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How to Get Cheaper Car Insurance in California

What if you could very easily have more money at the end of the month? 

If you’re like most California drivers, then you probably think you are paying too much for car insurance. The coverage is required by the state, so it’s not like you can skip it. However, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck paying high rates for subpar service. 

Assuming you’re reading to start saving, here’s some good news: This guide breaks down all the ways you can get cheap car insurance in California. Ready to get started as early as today? Put the pedal to the metal and keep reading to learn everything you need to know! 

Identifying Cheap Car Insurance Options 

Understanding your options helps you know how to get a cheaper policy. To be fully informed, you need to know more about the difference between national and regional carriers. 

Comparison Between National and Regional Insurers 

National carriers are just that: companies offering services all around the country. Typically, such companies have more policy types for users to choose from than regional carriers, who are localized to a specific area and may have fewer overall policies to sell. However, they sometimes make up for limited offerings by having policies that are better customized for drivers in their region. 

Factors That Influence the Insurance Costs 

One of the main reasons California drivers are looking for cheaper insurance is that they find their monthly premiums to be too high. In fact, you’ve probably looked at your monthly bill and asked out loud, “Why the heck do I have to pay so much?” 

A number of different factors go into determining the cost of your car insurance. The breakdown below may help you better understand your rate. 

Age of the Driver 

Age is one of the primary drivers of costly premiums. Fortunately, this is something that only affects the very young and the very old. 

In general, the driver pays more for coverage from the time they are 16 until they are 25. At that point, policies become cheaper and mostly remain that way until the driver turns 65. Prices increase at this point, although they are typically not as high as during the teenage years. 

The Make and Model of the Car 

The make and model of your car affect insurance rates for a simple reason: It will be your carrier’s responsibility to repair damage or even replace the entire vehicle after you file an approved claim. If you drive a car with a very high Blue Book value, then it will be more expensive to repair or replace, and your carrier will pass some of that cost onto you. 

The relative safety of the make and model also affects rates, with vehicles that have better safety ratings being cheaper to insure. If you already drive an expensive and more dangerous automobile, simply downsizing to something cheaper and safer may automatically lower your car insurance premiums

Your Driving Record 

Generally, your premium will be higher if the insurance company thinks you are likely to file a claim. In other words, if your driving record makes it seem like you are an unsafe driver (you have received plenty of traffic citations, for example), then you are going to have to pay more. 

That works both ways, however. Still trying to figure out how to lower your car insurance premium? Improving your driving record may do so naturally, and you can even get a discount if you complete a voluntary driving safety course (more on discounts later). 

The Car’s Mileage 

What do you do before you seriously consider buying a used car? If you’re like most people, you check the mileage. Because the longer a vehicle has been on the road, the likelier it is to have all of the mechanical side effects that come from years of wear and tear. 

If your monthly premium has been getting more expensive over time, the main reason may be that your car’s mileage is increasing. You may be able to combat this by getting a newer automobile, but you need to make sure your new ride isn’t overly expensive and that it has a good safety rating. 

Your Zip Code 

It may not seem fair, but one of the biggest factors when it comes to assessing your monthly premium is your zip code. Carriers always track which areas generate the highest number of claims and traffic citations. If you live in one of those areas, you’re going to pay more for insurance because, just by living there, you are statistically likelier to eventually file a claim. 

Of course, if you can move to a safer area, this may be enough to partially lower your premium. If you’re on a tight budget, though, you need to weigh the potential benefits of a smaller premium each month with all the upfront costs of moving. 

Fingers play with small wooden blocks that say value and price, concept of finding cheap car insurance in California.

Money-Saving Tips to Secure Cheaper Insurance 

Now that you know more about the factors driving up your costs, here comes the payoff. If you’ve been wondering how to get cheaper car insurance, the list below provides several easy ways to do so. Best of all, most drivers can start right away, meaning you could start saving even before you reach the end of this article! 

Always Shop Around 

Most California drivers pay for their automobile policy each month. If that sounds like you, then keep in mind you can change your insurance provider anytime you choose without being locked down to a long contract. 

To get (and keep) the best monthly premium, you should always shop around by getting quotes from multiple different carriers. You can get as many quotes from as many carriers as you want online, making it fast and intuitive to find the best possible prices through a carrier that you trust. Or use an independent agent who can do that research and shopping around for you. 

Consider Raising Your Deductible 

Sometimes, the easiest way to get cheap car insurance in California is to change your policy. For example, your deductible determines how much you have to pay out of pocket before insurance kicks in. Lower deductibles reduce that out-of-pocket amount, but they naturally increase the cost of your monthly premium. 

You can lower how much you pay each month by raising your deductible. Just be very careful to drive safely after you do so, as the first traffic accident after you raise the deductible can end up being more expensive. 

Only Get the Coverage You Need 

Like raising your deductible, dropping certain forms of insurance coverage can help you lower the cost of your premium. In California, all drivers are legally required to get liability coverage. If you have collision coverage (which pays out even if you’re at fault for an accident) or comprehensive coverage (which pays for things that happen when you aren’t behind the wheel), you can drop them to reduce your costs. 

As with raising the deductible, though, you need to be very careful when doing so. It’s fine to drop part of your policy if you genuinely think you are unlikely to ever use it. But if you drop something like collision coverage and then get into an at-fault wreck, you may be stuck paying a large bill out-of-pocket that otherwise would have been covered with this type of insurance. 

Explore Possible Discounts 

The most reliable way to lower the cost of car insurance in California is to ask your current and prospective carriers about discounts they may offer. For example, there are discounts based on occupation: military and federal employees can typically qualify for discounts, as can college students. Speaking of students, there are often additional discounts for getting good grades, which means that studying hard is a good cost-saving strategy for anyone in California living on a tight budget

 You can save on your car insurance policy by getting low-mileage discounts, multi-policy discounts, and completing a driving safety course. Call your insurance agent to find out if you qualify for any discounts. 

Navigating Through Different Categories of Coverage 

Earlier, this guide touched on adjusting the amount of coverage you carry in order to lower your costs each month. It’s important to be aware of the different categories of coverage and what they pay for in order to understand the right decision for you. 

  • Liability coverage (required in California) pays only for the damage you are legally liable for in an at-fault wreck. This includes damage to property and the medical bills of people who are injured. Liability coverage will only pay out up to the limit of your policy. 
  • Collision coverage is optional (unless you are financing or leasing) and pays for damages to your vehicle even if you are liable for an accident. This coverage costs extra but provides the peace of mind that comes with knowing you can easily repair your car even if you were at fault for the accident that damaged it. 
  • Comprehensive coverage is optional (unless you are financing or leasing) and pays for damages to your vehicle when you aren’t behind the wheel. This can include vandalism, theft, or even unexpected scenarios like a tree falling on your car.  

All three of these types of automobile coverage are known as “full coverage.” In addition to the categories above, some policies offer extra benefits like roadside assistance in California when you purchase full coverage. 

The Best Deal on Car Insurance in California Today 

Now you know how to get cheaper car insurance in California. But did you know the best deal is just a click or call away? 

Here at Cost-U-Less, we believe you don’t have to sacrifice your wallet for good auto coverage. Ready for the best coverage at even better prices? Call us at (800) 390-4071 or get a fast and free car insurance quote online. You can also find a Cost-U-Less office near you

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