The personal finance website WalletHub today released its 2019 California Car Insurance Landscape Report illustrating how the rates that California drivers pay for auto insurance fluctuate based on a variety of factors, from geography and driving record to gender and race.

With over 27 million registered drivers and 15,000 miles of highway, no other state underscores America’s love affair with cars more than California. All that driving produces plenty of accidents too. According to the California Highway Patrol, there were 490,168 traffic collisions resulting in injury or fatality in 2016, with 80% of them involving “some form of driver inattention.” These sobering numbers call attention to the need for car insurance.

WalletHub compared the premiums offered by seven of California’s largest insurance providers in the state’s 30 largest cities in order to determine where and by whom drivers can obtain the lowest rates.

Below, you can see some report highlights and a Q&A with Jill Gonzalez, Industry Analyst.

Cities with the Lowest Premiums are:

  1. Oceanside
  2. Santa Rosa
  3. Fremont
  4. Chula Vista
  5. Modesto

Riverside ranked No. 11. None of the Coachella Valley’s nine cities made it into the ranking.

Cities with the Highest Premiums are: 26. Los Angeles; 27. Long Beach; 28. Oakland; 29. Lancaster; and 30. San Francisco.

Question: How much does an accident affect the cost of car insurance in California?

Answer: “Drivers who’ve had an accident in the past three months can expect a whopping 160% premium increase,” said Jill Gonzalez, Industry Analyst. “And expect that number to be even higher if you were at fault for the accident.”

Question: Should gender affect car insurance premiums?

Answer: “Gender should not affect car insurance premiums, as costs should be determined at the individual level, not by using general characteristics,” said Jill Gonzalez, Industry Analyst. “But according to the Cheap Car Insurance in California study, there does seem to be a bit of bias in California car insurance pricing, as men pay about 5% more for their policies than women.”

Question: What factors do you think people would be surprised to learn can affect the price of car insurance in California?

Answer: “Many people will be surprised to learn that your profession can impact how much you pay for car insurance in California. Engineers and teachers pay 5% lower premiums than average, for example,” said Jill Gonzalez, Industry Analyst. “That has more to do with discounts for being affiliated with certain large organizations than any actual rationale based on insurance risk. What makes more sense, however, is the impact of mileage on your policy’s price. How far you travel to work and how much mileage you ultimately plan on putting on your vehicle will be of much more significance than what you do for a living.”

Question: How can California drivers save money on their car insurance?

Answer: “The first thing you should do is shop around locally for a policy. Aside from the national big names in the industry, plenty of regional car insurance companies cater to customers in California. For example, four out of the top ten companies in WalletHub’s report on Cheap Car Insurance in California may not be recognized by most Californians,” said Jill Gonzalez, Industry Analyst.

“California drivers should try to take advantage of discounts, ” says Jill Gonzalez, Industry Analyst. “You could be able to get discounts if you’re a veteran, have a good driving record, bundle policies, or have an anti-theft system, just to name a few.

You can also choose a higher deductible, which can save you money if you never have an accident. Just make sure it doesn’t cause financial strain if you go with this option. It’s best for people who are very infrequent drivers.”

For more information about where your city ranks, click here.

Image Sources

  • Crashed car: Image by Netto Figueiredo from Pixabay