San Diego residents can find the most affordable car insurance policies through Geico, according to our survey of seven companies.
The average cost of car insurance in San Diego is $570 per year, or $48 per month, for a minimum coverage policy.
Depending on where you shop, you could save almost $400 on a minimum coverage policy.
Cheapest car insurance in San Diego
Similarly to elsewhere in California, we found Geico offers the most affordable minimum coverage car insurance for San Diegans, with an average rate of $363 per year for our sample driver. The next cheapest insurer is Progressive, which costs $106 more.
Find Cheap Auto Insurance Quotes in San Diego
Each state sets a minimum required amount of auto insurance you must obtain to be able to legally drive. While minimum coverage is the cheapest option, it does not include comprehensive or collision coverage. Minimum liability covers bodily injury and property damage to others, while comprehensive and collision cover damage to your vehicle.
Average annual rate
1Geico$3632Progressive$4693AAA SoCal$5084Mercury$5395Allstate$6826Farmers$7137State Farm$716
Insurer with the most affordable full coverage policy: Geico
A full coverage auto insurance policy can be more than three times as expensive as a minimum coverage policy but provides additional protection. Geico also has the cheapest full coverage policy in San Diego.
You should also consider getting quotes from Mercury and Progressive, which are the next most affordable options.
1Geico$1,2952Mercury$1,4463Progressive$1,5064AAA SoCal$1,7485Allstate$1,7996State Farm$1,9667Farmers$2,172
Full coverage includes comprehensive and collision protection. Comprehensive coverage protects you from damage caused by “acts of God” like car theft and damage from natural disasters or civil commotions. Collision usually covers damage inflicted from crashing into another vehicle or object.
It’s recommended that you obtain a full coverage policy if one of these two applies to you:
- Your car is new or less than 10 years old
- Your vehicle is expensive or worth at least $3,000
Cheapest full coverage insurance after an accident
The companies with the lowest premium hikes following an accident are Geico, Mercury and AAA of Southern California, which all increase prices by less than $1,100.
AAA of Southern California, also called AAA SoCal or The Auto Club of Southern California, is only available to residents of Southern California.
Quote before accident
Quote after accident
1Geico$1,295$1,712$4172Mercury$1,446$2,493$1,0483AAA SoCal$1,748$2,599$8514Progressive$1,506$3,094$1,5895State Farm$1,966$3,120$1,1546Farmers$2,172$3,687$1,5167Allstate$1,799$3,860$2,061
A driver who gets into an accident will almost certainly face a rate increase, but there are a few ways to reduce your bill. Some insurance companies have accident forgiveness, which protects you from price hikes following an accident. Each company has different qualification criteria for accident forgiveness, so you should follow up with each insurer on its policy.
Cheapest insurance for young drivers looking for full coverage
The most affordable insurer for young people is Mercury, with an average annual premium of $3,496. State Farm, which has a similar price range, is priced at an average of $3,639 annually.
1Mercury$3,4962State Farm$3,6393AAA SoCal$4,8664Progressive$5,1095Geico$5,6336Allstate$6,4957Farmers$11,498
Age has a major influence on your estimated car insurance rates. Drivers under the age of 25 are less experienced and more likely to be in accidents, so they are seen as riskier by insurers.
It is recommended that drivers look into discounts and ways to save on costs. Here are some of the best ways to save money when you’re a young person with a car:
- Compare quotes. It is important for you to get at least three car insurance quotes
- Stay on your parents’ policy. Being on a combined or multicar policy is much cheaper than having two separate policies.
- Ask insurance companies what discounts they offer. Most companies will have a menu of various discounts that you may already qualify for, such as discounts for being a good student, installing safety or anti-theft devices in your car or being accident-free for a certain amount of time.
Insurance companies with the best customer service in San Diego
The companies that have the best customer service, measured by the frequency of customer complaints, are AAA SoCal, Dairyland and Mercury.
Geico and Progressive, our top picks for affordability, also performed reasonably well — they both fared better than the state average complaint ratio of 7.6 complaints per 100 thousand policies sold.
The complaint index reflects the frequency of formal complaints filed to state regulators. The lower the index, the fewer complaints were made.
1AAA SoCal1.72Dairyland1.93Mercury1.94State Farm2.15Allied/Nationwide2.26Geico2.37Wawanesa2.58California Casualty2.79Farmers2.910Esurance3.711Allstate4.112USAA4.6
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Minimum car insurance requirements in San Diego
The minimum liability insurance requirements for drivers in California are:
- Bodily injury liability coverage: $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident
- Property damage liability coverage: $5,000
California’s minimum car insurance requirements are a bit lower than other states, so we recommend adding higher liability limits if you are able.
If your car is worth more than $3,000, we also recommend adding collision and comprehensive insurance to your policy.
An exception to the requirements listed above is if you acquire a policy through California’s Low Cost Automobile (CLCA) insurance program. The purpose of the CLCA is to provide affordable car insurance to low-income, safe drivers. The limits are lower than California’s standard minimum limits but will still satisfy the state’s auto insurance laws.
Cost of car insurance in San Diego by neighborhood
Car insurance rates vary by area within the city. Some neighborhoods have a higher crime rate, crash rate and density compared to adjacent areas. Hillcrest, for example, is less expensive than Oak Park by around $85 per year for our sample driver. Below you can see how a few San Diego neighborhoods compare in terms of car insurance rates for minimum coverage.
92101Downtown$55792102Golden Heights / Mt. Hope$54092103Hillcrest$53592104North Park$54992105Oak Park$62092106Fleet Ridge$55892107Sunset Cliffs / Point Loma Heights$57692108Mission Valley East$56192109Pacific Beach$57092110Morena$57092111Kearny Mesa$55392113Logan Heights$578
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The expensiveness of your neighborhood ultimately stems from the number of car accident claims that come from that area. The best way to save on your yearly auto rates — especially if you live in an expensive neighborhood — is to shop around for quotes.
The sample driver used was a 30-year-old man who owns a 2015 Honda Civic EX. Insurance data was compiled from seven auto insurers in San Diego. In instances where a full coverage insurance policy was discussed, these were the limits:
Bodily injury liability$50,000 per person / $100,000 per accidentProperty damage liability$50,000 per accidentUninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury liability$50,000 per person / $100,000 per accidentUninsured/underinsured motorist property damage liability$50,000 per accidentComprehensive and collision$500 deductible
ValuePenguin’s analysis used insurance rate data from Quadrant Information Services. These rates were publicly sourced from insurer filings and should be used for comparative purposes only. Your quotes may be different.