Best Car Insurance in California: Top Companies in 2023 – MarketWatch

Best Car Insurance in California: Top Companies in 2023 – MarketWatch

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Geico, Progressive, USAA, State Farm and Allstate are the best car insurance companies in California based on cost, reputation and coverage optionsWhite Shield Icon Secure. Fast. Free.

Daniel is a MarketWatch Guides team writer and has written for numerous automotive news sites and marketing firms across the U.S., U.K., and Australia, specializing in auto finance and car care topics. Daniel is a MarketWatch Guides team authority on auto insurance, loans, warranty options, auto services and more.

Rashawn Mitchner is a MarketWatch Guides team editor with over 10 years of experience covering personal finance and insurance topics.
If you’re looking for affordable, high-quality car insurance in California, we at the MarketWatch Guides Team can help. We’ve researched and ranked the best car insurance companies for California drivers based on coverage options, average costs and customer service reputation to help you make the most informed auto coverage decision.
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The MarketWatch Guides Team is committed to providing reliable information to help you make the best decision possible about insuring your vehicle. Because consumers rely on us to provide objective and accurate information, we created a comprehensive rating system to formulate our rankings of the best car insurance companies. We collected data on dozens of auto insurance providers to grade the companies on a wide range of ranking factors. After 800 hours of research, the end result was an overall rating for each provider, with the insurers that scored the most points topping the list.
Learn more about our methodology and editorial guidelines.
We evaluated leading California car insurance providers based on a range of criteria, including available policy features and coverage types, industry standing and customer service scores. We also considered cost data we received from Quadrant Information Services.
Based on our research, Geico offers the best car insurance in California. Progressive, USAA, State Farm and Allstate are also reliable options for most drivers.
*Our research team considers nationwide factors when rating providers. The ranking order of providers in this table is specific to car insurance in California.
To determine a car insurance company’s ratings for customer experience and reputation, we weigh several factors. In addition to our nationwide car insurance survey that polled nearly 7,000 respondents, we also consider:
 
 
Find more information about our picks for the best car insurance in California in the following sections.
J.D. Power rating: 824/1,000
AM Best financial strength rating: A++
BBB rating: A+
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), Geico is the second-largest car insurance provider in the U.S. and wrote over $37.4 billion in insurance premiums in 2021. The company is known for low rates and excellent customer service.
Along with standard coverages like liability insurance, collision and comprehensive insurance, medical payments (MedPay) coverage, and uninsured/underinsured motorist protection, Geico also offers:
Geico also offers its DriveEasy® usage-based insurance program, which monitors your driving and rewards safe habits.
Geico performed well in the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Auto Insurance Study, scoring 824 out of 1,000 points. The average provider score for California was 820.
In our August 2022 nationwide car insurance satisfaction survey, Geico policyholders gave the company 4.2 out of 5.0 stars for customer service during the claims process. The company received a solid 4.1 out of 5.0-star rating for overall customer satisfaction.
Read more: Geico insurance review
J.D. Power rating: 803/1,000
AM Best financial strength rating: A+
BBB rating: F
Nearly 17% of respondents in our nationwide car insurance survey had policies with Progressive, making it the survey’s second-most popular provider. The Progressive policyholders we heard from gave the company a 4.1 out of 5.0-star rating for overall customer satisfaction.
Along with standard minimum- and full-coverage insurance options, Progressive offers rental car reimbursement, loan/lease payoff, rideshare coverage and even pet coverage for extra peace of mind. New Progressive policyholders also benefit from small-accident forgiveness, which means rates stay the same if accident damage doesn’t exceed $500.
Progressive Snapshot® is the company’s usage-based insurance offering. You can use the Progressive app or a plug-in device to monitor your driving and get discounts for safe habits. If you’re a riskier driver, be aware that using the program could lead to higher rates.
In the J.D. Power Auto Insurance Study, Progressive received 803 out of 1,000 points in California, which falls below the average score of 820. Progressive also has an F rating from the BBB. We reached out to Progressive for a comment on these ratings but did not receive a response.
Read more: Progressive insurance review
J.D. Power rating: 876/1,000
AM Best financial strength rating: A++
BBB rating: Not rated
Although USAA offers some of the cheapest car insurance rates in California, its policies are only available to active military, veterans and their immediate family members. For those who qualify, USAA is worth considering for its affordable rates and superior customer service reputation.
USAA features the standard assortment of auto insurance products, along with add-on options such as roadside assistance, rental car coverage, accident forgiveness and even classic car insurance. The company’s usage-based program is called SafePilot® and it can save good drivers as much as 30%.
Customer satisfaction is one area where USAA stands out from the competition. The company received the highest score in California in the J.D. Power Auto Insurance Study, with 876 out of 1,000 points. USAA wasn’t formally ranked in the study due to its eligibility restrictions.
USAA also received one of the highest overall customer satisfaction ratings in our 2022 nationwide car insurance survey. Respondents with USAA policies gave the company a 4.3 out of 5.0-star rating, the third highest rating in the survey.
Read more: USAA insurance review
J.D. Power rating: 817/1,000
AM Best financial strength rating: A++
BBB rating: A+
State Farm is the most popular car insurance provider in the U.S. according to the NAIC. It’s also our Editor’s Choice for its combination of strong industry reputation, solid customer service and widespread availability from local agents.
State Farm offers minimum-liability coverage and full-coverage policies, along with a host of add-on options. Additional coverages include rideshare insurance, rental car reimbursement and trip interruption benefits. State Farm’s usage-based program, called Drive Safe & Save™, rewards safe driving habits with discounts of up to 30% upon policy renewal.
In our national car insurance survey, State Farm received 4.2 out of 5.0 stars for overall customer satisfaction. The company was right around the state average for California in the J.D. Power Auto Insurance Study, with a total score of 817 out of 1,000.
Read more: State Farm insurance review
J.D. Power rating: 826/1,000
AM Best financial strength rating: A+
BBB rating: A+
Allstate was the fourth-largest auto insurer in the U.S. in 2021, according to the NAIC. The company wrote over $27.2 billion in premiums during that year. Allstate’s Claim Satisfaction Guarantee gives you a credit up to the value of your six-month premium if you’re not satisfied with how a claim is handled.
Along with standard auto insurance products, Allstate offers rideshare insurance, sound system insurance that covers stolen or damaged equipment, classic car coverage and Mexico and Canada car insurance that protects you when driving north or south of the border. All of the company’s policies also include Allstate Rewards®, which rewards safe driving with points you can redeem for gift cards and other benefits.
Allstate offers two usage-based options, but only Drivewise® is available in California. Drivewise is a traditional telematics program that monitors your driving habits and rewards safe behaviors behind the wheel.
Allstate ranked above average in the J.D. Power Auto Insurance Study, with an overall score of 826 out of 1,000 in California. In our national auto insurance survey, respondents with Allstate policies gave the company a 4.1 out of 5.0-star rating for overall customer satisfaction.
Read more: Allstate insurance review
 
 
When comparing car insurance providers in the Golden State, there are a few key factors to keep in mind.
It’s best to understand how much auto coverage is legally required in California before making your coverage selection. California law requires every driver to meet the following minimum coverage limits:
Keep in mind that liability insurance compensates those other than the policyholder for bodily injury or property damage in the case of an at-fault accident. You’ll need to purchase collision and comprehensive coverage to cover damage to your own vehicle.
If you have an auto loan or lease, you’ll probably need to purchase more than state minimum liability coverage. Most lenders require full-coverage car insurance policies that include both collision coverage and comprehensive insurance.
Who you’re purchasing auto coverage for is a key consideration as you compare car insurance quotes. Having a teen driver or elderly motorist on your auto insurance policy can lead to higher rates but also open the door to additional discounts.
 
 
According to estimates from Quadrant Information Services, a full-coverage car insurance policy in California costs $174 per month or $2,089 per year on average. The national average cost of a full-coverage policy is $144 per month or $1,730 per year.
The table below shows full-coverage rate estimates for a 35-year-old California driver with a clean driving record and good credit score.
*Car insurance averages by city are based on the three most popular providers per location.
If you want to find the best rates, you’ll need to explore the discounts providers offer. These are a few of the most common types of car insurance discounts:
Many providers have telematics insurance programs that monitor your driving and reward you for safe behaviors. Some companies offer discounts for simply maintaining a clean driving history and not filing claims. Either way, you can save money for being a safe driver.
Having multiple vehicles on one policy is a convenient way to save on your auto insurance premiums. If you have a teen driver in your household, a multi-car policy can be a great way to offset the high rates you’ll pay for young motorist coverage.
Bundling your auto coverage with your renters or homeowners policy can help you find cheap car insurance.
 
 
We rate Geico, Progressive, USAA, State Farm and Allstate as the best car insurance companies in California. All of these providers offer a variety of coverage options and discount opportunities. We recommend gathering car insurance quotes from multiple providers to find the best coverage match for your needs.

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We rate Geico as the best auto insurance provider in California due to its low rates and excellent customer service. The company offers a wide variety of coverage options and add-on policies.
According to the NAIC, State Farm is the nation’s largest car insurance provider. The company wrote more than $41.6 billion in private passenger auto insurance premiums in 2021.
Geico is the second-largest auto insurer in the U.S., according to the NAIC. The company held 14.31% of the market share in 2021, close behind State Farm’s 15.9%.
 
 
Because consumers rely on us to provide objective and accurate information, we created a comprehensive rating system to formulate our rankings of the best car insurance companies. We collected data on dozens of auto insurance providers to grade the companies on a wide range of ranking factors. The end result was an overall rating for each provider, with the insurers that scored the most points topping the list.
Here are the factors our ratings take into account:
Our credentials:
*Data accurate at time of publication.
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