Is Car Insurance Cheaper In Arizona Than In California?

Last Updated on December 14, 2021

Those relocating to Arizona from California or vice versa are likely focused on covering the primary costs of the move.  The cost of a moving service, a new apartment or house, and other major expenses are likely to weigh heavily on your budget.  However, auto insurance has the potential to become quite costly if you transition from a rural or suburban part of either of these states to a comparably urban space.  Furthermore, auto insurance tends to increase when one moves from Arizona to California simply because California is overpopulated. The Golden State’s sizable population and incredibly heavy traffic make driving quite a challenging endeavor.  This increased likelihood of an accident and auto theft are the primary reasons why auto insurance is more expensive in California.

arizona or california auto insurance

Auto Insurance in California and Arizona: A Look at the Numbers

Auto insurance in Arizona is about $350 cheaper than auto insurance in California.  The cost of auto insurance varies in accordance with one’s coverage level, insurance history, driving history, and the auto insurance provider in question.  The average annual auto insurance rate in California is $1,707 compared to the average rate of $1,357 in Arizona. The amount of money a driver pays for auto insurance hinges on his or her’s specific coverage level and the money the driver is willing to spend to protect the insured vehicle.

Those who opt for the state’s bare minimum in auto insurance coverage are required to carry bodily injury, medical payments coverage, property damage liability, and other basic coverages.  Opt for auto insurance less than full coverage and you will pay less than those who opt for the maximum coverage offered. The risk you run by opting for a comparably cheap and limited auto insurance coverage is that you will end up in a vicious auto accident that causes you to pay a high deductible and limits the amount the insurer will pay to cover related costs.

Choose Your Auto Insurer Wisely

The cost of your auto insurance in Arizona or California is partially dictated by the insurance company you select.  If you are moving to Arizona or California, do not assume your current insurance provider will maintain your current rate or even provide insurance in your new location.  Do some research and you will likely find there are major differences in automobile insurance rates based on your new city’s location. As an example, California has some surprisingly cheap auto insurance rates available through USAA and Century National.

Arizona drivers will find some remarkably cheap auto insurance policies through the likes of The Hartford and SAFECO.  As an example, the average yearly auto insurance rate for California drivers who obtain insurance through USAA is a mere $1,132.  California drivers insured through Wawanesa pay an average of $1,169. The average auto insurance rate paid by Golden State drivers who obtain insurance through Century National is a mere $1,202.  The next cheapest auto insurance average annual rates are provided through CSAA ($1,210) and Nationwide ($1,238).

Arizona drivers insured through The Hartford pay a yearly average rate of $536 compared to the $561 paid on average per year through SAFECO. Auto-Owners charges Arizona drivers an average annual car insurance rate of $906. The next two cheapest auto insurance providers in Arizona are Travelers with an average annual rate of $1,097 and USAA with an average annual rate of $1,102.

It is not Guaranteed Your Auto Insurance Will be Cheaper in Arizona

In general, Arizona drivers pay less than California drivers for auto insurance.  However, the specific city you move to, the coverage level you select, and the history of accidents/tickets ultimately determine your annual auto insurance rate.  The average yearly auto insurance rate for those living in Fresno, CA is quite affordable at $1,487. However, those who live and work in Los Angeles pay an average annual auto insurance rate of $2,125.  If you were to move to Phoenix, Arizona, there is a good chance you would pay about the same amount for auto insurance as those in Fresno, CA. Phoenix residents pay an average of $1,250 per year for auto insurance.  Alternatively, those who live in the city of Glendale, AZ pay an annual auto insurance rate of $1,202.

A Look at Why Arizona Drivers pay Comparably Less for Auto Insurance

Arizona auto insurance rates are lower than those in California and many other states for several reasons.  For one, Arizona’s economy is no longer as blazing hot as it was in the past. The temporary plateau in auto insurance rates across certain parts of the state is partially attributable to the fact that the roads are not as congested as expected.  However, if the local economy continues to thrive and population migration trends continue, the southwest and Arizona’s largest cities are likely to see even more traffic in the near future. An increase in traffic will send auto insurance rates that much higher.

Arizona drivers are provided with cheaper insurance for their status as good drivers.  Grand Canyon State drivers who do not have a recent accident considered “at fault” typically save about 35% on their auto insurance.  This “good driver” discount is higher than the nationwide average of 30%. Arizona drivers are also eligible for safe driving bonuses through their auto insurance company for remaining incident-free on the roads.  The discount for incident-free driving varies by locale yet typically falls in the 5% to 10% range.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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