Simply put, yes. \ \ There’s no getting out of auto insurance if you want to register your car in The Golden State.

Depending on its place of purchase, your car must be registered with the state’s DMV before you can hit the road. In California, where the cost of living is exceptionally high, the insurance you need might also take a big chunk out of your budget.

To understand the high costs of car insurance in California, use this guide to learn why car insurance in California is so expensive, what kind of insurance California law requires, and the steps you can take to find the right insurance coverage for you.

California Insurance Requirements

Not only are you legally required to have car insurance in California, but the state specifies the kind of coverage you should have, including:

  • Bodily Injury Liability – Bodily injury insurance protects individuals who are harmed or wounded in an accident and is paid for solely by the individual at fault. This insurance covers expenses relating to another driver’s medical damages, legal fees, as well as a loss of income as a result of their injury. California requires you to be covered for $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident at a minimum.

  • Property Damage Liability – This form of insurance covers the cost of damages you may accidentally cause to another car or property during a vehicle collision. The minimum price for property damage liability insurance in California is $5,000.

  • Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage – If you get into an accident with an insured driver and they’re at fault, who pays? In this case, your uninsured motorist insurance. California requires you to have a minimum uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident.

\ Accidents happen. And they can deeply impact your finances. Which is why California’s insurance laws are designed to help mitigate the costs of unexpected accidents. Despite the cost of California’s car insurance, you’ll have a baseline of coverage no matter what happens on the road.

Why Is California Car Insurance So Expensive?

Why is California car insurance so expensive? The price of car insurance varies from state to state. But the key here factors that help answer the question, “How much is car insurance in California?” include:

  • Population density – Population density can tell insurance providers a lot about accident risk in a city. The higher the population, the more cars on the road at a time, which indicates a higher likelihood of accidents. More accidents mean sky-high insurance premiums. \ \ And since California is the most populated state in the US at almost 40 million people, it makes sense that insurance rates in the Golden State are higher than in other areas.

  • Public transportation – Accessible and widely used public transportation systems result in fewer people driving cars, resulting in lower car insurance rates. However, California commuters rely on driving to get to work. Only 5.3% of California’s population uses public transit, which translates to more cars on the road, an increased potential for accidents, and higher insurance costs.

  • High number of uninsured drivers – Drivers who fail to meet minimum insurance standards for their vehicle consequently raise the prices of insurance rates for law-abiding drivers. California’s high insurance prices may be a result of the state’s high number of uninsured drivers. In fact, approximately 15.2% of all California drivers were uninsured in 2019.

Insurance companies take this information into consideration when calculating insurance rates by state. Because of California’s high population, limited use of public transport, and a high rate of uninsured drivers, the California minimum insurance tends to be expensive.

You can find all of these factors at play in a single city—Los Angeles, California. With over 12 million residents in the metro area, LA is notorious for its bottlenecks and bumper-to-bumper traffic. Due to inefficient public transportation and its spread-out city planning, Los Angeles, amongst other Southern California cities, is subject to increased insurance policies and premiums.

What’s the Cheapest Car Insurance in California?

Who has the cheapest car insurance in California? The answer to this question is... that there’s a better question to ask.

As you’re shopping for car insurance in California, ask who has the most cost-effective insurance coverage for my needs?

Take a close look at your driving habits to understand where you might need more (or less) coverage. For example, if you’re someone who has a long morning commute through heavy traffic, you may need more coverage than someone who bikes to work every day. This will help you find coverage where you need it.

Finding The Right Coverage For You with Online Auto Insurance

No two drivers are alike, which is why your auto insurance should suit your unique driving needs. At Online Auto Insurance, compare prices from a variety of providers, get insurance quotes quickly and easily, and learn more about the kinds of insurance you need to stay safe and protected.


Wall Street Journal. How Much Car Insurance Do You Need?\

WalletHub. Bodily Injury Liability Insurance: What It Covers and How Much to Buy\

Yahoo Finance. Why Car Insurance is So Expensive in California?\

World Population Review. US States Ranked by Population 2020.\

Macrotrends. Los Angeles Metro Population 1950-2020.\

California Department of Insurance. Laws and Regulations.\

Forbes. What You Need To Know About Uninsured Motorist Coverage.\