The best car insurance in San Francisco, 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 12, 2021

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The average cost of full coverage car insurance in San Francisco is $2,194 per year, which is $216 more than the average cost of car insurance in California, which is $1,978. Auto insurance rates in San Francisco are a little bit higher than the state average, but there are still ways you can save money on your car insurance.

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The most effective way to save money on car insurance is by comparing rates between multiple companies. Our experts at Policygenius can help you compare quotes to find the right coverage for you.

Key Takeaways

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

  • The cheapest ZIP code in San Francisco is 94128 at $1,005

  • 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 Francisco, CA

There are many factors that can impact your insurance rates, including:

  • Driving history

  • ZIP code

  • Age

  • Annual mileage

  • Marital status

  • Claims history

  • Which insurance company you choose

Each insurance company has their own system for setting rates, which means two companies can offer different rates for the same coverage. This is why choosing the right insurance company can have such a big impact on your rates.

Company

Average cost

JD Power Rating

Wawanesa

$1,231

--

GEICO

$1,472

871

USAA

$1,728

890

United Financial Casualty Company

$1,833

--

Mercury Insurance

$1,907

849

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

Insurance companies determine how much to charge in a specific ZIP code based on the number of accidents, traffic tickets, and car thefts in the area. They also use other factors, such as access to secure parking options, when determining how to set the rates for a ZIP code. 

Population density is a big factor when setting rates by ZIP code, which means San Francisco residents will likely be charged much more than drivers in cities with fewer people.

Below are the average rates based on ZIP code in San Francisco.

ZIP code

Average cost

94102

$2,374

94103

$2,199

94104

$2,372

94105

$2,213

94107

$2,080

94108

$2,250

94109

$2,158

94110

$2,193

Choosing the right car insurance company in San Francisco, CA

The best car insurance policy is the one that meets your needs, which means the best insurance company in San Francisco is distinct to you. Our insurance experts at Policygenius can help you find the right policy at the right price.

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

One of the most common pieces of advice for keeping your insurance costs low is to keep your driving record clean. This is because having a car accident or a moving violation on your driving record can cause your rates to increase, sometimes significantly. The best and most effective way to save money on your car insurance is to keep your driving record clean.

Violation

Wawanesa

GEICO

USAA

United Financial Casualty Company

Mercury Insurance

At-fault Accident

$1,929

$2,694

$2,491

$3,924

$3,347

DUI

$2,281

$3,760

$5,115

$4,564

$3,185

Driving with a suspended license

$1,818

$2,686

$3,615

$4,176

$3,185

Driving with an open container

$2,281

$3,760

$3,844

$3,658

$3,185

Driving with expired registration

$1,818

$2,426

$1,951

$3,924

$2,547

Driving without Lights

$1,818

$2,426

$1,780

$3,924

$2,547

Failure to show documents

$1,818

$2,426

$1,951

$3,924

$2,547

Failure to stop at a red light

$1,818

$2,426

$1,951

$3,924

$2,547

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

Though there are some states that allow insurance companies to use your credit score when determining your rate, California isn’t one of them. The Golden State has laws in place that prevent insurance companies from determining your rates based on your credit score, which means that even if your credit score changes over time, your insurance rates won’t be impacted by it.

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Buying car insurance in San Francisco, CA

California laws require drivers in every city to carry some type 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

Of these options, most people choose to carry the state minimum levels of liability insurance, which are:

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

  • $5,000 for property damage liability

Unfortunately, the minimum insurance requirements in California are low, which means it is possible to be in an accident that exceeds the limits of your coverage if you only purchase the required minimum insurance. Choosing the highest levels of liability insurance that you can afford is the most effective way to make sure you are financially protected in the event of an at-fault accident. Drivers who can’t afford to repair or replace a vehicle out-of-pocket should also carry comprehensive and collision insurance.

How to get cheap car insurance in San Francisco, CA

There are a variety of discounts available to drivers in San Francisco, including:

  • Safe driver discount

  • Accident free discount

  • Low mileage discount

  • Military discount

  • Good student discount

  • Bundling discount

  • Group/employer/professional discount

If a discounted rate still isn’t low enough, you may be eligible for California’s Low Cost Auto Insurance program.

Frequently asked questions

Why is car insurance so expensive in San Francisco?

Insurance companies typically charge higher rates in areas with large, dense populations. They also charge more in areas with higher rates of accidents, car thefts, and other issues that are more common in large cities. This means that car insurance in San Francisco is likely to be more expensive than it is in smaller, more rural areas.

Does my gender impact my insurance rates?

The state of California made it illegal for insurance companies to base your rates on gender, which means your gender should have 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?

According to our data, Wawanesa offers the lowest average rates in California. However, just because they have the most affordable coverage doesn’t mean it will meet your needs. 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.