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CA Department of Insurance

Online price comparison tool helps California drivers shop for car insurance

News: 2016 Press Release

For Release: March 15, 2016
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Email Inquiries: cdipress@insurance.ca.gov
Online price comparison tool helps California drivers shop for car insurance

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Shopping around is the best way to get the lowest rate for auto insurance, but the process can be time consuming and confusing, which is why Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones is making sure California drivers know about the department's online tool that helps consumers shop for different insurers based on price.

The auto rate comparison tool allows consumers to quickly and easily make apple to apple comparisons of average premium rates from both national and local auto insurance companies. Consumers can use this tool to identify insurers with the lowest average premium and then contact the company directly for a quote.

"Consumers know the insurers that advertise on television and radio, but they may not know about the companies that serve their neighborhood and may offer a lower price," said Commissioner Jones. "The auto rate price comparison tool shows consumers all the insurers that write policies in the area and the average premium prices. Consumers can identify the lowest prices and contact the company for a quote. Often, it pays to shop around."

Premiums can vary from one insurer to the next and rates are affected by a number of factors, including the number of miles driven annually, whether the driver has been in any at-fault accidents, and the driver's experience behind the wheel. The auto rate comparison tool helps consumers see the range in prices, based on factors that are specific to them.

Using this tool, a Santa Monica-area married couple shopping for standard insurance might find that their average premium options range from $2,762 to $10,036 annually. That is a price difference of more than $7,200. In Sacramento a single female shopping for standard insurance might find—after providing relevant data—that her average premium options range from $1,639 to $11,008 annually, a price difference of $9,369.

The prices on the comparison tool do not include the consumer's available credits or discounts. However, the tool has a discounts tab allowing easy access to review discounts offered by each insurer, based on the consumer's specific profile. The tool also has a complaint page where consumers may view complaints about each insurer over the last three years.

While this tool does not provide actual premium quotes, each company's average premium is followed by a toll-free number for consumers to contact an insurance agent, ask questions about available discounts or credits and receive an actual premium quote.

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Media Notes:

  • Automobile Insurance Comparison Tool
  • Auto rate comparison infographic and examples from across the state
  • This tool does not provide premium quotes. The premiums shown are based on responses by insurance companies to the CDI Automobile Premium Survey.
  • A toll free telephone number and/or web address for each company is provided so consumers who are interested can request an actual premium quote that specifically addresses personal auto insurance needs.
  • Auto insurance protects drivers and their vehicles in the event of an accident, but not all insurance is the same. Premiums can vary greatly from one insurer to the next and rates are affected by a number of factors including the number of miles driven annually, whether the driver has received a traffic violation or has been in any at-fault accidents, and the number of years of driving experience behind the wheel.
  • Each company has provided a Discounts, Footnotes and Complaints section which displays the company's available discounts and credits, explanations that may impact auto insurance premiums. There is also a link to the specific company's performance based on the consumer complaint study results.
  • The California Department of Insurance does not endorse or recommend any particular company.


The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $289 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $394 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP or 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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