Don’t read this while driving: L.A. insurance rates highest in state

LAPD investigators at the scene of 2011 crash in Los Angeles. A new study found that the 10 ZIP Codes in California with the highest car insurance premiums were in the L.A. metro area.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Here’s another item to add to the “That costs more in Los Angeles” list, and it isn’t pretty: car insurance.

The 10 most expensive ZIP Codes for car insurance in the state of California are all in the L.A. metro area. L.A. County is also the most expensive county in the state, while Beverly Hills wins the honor of most expensive city in the state to insure a vehicle.

The findings are from a study commissioned by

“Where you live is playing a big role in the rate you’re paying,” said Laura Adams, senior analyst for the website InsuranceQuotes.


With a higher population density than anywhere else in the state, Los Angeles has more traffic, more accidents and more claims, Adams said. This pushes premiums up.

Two Hollywood neighborhoods have the highest premiums in the state by ZIP Code, according to the study. Residents in North Hollywood (91606) and West Hollywood (90038) pay 51% above the state average of $746 per vehicle. Glendale (91205) comes in a close third 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 on average, with premiums that are 44% higher than the California average.

On the other end of the spectrum, Westchester (90045) has the cheapest rates of any ZIP Code in L.A., at just 7% higher than the state average. Culver City (90066) and Commerce (90040) both sit at 10% higher than California’s average.

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: the driver’s safety record, the average number of miles driven each year, and the number of years of driving experience the insured has.


This is a result of California’s Proposition 103, which was passed in 1988 in an effort to curb abuses by insurance companies seeking to unfairly setting 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.

Things get more rosy as drivers get away from L.A. Rates in San Francisco are just 8% higher than state average. Drivers in San Diego pay 11% less than California’s average.

There’s even some good news for L.A. drivers -- and those throughout the state.

California is one of only three states that prohibit insurance companies from using a driver’s credit score to help determine their car insurance premiums.

This is a boon for drivers with low credit scores, who might otherwise be charged higher rates.


Massachusetts and Hawaii are the other two states that prevents this, though others are considering adopting this policy, Adams said.


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