Whether you’re buying a new or existing home or want to best protect the property you currently own, it's important to have sufficient homeowners insurance coverage in place. But these policies can get expensive, depending on your coverage inclusions and level.

The good news for Californians is that the state has one of the lowest average home insurance rates. Garrison insurance provides the cheapest homeowners insurance with an average cost of $791 per year. Only Hawaii has lower average premiums than home insurance in California.

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California homeowners insurance benefits from having a climate that results in fewer insurance claims than other states like Oklahoma and Kansas, which see their share of tornadoes, or Florida, which gets hit with hurricanes. So. finidng cheap homeowners insurance in California can be easier than in other states. 

To help you save money on homeowners insurance, we've researched the industry and can suggest three particular insurers with the most affordable coverage on average in California. Read on for our recommendations and tips for shopping around and saving money on homeowners insurance.

Cheapest homeowners insurance companies in California

Garrison, USAA and Allstate have the lowest average home insurance rates with $300,000 dwelling and $300,000 liability coverage with a $1,000 deductible.

Here are the average California homeowners insurance rates by company. You may wonder: How much is homeowners insurance a month in California? We included those averages, too: 

CompanyAverage annual rateAverage monthly rate
Garrison$791$66
USAA$797$66
Allstate$900$75
Travelers$919$77
General Insurance$976$81
CSAA Insurance Exchange$1,113$93
State Farm$1,157$96
Safeco$1,169$97
Nationwide$1,250$104
Interinsurance Exchange of The Automobile Club$1,319$110
Farmers$1,401$117
Crestbrook$1,438$120
Foremost$1,544$129
Mid Century$1,593$133
Fire Insurance Exchange$1,615$135

Best homeowners insurance companies in California

Many factors go into the best homeowners insurance companies. For this page, we’re focusing on the cheapest homeowners insurance in California, so let’s highlight the companies with the lowest average rates for California homeowners.

There is a wide difference between the cheapest and most expensive homeowners insurance in California. So, make sure you get quotes from multiple companies when shopping for insurance. 

Now let’s take a look at the three cheapest California home insurance companies.

Garrison

Headquarters: San Antonio, Texas

Founded: 2000 (acquired by USAA after 2008)

Contact: (800) 531-8722, USAA.com

Available: In all 50 states but only to active or veteran military members and their families

Discounts available: Loyalty, multi-policy (10%), claims-free (up to 10%), fire/burglar alarm

Other types of insurance offered: Auto, renters, condo, flood, umbrella, life, annuities, business

Insure.com score: 4.5 stars

Better Business Bureau rating: B

A.M. Best rating: A++

J.D. Power rating: #1 (overall customer satisfaction, lowest annual shopping rate for existing customers, price satisfaction)

Garrison Property and Casualty Insurance Company is a subsidiary of USAA and offers the same coverages, options and discounts as its parent company. One drawback is that you must receive a quote online, as there are no brick-and-mortar branches.

USAA

Headquarters: San Antonio, Texas

Founded: 1922

Contact: (800) 531-8722, USAA.com

Available: In all 50 states but only to active or veteran military members and their families

Discounts available: Loyalty, multi-policy (10%), claims-free (up to 10%), fire/burglar alarm

Other types of insurance offered: Auto, renters, condo, flood, umbrella, life, annuities, business

Insure.com score: 4.5 stars

Better Business Bureau rating: B

A.M. Best rating: A++

J.D. Power rating: #1 (overall customer satisfaction, lowest annual shopping rate for existing customers, price satisfaction)

USAA Property and Casualty Insurance's policies include standard coverage that often costs extra elsewhere. That includes replacement cost coverage on personal property and roof repair/replacement, military uniform and equipment coverage (if your uniform or equipment is damaged or stolen during a covered event and you are on active duty or deployed), identity theft coverage and home-sharing coverage. 

Options include an additional 25% of coverage for your dwelling and other structures and for increased building costs, debris removal and building ordinance/law coverage. USAA also provides unlimited loss of use coverage for up to 12 months. However, there are no physical branches, so you must get a quote online or via smartphone.

Allstate

Headquarters: Northbrook, Illinois

Founded: 1931

Contact: (877) 366-1607, Allstate.com

Available: In all 50 states

Discounts available: Loyalty (up to 10%), multi-policy (up to 25%), claims-free (up to 20%), fire/burglar alarm, Easy Pay Plan (up to 5%), early signing (up to 10%)

Other types of insurance offered: Auto, renters, condo, life, identity theft, business, home-sharing

A.M. Best rating: A+

J.D. Power: Above average (score -- 829 out of 1,000)

One of the world’s largest insurance companies, Allstate insured over 8 million American homes in 2019. 

The insurer offers a variety of homeowners insurance coverages and options. Standard coverages typically include dwelling plus other structures, liability, personal property, loss of use/additional living expenses and medical payments to guests.

Cheapest homeowners insurance in California by city

Here are the average annual and monthly home insurance premiums by city:

CityAverage annual rateAverage monthly rate
San Jose$997$83
Long Beach$1,049$87
San Diego$1,067$89
San Francisco$1,076$90
Sacramento$1,094$91
Fresno$1,144$95
San Bernardino$1,211$101
Oakland$1,227$102
Los Angeles$1,285$107

How much is homeowners insurance in California?

The average California homeowners insurance is $1,166 for a policy with $300,000 dwelling coverage and $300,000 liability with a $1,000 deductible. Experts recommend at least $300,000 liability coverage to protect your home against lawsuits. California’s average home insurance rate is about half the national average ($2,305).

Actual home insurance costs vary depending on multiple metrics, including location, claims history and discounts, such as auto and home bundling.

Location, including ZIP code, plays a vital role in homeowner insurance costs, but much more goes into rates. Some of it is beyond your control.

For instance, home insurance premiums are partially based on the home's claims history (even from before you bought the property) and your neighbor’s claims history. 

Homeowners insurance companies decide upon rates based on risks. If your neighborhood has seen many claims over the past few years, you can expect to pay higher home insurance rates than an area with few to no claims. Your credit score can also play a role in your home insurance costs.

How much do home insurance claims increase your premiums?

Your claims history has a substantial role in home insurance costs. Here are the top average homeowners insurance percentage premium increases based on claims:

  • Filing a second fire claim -- 60%
  • Filing a second theft claim -- 55%
  • Filing a second liability claim -- 52%
  • Filing a second water damage claim -- 50%
  • Filing a second medical claim -- 34%
  • Filing a second weather claim -- 29%
  • Filing a fire claim -- 29%
  • Filing a theft claim -- 27%
  • Filing a liability claim -- 25%
  • Filing a water claim -- 25%
  • Filing a medical claim -- 18%
  • Filing a weather claim -- 17%

Having homeowners insurance doesn't mean that you should file a claim for any property damage. In fact, it’s wise to consider how much something would cost to repair and whether it would cost less, in the long run, to take care of it yourself.

One example is if your home experiences damage or theft about the same amount as your deductible. In that case, you may pay more forking over the deductible and then potentially seeing your homeowners insurance rates increase after a claim.

Before filing a home insurance claim, make sure it’s worth the potential rate increase. 

How much does flood insurance cost in California?

The average flood insurance rate is $939.98 in California. That figure is based on dividing the number of policies and the total policy cost from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Home insurance doesn’t usually cover flood damage that comes from outside the home, such as a storm. To have flood protection, you need to get a separate flood insurance policy through the NFIP or a private insurer that works with the NFIP.

NFIP policies offer $250,000 structural coverage and $100,000 personal belongings. If you need more coverage, you can check with a private insurance company. 

Flood insurance rates are based on a home’s risk. A property in a flood zone has higher rates than a home not considered a flood risk.

However, homes not in flood zones can still be at risk of flooding. About 20% of flood insurance claims come from properties that are considered low or moderate risk.

The California Department of Insurance said flood insurance doesn't usually cover “earth movement” caused by a flood, such as an earthquake, landslide, sinkhole or other natural disasters.

How to get the cheapest homeowners insurance in California

Finding the cheapest home insurance rate takes getting quotes from multiple homeowners insurance companies in California. Earl Jones, a Farmers insurance agent in Sunnyvale, California, says it pays to get multiple quotes from different homeowners insurance companies in California and make apples-to-apples comparisons on coverages.

"Additionally, it's important to understand the different policies available and what you are paying for. Most homes are protected by either an HO2 or HO3 policy that covers more named perils than a cheaper HO1 policy. The best policies overall are typically HO5 policies that include broader protections and increased coverage limits," he says. "Always remember that, unlike car insurance, there are no minimum insurance requirements when it comes to homeowners insurance, so you need to look closely at what is covered and not covered in the policy you are quoted for."

Before requesting insurance quotes, it's also wise to determine how much it would likely cost to rebuild your home in the event of a total loss. If your home has recently been appraised, look to that report for help. Otherwise, consider that the national average to rebuild a home is approximately $250 per square foot.

"Searching for affordable insurance can be a major headache," says Tony Mariotti, Realtor/CEO of RubyHome in Los Angeles. "That's why I advise my clients and friends to also seek out a local homeowners insurance broker who knows your area and can recommend the best coverages to take advantage of."

There are multiple methods for reducing premiums and triggering savings on homeowners insurance in California or any state. One of the easiest ways is to bundle your home and auto insurance policy or another type of insurance policy from the same company, such as automobile coverage or an umbrella policy.

"Secondly, raise your deductible higher. If possible, avoid choosing a deductible lower than $5,000," suggests Jones. "This move can save you at least 10 percent or more on premiums."

No matter what deductible you choose, make sure you have enough money on hand to pay the deductible if you need to file a home insurance claim.

Third, if you've made any upgrades to your roof, plumbing or electrical systems, let the insurance company know. This may qualify you for additional discounts.

"If you have a professionally monitored alarm system with fire protection, that can yield a 10 percent discount alone," Jones adds. "Some insurers are even offering discounts for a monitored water system, too."

Last, beware of the impact of filing any claims for small losses less than $5,000.

"Each claim counts against you in the eyes of the insurance company -- particularly claims stacked up within shorter time frames," explains Mariotti. "So if you have one claim for $20,000 and another claim six months later for $2,000, the insurance company views these as two claims against your account, regardless of their value."

Filing too many claims too close to one another can raise your premiums over the next three to six years, depending on the insurance company, according to Jones.

Frequently Asked Questions by California Homeowners

Does homeowners insurance cover wildfires in California?

Yes, homeowners insurance typically covers you for damage caused by wildfires. That protection also extends to your personal property, including furniture, clothing and electronics. Homeowners insurance covers damage from fire, smoke and ash.

However, there are exceptions. Your home’s location may actually make that coverage exempt. In California, an insurance company may also deem you high risk if you live within 2,500 feet of a canyon. In that case, you may have to pay extra for homeowners insurance or an insurer may even decline to cover your home. 

Homeowners insurance also helps if you need to live elsewhere temporarily after a wildfire. The additional living expenses (ALE) portion of your home policy reimburses you for other lodging, meals, storage and other relocation fees while your home gets repaired after a wildfire.

You want to keep your receipts and provide them to the insurance company. Home insurance policies often have dollar limits for ALE coverage, so you may have to pick up some of the expenses. 

Does homeowners insurance cover earthquakes? 

No, a standard home insurance policy generally doesn’t cover earthquakes. You need a separate earthquake insurance policy. 

Earthquake insurance can be pricey -- and it can cost even more than a standard homeowners insurance policy. The California Earthquake Authority offers earthquake insurance policies in California or you can buy a policy from a private insurance company. 

What can you do if you can’t find home insurance in California?

If a home insurance company won’t cover your home, you can get coverage through the California FAIR Plan

FAIR coverage might not be as comprehensive as a standard home insurance policy, but you can add more coverage for an additional price. 

One negative is that FAIR policies are more expensive than standard homeowners insurance, so you should only explore a FAIR policy if you don’t have any other option.