Traffic isn’t the only headache Los Angeles drivers have to deal with. Even the best car insurance rates in Los Angeles are higher than any other California city. Plus LA ranks 195th on Allstate’s 2019 Best Drivers report on the top 200 US cities, which is not great.
Best Car Insurance Rates For Los Angeles
Huge cities with bad drivers mean big-time dollar signs for insurance companies. Therefore, shopping around for the best cheap car insurance in Los Angeles California is critical for city dwellers. Doing an hour of work collecting quotes could save you hundreds of dollars each year. Or, if you live in one of LA’s most expensive zip codes, it may save you thousands annually.
California State Insurance Laws and Minimums
California uses the tort system, which means someone will be assigned blame for every fender bender. However, California is one of 13 US states to use pure comparative fault when deciding who was negligent. Under pure comparative fault laws, the blame is divvied up between the drivers involved in the accident.
Let’s say you’re in a crash that causes $100,000 in total damages. Think of that $100,000 as a big pool of cash on a poker table. If the other driver is determined to be 85% responsible for the accident, they can still make a claim against your insurance and receive $15,000 from the pool.
You’d get the remaining $85,000 from the other driver’s insurance company. Obviously getting $85,000 is better than $15,000, but you can see how these laws create some complicated court cases.
California has very low state minimums for car insurance, as exemplified in our best car insurance rates in California guide. Only 15/30/5 liability is required by state law, which in plain English means:
- $15,000 in bodily injury liability per person
- $30,000 in bodily injury liability per accident
- $5,000 in liability for property damage
Remember, these are just the minimums. In fact, many states have minimums double the amount required by California law. In a serious accident, $30,000 in liability might not go very far, especially if anyone involved requires a long hospital stay.
We recommend always buying more than state minimum for auto insurance unless you have a very specific reason not to. The preferred numbers are 100/300/100 with comprehensive and collision included.
What Factors Go Into My Auto Insurance Rate in LA, California?
California has banned certain factors from being included in the auto insurance rate calculation. Unlike other states we’ve discussed in our car insurance guides and resources, California car insurance providers aren’t allowed to use your credit score or gender when determining policy prices. In states that allow such practices, men and individuals with poor credit pay more for car insurance than women and individuals with high credit scores.
In California, the four main factors in your insurance premiums are:
- Driving History – How long you’ve been driving plays a huge role in how much your insurance costs. Younger, inexperienced drivers are most likely to be at fault in accidents, so drivers aged 16-26 pay the highest premiums. Rates begin to decline once you reach your late 20s and then rise again after you turn 65.
- Driving Record – Three things will make your insurance rates go through the roof: tickets, accidents, and DUIs. If you have a clean driving record, you’ll get the best rates since California law requires insurance companies to offer safe driver discounts
- Miles Driven Annually – The math here is pretty simple: the more miles you drive, the more your chances of getting into an accident increase. If you have a long commute, you’ll pay a higher rate than someone who works from home.
- Location – Finally, insurance companies factor in your zip code when pricing premiums. Zipcodes with high rates of crime, theft, or car accidents will be more costly.
Not every company uses the same criteria when calculating rates, which is why it’s critical to shop around and get quotes from a few different sources. And always remember to get new quotes every few years, even if you’re satisfied with your service. Don’t let inertia or misplaced loyalty suck money out of your pocket!
Most and Least Expensive Zip Codes for Car Insurance in Los Angeles, CA
Insurance companies calculate policy costs using your zip code, along with information like your driving history and record. If a heavy volume of claims are filed within a specific zip code, that area will be more expensive to insure and providers will increase the rates for those customers.
Here are the most and least expensive zip codes in the Los Angeles area, according to Carinsurance.com.
- 90010, Koreatown
- 90038, LA County
- 90020, Koreatown / Wilshire
- 90029, East Hollywood
- Koreatown / Wilshire / Mid-Wilshire
- 90045, Playa Del Rey
- 90026, Mar Vista
- 90094, Playa Del Rey
- 90023, Boyle Heights
- Eagle Rock / Northeast LA
Best Los Angeles Car Insurance Providers
Best Overall: Esurance – The San Francisco-based Esurance was purchased by Allstate in 2011, but it still offers terrific customer service and inexpensive rates. Like GEICO, Esurance clients can purchase products online or over the phone without the assistance of an agent.
Most Affordable: GEICO – Geico offers the cheapest insurance rates on average for LA customers. Premiums for both state minimum coverage and full 100/300/100 are lower at Geico. But remember, not every plan is the same. Continue shopping around even if Geico is the first to give you a quote.
Best Customer Experience: Esurance – Once again, Esurance took the top spot in the California section of JD Power’s 2019 Auto Insurance Study. Five-star marks were awarded for pricing, customer satisfaction, and policy offerings.
Choosing the Right Insurance Plan for Cheap Auto Quotes in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is an expensive city for car insurance thanks to a variety of factors. Densely populated areas are always going to face high insurance premiums, which is why we reiterate the importance of shopping around for the best policy. You also need to decide the proper level of coverage to buy.
Buying the state minimum likely leaves you paying out of pocket for anything more than a fender bender, so always buy “full coverage” 100/300/100 policies with comprehensive and collision included. Only consider buying less than full coverage if you have an older car and spend most of your driving time alone.
Otherwise, you’ll be putting yourself (and potentially your loved ones) at risk.
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