UPDATED: Jan 20, 2023

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A.M. Best rating:


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  • Some of the lowest rates in California
  • Strong third-party ratings
  • Easy-to-use website


  • Only available in California, as Wawanesa no longer sells new policies in Oregon
  • No mobile app
  • Limited coverage options

The Bottom Line

Founded in 1896, Wawanesa offers affordable car insurance to Californians. Wawanesa, headquartered in San Diego, is often the cheapest California auto insurance option for all drivers.

The company originally sold car insurance and other products in California and Oregon, but it recently suspended the sale of new policies in Oregon. However, it still manages existing Oregon policies and will continue to do so in the future.

Although Wawanesa has low average rates, it’s not right for everyone.  Auto insurance for high-risk drivers or drivers who have multiple accidents on their driving record comes with much higher rates, so those drivers should probably look elsewhere for coverage.

Read on to explore Wawanesa auto insurance reviews and how much you might pay for insurance with this company. Then, compare rates with as many companies as possible to find the lowest price for your insurance.

Car insurance is usually an expensive monthly bill most drivers struggle to keep low, but Wawanesa can help California drivers find affordable coverage. While it lacks some of the technological options of competitors — chiefly, a mobile app — Wawanesa’s low rates means you should at least get a quote.

Though Wawanesa promises low rates, it won’t be the cheapest option for every driver. To ensure you’re finding the lowest rates for your unique situation, compare quotes with as many companies as possible.

Is Wawanesa Insurance a Good Choice?

While it’s a small company, Wawanesa is generally considered a good company for California drivers. In fact, J.D. Power rates Wawanesa as the number one company in the California area for customer service.

While J.D. Power ranks companies on customers’ overall buying experience, A.M. Best rates them by their financial strength. Financial strength is important to look at because it indicates how likely a company is to pay future claims. Wawanesa has an A+ from A.M. Best, meaning you don’t have to worry.

Another good indication of a company’s quality is its complaint index score from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). The NAIC generates a ratio for companies comparing their number of complaints to their size. The national average is 1.0, with anything higher indicating a higher-than-average volume of complaints.

Wawanesa has a 1.04, meaning it gets slightly more complaints than the national average.

Finally, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) rates companies on their ability to resolve customer issues. The BBB gives Wawanesa an A+, but the website lists several complaints.

Pros and Cons of Wawanesa

All insurance companies have strengths and weaknesses, and Wawanesa is no different. With a Wawanesa auto insurance policy, you can look forward to the following benefits:

  • Some of the lowest rates in California
  • Strong third-party ratings
  • Easy-to-use website

While many customers enjoy their Wawanesa experience, there are a few disadvantages to consider. Wawanesa has the following cons:

  • Only available in California, as Wawanesa no longer sells new policies in Oregon
  • No mobile app
  • Limited coverage options

Although there are a few drawbacks to shopping at Wawanesa, the only way to decide if it’s right for you is to explore your options. You can learn more about Wawanesa insurance below.

How do you file a claim with Wawanesa?

Wawanesa lacks many technological options that some of the top auto insurance companies offer, so you don’t have as many options for filing claims. However, you have two options for filing a claim with Wawanesa:

  • File online. Visit the Wawanesa website to start a claim without logging into your account. Instead, you’ll need to fill out the claims form and include as much information about the incident as possible, including the police report number.
  • Call the claims number. You can speak with a representative 24/7 by calling the Wawanesa claims phone number. Once your claim gets filed, you can speak with a representative during business hours Monday through Saturday.

Unfortunately, there aren’t easier ways to file a claim with Wawanesa. So if managing your insurance policy by mobile app is important, consider looking elsewhere for coverage.

How do you pay for Wawanesa insurance?

You have more options to pay for your Wawanesa insurance than you do to file a claim. Wawanesa customers can pay for their car insurance in the following ways:

  • Automatic monthly payments
  • Direct payments from a bank account
  • Mail a check
  • Pay online with a credit card
  • Set up payment installments

Despite not having an app, Wawanesa has plenty of options for paying your monthly bill. If you live in Oregon, you can earn a discount on your policy if you sign up for automatic payments.

Does Wawanesa get a lot of complaints?

Wawanesa has a decent rating from the NAIC, but that’s not always reflective of what customers say online. Unfortunately, there are many negative online reviews from unsatisfied customers.

Many complaints focus on Wawanesa’s slow claims process, with customers saying the company delays paying for covered damage. Others say they experience policy price hikes despite not filing claims, but that’s the general nature of car insurance.

However, it’s not all bad reviews. Wawanesa customers are especially pleased with the low rates, often saying that the company is the cheapest option in California.

Wawanesa Corporate Sustainability

One of the benefits of buying from a local company is that you know your dollars are going back into your community. Wawanesa takes its sense of community a little further by supporting charitable efforts.

Wawanesa financially supports charities promoting health, education, arts, and culture in California communities.

It also encourages its employees to donate their time. For example, Wawanesa gave $125 to every employee to donate to a charity of their choice for the company’s 125th anniversary. Employees also voted for an organization to receive $125,000.

Wawanesa has donated millions of dollars to community non-profits and other charities and plans to continue donations.

How do you cancel a Wawanesa auto insurance policy?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to cancel your insurance policy online. Instead, you’ll need to speak with a Wawanesa representative to end your policy.

You probably won’t need to pay a cancellation fee, though a representative will have more information. In addition, you’ll likely get a refund for any unpaid portion of your insurance if you paid in full rather than in monthly payments.

No matter why you want to cancel your car insurance with Wawanesa, you should ensure you have a new policy lined up beforehand. Even a brief gap in your car insurance history is a red flag to most companies, and you can see higher rates in the future.

Wawanesa Insurance Rates

No matter your demographic, Wawanesa tends to be the cheapest option for car insurance. However, before looking at rates, you should understand the different factors determining how much you pay, including:

  • Age and gender. Insurance companies carefully track who makes claims. The numbers show young drivers and men are more likely to file a claim, so rates are higher. However, the price gap lessens with age.
  • Location. Companies also know how many claims get filed by location, so you can see different rates by moving even a single ZIP code over.
  • Car make and model. The more expensive your car, the more you’ll pay for car insurance. There are many reasons behind this, but it’s primarily due to higher repair costs.
  • Driving history. Companies look at your driving history to get an idea of what you might do in the future. Drivers with speeding tickets, at-fault accidents, or DUIs will pay much more for coverage.
  • Marital status. Insurance companies usually discount insurance rates to married couples because they tend to file fewer claims.
  • Amount of coverage. The coverage amount you add to your policy impacts your rates significantly — the more you need, the more you’ll pay.
  • Credit score. Most states allow insurance companies to use your credit score to set your rates. People with lower credit scores will pay more for insurance.

While most companies look at the above factors, each uses unique formulas to craft your rates. So, it’s important to compare quotes from as many companies as possible – you’ll likely overpay if you don’t look around.

Read below to see how Wawanesa does for some of the most common insurance situations.

Wawanesa Auto Insurance Rates by Coverage Amount

The average price of minimum California auto insurance is $47 a month, while full coverage costs about $160. However, your rates will vary depending on other circumstances, like your preferred insurance company or driving record.

A driver with a clean record can see incredibly low rates with Wawanesa. The average full coverage rate at Wawanesa is about $106 a month.

While you can save a lot with Wawanesa, there are ways to save even more. For example, you can lower the amount of insurance in your policy to the bare minimum you need. Your car won’t be as well protected, but lowering your coverage can significantly reduce your rates.

Wawanesa Auto Insurance Rates After an Accident

While many things affect your car insurance rates, one of the most impactful is at-fault accidents. The average at-fault accident increases your rates by about 66% in California, and you’ll see much higher increases if you have multiple on your record.

The average California driver pays about $213 monthly after an at-fault accident. Wawanesa’s average monthly rate is lower at $195. However, Wawanesa is picky about the drivers it insures. To provide the lowest rates possible, Wawanesa rejects applicants with too many accidents on their record.

Although your rates increase after an at-fault accident, you won’t be stuck with high rates forever. If you avoid adding additional incidents to your driving record, your rates will return to normal after about three years. Learn more about how long an accident stays on your record.

Wawanesa Auto Insurance Rates After a DUI

Although accidents have a significant impact on your rates, they don’t affect your insurance like a DUI. California and Oregon define a DUI as driving with a blood alcohol content level of 0.08%, and they come with serious consequences.

A DUI can increase your insurance rates by double or even triple. The average Californian driver pays $258 a month for car insurance after a DUI. Wawanesa is significantly cheaper at $166, but it may be difficult to apply for a policy successfully if you’ve already been charged.

Like at-fault accidents, DUIs don’t affect your car insurance forever. However, they impact your rates for much longer — you’ll be paying higher prices for about seven years. Learn more about how long a DUI stays on your record.

How does Wawanesa offer such low rates?

Many drivers are surprised by Wawanesa’s low rates, but those prices don’t happen accidentally.

Wawanesa keeps rates low by only accepting safe drivers, which are those with only one traffic violation or at-fault accident in the previous three years. If your driving record has more than one incident in the last three years, you might need to look elsewhere for insurance.

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Wawanesa Insurance Discounts Available

Most companies offer car insurance discounts to help drivers save money, and Wawanesa is no different. Wawanesa provides the following six discounts for California drivers:

  • Good driver. Drivers who spend a certain amount of time without getting in an accident, receiving a ticket, or filing a claim can earn a discount. Wawanesa hasn’t posted how long you need to be claims-free, but most companies require about three years.
  • Loyalty. Earn this discount simply by continuing to be a Wawanesa customer.
  • Multi-car. If you have multiple cars in your household, you can save on your insurance by insuring them under the same policy.
  • Mature driver. Wawanesa is one of the only companies to offer older drivers a discount. You might need to take a defensive driving course to qualify.
  • Bundling. Wawanesa offers a lot more than car insurance. You can save on every policy by bundling at least two policies from Wawanesa.
  • Affinity groups. You might get a discount for any organizations you belong to, including your workplace, college, or other memberships. You’ll need to speak with a representative to see if you qualify.
  • Anti-theft. Wawanesa discounts your auto insurance rates if your vehicle has any after-market or factory installed anti-theft devices. For example, you could get lower rates with a GPS or stolen vehicle recovery system.

Although Wawanesa no longer offers new policies in Oregon, it plans to continue managing them. As a result, Oregon drivers can take advantage of these additional discounts:

  • Driver education. If you pass a driver’s education course approved by Wawanesa, you’ll earn a discount. Wawanesa isn’t clear about who qualifies, but most companies limit this discount to people 25 years or younger.
  • Vehicle recovery system. Save on your comprehensive insurance with a vehicle recovery system, such as GPS tracking.
  • Military. Military personnel will save on Wawanesa insurance, though you’ll need to check your eligibility if you’re retired. Family members can also check their eligibility with a representative.
  • E-collect and e-distribute. Wawanesa gives drivers small discounts to sign up for automatic payments from their bank account and paper documents.

Wawanesa also offers Oregon drivers the same discounts as California drivers. Although Wawanesa will examine your application to see how many discounts you’re eligible for, you can also ask a representative to double-check.

Wawanesa Insurance Coverage Options

When you’re in the market for an auto policy, you’re probably looking for one of two types of insurance: minimum or full coverage auto insurance. Though these aren’t the only types of available insurance products, they’re the most popular options.

Minimum insurance is the lowest coverage amount you can buy to drive legally. Wawanesa only sells new policies in California, which requires a 15/30/5 liability plan — this is a relatively low requirement compared to some other states that often require much more.

You don’t need uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in California, but state law requires insurance companies to offer it. However, you’ll need to sign a waiver if you don’t want to add it to your policy.

Full coverage offers much better protection for your car but also costs more. California never requires it, but you might need it if you have a lease or loan. It’s also a good idea for anyone with a new or valuable car they can’t afford to replace.

Wawanesa sells everything you need to cover both minimum and full coverage, including the following:

  • Property damage liability. This part of liability auto insurance covers damage you cause to other people’s property, including cars and buildings. It doesn’t pay for your repairs.
  • Bodily injury liability. The second half of liability pays for injuries you cause to other drivers, their passengers, pedestrians, and anyone else.
  • Collision. Collision auto insurance pays for damage your car sustains after an accident, no matter who is at fault. It also covers you if you hit a stationary object like a mailbox.
  • Comprehensive. Comprehensive auto insurance coverage handles unexpected events like fires, floods, extreme weather, vandalism, theft, and animal contact.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist. Although California requires car insurance, 16.6% of all drivers are uninsured, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Uninsured motorist insurance protects you from drivers with inadequate coverage.
  • Medical payments. Medical payments insurance covers reasonable health care and funeral costs associated with a car accident.

Full coverage includes everything listed above, which is why it costs more than a minimum insurance policy. You can find these options at nearly every insurance company, but Wawanesa has the benefit of being one of the cheapest options in California.

Does Wawanesa sell add-ons?

Car insurance companies sell add-ons to increase the value of your policy. Some companies offer many ways to customize your policies, while others only have one or two.

Many small insurance companies lack the options their larger competitors have, but Wawanesa offers a decent selection. You can buy the following add-ons from Wawanesa:

  • Roadside assistance. Wawanesa will come to the rescue with emergency towing, locksmith services, flat tires, battery jump starts, winching, and fuel delivery.
  • Car rental coverage. When your car gets damaged in a covered event, you may need to leave it with your mechanic. If you have collision or comprehensive insurance, Wawanesa will cover your rental.
  • Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts. Insurance companies usually pay for aftermarket parts when your car needs repairs. If OEM parts are important to you, you can buy this add-on to ensure that only the right materials get used on your vehicle.
  • Custom parts and equipment. Standard insurance only covers your vehicle’s original parts. If you modify your car with special parts, you’ll need this add-on to cover them.

While it’s not the longest list of add-ons, Wawanesa offers a few valuable options. However, be cautious about adding more coverage to your policy. Add-ons are useful, but they can increase your rates significantly.

Wawanesa Insurance vs. Competitors

Wawanesa has some of the cheapest auto insurance rates in California, but that doesn’t mean it’s your best option. However, one thing to look at when searching for different companies is their cost. Check the average rates from some of California’s biggest companies below.

Average Monthly Full Coverage Auto Insurance Rates in California by Company
CompaniesMonthly Auto Insurance Rates
AAA NorCal$179
State Farm$192
AAA SoCal$213
Get Your Rates Quote Now

Companies like State Farm and Mercury are also affordable options in California and have different perks. For example, drivers looking for a reliable mobile app should consider State Farm auto insurance over Wawanesa.

Does Wawanesa sell other types of insurance?

Aside from car insurance, Wawanesa offers condo, renters, and homeowners insurance. Wawanesa’s homeowners coverage generally receives positive ratings, though it doesn’t do as well as its car insurance.

Wawanesa’s home insurance comes with the same basic coverage you can find at most companies. It can also include extra coverage for personal property, watercraft, and extended replacement costs.

Like car insurance, Wawanesa sells add-ons for homeowners policies. One of the most valuable add-ons is for high-value items in your home, such as artwork or jewelry. High-value items can easily exceed the limits of your policy, so having extra coverage ensures they’ll get replaced.

You can also add identity fraud and cyber protection to your home policy, which pays for recovery expenses.

Finally, Wawanesa has partnered with Embrace to offer pet insurance. Pet insurance covers unexpected injuries and illnesses your dog or cat might suffer. While it doesn’t cover vet bills for regular vet visits, pet insurance offers valuable coverage for the furriest members of your family.

Find Wawanesa Car Insurance Quotes Today

Car insurance is usually an expensive monthly bill most drivers struggle to keep low, but Wawanesa can help California drivers find affordable coverage. While it lacks some of the technological options of competitors — chiefly, a mobile app — Wawanesa’s low rates means you should at least get a quote.

Though Wawanesa promises low rates, it won’t be the cheapest option for every driver. To ensure you’re finding the lowest rates for your unique situation, compare quotes with as many companies as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get a quote from Wawanesa?

Unfortunately, Wawanesa doesn’t have a mobile app to request a quote. Instead, you’ll need to use the Wawanesa website or speak with a representative to get a quote.

Where does Wawanesa sell policies?

Until recently, Wawanesa sold policies in California and Oregon. However, Wawanesa has temporarily suspended the sale of new policies in Oregon. The company continues to manage its existing Oregon policies.

How do you file a claim with Wawanesa?

To file a claim with Wawanesa, call the 24/7 claims phone number to start the process. Alternatively, you can fill out the claims request form on the Wawanesa website.

How do you make a Wawanesa roadside assistance claim?

You have two options when using your Wawanesa roadside assistance: the website or the claims phone number.
Once you start your claim, a service provider will come to your location and assist you. First, you’ll sign the receipt, then Wawanesa will make the payment. You won’t have to pay anything out-of-pocket unless you exceed the limits of your assistance.

Is Wawanesa the cheapest car insurance company in California?

The cheapest car insurance company in California depends on various factors. However, Wawanesa is usually one of the cheapest options. Other affordable companies in California include State Farm and Mercury.

Is Wawanesa a good insurance company?

While Wawanesa has some negative reviews regarding its customer service, most third-party ratings companies give it good marks. In addition, Wawanesa’s financial strength, ability to resolve customer complaints, and low rates make it an appealing option for many drivers.

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Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

Full Bio →

Written by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker