The 10 most expensive ZIP Codes for car insurance in California are all in Los Angeles County, and Beverly Hills is most expensive city in the state to insure a vehicle, according to a new study.
"Where you live is playing a big role in the rate you're paying," said Laura Adams, senior analyst for the website InsuranceQuotes, which commissioned the study.
With a higher population density than anywhere else in the state, Los Angeles has more traffic, more accidents and more claims, Adams said. Those factors push premiums up.
FOR THE RECORD:
Auto insurance rates: A Sept. 6 Business article about auto insurance rates in California said the 90066 ZIP Code was in Culver City. The ZIP Code is in Los Angeles. —
Two Hollywood neighborhoods, by ZIP Code, have the highest premiums in the state, according to the study. Residents in North Hollywood's 91606 and West Hollywood's 90038 pay 51% above the average premium statewide of $746 a vehicle. Glendale's 91205 is close behind with premiums 50% higher than the state average.
By city, L.A. residents pay about 32% more than state average. Beverly Hills residents pay the most of any city, with average premiums 44% higher than the California average.
On the other end of the spectrum, Westchester's 90045 has the cheapest rates of any ZIP Code in the county at 7% higher than the state average. Culver City's 90066 and Commerce's 90040 are 10% higher.
To gauge how rates would vary, InsuranceQuotes' study used a hypothetical 45-year-old married couple with a clean driving record and two cars.
Three primary factors affect how insurance companies determine insurance premiums, Adams said. They are the driver's safety record, the average number of miles driven each year and the number of years of driving experience.
The insurance factors stem mainly from the 1988 passage of Proposition 103, which was aimed at curbing abuses by insurance companies in setting unfair premiums.
"Prop. 103 shifted the focus from where you live to more about how you drive," Adams said.
Yet what ZIP Code you live in will affect your rates because more residents in expensive neighborhoods generally drive vehicles that cost more, Adams said.
Rates are lower outside Los Angeles. Even in San Francisco, one of the more expensive U.S. cities to live in, rates are just 8% higher than the state average.
On the flip side, drivers in San Diego pay 11% less than the state average.
One bright spot: California is one of only three states that prohibit insurance companies from using a driver's creditworthiness to help determine their car insurance premiums — which helps those with low credit scores.