Insurers raise rates for a variety of reasons, many of which are beyond the control of consumers. Companies will often hike insurance rates to account for increased losses, which is the amount of money that these companies pay out for claims. If losses go up—because of an increase in claims frequency or costlier auto repairs for example—your insurer may raise your car insurance premiums.
We collected quotes from a variety of insurance companies across 142 towns and cities in California. Our sample driver was a 30-year-old male who drove a Toyota Camry. To obtain quotes, we kept parameters for getting coverage the same, such as that he was single, had a good credit score and a clean driving record. The only parameter that changed was the zip code where he lived in California. The amount of coverage we opted for gave our driver bit more than what is required of state minimums.
Uninsured / underinsured motorist (UM / UIM) covers costs associated with an accident involving uninsured or underinsured motorists, or hit and run drivers. You can’t control the coverage of other drivers on the road, but if you get in an accident with someone who doesn’t have insurance — or who has insufficient protection — you’ll be forced to deal with the costs yourself. We know it’s frustrating to have to pay for someone else’s negligence, but opting for UM / UIM coverage will be well worth it when you need it.
With 1.3 million residents, America’s Finest City is home to the University of California at San Diego system, as well as a number of naval bases. Cheap car insurance rates can be found near you at GEICO, Nationwide, State Farm, Grange Insurance Association and Progressive. Across these five insurers, annual rates cost as low as $1,446 on average, compared to the $1,950 city-wide average. Below are rates for the top five companies near you.
Results: Even without having to link a current insurance company’s account, I was still able to receive three quotes – only after I had built out my driver profile with car information and specifics about my driving record. The few quotes I received for the coverage level I selected were reported as more or less accurate, but Gabi advised that I should “act fast,” as the “quotes could change anytime.” If I selected a quote, I had to enter remaining details about my driving record (such as my driver’s license number) before moving on to payment preferences. Furthermore, Gabi followed up with texts to my personal number, which was technically convenient, but something of an annoyance.
Results: Once I typed in the requested zip code I was immediately taken to a page with links to four actual insurance quote comparison websites. Rather than create a quoting tool of its own, ValuePenguin has apparently chosen to guide visitors to other comparison websites. All in all, you’d be better off just skipping ValuePenguin and going straight to a site that will produce quotes for you.
When it comes to supplemental coverage, Travelers is hard to beat. It consistently met our marks for what we considered “the essentials” and it offers unique coverage, too. That includes accident forgiveness, GAP insurance, and special coverage for drivers employed by ridesharing operations like Uber and Lyft (though this add-on is currently only available in Colorado and Illinois).
The next step is to look for a list of reputable and dependable insurers licensed in your state. States often produce annual reports that rank companies by their complaints. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners publishes complaint data at the Customer Information Source. Another source we recommend are industry surveys and consumer organizations. J.D. Power, for example, measures satisfaction on pricing, policy offerings, and claims handling. AM Best's Financial Strength Rating measures a company's financial ability to pay out insurance claims. Pick a handful of companies from these sources, about three to five, that are generally well rated.
Now flash forward present day. Last month I had a wreck. It was not my fault. I called USAA to get my rental covered because the cop wouldn’t give me the @ fault driver’s info said I had to wait for the police report. USAA informs me that I don’t have rental. Excuse me 3 months ago when I added collision I told you add rental & you said you would. USAA claims I did not tell them that, but I know I did because Roadside made it but not rental? Now mind you my Escalade is totalled. The frame is warped among many other things. I’m not @ fault & USAA (my own insurance company) tries to screw me? (The @ fault driver’s insurance company is someone I’ve never heard of but it’s not USAA) The adjustor says not totalled we’ll settle for 10Gs…. no I’m not settling for 10Gs on 50G+ truck especially with a warped frame NO WAY!! I’ve lost major retail value & nobody will buy it with the carfax that’s attached to it now.

How it works: Like other comparison site flows, Gabi asks for some fundamental information, like your name, address, and prior insurance company. Early on, however, I had to create an account linked to my email address and mobile phone number, adding some extra steps to the process. Since Gabi specializes in comparing insurance rates against your current plan, it isn’t ideal for the first-time insurance shopper. However, if you aren’t currently insured, you have the option to indicate “I Don’t Have Insurance” early on in the flow, and you should still be able to find quotes – this is what I selected, to see if the experience would differ from someone not currently insured.
The company’s discounts are numerous, varied, and designed to reward you, not just your car. It offers deductions for paying your premium on time, signing up for a policy early, and it even offers discounts for continuous coverage (renewing your policy before it expires). These types of discounts are less common than you might think, and they demonstrate that Travelers doesn’t just want to save money for its new customers — it’s concerned with keeping its old ones happy, too.
The best auto insurance companies provide a wide range of coverage options so your plan fits you the way it should — tailored to your specific needs. We required our top insurers to host all the basic essentials for coverage. This includes bodily injury liability, collision, comprehensive, personal injury protection (PIP), property damage, and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. For a quick refresher on what those terms cover, check out our auto insurance guide below.
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I have actually been with another insurance provider for near to 20 years. I never ever doubted increases until my boy started driving. WOW what a shock Cameron provided me at the Daytona workplace. I will not be conserving close to a $100 each month. I have 3 automobiles so you can see what a multi automobile price cut can do for you. Next we are mosting likely to check out boat and also house insurance. I can not comment on claim services yet.
How it works: Compare’s shopping process asked me to enter the same general information that other auto comparison websites did. Entering the information was fairly straightforward. Most of the fields were drop-down menus or pre-filled based on information I had submitted on previous pages. The questions were detailed, including some about my current policy limits that required retrieving my insurance documents to answer. I did like that Compare asked if I was willing to accept paperless documents and/or e-signing

When you receive your instant car insurance quote from Nationwide, you will get three options to choose from, making it easy to select a policy that’s right for you and your budget. You can also change coverages to create a more personalized policy. Find out more about Nationwide’s auto insurance coverage options which include collision, liability and comprehensive coverage.
Nick Dehn is a writer currently serving as a content specialist for Insurify. A seasoned writer, Nick has produced feature pieces, opinion editorials, and press releases for start-ups, small businesses, and local news publications. He now develops content full-time for Insurify, researching and writing data-driven studies and producing insights on the insurance industry. Nick is an alumnus of Williams College, where he graduated cum laude with a degree in English and Sociology. He hails from Wilton, CT but has recently set roots in Cambridge, MA. Nick enjoys exploring the greater Boston area, making stir-fry, and award-show prognosticating.
Gabi is an insurance services company and licensed insurance agency that claims to save customers up to hundreds on their insurance premiums by comparing insurance quotes against your current policy. Users can link their current insurance to their Gabi.com account or send Gabi a PDF of their current insurance policy; through its technology and real-life advisors, Gabi says it can find you the “right policy” and allow you to compare up to 20 quotes.
Unlike quote comparison sites, lead generation sites simply sell your information to their advertising partners—typically insurance companies. These sites are not built to provide you with personalized quotes and are not much help when trying to compare car insurance rates. Avoid these sites unless you’re eager to receive tons of cold calls from insurance phone banks and desperate agents.
What is most important to you? Cost or personal interaction and local expertise? If you have a budget, then a national and direct insurance company that does most of their business online will likely get you better rates. An agent-based insurer focuses on providing a more high-touch and local experience - helpful when submitting a claim, but costs can be higher.
We recommend GEICO because it offers a well-rounded package of coverage protection at some of the cheapest auto insurance rates with around-the-clock daily customer service. Based on our research, we found that GEICO had one of the largest selections of discounts on car insurance for everything from the typical multi-car policies to emergency deployment for active military members. True its roots as a company formed for government employees, GEICO also offers special savings for prospective policyholders who are federal employees or military members (up to 8 - 15% off their premiums). These reasons help to explain why the company is one of the largest underwriting auto insurance in the United States, and is praised by customers for its great liability coverage at affordable premiums.
While the above is the lowest amount of insurance coverage you can have, you should consider adding more if you have more to lose. For example, we typically advise drivers to match their liability coverage to what they have in total assets. If you own a house in one of the most expensive zip codes in California, Atherton, and have sizable savings and investment accounts, we'd recommend you increase your liability limits and consider adding umbrella coverage on top. On the other hand, if you're a first-year student at UCLA, you may be fine with liability limits that are closer to the minimum.
Nationwide pulls lower customer ratings than our top picks. The company scored an 88 from Consumer Reports (putting it in 22nd place out of 27 companies), and an “average” rating from J.D. Power. In other words, Nationwide doesn’t knock it out of the park for either customer service or claims process — which are both crucial for a great insurer. It also missed our financial stability benchmark by a hair, with S&P Global and Moody’s ratings just below the “very strong” or “excellent” benchmarks that we look for.

The most affordable rates in Bakersfield, CA can be found at Nationwide, GEICO and Century National according to our data. With an overall city auto insurance average of $1,526, the city ranks as the 39th cheapest in California. However, going with the four cheapest insurers in the city gave our driver a better rate than the average in California's cheaper cities. The top five companies in Bakersfield are:
If you have a significant amount of financial assets, or regularly engage in activities that could lead to a liability claim being made against you, then umbrella protection is the best benefit to add to your coverage. It steps in when claims and payouts under all your other coverages are used up, such as your car insurance policy's liability coverage, but you still have more damages to pay. While infrequent, car pile-ups or severe accidents resulting in death are the types of incidents that could get covered by your umbrella policy. It's just a few dollars more, but can get you up to millions more in necessary protection when there's a lot to lose.
Progressive impressed us with a solid array of discounts, including deductions for simple things like signing a new policy early and opting for paperless billing. The company has historically been known for insuring "riskier" drivers than many of its competitors, and it shows: Progressive is our only contender that offers a near unheard-of discount for drivers under 18 (who have a crash rate that’s almost nine times higher than that of middle-aged drivers).
Progressive offers a unique discount through a program called Snapshot, a usage-based insurance plan that transmits real driving data to the company. Using a telematic device installed in your vehicle, Snapshot monitors your driving behaviors — such as how rapidly you accelerate or how often you stop abruptly — as well as the miles and times you drive, which can increase your risk of an accident.
Once you have a few data points, it is time to pick up the phone and negotiate with representatives. Call them and share the cheaper rates you've gotten from competitors, and 1) see what they do, or 2) follow up with: can you do better than this? Afterwards, ask them for any discounts that aren't available on the website, or what they can offer you from the discounts we've listed below.
But liability coverage levels come in threes — you’ll probably see something like 50/100/50 up to 250/500/250 in typical policies. You can think of these limits like: individual injuries / total injuries / property damage. Insurers are a little more technical, calling them bodily injury liability, total bodily injury liability and physical damage liability.
Many insurers state that their policies offer ‘full coverage’ without detailing what that means, because, well, it doesn’t really mean anything. According to Jonathan O’Steen, personal injury attorney and partner at O’Steen & Harrison LLC, “Some insurance agents use ‘full coverage’ as a shorthand way to describe auto policies that only meet state minimum limits for coverage. True full coverage would provide unlimited protection for all losses arising from an automobile accident.”
"Teens are very likely to pick up the habits of their parents,” says J.C. Fawcett of the Defensive Driving School. “A parent should think about. Do I cuss at other drivers while driving? Do I speed? Do I tailgate? The training that comes from students observing their parents is very powerful. If a parent attempts to change their habits only when their teen is learning to drive, it's probably 10 years too late."
Drivers looking for low car insurance costs in San Jose should start with quotes from GEICO, Nationwide and Century National. The mean annual premium from these three insurers was $1,163 based on our data, which is about 49% cheaper than the overall average in San Jose. Citywide, the cost of car insurance is about $1,731 a year, which places the Capital of Silicon Valley at the 93rd cheapest spot in our survey of Californian cities.
We first looked for companies that received an "A-" or better (“strong”) from A.M. Best, a rating agency specifically focused on the insurance industry. Then, because the III recommends getting ratings from more than one agency, the best needed to earn at least an "AA-" (“very strong”) from S&P Global or an "Aa3" (“excellent”) or higher from Moody’s.
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