10 Cheapest Cities for Car Insurance in California

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by Quiana Darden Updated May 27, 2022
man driving his car in California

If you’re considering a move in California, you might want to think about how that move could affect your car insurance. When car insurance companies determine your premiums, they weigh multiple factors, like your vehicle make and model, your driving history, and even your credit rating. They also consider where you live. 

In California, some cities have cheaper car insurance rates than other cities. These more affordable rates may be related to shorter commute times, lower crime levels, lower vehicle values, and other factors. There are also plenty of cities known for their high insurance levels. If you compare Crescent City, which offers the cheapest insurance at an average of $37 per month, with West Hills, the most expensive city with insurance averaging $106 per month, it’s easy to see just how where you live can affect what you’ll pay. 

While there are many ways you can save on car insurance, such as buying a less expensive vehicle or maintaining a clean driving history, your location will also affect your rates. If you’re thinking of moving and haven’t yet decided just where you want to go, then you might want to consider one of the following cities known for having the most affordable car insurance rates.

# 10 Morgan Hill 

Morgan Hill has a population of 44,686, making it a small city. Its 2019 poverty rate was just 4.66%, which is lower than many other California cities. That lower poverty rate may correlate with reduced crime, which also decreases the chance of vehicle theft and vandalism. Additionally, the median age in Morgan Hill is 39.3, indicating that most drivers are beyond their teenage years when they naturally have higher car insurance rates. 

Average Monthly Premium: $42

#9 Lemoore

Lemoore’s 2019 population was 26,107, meaning it is a smaller city with fewer vehicles on the road. The 2019 poverty rate of 15.6% was also lower than many other cities’, which may correlate with reduced crime and lower risk of vehicle theft or vandalism. Lemoore’s shorter-than-average commute time of 21.3 minutes means drivers spend less time on the road, which can also contribute to reduced accidents and lower car insurance premiums.

Average Monthly Premium: $42

#8 Banning 

With a population of 31,072, Banning is a smaller city with reduced traffic on the roads. The median age is 41.5, so most drivers are well past their teenage years and the high insurance costs that come with being a less experienced driver. The median household income is $42,274, so it’s unlikely that many drivers are splurging on luxury vehicles, which carry higher insurance costs. 

Average Monthly Premium: $42

#7 Dinuba 

Dinuba’s 2019 population of 24,015 categorizes it as a smaller city, and also means that the risk of car accidents is reduced, leading to lower insurance rates. The median household income is $44,289, so most drivers are probably driving lower-cost or used vehicles, which cost less to repair and replace. Car insurance companies charge less to insure these vehicles, as a result, keeping the overall car insurance costs down. Dinuba also has a commute time of just 20.8 minutes, which is shorter than average. With drivers spending less time on the road, their risks of getting into an accident are also reduced. 

Average Monthly Premium: $41

#6 El Centro 

El Centro’s 2019 population of 44,0003 makes it a smaller city. The median household income of $47,864 indicates that many homes probably drive more affordably priced vehicles, including used cars, which are cheaper to insure than luxury models. The city also benefits from a commute time of just 17.3 minutes, which is much shorter than the national average commute of 25.5 minutes. This shorter commute means drivers spend less time on the road and have a reduced chance of being in an accident

Average Monthly Premium: $41

#5 Eureka

With a 2019 population of 26,966, Eureka is a smaller city, which reduces the chance of car accidents. The 2019 median age was 38, indicating that most drivers are beyond their teenage years, where high car insurance rates are common. The median household income of just $42,890 suggests that most drivers probably aren’t investing in luxury or expensive vehicles, and instead are driving used or economically priced vehicles that are more affordable to repair and replace. This reduces the risk car insurance companies assume in insuring the drivers and vehicles, leading to lower rates. 

Average Monthly Premium: $41

#4 Porterville 

Porterville’s 2019 population was 59,697, making it a smaller city with less traffic on the roads, and a reduced risk of accidents. Commuting habits also likely contribute to the lower car insurance costs. The city’s average commute time is 22.9 minutes, which is lower than the national average of 25.5 minutes. Additionally, in 2019, 18.5% of Porterville commuters carpooled, which reduces the number of vehicles on the road and cuts down on the time residents spend driving. Car insurance companies likely lower their rates in response to these factors that lead to reduced risk of accidents. 

Average Monthly Premium: $41

#3 Oroville

Oroville is a smaller city with a population of just over 19,000 people, which reduces traffic and the risk of accidents. Pair that with the 2019 median household income of just $34,428, and it’s likely that most drivers are driving economically priced vehicles that cost less to insure. Additionally, Oroville’s average commute time is just 18.1 minutes, significantly lower than the average national commute time of 25.5 minutes. With a shorter commute, drivers spend less time on the road, decreasing the chance that they will be in an accident and leading to lower car insurance rates. 

Average Monthly Premium: $40

#2 Clearlake

Clearlake is a small city with a 2019 population of 15,349, which means there’s a reduced risk of accidents compared to larger cities. With a 2019 median household income of just $31,551, it’s unlikely that most drivers can afford expensive vehicles, which cost more to insure. The median age in Clearlake is 37.5, meaning most drivers are beyond their teenage years, when they see higher insurance rates. The result is a lower average car insurance cost. 

Average Monthly Premium: $40

#1 Crescent City 

Crescent City offers the cheapest car insurance in California, with monthly premiums averaging just $37. Those low insurance rates are due to multiple factors. Crescent City is a small city with a 2019 population of just 6,676, which reduces the traffic on the road and the potential for car accidents. The median household income is $32,137, and the median property value is just $165,300. These statistics indicate that most households probably are not able to afford expensive or luxury vehicles, and likely purchase more economical or used vehicles, instead. These more economical vehicles cost less to insure, bringing home the average insurance costs. 

Average Monthly Premium: $37

City Average Monthly Car Insurance Premium
Crescent City $37
Clearlake $40
Oroville $40
Porterville $41
Eureka $41
El Centro $41
Dinuba $41
Banning $42
Lemoore $42
Morgan Hill $42

While these insurance premiums give you an idea of what you might expect to pay in these more affordable cities, if you want to know how much you’d pay, the best thing to do is get a quote.


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More Expensive Cities for Car Insurance in California

downtown beverly hills on rodeo drive

As you contemplate a move to California, you definitely want to know where rates are most expensive. Here are the 5 cities where car insurance premiums are the least affordable.  

#5 Northridge

Northridge has a population of 70,653, and more than half of the residents are single. Since car insurance rates are generally lower for married couples, the average rates in the area are higher than typical. In addition, the median home value with a mortgage is $626,000, so it’s likely that Northridge residents also own more expensive vehicles with higher insurance costs.

Average Monthly Premium: $79

#4 Glendale

Glendale’s 2019 population was 198,638, making it a larger city with more traffic on the road, increasing the chance of accidents. The city also has an average commute time of 26.6 minutes, which is longer than the national average of 25.5 minutes. Drivers spend more time on crowded roads, so car insurance companies increase rates to make up for that increased risk of accidents.

Average Monthly Premium: $79

# 3 Reseda

With a population of 80,937, Reseda is a larger city. The median household income is $65,740, and the median value of a home with a mortgage is $561,000, indicating residents likely have enough disposable income to buy more expensive vehicles that cost more to insure. 

Average Monthly Premium: $81

#2 Beverly Hills 

Beverly Hills is also affected by a high median household income of $106,936. Additionally, the city’s median property value is $2 million, indicating that drivers likely purchase luxury vehicles to go with their expensive properties. Those vehicles cost more to repair and replace, so insurance companies need to increase rates to make up for that increased risk. 

Average Monthly Premium: $82

#1 West Hills 

West Hills has a population of 46,740. Its median household income is $95,246, which means that many drivers likely invest in expensive luxury vehicles that are more expensive to insure, driving up car insurance costs.

Average Monthly Premium: $106

City Average Monthly Car Insurance Premium
West Hills $106
Beverly Hills $82
Reseda $81
Glendale $79
Northridge $79

If you live in one of these 5 cities, you can expect to pay more for your auto insurance than other areas, so it’s crucial that you search for the best rate.


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