,383.46
91204GLENDALE$6,015.40Nationwide$8,721.88Allstate$7,952.29USAA$4,004.56Liberty Mutual$4,268.49
91205GLENDALE$5,990.19Nationwide$8,439.18Farmers$7,685.36USAA$4,004.56Liberty Mutual$4,296.53
90029LOS ANGELES$5,934.84Farmers$8,227.86Allstate$8,197.40USAA$3,735.84Geico$4,161.04
90004LOS ANGELES$5,928.00Allstate$8,189.47Nationwide$8,127.33USAA$3,847.79Progressive$4,373.15
90017LOS ANGELES$5,898.73Allstate$8,014.89Nationwide$8,005.94USAA$3,945.10Liberty Mutual$4,632.60
90027LOS ANGELES$5,897.67Nationwide$8,413.29Allstate$8,189.47Progressive$4,012.84USAA$4,015.30
90057LOS ANGELES$5,894.37Allstate$8,016.78Nationwide$8,012.71USAA$3,847.79Progressive$4,225.65
90077LOS ANGELES$5,878.05Allstate$8,190.66Farmers$7,517.86Liberty Mutual$3,925.51USAA$4,125.06
90048LOS ANGELES$5,877.67Allstate$8,276.46Nationwide$8,189.87USAA$3,719.43Geico$4,058.38
91201GLENDALE$5,847.26Nationwide$8,736.98Allstate$7,952.29USAA$3,808.95Liberty Mutual$4,011.77
90069WEST HOLLYWOOD$5,844.28Allstate$8,276.46Farmers$8,037.83USAA$3,671.99Liberty Mutual$4,191.86

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That famous ZIP code we mentioned?  It’s expensive in more ways than one.  90210 has the highest average car insurance premiums of any ZIP code in the state.  The other top ZIP codes are nearby, in parts of North Hollywood and Los Angeles.

25 Least Expensive Zip Codes in California CityAverage by Zip CodesMost Expensive CompanyMost Expensive Rate2nd Most Expensive Company2nd Most Expensive RateCheapest CompanyCheapest Rate2nd Cheapest Company2nd Cheapest Rate
93401SAN LUIS OBISPO$2,731.32Allstate$3,488.65Nationwide$3,336.13Progressive$2,177.96Liberty Mutual$2,285.77
96067MOUNT SHASTA$2,777.89Farmers$4,029.52Nationwide$3,347.10Progressive$1,989.83Geico$2,080.16
93442MORRO BAY$2,807.97Allstate$3,396.50Nationwide$3,358.53Progressive$2,126.82Liberty Mutual$2,400.87
93402LOS OSOS$2,821.16Nationwide$3,411.51Allstate$3,392.02Liberty Mutual$2,324.69Progressive$2,336.39
93420ARROYO GRANDE$2,824.43Nationwide$3,543.40Farmers$3,404.34Progressive$1,980.83Liberty Mutual$2,298.66
93449PISMO BEACH$2,829.93Nationwide$3,707.40Allstate$3,450.72Liberty Mutual$2,283.28USAA$2,449.96
93433GROVER BEACH$2,834.19Nationwide$3,752.44Allstate$3,468.52Liberty Mutual$2,282.99Progressive$2,297.06
93441LOS OLIVOS$2,840.56Nationwide$3,594.51Allstate$3,442.05Progressive$2,327.04USAA$2,426.99
93444NIPOMO$2,843.90Nationwide$3,495.01Farmers$3,445.56USAA$2,299.41Liberty Mutual$2,337.28
93430CAYUCOS$2,850.58Nationwide$3,460.36Allstate$3,361.53Liberty Mutual$2,344.53USAA$2,423.24
93452SAN SIMEON$2,858.30Nationwide$3,497.26Allstate$3,487.46Progressive$2,305.34USAA$2,330.63
93455SANTA MARIA$2,877.52Nationwide$3,554.69Allstate$3,453.85Geico$2,325.67USAA$2,363.73
96032FORT JONES$2,885.83Farmers$4,329.09Nationwide$3,547.47Progressive$2,122.70USAA$2,266.86

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The cheapest ZIP codes are found along the central coast in areas like San Luis Obispo, and in the far northern reaches of the state in towns like Weed.

What are the Highest/Lowest Rates by City?

A lot of cities have more than one ZIP code, which means that rates in a city can average out a bit.

The tables below show the average rates you can expect to pay in each city.

10 Most Expensive Cities in California Average by CityMost Expensive CompanyMost Expensive Rate2nd Most Expensive Company2nd Most Expensive RateCheapest CompanyCheapest Rate2nd Cheapest Company2nd Cheapest Rate
Beverly Hills$6,188.41Nationwide$8,410.69Allstate$8,190.66USAA$4,394.36Liberty Mutual$4,464.49
Van Nuys$5,897.85Nationwide$8,039.20Farmers$7,861.74USAA$3,761.84Progressive$4,503.60
Tarzana$5,798.47Farmers$7,945.28Nationwide$7,943.26USAA$3,843.04Liberty Mutual$4,034.36
North Hollywood$5,769.35Allstate$7,921.82Farmers$7,855.52USAA$3,629.33Geico$4,203.12
Valley Village$5,718.12Allstate$8,335.75Farmers$7,716.75USAA$3,752.84Progressive$4,038.01
Panorama City$5,701.66Farmers$7,975.17Nationwide$7,804.98USAA$3,411.65Progressive$4,107.44
Studio City$5,649.18Allstate$8,225.60Farmers$7,795.23USAA$3,438.90Liberty Mutual$4,095.81
Sherman Oaks$5,562.19Allstate$7,945.09Farmers$7,897.13USAA$3,463.15Geico$4,052.60

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Again, Beverly Hills tops the list, while Weed is the second-cheapest city for car insurance in California.

10 Least Expensive Cities in California Average by CityMost Expensive CompanyMost Expensive Rate2nd Most Expensive Company2nd Most Expensive RateCheapest CompanyCheapest Rate2nd Cheapest Company2nd Cheapest Rate
Los Ranchos$2,731.32Allstate$3,488.65Nationwide$3,336.13Progressive$2,177.96Liberty Mutual$2,285.77
Mount Shasta$2,777.89Farmers$4,029.52Nationwide$3,347.10Progressive$1,989.83Geico$2,080.16
Vandenberg AFB$2,804.27Nationwide$3,512.04Allstate$3,460.07Progressive$2,098.30USAA$2,428.11
Morro Bay$2,807.96Allstate$3,396.50Nationwide$3,358.53Progressive$2,126.82Liberty Mutual$2,400.87
Los Osos$2,821.16Nationwide$3,411.51Allstate$3,392.02Liberty Mutual$2,324.69Progressive$2,336.39
Arroyo Grande$2,824.43Nationwide$3,543.40Farmers$3,404.34Progressive$1,980.83Liberty Mutual$2,298.66
Pismo Beach$2,829.93Nationwide$3,707.40Allstate$3,450.72Liberty Mutual$2,283.28USAA$2,449.96

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Who are some of California car insurance companies?

Californians have a lot of car insurance companies to choose from, and that’s a good thing! It means the companies have to compete with each other for your business, which adds up to lower rates.

But a lot of companies can also mean confusion. Which ones can you trust to cover you? Is that low rate too good to be true? Which company is the best choice for my situation? If you have a lot of questions when it comes to car insurance companies, you are not alone!

Below you will find all the details on California car insurance companies in one place.

We’ve gathered ratings and rankings for the biggest car insurance companies in the state, and compared them on rates too across a variety of possible factors, all to make the choice easier on you!

What are The Largest Companies’ Financial Ratings?

What does a company’s financial rating have to do with your car insurance policy?

Simply put, if a car insurance company isn’t stable financially, they could find themselves unable to pay claims. Not what you want to hear when you’ve just been in a serious accident, which makes it a good thing to know before you buy a policy.

AM Best is the trusted source of financial ratings for insurance companies.  They give each company a letter grade based on their stability.

Insurance CompanyA.M. Best Rating
Allstate InsuranceA+
Auto Club EnterprisesA-
Berkshire HathawayA++
CSAA InsuranceA
Farmers InsuranceA
Liberty MutualA
Mercury GeneralA+
State FarmA++
United ServicesA++

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All of the biggest car insurance companies in California have good ratings of either excellent (A or A-) or Superior (A+ or A++).

What Companies Have the Best Ratings?

Another trusted source for car insurance company ratings is JD Power; while AM Best gives us financial ratings, JD Power gives us customer satisfaction ratings.

The top-rated company is actually USAA by the numbers, but JD Power leaves them off the rankings since they aren’t open to the general public. That leaves Ameriprise in the number one spot and as the only other company to get a five out of five rating.

Of the ten biggest companies in the state, only Auto Club of Southern California earned an above-average ranking of four out of five. That goes to show that just because a company is huge doesn’t mean all of their many customers are happy!

In fact, ranking at number two is small Canadian insurer Wawanesa, which only serves two U.S. states (the other one is Oregon).

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What are the Companies with Most Complaints in California?

The California Department of Insurance publishes complaints data for car insurance companies. Of the top 50 insurance companies doing business in the state, here are the ten best and the ten worst by complaint ratio.

First, the 10 worst:

Number of Justified Customer ComplaintsNumber of Complaints (2017)Complaint Ratio (2017)
Alliance United879.2
Liberty Mutual389.7
Hartford Underwriters2211.2
Integon National2512
Progressive Select2612.3
Permanent General Assurance1116.4
Anchor General2321.9
Western General3540.3
Access Insurance460117.7

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Now, the 10 best:

Number of Justified Customer ComplaintsNumber of Complaints (2017)Complaint Ratio (2017)
AMCO 10.3
California Capital11.4
United Services61.4
Mid Century91.6
Interinsurance Exchange of the Auto Club421.8
Viking Insurance51.9
Government Employees Insurance Co (Part of Geico)82.0
21st Century Insurance122.0

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The complaint ratio is really the important number here. It tells us how many complaints the company had compared to the number of policies they have in force.

A company can have a high number of complaints but a low ratio if they have a lot of customers.

This explains why the top two both have one complaint but different ratios; Amco has more policies in force than does California Capital. That means Amco has fewer complaints per customer.

If you don’t see the company you’re interested in above, you can use the Department of Insurance search tool to find a specific insurer’s complaint data.

Who are the cheapest car insurance companies in California?

The cost of car insurance is the number one concern for most people, so let’s talk rates.

First, let’s compare rates from the top 10 companies in the state by market share.

CompanyAverageCompared to State AveragePercent Difference From State Average
Allstate Northbrook Indemnity$4,533.09$843.4718.61%
AMCO Insurance$4,653.58$963.9620.71%
Farmers Ins Exchange$4,999.27$1,309.6426.20%
Geico General$2,886.24-$803.38-27.84%
SAFECO Ins Co of America$3,035.17-$654.45-21.56%
State Farm Mutual Auto$4,202.72$513.1012.21%
Travelers Commercial Ins Co.$3,350.78-$338.84-10.11%
United Financial Casualty$2,851.14-$838.48-29.41%
USAA CIC$2,694.62-$995.00-36.93%

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USAA has the best rates, but you can’t get insurance with them unless you have a military connection.

Of the companies open to the general public, both United Financial and Geico come in with similar rates nearly 30 percent below the average.

What are the Rates By Company and Commute Length?

Californians know commutes. Especially in the Los Angeles area and the Bay Area, commutes can be brutal. But how much more does it cost you to have a long commute?

Take a look at rates from some major insurance companies comparing two commute lengths.

California Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates by Commute
CompaniesAverage Annual Rates for
10-Mile Commute
6,000 Miles Annually
Average Annual Rates for 25-Mile Commute
12,000 Miles Annually
Liberty Mutual$2,786.10$3,284.23
State Farm$4,049.89$4,355.54

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Rates do go up at every company, but in some cases, it’s not by as much as you might expect.

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What are the Rates By Company and Coverage Level?

We already noted that California’s minimum coverage is really low, but can you afford higher coverage levels?  We gathered rates for three levels of coverage from several companies to compare.

Take a look.

State Farm$3,793.44$4,273.41$4,541.30
Liberty Mutual$2,824.01$3,061.95$3,219.54

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You’ll notice that you can get a high level of coverage from companies like Geico and Progressive for a lot less than the cost of a low level of coverage from other companies, such as Farmers and Nationwide.

Shop around and you could get better coverage and still save money!

What are the Rates by Company and Driving Record?

Your driving record is a pretty big factor when it comes to your rates.  Take a look at rates from several big companies for a clean record and each of three dings on that same record.

CompanyClean Record1 Speeding Ticket1 Accident1 DUI
State Farm$2,998.34$3,480.06$3,576.40$6,756.08
Liberty Mutual$2,634.50$2,791.65$3,529.11$3,185.41

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For most companies, a DUI is the most costly violation, but once again it’s clear that anyone can save money just by shopping around.

Even with a DUI you can pay less at some companies than with a clean record at others!

Liberty Mutual and Geico both have lower rates for a DUI than Farmers has for a clean record.

What are the Largest Car Insurance Companies in California?

These companies are the biggest players in the car insurance market in California.

CompanyDirect Premiums WrittenPercent of Market Share
State Farm Group$3,910,35114.34%
Farmers Insurance Group$3,158,81411.59%
Allstate Insurance Group$2,446,5648.97%
Auto Club Enterprises Insurance Group$2,312,2308.48%
Mercury Gen Group$2,095,5317.69%
CSAA Insurance Group$1,950,2577.15%
USAA Group$1,218,7924.47%
Progressive Group$1,147,1864.21%
Liberty Mutual Group$929,0583.41%

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Find the Cheapest Insurance in California Cities

This section offers a direct comparison of insurance rates in major California cities: Bakersfield, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Fremont, Oxnard, San Jose, Fresno, Sacramento, Santa Ana, Long Beach, and San Diego. Securing affordable insurance is crucial for optimal coverage. Whether in bustling metropolises or tech hubs, drivers can use this data to find the most economical insurance options, ensuring suitable coverage at competitive rates.

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How many insurers are in California?

As of 2018, California has 99 domestic (incorporated in the state of California) property and casualty companies.

671 foreign (licensed in another state) property and casualty companies are also operating in California.

That’s a lot of companies to choose from!

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

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What are the California state laws for car insurance?

California law covers a lot of ground, or in this case a lot of pavement. There are laws governing all of the angles of driving, from licensing and insurance to how to conduct yourself on the road.

Knowing all the laws as they stand is confusing enough, and keeping up with the changes as legislation is updated and tweaked is even harder. Especially when they’re written in legal language that’s dense and hard to read.

We have taken the complexity out of California’s regulations. It’s all outlined for you right here.

Read on for the details on insurance laws, driver and vehicle licensing, and the most common rules of the road everyone should know.

Car Insurance Laws

Let’s start with a look at the car insurance laws in California, including options for high-risk drivers and insurance fraud.

How State Laws for Insurance are Determined

California’s State Legislature determines the laws governing insurance, and they can be found in two main areas of the statutes.

Financial responsibility laws are found in the Vehicle Code, Division 7.  These laws govern the minimum required amount of insurance as well as the penalties for failure to obey the law.

In 1988, Proposition 103 was enacted to place consumer controls on insurance company rating, including a mandated 20 percent discount for good drivers.  Under Prop 103, rate changes require prior approval of the Department of Insurance.

Windshield Coverage

California law doesn’t require insurance companies to provide a specific windshield coverage endorsement, which means it’s generally covered under comprehensive.  Some companies may choose to offer a zero-deductible windshield endorsement or other option.

The law does require the insurance company to allow you to choose your own repair shop.

Insurance companies can use aftermarket parts, but they have to provide written notice, and the part has to be equal in fit, quality, performance, and warranty.

High-Risk Insurance

High-risk drivers are those whose driving record, or in some cases other issues, cause difficulty getting insurance through the usual avenues.

For drivers that have been turned down by insurance companies on the open market, California operates a high-risk driver insurance pool.

The California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan (CAARP) assigns drivers to insurance companies, and from there the insurance company is required to write a policy for that driver.  This spreads the high-risk driver risk around to multiple companies and also gets everyone insured.

After certain violations, including those where your license has been revoked, you will be required to file an SR-22.

An SR-22 is not an insurance policy or a type of insurance.  It’s a financial responsibility filing proving your compliance with the law.

Not all insurance companies handle SR-22 filings, but most do.

Low-Cost Insurance

In 1999, California created a low-cost insurance program.  California’s Low-Cost Auto Insurance (CLCA) is available to those that meet the program requirements:

  • Have a valid California driver’s license
  • Be at least 16 years of age
  • Meet the program’s income guidelines
  • Own a vehicle worth less than $25,000

Automobile Insurance Fraud in California

Insurance fraud is a crime in California, and the state has taken measures to combat the issue.

The Fraud Division, a part of the Department of Insurance, is made up of sworn peace officers dedicated to investigating insurance fraud.  Fraud can be prosecuted either as a misdemeanor or as a felony.

Type of CrimeJail TimeFinesOther
Misdemeanor FraudUp to one yearUp to $10,000Possible restitution
Felony FraudTwo to five years$50,000 or double the amount defrauded, whichever is greaterPossible restitution

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Several programs exist in California to deal directly with the issue of auto insurance fraud.

In the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the district attorney made 1,094 fraud convictions with a total chargeable amount of $14,042,485.

Californians are urged to report suspected fraud to the Department of Insurance!

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations limits how long you have to file an auto insurance claim.

In California, the limit on injury claims is two years.  For property damage claims, the limit is three years.

State Specific Laws

California has a couple of programs and laws on the books that are specific to the state, and designed to help consumers with the claims process.

The Automobile Claims Mediation Program is designed to help settle disputes between policyholders and insurance companies without the cost of lawsuits.

The Fair Claims Settlement Practices is a part of the California Code and mandates how claims should be handled in order to ensure fairness to both sides.

What are the Vehicle Licensing Laws?

This next set of laws covers licensing of drivers and penalties for breaking the law.  We’ll look at the laws and some important data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

It’s illegal to drive without insurance in California.  Here are the penalties you can expect to face if convicted:

Penalties for Driving without Insurance
1st OffenseFine up to $200 + penalty assessments
Possible vehicle impounding
2nd OffenseFine up to $500 + penalty assessments
Possible vehicle impounding

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That’s not to mention the cost of being sued for an at-fault accident with no insurance to help cover your liability.

Teen Driver Laws

Teen drivers are a high-risk group.  Inexperience leads to mistakes, and those mistakes can be serious.  California’s Graduated Driver Licensing program helps to mediate inexperience by easing teens into the responsibilities of driving.

Read More: How to Teach Your Teen to Drive

California’s program has three levels of licensing.

Type of LicenseAgeRequirementsRestrictions
Provisional Permit15.5 years oldComplete or be enrolled in driver education
Pass vision test
Pass written knowledge test
May drive only with a parent/guardian/other licensed driver over 25 years old
Provisional License16 years oldHold permit for at least six months
Complete driver education/training
Complete six hours of professional driver training
Complete 50 hours of practice, 10 of which were at night
Pass road test
May not transport passengers under the age of 20 for the first three months, unless with driver over 25 present
May not drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. for the first 12 months, again unless a driver over 25 is in the car
Full License18 years oldNoneNone

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There are a few exceptions to the provisional license restrictions:

  • Medical necessity
  • School or school activities
  • Employment necessity
  • Family necessity

One last restriction that applies to all drivers under the age of 18: stay off the phone!  All cell phone use, even hands-free, is against the law.

Older Driver License Renewal Procedures

All drivers in California must renew their license every five years, but there are two rules that apply specifically to drivers over the age of 70.

Drivers 70 and over must have a vision test at every renewal.  That leads into the next rule, which is that drivers 70 and over must renew in person every time.

New Residents

Following your California dreams?  If you’re moving to the Golden State, you need to get a California license.  You have 1o days from the time of establishing residency to do so.

If you have a valid license from another state, you will only be required to take the written knowledge test in most cases.  You’ll also need to pay the fee, pass the vision test, have your fingerprints recorded, and get a photo taken.

If you have a driver’s license from another country – including Canada and Mexico – you will need to pass a road test in addition to the written test.

License renewal procedures

Drivers license renewals are every five years, but you don’t have to go in person every time (unless you’re 70 or over as discussed above).

Eligible drivers can renew online or by mail for two consecutive renewals.  On the third renewal, you will have to visit a DMV and have a vision test done.

That means you could theoretically go fifteen years without a visit to California’s notoriously busy DMV offices.

Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS)

California’s Negligent Operator Treatment System uses points to record violations of the law on your license.

If you have enough points to be considered a negligent operator, you will face penalties.  Here’s how many points it takes to have your license suspended for six months as well as one year of probation:

  • 4 points in 12 months.
  • 6 points in 24 months.
  • 8 points in 36 months.

If you violate your suspension or probation, you will have your license suspended for a longer time period.

You will get one point on your license for violations like speeding, running a red light, or making an unsafe lane change.

Two-point violations include a DUI, reckless driving, or speeding over 100 mph.

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What are the Rules of the Road in California?

There are a lot of rules of the road, but these are the ones you really need to be aware of.

Fault vs. No-Fault

California is a fault state.  You can be held legally and financially responsible for an accident you cause.

Your insurance policy will only pay out on claims up to the limits you have chosen, and you will be responsible for any additional damages beyond those limits.  Carrying higher coverage limits protects you financially from the cost of an accident.

Seat Belt and Car Seat Laws

Seat belts are required by law in California.  No matter what seat you’re in, everyone over 16 years old has to use a seat belt.  The minimum fine is $20.

For kids 15 and under, other laws apply.

First, all children seven and under are required to be in the appropriate car seat, and they must all ride in the backseat.

Children 8 years old and up must be restrained in a safety belt as long as they are over 57″ tall.

Here are the rules for child car seats in California.

Car Seat TypeAge, Height, and Weight
Rear-Facing Seat Under 2 yrs old
Less than 40 lbs
Less than 40" tall
Forward-Facing Seat 2 to 7 yrs old
40" to 57" tall
Booster SeatOver 40 lbs
Adult Seat Belt 8 to 15 yrs old
57" tall

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You’ll note that Calfornia has followed the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation and instituted a law requiring children under 2 years old to remain rear-facing.

The law came into effect in 2017.

Keep Right and Move Over Laws

California law requires that you keep right, or move over to let another vehicle pass on the left if you are traveling at a speed that is slower than the average speed of traffic around you.

The law also requires that you slow down and move over to pass an emergency vehicle on the side of the road, including tow trucks, unless it’s not safe to do so.

Speed Limits

California freeways are known for speedy drivers, but there are speed limits and they are enforced.

Vehicle TypeRural InterstatesUrban InterstatesOther Limited Access RoadsOther Roads
Passenger vehicles70657065

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California has specific laws for those who drive for companies like Uber and Lyft.  Insurance is a particularly important area of concern.

Your personal insurance policy doesn’t cover you when you’re a ride for hire.  When you’re driving for personal use, that policy is fine, but as soon as you turn on the rideshare app, new rules are in effect.

Driving Purpose/Time PeriodInsurance RequiredCovered By
Personal UseCalifornia legal minimumDriver's personal policy
App is active but rider not matched$50,000 per person/$100,000 per incident bodily injury
$30,000 property damage
Additional $200,000 excess liability
50/100/30 by driver
$200,000 excess by company
Rider in Vehicle$1,000,000 liabilityRideshare company

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The takeaway from this information?  The driver and company share the responsibility for meeting insurance requirements.

All drivers working for a rideshare service need to have an insurance policy that covers the extra liability. Currently, these companies offer that coverage in California:

  • Allstate
  • Farmers
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Mercury
  • Metlife
  • Metromile
  • State Farm
  • USAA

California also recently passed a new bill (AB 5) that will affect rideshare drivers. AB 5 will result in most rideshare drivers being classified as employees.

If drivers are legally called employees rather than contractors, rideshare driving becomes more of a job than a quick way to earn cash on the weekends.

Automation on the Road

California law allows automated vehicles to be on the road.  An operator is not required, but liability insurance is.

The minimum coverage for an autonomous vehicle is $5,000,000 in liability.

What are California’s Safety Laws?

A few of the laws are designed to protect everyone on the road from drivers who may not be in complete control of the vehicle.

DUI Laws

In California most DUIs are misdemeanors, but they can be charged as a felony depending on circumstances.

Here’s a look at the penalties:

Penalty TypeFirst OffenseSecond OffenseThird OffenseDUI With InjuryFelony DUIFelony DUI with Injury
Revoked/Suspended LicenseFour months1 year with IID, 2 years without2 years with IID, 3 years without6 months with IID, 1 year withoutUp to five years 1 year
Imprisonment96 hours up to six months, min 48 continuous hours96 hours up to six months, min 48 continuous hours120 days to 1 year, with 48 hours continuous5 days to 1 year16 months to three years16 months to 16 years
Fine$390-$1,000$390-$1,000$390-$1,000$390-$1,000, plus restitution$390-$1,000$1,015-$5,000, plus restitution
Other$125 license reinstatement fee ($100 under 21)
File SR-22
DUI program
DUI program
File SR-22

DUI Program
File SR-22
DUI Program
File SR-22
DUI Program
File SR-22
DUI Program
File SR-22

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A DUI is defined as a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08 percent or higher.  A BAC level that is 0.15 or higher is considered high and may result in heavier penalties.

Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws

Marijuana is legal for recreational use in California.  Just like alcohol though, legal use doesn’t mean you can drive.

Driving while impaired by marijuana carries the same penalties as a DUI in California.  Since there is no legal limit for THC in the blood on the books, any amount of the drug, or even an officer’s judgment that a driver appears impaired, can result in an arrest.

Distracted Driving Laws

It’s illegal to use a cell phone while driving unless it’s using a hands-free device.  That applies to all drivers over 18 – as noted above those under 18 can’t use a phone at all.

Texting while driving is also illegal for all drivers.

What are some California Can’t-Miss Facts?

Enjoying the open road in California is one of life’s great pleasures, but it does come with some risks.  Watching the news can leave you with the impression that it’s really dangerous out there, but how concerned should you really be?

It’s hard to make sense of all the information out there, but we’ve gathered the facts you really need to know right here.

We’ll cover the stats on stolen cars, serious crashes, and underage drinking and driving to paint a clear picture of the risks on California roads.

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How Bad is Vehicle Theft in California?

In California, the Honda Civic and Accord are neck-and-neck for the most frequently stolen vehicle.

Make & Model:Vehicle Year:Total Thefts:
Honda CR-V19992,033
Nissan Altima19972,281
Nissan Sentra19972,555
Toyota Corolla20143,339
Acura Integra19944,273
Ford Pickup20064,504
Toyota Camry19915,345
Chevrolet Pickup20066,048
Honda Civic199828,045
Honda Accord199628,345

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Take a look at how the vehicle theft statistics look in each city, based on the FBI‘s crime statistics for 2017.

Not surprisingly, the two largest populated areas, Los Angeles and the surrounding counties and the Bay Area, are the locations of the highest number of vehicle thefts.

Agoura Hills20
Aliso Viejo33
American Canyon 56
Angels Camp8
Apple Valley280
Arroyo Grande32
Baldwin Park327
Bear Valley1
Bell Gardens320
Beverly Hills99
Big Bear 17
Buena Park400
California City39
Canyon Lake28
Cathedral City253
Central Marin41
Chino Hills103
Chula Vista761
Citrus Heights356
Costa Mesa520
Crescent City6
Culver City108
Daly City203
Dana Point31
Del Mar13
Del Rey Oaks5
Desert Hot Springs254
Diamond Bar70
Dos Palos18
East Palo Alto77
El Cajon414
El Centro126
El Cerrito77
El Monte698
El Segundo81
Elk Grove211
Fort Bragg20
Fort Jones0
Foster City24
Fountain Valley144
Garden Grove657
Grand Terrace31
Grass Valley110
Grover Beach42
Hawaiian Gardens85
Hermosa Beach48
Hidden Hills1
Huntington Beach385
Huntington Park704
Imperial Beach84
Indian Wells5
Jurupa Valley702
King City53
La Canada Flintridge20
La Habra185
La Habra Heights6
La Mesa193
La Mirada138
La Palma33
La Puente162
La Quinta66
La Verne66
Laguna Beach66
Laguna Hills49
Laguna Niguel50
Laguna Woods15
Lake Elsinore339
Lake Forest87
Lake Shastina3
Lemon Grove103
Loma Linda97
Long Beach2,729
Los Alamitos24
Los Altos19
Los Altos Hills1
Los Angeles19,193
Los Banos161
Los Gatos42
Mammoth Lakes11
Manhattan Beach71
Menlo Park34
Mill Valley12
Mission Viejo78
Monte Sereno0
Monterey Park219
Moreno Valley1,158
Morgan Hill123
Morro Bay10
Mount Shasta10
Mountain View102
National City358
Nevada City28
Newport Beach132
Orange Cove23
Pacific Grove20
Palm Desert116
Palm Springs250
Palo Alto91
Palos Verdes Estates5
Paso Robles63
Pico Rivera329
Pismo Beach22
Pleasant Hill130
Port Hueneme44
Rancho Cordova226
Rancho Cucamonga368
Rancho Mirage40
Rancho Palos Verdes35
Rancho Santa Margarita18
Red Bluff106
Redondo Beach170
Redwood City160
Rio Dell12
Rio Vista9
Rohnert Park112
Rolling Hills0
Rolling Hills Estates8
San Bernardino2,277
San Bruno87
San Clemente65
San Diego5,135
San Dimas77
San Fernando91
San Francisco4,834
San Gabriel60
San Jacinto257
San Jose8,068
San Juan Capistrano32
San Leandro886
San Luis Obispo94
San Marcos150
San Marino2
San Mateo188
San Pablo364
San Rafael265
San Ramon80
Sand City3
Santa Ana1,980
Santa Barbara204
Santa Clara400
Santa Clarita410
Santa Cruz361
Santa Fe Springs177
Santa Maria677
Santa Monica264
Santa Paula42
Santa Rosa411
Scotts Valley20
Seal Beach48
Sierra Madre4
Signal Hill135
Simi Valley138
Solana Beach19
South El Monte201
South Gate933
South Lake Tahoe73
South Pasadena59
South San Francisco207
St. Helena8
Stallion Springs0
Suisun City89
Sutter Creek6
Temple City37
Thousand Oaks113
Twentynine Palms45
Union City356
Villa Park4
Walnut Creek190
West Covina410
West Hollywood104
West Sacramento181
Westlake Village5
Yorba Linda47
Yuba City379
Yucca Valley52

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What dangers are there on the road in California?

Unfortunately, serious and fatal crashes happen on California’s roads.  There are a variety of factors that can contribute to a deadly crash, including weather and light conditions, speeding, and alcohol.

We’ve gathered information on these crashes from the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration (NHSTA) to make sense of which dangers are impacting safety the most.

Fatal Crashes by Weather Condition and Light Condition

Almost half of the fatal crashes occurred in daylight under normal weather conditions and two-thirds before full dark and again in normal weather conditions.

Weather ConditionDaylightDark, but LightedDarkDawn or DuskOther / UnknownTotal

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That leads to the question of what other factors contributed to these crashes.

Fatality Rates by City

Some areas may be more prone to crashes than others.  Take a look at fatal crash data by county in California below.

Alameda County99
Alpine County4
Amador County12
Butte County38
Calaveras County20
Colusa County10
Contra Costa County63
Del Norte County6
El Dorado County26
Fresno County156
Glenn County9
Humboldt County39
Imperial County23
Inyo County11
Kern County182
Kings County25
Lake County17
Lassen County8
Los Angeles County658
Madera County26
Marin County12
Mariposa County7
Mendocino County30
Merced County70
Modoc County0
Mono County5
Monterey County51
Napa County14
Nevada County16
Orange County178
Placer County29
Plumas County6
Riverside County294
Sacramento County172
San Benito County9
San Bernardino County271
San Diego County231
San Francisco County25
San Joaquin County116
San Luis Obispo County34
San Mateo County33
Santa Barbara County39
Santa Clara County105
Santa Cruz County19
Shasta County29
Sierra County3
Siskiyou County14
Solano County31
Sonoma County35
Stanislaus County74
Sutter County23
Tehama County13
Trinity County5
Tulare County85
Tuolumne County14
Ventura County47
Yolo County20
Yuba County11

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Traffic Fatalities Rural Vs. Urban

Where do more crashes happen – the cities or out in the country?

Of the 3,602 fatal crashes in California in 2017, 1,401 were rural and 2,195 urban.  Population density likely plays a role in these numbers, but they’re common to most states; urban fatal crashes tend to outnumber those in rural areas.

Fatalities by Person Type

Passenger car occupants are the largest group of fatalities, but California also sees high numbers for motorcyclists and pedestrians as well.

California Traffic Deaths by Person Type2017
Bus Occupants3
Large Truck Occupants53
Passenger Car Occupants1,269
Pick-up Truck Occupants279
Utility Truck Occupants336
Van Occupants84
State Total3,602

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Fatalities by Crash Type

The numbers that stand out here are those that show most accidents were single-vehicle, as well as more than 1,000 speeding-related fatalities.  Half of all fatalities involved a roadway departure,

California Traffic Deaths by Crash Type2017
Single Vehicle Crash2,067
Large Truck Involved361
Speeding Involved1,070
Rollover Involved796
Involving an Intersection927
Roadway Departure Involved1,588
State Total3,602

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Five-Year Trend For The Top 10 Counties

Take a look at how the numbers have changed over five years for the ten counties with the most fatalities.

While the numbers show a generally increasing trend, notable is the drop in Los Angeles County from 2016 to 2017.

Fresno County119117102150156
Kern County131111138149182
Los Angeles County625639651837658
Orange County186173183204178
Riverside County228246242297294
Sacramento County123114139169172
San Bernardino County262285260273271
San Diego County198233246243231
San Joaquin County938398119116
Santa Clara County95106133114105

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Fatalities Involving Speeding by County

Los Angeles County had the most speeding fatalities in 2017, not surprising given its population density.

CountySpeeding Fatalities (2017)
Alameda County32
Alpine County1
Amador County0
Butte County15
Calaveras County4
Colusa County2
Contra Costa County17
Del Norte County1
El Dorado County13
Fresno County51
Glenn County2
Humboldt County8
Imperial County7
Inyo County2
Kern County45
Kings County6
Lake County3
Lassen County1
Los Angeles County214
Madera County4
Marin County6
Mariposa County1
Mendocino County9
Merced County16
Modoc County0
Mono County0
Monterey County11
Napa County1
Nevada County4
Orange County60
Placer County10
Plumas County1
Riverside County84
Sacramento County53
San Benito County2
San Bernardino County88
San Diego County78
San Francisco County5
San Joaquin County35
San Luis Obispo County13
San Mateo County11
Santa Barbara County18
Santa Clara County29
Santa Cruz County7
Shasta County6
Sierra County3
Siskiyou County4
Solano County6
Sonoma County11
Stanislaus County17
Sutter County9
Tehama County1
Trinity County0
Tulare County17
Tuolumne County2
Ventura County14
Yolo County8
Yuba County2

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Fatalities in Crashes Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver (BAC = .08+) by County

Again, Los Angeles tops the list for DUI fatalities.

CountyDUI Fatalities (2017)
Alameda County33
Alpine County2
Amador County4
Butte County15
Calaveras County6
Colusa County4
Contra Costa County22
Del Norte County3
El Dorado County7
Fresno County52
Glenn County5
Humboldt County16
Imperial County5
Inyo County3
Kern County48
Kings County9
Lake County6
Lassen County1
Los Angeles County192
Madera County7
Marin County3
Mariposa County5
Mendocino County7
Merced County18
Modoc County0
Mono County4
Monterey County15
Napa County4
Nevada County5
Orange County47
Placer County10
Plumas County3
Riverside County95
Sacramento County54
San Benito County2
San Bernardino County76
San Diego County78
San Francisco County4
San Joaquin County38
San Luis Obispo County13
San Mateo County6
Santa Barbara County15
Santa Clara County30
Santa Cruz County5
Shasta County10
Sierra County1
Siskiyou County3
Solano County12
Sonoma County15
Stanislaus County26
Sutter County8
Tehama County5
Trinity County2
Tulare County30
Tuolumne County6
Ventura County20
Yolo County6
Yuba County2

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Teen Drinking and Driving

Teen drinking and driving has been a problem for as long as teens have been licensed.

California’s DUI arrests for under-18 drivers are well over the national average, but DUI deaths under 21 are only slightly above average.

Under 18 DUI Arrests (CA)National AverageUnder 21 Drunk Driving Death Rate Per 100,000 population (CA)National Average

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EMS Response Time

Here’s a look at how long it will take emergency medical services to reach the scene of a fatal accident and bring victims to the hospital.

EMS Response Time in California
Time of Crash to EMS Notification5 minutes 5 seconds
Notification to EMS Arrival4 minutes 7 seconds
EMS Arrival to Hospital Arrival21 minutes 24 seconds
Time of Crash to Hospital Arrival35 minutes

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How is transportation in California?

Californians do love their cars, which is good since they spend a lot of time behind the wheel.

We’ll wrap up with California commuters by the numbers.

Car Ownership

Two-car households are the most common, but more than 20 percent have three cars and more than 10 percent own four.

Commute Time

No Californian will be surprised to see that the average commute time is higher than the national average.

Commuter Transportation

In spite of high occupancy lanes on many freeways, most Californians still choose to drive to work alone.

This may be partially due to the difficulty of using public transportation in huge metro areas like Los Angeles and surrounding counties, or the Bay Area.

Top X Cities for Traffic Congestion

California is home to some of the most congested cities in North America.

According to INRIX, Los Angeles takes the number five spot for traffic in the U.S., and 47th in the world.  128 hours are spent each day in congestion on average.

San Francisco ranks as the 8th most congested city in The United States and 65th in the world.  Drivers there spend 116 hours in congestion a day on average.

TomTom ranks those cities a little differently, with LA and San Francisco landing in the number one and number two spots respectively in North America.

According to their data, drivers in LA will spend 62 percent more time in traffic during morning peak hours, and a whopping 84 percent during the evening peak.

Highway increase in extra travel time is 46 percent to 44 percent for non-highways.

Drivers in the City of Angels can expect 44 minutes of extra travel time per day and 170 hours per year.

Up in San Francisco, drivers add 39 minutes of travel time a day and 150 hours every year thanks to congestion.

During the morning peak hours, travel time increases by 55 percent, and 74 percent in the evening.  Highways and non-highways have extra travel times of 34 and 44 percent respectively.

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