Los Angeles, California Auto Insurance [Providers + Coverage]
The average cost of Los Angeles, California auto insurance is $607/mo or $7,287/yr. Los Angeles car insurance rates are based on risk, and insurers calculate how risky you are by looking at things like gender, ZIP code, and driving record. The two most expensive ZIP codes for Los Angeles auto insurance are 90020 and 90010. Find cheaper rates here with our free ZIP code search below.
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UPDATED: Nov 9, 2020
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|Los Angeles Statistics||Details|
|Average Cost of Car Insurance||$7,287|
|Cheapest Car Insurance Provider||USAA
|City Density||8,527 people per square mile|
|Road Conditions||Poor Share: 57%
Mediocre Share: 22%
Fair Share: 11%
Good Share: 10%
Driving in and around Los Angeles can provide a lot of challenges to drivers. The city is home to some of the most congested freeways in the country, and those freeways are often the only way to get where you need to go. On top of that, the state of California adds another hassle for drivers by requiring that you carry auto insurance.
We are here to make that part of your life easier by combining all of the information you need to compare LA’s insurance providers and coverage options in one place. We have also gathered information on a number of factors that impact your insurance rates, like auto thefts, fatal accidents, and the neighborhood where you live.
Ready to save money on car insurance? Compare rates for FREE by entering your zip code above.
Car Insurance Rates in Los Angeles
LA’s auto insurance rates are based on risk, and insurers calculate how risky you will be to insure by looking at things like your gender, ZIP code, and driving record. Our goal is to give you the information you need to choose the least expensive insurance option given your personal risk factors by showing you how insurers change their rates based on each one.
Does gender and age affect my car insurance in Los Angeles?
Most auto insurance companies will charge different rates based on gender and age, but insurers in California recently passed a law barring insurers from considering gender when setting auto rates. The regulation, adopted in 2019, makes California just the seventh state to keep auto insurers from using a driver’s gender in determining rates.
However, in many cases, age and marital status play bigger roles than gender when it comes to auto rates, and it is still perfectly legal for California insurers to use those factors when setting premiums. You can check out the differences in rates in the chart below.
|Age||Average Annual Rate|
The chart clearly shows how your age will impact your premiums. While it is no surprise that a 60-year-old driver would have significantly lower rates than a 17-year-old, the drop in rates between 17 and 25 sure is. Over that seven-year period, average rates drop by nearly $5,500 annually.
What are the cheapest ZIP codes in Los Angeles?
When it comes to what insurance rate you pay, it matters where you live. Insurers will weigh a number of factors that are based on your ZIP code — everything from the auto-theft rate to whether the neighborhood is prone to flooding. Now, let’s take a look at the least- and most-expensive ZIP code data.
|ZIP Code||Average Annual Rate|
While average rates can be influenced by a number of factors, including the value of the insured vehicle and residents purchasing add-ons and additional coverage, the average rates across a ZIP code can at least tell you when an area is more expensive than its neighbors.
In LA, the two most expensive ZIP codes for auto insurance are 90020 and 90010.
LA’s 90010 ZIP code includes the Rampart Village, Greater Wilshire and Wilshire Center-Koreatown neighborhoods. It’s 90020 ZIP code covers the Wilshire, Mid-Wilshire, and Koreatown neighborhoods.
What’s the best car insurance company in Los Angeles?
Figuring out which Los Angeles auto insurer is best for you depends on your particular needs. Do you need just the state minimum level of insurance? Do you have a bad driving record? Are you looking for a high level of coverage? These are questions only you can answer.
Fortunately, we have gathered information from LA’s major auto insurers that will help you select an insurer that best meets your needs. We have collected information on such things as which company offers the cheapest rates, which company offers the best rates for drivers with long commutes, and how a poor driving history will affect your rates.
Keep reading and you will find detailed information on how a variety of factors will impact the rates charged by LA’s major auto insurance companies.
Cheapest Car Insurance Rates by Company
Some of the most interesting data we have collected addresses what rates are charged by each of Los Angeles’s major auto insurance providers, broken down by average rates charged male and female drivers based on age and marital status.
The information was collected in 2018 before California barred gender-based rates, but you can still see the trends for rates based on your age and marital status.
Additionally, the averages are for all of the policies written by each company and include high coverage policies, add-ons, and high-risk policies.
|Group||Married 35-Year-Old Female||Married 35-Year-Old Male||Married 60-Year-Old Female||Married 60-Year-Old Male||Single 17-Year-Old Female||Single 17-Year-Old Male||Single 25-Year-Old Female||Single 25-Year-Old Male||Average|
As is often the case, USAA often has the cheapest rates in a category and has the lowest overall rates, but it only offers policies to U.S. military veterans and their families. If you are one of the 92 percent of Americans who are not a veteran, often your best best bet for inexpensive policies is Geico.
Best Car Insurance For Commute Rates
Given how much car culture is part of California’s identity and how car-dependent residents are, it is surprising that the average driver only drove about 13,414 miles in 2014. That’s good for the 20th-highest in the country for that year — not even in the top half.
But those numbers are for the state as a whole, and Los Angeles is a city of commuters, with a recent report by the Apartment List showing that 3.4 percent of the LA area’s population is made up of so-called “super commuters” who spend more than three hours daily driving to and from work.
You can see how auto insurers priced your commute length into your 2018 policy rates for LA residents in the chart below.
6,000 Annual Mileage
12,000 Annual Mileage
As you can see, the length of your commute will have a significant impact on your auto insurance rates if you live in Los Angeles. For Nationwide customers, the difference between a 10- and 25-mile commute can top $1,700 annually.
State Farm, on the other hand, only increases its rates by $426.
Best Car Insurance For Coverage Level Rates
For insurance, as it is for most other things, to get more you will need to pay more. If you want higher coverage levels, you will see an increase in your rates. However, not every company prices its coverage levels the same way, and there may be a significant difference between companies for the same level of coverage.
We have collected data on what each of Los Angeles’s nine major auto insurers charges annually, on average, based on coverage level and compiled them into a chart.
The data shows that both USAA and Geico charge the least for all levels of coverage. However, when it comes to the price difference between the lowest and highest levels of coverage, Liberty Mutual joins USAA with the lowest rate jumps.
Nationwide’s rate difference between the lowest and highest levels of coverage averaged $1,419 annually.
Best Car Insurance For Credit History Rates
While most insurers factor a driver’s credit history into their rate calculations, Los Angeles residents benefit from a California law barring auto insurers from using a driver’s credit scores to set rates. It is one of only three states to have done so. The others being Massachusetts and Hawaii.
According to Consumer Reports, in states where auto insurers are not allowed to use credit histories in setting rates, insurers set them using other factors, including driving records and the number of miles driven each year.
California’s ban on using credit scores to calculate auto insurance premiums was enacted in 1988 as part of a package of insurance reforms included in Proposition 103.
The Consumer Federation of America has calculated that, in the 30 years since Proposition 103 was passed, Californians have saved $154 billion in auto insurance premiums, an average of $6 billion annually.
Best Car Insurance for Driving Record Rates
We know you’ve been hearing it since your first driver’s ed class, but it still needs to be stressed: your driving records matters when it comes to insurance. That’s because insurers believe drivers with clean records are less likely to get into an accident.
But everyone makes mistakes, and a lot of us have had traffic infractions or minor accidents over the years. Let’s take a look at how three types of minor infractions have affected auto insurance rates for Los Angeles drivers in the chart below.
|Company||Clean record||With 1 Speeding Violation||With 1 Accident||With 1 DUI||Average|
As is clearly shown in the above chart, different insurers treat common infractions very differently. For some, just a single speeding violation will cause your annual yearly rates to jump by more than $1,000 and, in some cases, much more.
However, others appear to be fairly lenient. USAA and Liberty mutual only increase rates by a few hundred dollars after a speeding ticket.
Because it is considered a major infraction, a DUI causes the biggest rate jump for all insurers. Liberty Mutual customers appear to have experienced the smallest rate jump at just under $760 annually, while Allstate customers convicted of a DUI will see their rates jump by almost $7,000.
What are some car insurance factors in Los Angeles?
As we have shown in our breakdown of what LA drivers are paying for insurance, where you live can play a significant role in determining your insurance rates. For example, drivers in some rural areas have higher rates because of the increased likelihood of hitting deer in their community.
While each auto insurer has its own factors and system for weighing them, the number of vehicle break-ins and incidents of insurance fraud likely top all of the lists. But most insurers take a broad array of indicators of neighborhood health into account. We have collected some commonly used economic indicators for LA here.
Los Angeles Metro Report
Each year The Brookings Institution releases its prosperity index, which is designed to capture changes in a community’s average wealth and income. For the 2016-2017 year, the index showed that the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim area had the 13th-best year-over-year performance in the country.
By way of comparison, the Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura area was ranked 96th out of 100, and the Bakersfield area was one of the country’s worst-performing, coming in at 99th.
Over a 10-year period, the prosperity index did not rank LA quite as high, but the area still ranked 34th out of 100 nationally. The Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura area came in at 96th, and Bakersfield came in at 87th.
Finally, the prosperity index showed that LA’s average standard of living increased by 2.4 percent between 2016 and 2017, good for 17th nationally, and that its wages increased by 2.5 percent, which was sixth nationally.
Median Household Income in Los Angeles
According to data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau and analyzed by DataUSA, the median household income for the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim area was $72,563 for 2018 which was higher than the Los Angeles County average of $68,093 and substantially higher than the national average of $61,937.
Using LA’s median household income, you can get an idea of how affordable insurance is there. In this case, the average LA auto insurance policy is just a hair over 10 percent of average household income before taxes. That means average LA residents are spending a significant portion of their income on insurance.
If you want to run your personal numbers to see what percentage of your income is going toward auto insurance, use the link we have provided below.
Homeownership in Los Angeles
The Census Bureau breaks down homeownership in California by county, not by city, so we need to look at the numbers for all of Los Angeles County.
For the entire county, the homeownership rate is 45.3 percent, which is pretty good given that the average Los Angeles residential property is valued at $625,200. However, it is well below the national average of 64.8 percent.
Why does LA’s homeownership rate matter? It’s because auto insurers will use whether you rent or own your residence in their calculations of your rates. A 2016 study by the Consumer Federation of America found good drivers pay as much as 47 percent more for basic auto insurance if they rent, rather than own, their homes.
Education in Los Angeles
In 2017, colleges and universities in Los Angeles County awarded a total of 175,300 degrees, and the county had a student population of just under 760,000, 340,000 of which were male, and 420,000 were female. The median yearly tuition was almost $37,000 for private schools, and in-state tuition for public schools was roughly $5,700.
According to the website Study.com, there are currently 230 colleges and universities in the LA area, the largest of which are the University of Southern California, University of California-Los Angeles, and California State University-Long Beach. Almost 32 percent of LA residents have at least a bachelor’s degree.
Wage by Race and Ethnicity in Common Jobs in Los Angeles
Since we’re doing a fairly complete demographic breakdown of the finances of Los Angelinos, we figured that we should also show you the city’s income brackets broken down by race for common LA jobs. However, there was no breakdown of just LA’s labor market for 2018, so we need to take a look at the state as a whole. Here are the average wages and the average premium as a percent of income (PPI).
& Truck Drivers
|Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander||$64,762||11.25%||$38,959||18.70%||$29,801||24.45%|
|Other Native American||$45,585||15.99%||$36,078||20.20%||$20,678||35.24%||$9,741||74.81%|
|Two or More Races||$108,808||6.70%||$56,183||12.97%||$43,389||16.79%||$23,599||30.88%||$16,011||45.51%|
Some of the numbers we’ve listed above may seem a bit scary when it comes to the affordability of insurance in LA, but you need to take into account the fact that the salary numbers we have are for the entire state of California and that salaries are significantly higher in LA than other parts of the state.
According to the website Salary Explorer, the average annual salary for an LA resident is $106,000 annually. Using the average salary and the average cost of insurance, you end up with a premium as a percentage of income of 6.9 percent, which is still high compared to the national average of 2.4 percent, but not as high as it would seem from the state income numbers.
Wage by Gender in Common Jobs in Los Angeles
If we want to look at the differences between what men and women make doing common jobs, we will once again need to rely on California’s state numbers because the Census Bureau did not release 2018 data for either Los Angeles County or the city itself.
|Job||Salary for Males||Salary for Females|
|Elementary & Middle School Teachers||$67,223||$64,889|
|Drivers/Sales Workers & Truck Drivers||$48,645||$39,107|
As you can see from the census numbers, there is a disparity between what men and women get paid in most career fields, even those that are traditionally dominated by women, like retail sales and cashiers.
Poverty by Age and Gender in Los Angeles
The Census Bureau gives us a breakdown of the poverty rate, by gender, for Los Angeles County. We have collected the numbers below.
From the numbers, you can see that the highest rates of poverty in Los Angeles County are among females between the ages of 25 and 34, at nearly 8 percent. It is also notable that, for each group over the age of 18, more women are living in poverty than men.
Poverty by Race and Ethnicity in Los Angeles
According to the website WelfareInfo, slightly more than 20 percent of Los Angelinos lived in poverty in 2018. The Census Bureau found the poverty rate for Los Angeles County to be slightly less, at 17 percent. The Bureau also offers a breakdown of the poverty rate by race and ethnicity, as you can see below.
|Race/Ethnicity||Percent Living in Poverty|
|Two or More||1.82%|
The Census Bureau’s numbers show that the race or ethnic group with the highest poverty rate in Los Angeles County is Hispanic, followed by whites. Between them, those two groups make up more than 56 percent of county residents living in poverty in 2018.
Employment by Occupations in Los Angeles
The Census Bureau says that five million Los Angeles County residents were employed during 2018. We have broken out the five most common occupations for country residents below.
|Occupation||Number Employed||Percentage of Employed Population|
|Office and Administrative Occupations||582,528||11.6%|
|Sales and Related Occupations||503,694||10.1%|
|Food Preparation and Serving Related Occupations||302,294||6.04%|
As you can see from the above numbers, there is no one dominant occupation for LA County residents, but office and administrative support occupations made up 11.6 percent of the workforce in 2018.
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Driving in Los Angeles
Your neighborhood and demographics play a role in the high insurance premiums paid by Los Angelenos, but there are a number of other factors insurers take into consideration when setting auto rates.
The physical condition of LA’s roads can also play a role because you are more likely to get into an accident on a poorly maintained roadway than a newly paved one. Another factor is how well law local enforcement enforces laws, addressing safety issues like speeding and running red lights.
We have collected information on a broad array of factors that impact both your LA driving experience and your insurance rates that we will explain over the next few sections.
What are major roads in Los Angeles?
Like nearly every other city in California, cars rule the day when it comes to getting around LA. The city does have a bus system and the Metro Rail, but the vast majority of Los Angelinos get around using their cars.
LA residents have access to five major interstates and a broad range of surface streets running through business and residential areas. However, rush hour traffic regularly brings the traffic on all of the city’s major roads to a standstill, and residents say that you need to allow at least an hour for any car trip of more than a mile or two.
In the next few sections, we will take a look at the city’s major highways and the general road conditions.
LA drivers have access to five major interstate highways as well as a number of state highways to choose from.
Unfortunately, according to statistics compiled by the Federal Highway Administration, four of the top 10 of the country’s busiest interstates run through Los Angeles (and a fifth, I-605, runs just outside the city). Those highways are:
- I-405 is a major highway running from southern to northern California and carries an estimated 374,000 vehicles daily, making it the most heavily traveled highway in the U.S.
- I-5 runs from the Mexican border all the way to the Canadian border and is the second-most traveled interstate in the U.S., carrying about 334,000 vehicles each day.
- I-210 crosses the northwestern corner of Los Angeles and carries about 298,000 vehicles daily.
- I-110 is known as the Harbor Freeway and, while only 32 miles long, it carries 328,000 vehicles each day.
While it is not an interstate, U.S. 101 runs east-west across LA and is also well known for traffic and congestion.
According to the Los Angeles Almanac, Los Angeles County currently has 314 miles of interstate highway, 201 miles of non-interstate freeways, 4,820 miles of arterial (high capacity) roads, 3,172 miles of low-to-moderate capacity roads, and 13,318 miles of local roads.
There are no true “toll roads” in LA, but some of the freeways have toll lanes. These are known as FasTrak lanes, and drivers have the option of paying a toll to use them if driving by themselves or riding in the lanes toll-free if they are carpooling. FasTrak lanes are available on I-10 and I-110.
Popular Road Trips/Sites
Los Angeles is at the crossroads of a number of major highways, so it’s easy to get out of town by car to enjoy one of the many popular day-trip destinations within a two-and-a-half-hour drive of the city. Those include:
- Laguna Beach. This oceanfront city in Orange County sits an hour from Los Angeles and is known for its boardwalk, beaches, and art galleries. Aliso Beach Park is a popular surf spot, and the waters off of Laguna Beach are home to a state marine reserve.
- Anaheim. This city is about 45 minutes southeast of LA and is known primarily as the home of the Disneyland Resort complex, one of California’s most popular tourist destinations. The city is also home to the Los Angeles Angels baseball team and the Anaheim Ducks.
- Santa Barbara. Less than two hours from LA, the city is a popular vacation spot. Stearn’s Wharf is a deepwater pier that provides stunning views of both the Pacific Ocean and the California shoreline. The city is also home to the Santa Barbara Zoo.
- Palm Springs. The city is known for its luxury resorts and celebrity residents and sits two hours from Los Angeles. In addition to its shops and restaurants, the city’s Indian Canyons parks offer hiking trails and fantastic views.
- Joshua Tree National Park. If you are lucky and avoid traffic, it should take less than two and a half hours to reach this world-famous national park that is home to a forest of Joshua Tree cacti. There are any number of driving, hiking and bike tours available to visitors.
- San Diego. With all of the activities San Diego has to offer, most visitors choose to spend longer than a day in the city, but San Diego is less than two-and-a-half hours south of Los Angeles, assuming you don’t get stuck in traffic too long.
Those attractions and others are highlighted in this video describing the top 10 day trips from LA.
Of course, there are dozens of other well-known destinations less than three hours from LA, such as Balboa Island in Newport Beach and the Mission San Juan Capistrano.
To put it simply, the road conditions in Los Angeles are not great. The national transportation research nonprofit TRIP found that for 2018, more than half of the roads in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim area were in poor shape. The following chart breaks down TRIP’s findings.
|Road Condition||Percentage of Roads|
TRIP’s 2018 report also found that the average LA-area driver faced $921 in vehicle operating costs related to poor road conditions.
Does Los Angeles use speeding or red-light cameras?
In July 2011, Los Angeles ended its automated photo red-light program and stopped using them to issue tickets. Police continued to use images from the cameras for other purposes until March 2012. Police no longer have access to those cameras for video evidence for any purpose.
However, some of the communities surrounding LA, such as Orange County, still issue tickets based on red-light cameras. So, you still need to be concerned about being caught on camera, unless you are certain you have not left LA.
Luckily, no California communities are currently using cameras to enforce their speed limits.
What type of vehicles are in Los Angeles?
While pickup trucks and SUVs have become increasingly popular in most parts of the country, recent surveys have shown LA drivers still prefer their cars.
Pickup trucks are roughly half as popular in LA as they are in the country as a whole. For more information on vehicle ownership in LA, keep reading.
Most Popular Vehicles Owned
When it comes to buying vehicles, Los Angelinos seem to prefer foreign manufacturers. A list compiled by Los Angeles Magazine showed that LA residents bought Honda Civics more than any other make or model.
The next four most popular, in order, were the Toyota Camry, Toyota RAV4, the Mazda CX-5, and the Honda Accord.
According to the auto repair website YourMechanic, Los Angeles is 76 out of the top 81 U.S. car markets when it comes to buying American, with only 34 percent of the vehicles owned by residents coming from American manufacturers.
How many cars per household
One of the data points collected by the Census Bureau is the number of households in a community that own cars and how many cars there are per household. While the Census Bureau does not examine LA specifically, it did find that the average Los Angeles County household owned two cars in 2018. You can find additional data in the chart below.
|Cars Per Household||Los Angeles County||U.S.|
Despite being home to the second-largest city in the United States and with almost 2,500 residents per square mile, more than 17 percent of Los Angeles County households own four or more cars. To put that in perspective, nationwide, fewer than 14 percent of households own four or more cars with a population density of roughly 92 persons per square mile (283 persons per square miles in cities).
Households without a Car
When you think of U.S. cities and urban areas, you assume that residents are less likely to own cars than the rest of the country. However, only 3.79 percent of households in Los Angeles County do not own cars, which is a smaller number than the country as a whole. Nationwide, 4.26 percent of households own no cars.
Los Angeles County’s population density, coupled with the fact that more than 96 percent of households own cars, goes a long way towards explaining LA’s issues with traffic congestion.
Speed Traps in Los Angeles
The website Speedtrap.org tracks the 10 worst cities in each state for speed traps. Fortunately for LA residents, their city does not appear on the website’s current list for California. However, several nearby cities do appear, including Brea, Hacienda Heights, Burbank, and Montebello.
Vehicle Theft in Los Angeles
According to the crime statistics compiled by the FBI for 2018, Los Angeles led the state of California for the number of vehicle thefts. The agency said there were 17,316 thefts that year in LA. That comes to roughly 4.39 annual thefts per 1,000 residents, which is significantly higher than the national rate of 2.29.
But some neighborhoods had lower crime rates than others, with the website Neighborhood Scout ranking the Palisades Hills neighborhood as the city’s safest for 2018. Coming in second was the area surrounding the Sepulveda Basin Recreation Area.
Overall, your chances of being a victim of a property crime in Los Angeles were roughly one in 39 for 2018. Property crimes include burglary, theft, and motor vehicle theft.
How is traffic in Los Angeles?
LA is a sprawling city, and traffic congestion often limits the ability of residents to get around, as well as causing wear and tear on their vehicles. We will now take a look at some measures of LA’s traffic congestion and what it might mean for your insurance rates.
Traffic Congestion in Los Angeles
Traffic is usually near the top of most residents’ issues with living in LA and a number of recent surveys of traffic congestion list it at or near the top for worst in the U.S.
For example, INRIX found that LA’s traffic to be the country’s fifth-worst, and 47th in the world for 2018. Boston topped the list for U.S. cities at eighth in the world.
The INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard found the average LA driver lost 128 hours to congestion in 2018 and that the average driver’s speed when driving the last mile to a central-city destination was 14 mph. Additionally, the scorecard says congestion costs the average driver $1,788 that year.
TomTom’s 2019 traffic index, on the other hand, ranked LA as having the country’s worst traffic congestion in the country and 31st worst in the world.
TomTom found that the average LA driver lost 167 hours each year to traffic congestion and that heavy traffic added 19 minutes to the average 30-minute morning commute and 25 minutes to that same commute in the evening.
Finally, the website Numbeo.com publishes its own traffic index based on commute time, driver dissatisfaction with commute times, pollution, and overall inefficiencies in the traffic system. According to Numbeo, Los Angeles is second only to Detroit when it comes to the worst traffic in the U.S. and Canada.
Based on numbers collected by the Census Bureau, the average Los Angeles County resident has a commute time of just over 30 minutes each way. That’s nearly five minutes longer than the average for all U.S. commuters. Additionally, just over 4 percent of workers in the county have so-called “super commutes” of more than 90 minutes each way.
Census data also shows that 74 percent of Los Angeles County commuters drove to and from work alone. The data showed that 9.5 percent carpooled, another 5.7 percent took public transportation, and 2.5 percent of workers walked. The remaining 8.3 percent of commuters took bicycles, motorcycles, taxis, or other transportation to work.
Los Angeles is home to some of the country’s urban highways that have stretches that lead the country in the number of lanes, including the I-405, which has 14 lanes. Additionally, the I-5 and I-110 have 12 lanes.
Conveniently, the California Department of Transportation maintains a website where residents can see how many miles vehicles traveled on a highway. Looking at the numbers for LA County, we can see how many miles were traveled annually on its major highways during 2017.
|Highway||Annual Vehicle Miles Traveled||2017 Delay Incidents|
In terms of annual vehicle miles traveled in LA County, the I-405 and I-5 clearly outpace all other highways. However, the I-5 had 1,847 more than I-405 despite drivers putting 237 million more miles on I-405 that year.
Finally, the Texas A&M Transportation institute issues an annual Urban Mobility Report that collects data on 101 urban areas in the U.S.
Its study for 2017 found that the average commuter in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim area lost the average commuter lost 119 hours that year to traffic delays, which was first in the nation. It also found delays cost the average commuter $2,676, also first in the country.
How safe are Los Angeles streets and roads?
You can get a good idea of how safe a city’s streets are for drivers by looking to the information collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in its annual traffic safety report for California. Unfortunately, the administration’s numbers for 2018 do not look good for Los Angeles county, with 670 traffic fatalities for that year, accounting for 19 percent of the total for the entire state.
Interestingly, given the high population of Los Angeles County, those numbers place the county among the safest in the country. On a per-resident basis, the county’s accident fatality rate put it in the lowest third, nationwide. That means for 2018, you were more likely to get into a fatal accident in two-thirds of the nation’s counties.
After reviewing the NHTSA’s data from 2013 to 2018, we were able to gather the following information regarding traffic fatalities in Los Angeles County for those years.
|Fatal Crash Type||2014||2015||2016||2017||2018|
|Passenger Car Occupant||200||202||263||211||191|
For a county that is famous for its traffic congestion, a surprising number of people are killed in accidents involving speeding, 215 for 2018. The above chart also highlights how dangerous it can be to simply walk along LA County’s streets, with more pedestrians dying in 2018 than passenger car occupants, motorcyclists, or DUIs.
Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report
When it comes to assessing driver safety, few organizations have compiled more information on accidents than auto insurance providers. One of those providers, Allstate, shares its assessment of which U.S. cities are home to the best drivers through its Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report.
In its report for 2019, Allstate found Los Angeles to be the 195th-safest driving city in the U.S. out of the 200 it studied. That study found that the average Los Angeles driver went 5.8 years between filing insurance claims. To put that in perspective, the average driver in Brownsville, Texas, went almost 15 years between claims, and the national average is 10.6.
Allstate also produces a list of the 15 riskiest roads in the U.S., where accidents are the most common. Surprisingly, for a city the company considers so unsafe for driving, only one Los Angeles road appeared: I-405.
Ridesharing services such as Lyft and Uber are legal in California and are quite popular in Los Angeles. Using the ridesharing website RideGuru, we found 13 ridesharing and taxi services currently operating in LA, 11 of which provided pricing information. We then priced out trips between common destinations on a Saturday afternoon.
|Rideshare Provider||LA Convention Center|
to Rodeo Drive
|Cabrillo Marine Aquarium
to Pacific Palisades
|Carmel (Taxi or Limo)||$68||$61||$162|
|Curb (Traditional Taxi)||$63||$41||$103|
|RideYellow (Traditional Taxi)||$61||$39||$101|
As the figures above show, it is often significantly cheaper to use a ridesharing service like Uber or Lyft to get around LA than it is to call for a traditional taxi.
E-Star® Repair Shops
Esurance sponsors a program known as E-star® that allows for customers to monitor their repairs online using its RepairView service that allows drivers to see daily photos of their vehicle being repaired, get repair updates and contact the shop directly. According to the E-star® website, the following LA repair shops have received high ratings.
|Shop Name||Address||Contact Info|
|AGC Collision Center||3424 W. Sunset Blvd.|
Los Angeles, CA 90026
P: (323) 663-8076
F: (323) 663-1675
|Auto-Tech Collision Center||1116 W. Washington Blvd.|
Los Angeles, CA 90015
P: (213) 748-8228
F: (213) 748-8789
|Caliber-Canoga Park-South||7400 Deering Ave.|
Canoga Park, CA 91303
P: (818) 593-2110
F: (818) 593-2109
|Caliber-Los Angeles-Mid City||3412 Pico Blvd.|
Los Angeles, CA 90019
P: (323) 266-2222
F: (323) 641-7900
|Harry's Auto Collision Center||1013 S. La Brea Ave.|
Los Angeles, CA 90019
P: (323) 933-5824
F: (323) 935-7054
|Pacific Elite-Canoga Park||7862 Deering Ave.|
Canoga Park, CA 91304
P: (818) 347-1548
F: (818) 348-4571
|Pride Auto Body-Haskell||7950 Haskell|
Van Nuys, CA 91406
P: (818) 909-0660
F: (818) 475-1544
|Schiro's Collision Repairs CW||20944 Itasca St.|
Chatsworth, CA 91311
P: (818) 407-2700
|Service King Van Nuys||14954 Oxnard St.|
Los Angeles, CA 91411
P: (818) 909-5444
F: (818) 909-5441
|Western Collision||709 N. Gramercy Place|
Los Angeles, CA 90038
P: (323) 465-7126
F: (323) 957-0975
For our listing of E-star® shops, we focused only on Los Angeles, but there are dozens of other shops located in the communities surrounding LA that may be closer if you live on the edges of the city. Consult Esurance’s E-star® locator to find the shop closest to you.
What is the weather like in LA?
Snow, ice, and sleet are common causes of auto accidents in much of the United States, but Los Angeles drivers are lucky that they almost never need to deal with such conditions. The city is known for its temperate climate, and the climate data bears that our. The average annual high temperature is 72 degrees, while the average annual low is 56 degrees.
However, rainfall can sometimes be an issue in LA. On average, the city only gets less than 19 inches of rain a year, but that rain has a tendency to come via large storms that create flooding issues on some roads and slick conditions on the highways.
And flooding is just one of the 13 types of natural disasters the city is prone to suffering, according to the City of Los Angeles Emergency Management Department. It said there are 16 federally identified natural disasters and manmade threats, and LA is particularly valuable to four of them: wildfires, flooding, mudslides, and earthquakes.
Is public transit available in Los Angeles?
While fewer than 6 percent of Los Angelinos take public transit to work, the city offers a wide-ranging transportation network of subways, light-rail, buses, and shuttles. Those include the following options:
- Metro Rail System offers six rail lines, and all rail stations are served by a bus line
- Metro Bus System offers nearly 200 different lines, with local, rapid and express services available
- DASH is a transit fleet operated by the City of Los Angeles and carries approximately 30 million passengers annually to all parts of the city and several surrounding communities
- FlyAway is a bus service operated by LA airports that runs to many parts of the city and is just one of a number of airport bus operators
Are other Alternate Transportation available in Los Angeles?
For those who’d prefer to take advantage of LA’s nice weather and get around the city on a bike or scooter, LA has several options that operate throughout the city.
The largest bike-sharing service is the Metro Bike Share system that is operated by the city and Metro and operates docking stations downtown, Central LA, North Hollywood, and the West Side.
Thirty-day passes start at $17 a month, but there are pay-as-you-go options. LA County operated the Breeze bike-sharing service, but local governments were reconsidering the service in late 2019, and its website is no longer operational.
While bike-sharing services that compete with Metro Bike Share have struggled to gain a foothold in the LA market, electric scooters have proven to be popular. The two largest services are Lime and Bird, but Uber and Lyft also recently launched services in LA.
Unfortunately, because scooters are dockless, they can be hard to find, but three are apps like transit that can help locate scooters from a number of providers and help you plan your trip. Most of the scooter services charge a $1 unlocking fee and then charge between 23 and 30 cents a minute afterword.
Is parking easy in Los Angeles?
Street parking and overnight street parking are allowed in most areas of Los Angeles unless the area has been designated a preferential parking district or an overnight parking district. In those areas, cars must either have a preferential permit or a guest permit. Luckily, those designations only apply to limited areas, and guest permits run between $1 for overnight districts and $2.50 for preferential districts.
If you are heading downtown, there is metered parking on some streets, but availability may be limited, so you should be prepared to either drive around looking for an open space, or have a parking garage in mind if your preferred location is not available. Rates can run between 50 cents and $2 an hour, and there is usually a two-hour time limit.
There is also some free on-street parking near downtown, but many of those spots are limited to two hours or have other time restrictions. The website SpotAngels provides a map showing on-street metered and free parking near downtown and any restrictions those spots may have.
If you are heading downtown and don’t want to deal with the hassles associated with on-street parking, you should plan on using one of the many parking garages in the area.
Thankfully, compared to cities like New York and Chicago, parking rates for downtown LA are fairly reasonable, with many lots charging $10 or less for parking during business hours. Websites like Parkopedia can give you more information on rates.
One bit of advice for any driver trying to park on the street in Los Angeles is to carefully read any of the street signs to make sure parking isn’t limited to certain hours or during street cleaning. Parking enforcement is vigilant about ticketing for any violations.
How is the air quality in Los Angeles?
Unfortunately, a number of factors have combined in LA to give it some of the worst air quality in the country. Its location in a large basin with high mountain ranges to the east and south helps to hold in pollutants that would normally be blown east by the prevailing winds.
The primary culprit is LA’s poor air quality is smog, which is formed when fog and pollutants (usually from vehicles) combine and react with the sun’s ultraviolet rays to form secondary pollutants. The primary and secondary pollutants combine to form a haze that can hover over the city.
The result of the interaction of those factors is that LA’s air quality was only categorized as “good” by the EPA for 61 days in 2018. You can see the EPA’s numbers for the past three years below.
|Air Quality Designation||2019||2018||2017|
|Days With Air Quality Readings||274||365||365|
|Unhealthy Days for Sensitive Groups||51||90||76|
|Very Unhealthy Days||1||1||8|
At least the numbers show that LA’s air quality has improved over the past few years, with very unhealthy days dropping from eight to one between 2017 and 2019.
Due to its close proximity to a number of West Coast military bases, Los Angeles is home to a large number of veterans. According to the Census Bureau, there are slightly more than 192,000 veterans of the U.S. military living in LA County, with more than 80,000 of those being Vietnam vets.
A driver’s status as a veteran can be an important factor in purchasing auto insurance because many providers offer veterans discounted rates.
California is home to 24 U.S. Military bases, but only the Los Angeles Air Force Base is located within the city of LA. There is only one other U.S. military base within an hour’s drive of the city, the March Air Reserve Base in northwest Riverside County.
If you are currently in the military, you could be eligible for discounts from the following auto insurance providers:
- Liberty Mutual
- Safe Auto
- State Farm
- The General
The last insurer on that list, USAA, is a good one for veterans to keep in mind because they only offer policies to veterans and their families and are known for offering inexpensive policies. If you check out our list of average rates by company based on driving record included above, you will see that USAA is often the cheapest option.
Unique City Laws
While LA’s traffic enforcement officers only enforce California’s driving laws, some of those laws are unusual enough that they can get you into trouble if you fail to follow them. Here are some of the rules that can get out-of-town drivers in trouble in LA:
- Nearly all non-factory window tinting is illegal
- You must give bicyclists at least three feet of space while passing
- You must use a hands-free phone, but you cannot use two earbuds at the same time
- Leaving a carpool lane after being spotted by an officer can also lead to a ticket for crossing a double-yellow line
- It is illegal to block an intersection or a crosswalk in California, even if traffic forces you to do so. So do not enter an intersection unless you can get all the way through
- LA does have some unique parking laws that it benefits out-of-town drivers to know. The first is that yellow-painted curbs are loading zones, but between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m., they are open to all vehicles. Green curbs are short-term parking spots, but between the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 a.m., that rule is not enforced.
Finally, parking meters are not enforced on holidays. However, in an interesting wrinkle, if the holiday falls on a Saturday, traffic enforcement will take that Friday off. Likewise, if the holiday falls on a Sunday, they will take Monday off.
We hope you have found our rundown of the Los Angeles auto insurance market to be helpful. We also have the answers to some common questions below.
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Los Angeles Car Insurance FAQs
Below we have listed the answers to some commonly asked questions regarding Auto Insurance in LA.
How long after I move to LA do I have to change my insurance address?
Most insurers will give you 30 days to report a move. However, if you are moving to LA from out of state, you will need to do so sooner because California law requires that you register your vehicle within 20 days of moving to the state, and, at that time, you will need to provide proof of California insurance to the DMV.
Additionally, if your insurer finds you have left the state without letting them know, your policy will likely be set up for cancellation. An out-of-state policy may also fail to meet California’s minimum coverage amounts, or your insurer may not even be allowed to offer policies to California drivers.
You may have a little more leeway if you are moving to LA from somewhere else in California. Your insurance company may not discover the move until either your policy or your vehicle registration comes up for renewal, at which point you will need to report the new address.
Not being honest about your address on those documents is usually considered fraud and can lead to criminal charges.
Is there any way to keep my rates from increasing when I move to LA?
If your LA insurance rates will be higher than they were at your former address, there is not much you can do about it outside of breaking the law. Lying about your address can be prosecuted as insurance fraud and cause your policy to be invalidated.
One legal way to decrease your insurance rate is to reduce your coverage levels. However, doing so may leave you with inadequate insurance when moving to a city with high numbers of accidents and auto thefts.
You need to consider how reducing your insurance coverage carefully could save money in the short-term, but cost you more in the event of an accident, theft, or other vehicle damage.
Will my rates increase if I park on the street?
If you live in an apartment that charges extra for parking, or in a house without a garage, you may be considering parking your car on the street while you are home. You may also be considering street parking to save on parking lot fees while at work. Street parking keeps you from having to pay for a garage, but in many cases, it leads to increased insurance premiums.
Parking on the street dramatically increases the probability your car will be stolen, broken into, or vandalized. It also increases the likelihood it will be struck by another vehicle while parked. That is why a lot of insurers offer a discount for drivers who park their cars in a garage, whether at home or in a parking structure.
Auto insurers also take into account the type of parking structure you are using when setting rates. Parking in an attached garage is much safer than parking in an unattended public parking structure.
I am planning on taking public transportation, do I need to keep my car insured?
Depending on where you live in LA, public transportation may be an option for replacing your vehicle for day-to-day use. Leaving your car at home can save the wear and tear of commuting in heavy traffic and parking fees at your workplace. Can you add to those savings by dropping your insurance?
How realistic is it that you will never drive your car? If you are putting it in storage or keeping it under a tarp in your garage, then you can safely drop your insurance. However, most people who take public transportation still drive their car occasionally (are you really going to take the bus to grab groceries?).
In that scenario, a driver is better off keeping a bare-bones policy in place, which you will need to keep your car registered.
One additional factor that needs to be considered before dropping your auto insurance is that some companies will raise your rates when you try to get a policy in the future. Your lack of an insurance/driving record could leave you labeled high-risk. Having yourself listed as an occasional driver, a car owned by someone else in your household, will solve that issue and is relatively inexpensive.
Living near the ocean causes salt damage to cars. Will my rates go up?
Living within 10 miles of the ocean can cause the metal on your car to rust more quickly, with the damage increasing the closer to the water you get. While the corrosion can be expensive to repair, there is no indication that it causes any safety issues for drivers, or that insurance companies will increase your rates because of it.
However, areas near the ocean regularly experience flooding following major storms, and insurers are likely to take that into account when setting your rates. Cars damaged by saltwater are often especially expensive to repair.
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