The best car insurance in San Diego, CA

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By

Rachael Brennan

Rachael Brennan

Property and Casualty Insurance Expert

Rachael Brennan is a senior insurance editor at Policygenius, specializing in auto insurance. She worked for 21st Century Insurance, BlueCross BlueShield Massachusetts, and HealthPass New York. She also spent two years working as a content expert for dozens of auto insurance websites through 360Quote LLC.

Published October 15, 2021

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The average cost of full coverage car insurance in San Diego is $1,775 per year, which is $203 less than the average cost of car insurance in California, which is $1,978. Car insurance rates in San Diego are somewhat lower than the state average, but drivers in San Diego can still save even more money on their insurance.

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The best way to save money on your car insurance is by comparing multiple quotes before choosing a policy. Policygenius can help you compare rates from multiple companies to find the coverage that meets your needs.

Key Takeaways

  • Wawanesa has the lowest average rate for full coverage in San Diego

  • The cheapest ZIP code for car insurance coverage in San Diego is 92154 at 902

  • California’s state minimum liability requirements are $15,000 per person/$30,000 per person in bodily injury liability and $5,000 in property damage liability

Cheapest car insurance companies in San Diego, CA

There are dozens of factors that influence your insurance rates, including:

  • Driving history

  • ZIP code

  • Age

  • Claims history

  • Marital status

  • The type of car you drive

Every company has their own process for setting insurance rates, which means no two companies will offer the same rate, even for identical coverage. This is why comparing quotes from multiple companies is the best way to save money on your car insurance.

Company

Average cost

JD Power Rating

Wawanesa

$1,043

--

GEICO

$1,316

871

National General

$1,372

815

Mercury Insurance

$1,501

849

USAA

$1,523

890

Cheapest car insurance rates by ZIP code in San Diego, CA

One of the biggest factors insurance companies use to set your rates is your ZIP code. Rates vary in each ZIP code based on a number of factors, including:

  • Secure parking options

  • Amount of available street parking

  • Population density

  • Number of accidents reported each year

  • How many traffic tickets are issued

  • Reported car thefts

The number of people in an area is a big factor when setting rates by ZIP code. This means San Diego residents, who live in an area with fewer people than larger metropolitan areas, are charged less for coverage than drivers in larger cities like L.A. or San Francisco.

ZIP code

Average cost

92014

$1,779

92101

$1,815

92102

$1,713

92103

$1,697

92104

$1,750

92105

$1,904

92106

$1,761

92107

$1,720

Choosing the right car insurance company in San Diego, CA

The right car insurance policy isn’t necessarily the cheapest one, it is the one that meets your needs. Our experts at Policygenius help you compare quotes from multiple companies. Having more than one or two options is the most effective way to find the right policy at the right price.

Car insurance rates for drivers with driving violations in San Diego, CA

Your driving record has all of the same personal information as your driver's license, including your identifying information (height, hair color, etc.) and your license number. It also contains information about any driving violations you may have on your record, including:

  • Accidents

  • Tickets

  • Suspensions

  • Revocations

  • Points

  • DUIs

  • Fines

One of the simplest ways to keep your insurance costs low is to keep your driving record clean. Having a violation like a car accident or a moving violation can increase your rates, sometimes significantly, potentially adding hundreds of dollars to your annual premiums.

Violation

Wawanesa

GEICO

National General

Mercury Insurance

USAA

At-fault Accident

$1,629

$2,428

$2,074

$2,625

$2,187

DUI

$1,930

$3,373

$1,923

$2,494

$4,491

Driving with a suspended license

$1,536

$2,409

$1,972

$2,494

$3,174

Driving with an open container

$1,930

$3,373

$1,476

$2,494

$3,377

Driving with expired registration

$1,536

$2,176

$1,476

$1,995

$1,717

Driving without Lights

$1,536

$2,176

$1,476

$1,995

$1,567

Failure to show documents

$1,536

$2,176

$1,476

$1,995

$1,717

Failure to stop at a red light

$1,536

$2,176

$1,476

$1,995

$1,717

Cheapest car insurance for drivers with bad credit in San Diego, CA

Though there are some states that allow insurance companies to use your credit score to set your rates, California isn’t one of them. The state of California passed a law in 2003 that prevents insurance companies from using your credit score to help set your rate, which means that even if your credit score changes over time, it won’t impact your insurance rates.

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Buying car insurance in San Diego, CA

California requires all drivers to carry some form of liability insurance, including:

  • Cash deposit of $35,000 with DMV

  • DMV-issued self-insurance certificate

  • Surety bond for $35,000 from a company licensed to do business in California

  • Motor vehicle liability insurance policy

Out of all the options listed above, the vast majority of drivers choose to carry the state minimum levels of liability insurance (at least), which are:

  • $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident for bodily injury liability

  • $5,000 for property damage liability

The minimum levels of liability insurance are enough to fulfill your legal obligations, but those limits often aren’t enough to cover the amount of damage caused in an at-fault accident. Choosing the highest levels of liability insurance that you can afford is the best way to make sure you are financially protected in an accident. 

Drivers who can’t afford to repair or replace their car in the event of an accident should also purchase comprehensive and collision insurance. These coverages protect you financially if you are at fault in an accident, but they can also step in to pay for damage to your vehicle if you are hit by an uninsured motorist or your car is damaged or stolen in a non-collision situation.

How to get cheap car insurance in San Diego, CA

There are multiple discounts available to drivers in San Diego, no matter which car insurance company you choose, including:

  • Safe driver discount

  • Accident free discount

  • Low mileage discount

  • Military discount

  • Good student discount

  • Bundling discount

  • Group/employer/professional discount

If a discount isn’t enough to make your insurance affordable, you may be eligible to apply for California’s Low Cost Auto Insurance program.

Frequently asked questions

Why is car insurance so expensive in San Diego?

Rates in San Diego are actually lower than some of the other big cities in California, but they are still higher than the rates in some other places around the country. Rates in San Diego are higher because rates in California are higher than the national average. Population density also plays a large part in setting rates. For example, heavily populated states like California have higher rates than sparsely populated states like Nebraska.

Does my gender impact my insurance rates?

The state of California made it illegal for insurance companies to base your rates on gender. This means your gender has no impact on how much you pay for insurance. Several other states have passed similar laws, including Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

What is the best car insurance for new drivers in California?

Our data indicates that Wawanesa offers the lowest average rates in the state. However, just because they have the most affordable coverage doesn’t mean it will meet your needs. It's possible that your rates could be lower with another company or that another company might offer more robust coverage, so it is important to compare quotes from multiple companies to find the right insurance coverage for you.

Methodology

Policygenius has analyzed car insurance rates provided by Quadrant Information Services for every ZIP code in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C. For full coverage policies, the following coverage limits were used:

  • Bodily injury liability: 50/100

  • Property damage liability: $50,000

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist: 50/100

  • Comprehensive: $500 deductible

  • Collision: $500 deductible

In some cases, additional coverages were added where required by state or insurer.

Rates for overall average rate, rates by ZIP code, and cheapest companies determined using averages for single drivers ages 30, 35, and 45. Our sample vehicle was a 2017 Toyota Camry LE driven 10,000 miles/year.

Rates for driving violations and “Poor” credit determined using average rates for a single male 30-year-old driver with a credit score under 578.

Some carriers may be represented by affiliates or subsidiaries. Rates provided are a sample of costs. Your actual quotes may differ.