The best car insurance in San Diego, CA

Rachael Brennan headshotAndrew Hurst

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Rachael Brennan

Rachael Brennan

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

&Andrew Hurst

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

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By

Ian Bloom, CFP®, RLP®

Ian Bloom, CFP®, RLP®

Certified Financial Planner

Ian Bloom, CFP®, RLP®, is a certified financial planner and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius. Previously, he was a financial advisor at MetLife and MassMutual.

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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. But the best and cheapest companies in San Diego — Wawanesa, GEICO, National General, Mercury, and USAA may offer lower-than-average rates.

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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

Comparing quotes from multiple companies is the best way to save money on your car insurance. Here are our picks for the best and cheapest car insurance companies in San Diego:

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

92108

$1,851

92109

$1,754

92110

$1,684

92111

$1,677

92113

$1,891

92114

$1,778

92115

$1,835

92116

$1,692

92117

$1,670

92119

$1,612

92120

$1,649

92121

$1,719

92122

$1,769

92123

$1,726

92124

$1,649

92126

$1,669

92127

$1,733

92128

$1,616

92129

$1,654

92130

$1,749

92131

$1,646

92134

$2,011

92135

$2,256

92139

$1,717

92140

$1,969

92154

$1,665

92182

$1,996

92197

$1,962

92199

$1,916

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

Suspended license

$1,536

$2,409

$1,972

$2,494

$3,174

Open container

$1,930

$3,373

$1,476

$2,494

$3,377

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

Not showing documents

$1,536

$2,176

$1,476

$1,995

$1,717

Running a red light

$1,536

$2,176

$1,476

$1,995

$1,717

Failure to yield

$1,536

$2,176

$1,476

$1,995

$1,717

Following too closely

$1,536

$2,176

$1,476

$1,995

$1,717

Hit and run

$1,930

$2,240

$1,972

$2,494

$3,593

Illegal turn

$1,536

$2,176

$1,476

$1,995

$1,717

Improper passing

$1,536

$2,176

$1,476

$1,995

$1,717

Not-at-fault accident

$1,082

$1,340

$1,411

$1,514

$1,567

Passing a school bus

$1,536

$2,176

$1,476

$1,995

$2,306

Racing

$1,930

$2,409

$1,972

$2,494

$3,387

Reckless driving

$1,930

$2,409

$1,972

$2,494

$2,702

Speeding

$1,536

$2,094

$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

What is the cheapest car insurance in San Diego?

The cheapest car insurance in San Diego is offered by Wawanesa, but drivers may also find affordable coverage with GEICO.

How much does car insurance cost in San Diego?

The average cost of car insurance in San Diego is $148 per month. Compared to the cost of coverage in California, San Diego's rates are more affordable.

Is car insurance cheaper in San Diego or Los Angeles?

San Diego is a much cheaper city for car insurance than Los Angeles. The cost of coverage in San Diego is nearly $1,000 cheaper per year than it is in Los Angeles.

What is the minimum car insurance required in San Diego?

To drive legally in San Diego, you must get at least $15,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person, $30,000 per accident, and $5,000 of property damage liability coverage.

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.

Authors

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Rachael Brennan

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

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Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Andrew Hurst

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

gray linkedin icon link

Andrew Hurst is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. His work has also been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, USA Today, NPR, Mic, Insurance Business Magazine, ValuePenguin, and Property Casualty 360.

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