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Best cheap car insurance in San Diego for 2024

Updated May 21, 2024
According to Bankrate’s analysis, Progressive, Mercury and Kemper is where San Diego drivers may find some of the cheapest car insurance rates in town.
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The best car insurance companies in San Diego

Amid rising insurance costs, finding cheap car insurance is a priority for most California drivers. However, you might consider other factors in addition to affordable rates. To help drivers find the best car insurance companies in San Diego, Bankrate utilizes its Bankrate Score. Our 5-point grading scale considers factors such as a company’s average quoted annual premiums, J.D. Power Auto Insurance Study ratings, coverage options, discounts and accessibility. Considering these aspects may help you understand the strength of an insurance company’s customer service and policy offerings.

Best for the cheapest minimal coverage car insurance

Bankrate Score

Rating: 4.4 stars out of 5
4.4

Avg. min coverage premium

$387

Min. coverage

Avg. full coverage premium

$1,908

Full coverage

Why Geico made our list: Geico is one of the cheapest car insurance companies in California, and San Diego is no exception. Geico sells standard auto insurance policies plus optional emergency road service, mechanical breakdown insurance and rental car reimbursement coverage. While San Diego drivers can purchase Geico insurance online or over the phone, the carrier does not operate any branch offices in California.

Why Geico may have the cheapest minimal coverage car insurance: Geico has the cheapest average rate for minimal coverage insurance and is one of the cheapest carriers for full coverage insurance for San Diego drivers. On top of low rates, Geico offers a variety of discounts ranging from occupational savings to alumni memberships.

Scores and Ratings
Bankrate Score 4.4
J.D. Power 830/1,000
AM Best score A++
Read full review
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Best for the digital tools

Bankrate Score

Rating: 4.4 stars out of 5
4.4

Avg. min coverage premium

$408

Min. coverage

Avg. full coverage premium

$1,589

Full coverage

Why Progressive made our list: Progressive tends to offer auto insurance rates below the San Diego average for full and minimal coverage. While this carrier scored below the industry average on the J.D. Power report, Progressive has an impressive lineup of optional coverages for policy customization. The company also offers several discounts for eligible drivers to save money on premiums.

Why Progressive may be the best for digital tools: Progressive allows customers to quote, purchase and manage their policies either online, over the phone or via mobile app. Progressive also ranks well above average on J.D. Power’s 2023 Digital Experience Study for overall customer satisfaction for service and sales. With features like The Name Your Price Tool and Snapshot, San Diego drivers have access to more digital options to help with their coverage and rate with Progressive than most other carriers.

Scores and Ratings
Bankrate Score 4.4
J.D. Power 809/1,000
AM Best score A+
Read full review
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Best for local agents

Bankrate Score

Rating: 3.9 stars out of 5
3.9

Avg. min coverage premium

$691

Min. coverage

Avg. full coverage premium

$2,437

Full coverage

Why Allstate made our list: Allstate scored above average in the J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction report. The company offers a variety of savings programs for eligible drivers to pursue, on top of a robust list of discounts. Although the company provides many upsides, it does have some of the highest average rates on our list.

Why Allstate may be the best for local agents: Allstate maintains an extensive network of agents, aiding customers who prefer live-person interactions. For others, however, the insurer offers a robust array of digital tools and conveniences. Since California is prone to extreme weather claims, having a boots-on-the-ground agent could benefit San Diego drivers.

Scores and Ratings
Bankrate Score 3.9
J.D. Power 816/1,000
AM Best score A+
Read full review
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Best for enhanced coverage options

Bankrate Score

Rating: 4.2 stars out of 5
4.2

Avg. min coverage premium

$589

Min. coverage

Avg. full coverage premium

$2,341

Full coverage

Why Travelers made our list: Travelers offers San Diego drivers flexibility with various coverage options, local agents and numerous discount opportunities. While Travelers isn’t available nationwide, it is available in 42 states and Washington D.C. Currently, Travelers still offers home insurance in California, so drivers looking to bundle home and renters insurance with their auto policies might find even more savings.

Why Travelers may be the best for enhanced coverage options: While Travelers has some of the standard coverage options you may expect from an auto carrier, it also has gap insurance, new car replacement and accident forgiveness. With auto loan interest rates rising, gap coverage can help drivers if their car gets totaled while they are upside down on their car loan.

Scores and Ratings
Bankrate Score 4.2
AM Best score A++
Read full review
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Best for rideshare coverage

Bankrate Score

Rating: 3.8 stars out of 5
3.8

Avg. min coverage premium

$452

Min. coverage

Avg. full coverage premium

$1,710

Full coverage

Why Mercury made our list: Mercury offers San Diego drivers some of the lowest average minimum and full coverage rates. Mercury tends to rank below average on J.D. Power’s studies but earned an A (Excellent) rating for financial strength from AM Best. Mercury doesn’t offer as many endorsements as other carriers on this list, but low-mileage drivers may be interested in Mercury’s RealDrive program. Additional discounts include a telematics program and potential savings for anti-theft devices.

Why Mercury may be the best for rideshare coverage: Mercury has ride-hailing coverage for San Diego drivers participating in Uber or Lyft. While many ridesharing companies offer coverage while you have a client in the vehicle, finding a company that offers coverage for when the car is being used for personal use and in the ride-hailing or period one stage of the rideshare app can be challenging. Mercury’s ride-hailing insurance provides both personal and period one coverage.

Scores and Ratings
Bankrate Score 3.8
J.D. Power 794/1,000
AM Best score A
Read full review
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Bankrate logo

Bankrate's trusted insurance industry expertise

Read our full methodology

Bankrate’s insurance editorial team, which includes licensed agents with real-world industry experience, uses the most up-to-date data rates from Quadrant Information Services across all ZIP Codes. Paired with our Bankrate Score, this helps us cut through the noise and highlight carriers more likely to offer you low rates with quality auto insurance policies.

46

years of industry experience

122

carriers reviewed

34.5K

ZIP codes examined

1.2M

quotes analyzed

The cheapest car insurance companies in San Diego

Whether you have a full or minimal coverage auto policy, you'll likely want to find carriers offering the cheapest car insurance rates in San Diego. While car insurance rates in San Diego are higher than the national average for both full and minimal coverage, they are on the lower end of the spectrum compared to other large cities in California. Below are the top cheapest car insurance companies in the San Diego area.

Insurance company Average annual min coverage premium Average annual full coverage premium
$408
$1,589
$452
$1,710
$612
$1,762
$387
$1,908
$633
$2,130

How much is car insurance in San Diego, California?

The average cost of car insurance in California is $2,573 per year for full coverage which is 12 percent more than the same level of coverage in San Diego, which is $2,290 per year. On average, California drivers pay $638 per year for minimal coverage, which is 11 percent more than in San Diego drivers. Car insurance is a highly personalized product, so your actual premium may be higher or lower than San Diego’s average. Factors like coverage level, driving experience and driving history make premiums between drivers and carriers vary significantly.

San Diego rates for teens

Teenage drivers are usually considered high-risk drivers in most states and tend to pay the most for car insurance compared to other age groups. Driving skills such as avoiding road hazards and adjusting your driving to accommodate weather conditions take time to learn. Teen drivers in San Diego looking for ways to find cheap car insurance may want to stay on their parents' insurance policy for as long as possible.

Coverage type
Insurance company 16-year-old* 18-year-old*
$932
$865
$995
$920
$1,050
$858
$1,064
$1,008
$1,094
$892
*Annual rates were determined by adding a 16- or 18-year-old teen to their 40-year-old married parents' policy. The rates displayed reflect the total cost of a driver this age added to their parents’ policy.
Insurance company 16-year-old* 18-year-old*
$3,566
$3,093
$3,678
$3,456
$3,860
$3,746
$4,101
$3,659
$4,294
$4,162
*Annual rates were determined by adding a 16- or 18-year-old teen to their 40-year-old married parents' policy. The rates displayed reflect the total cost of a driver this age added to their parents’ policy.

San Diego rates for young drivers

While drivers under the age of 25 are still considered youthful operators, their rates may start to decrease if they maintain a good driving record. As adult children move out and get their own policies, they may still be able to keep certain discounts geared towards newer drivers, such as the driving training discount and the good student discount. Affordable car insurance rates for young drivers are possible, and below, you can find some of the cheapest carriers for young adults in San Diego.

Coverage type
Insurance company 20-year-old 25-year-old
$775
$456
$835
$639
$841
$655
$845
$646
$876
$669
Insurance company 20-year-old 25-year-old
$2,850
$2,440
$3,219
$2,051
$3,343
$2,178
$3,591
$2,408
$3,614
$2,949

San Diego rates for adults

According to data from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), adult crash fatality rates usually remain fairly consistent after the age of 25. While age remains a rating factor in California the entire time you maintain a driver's license, it can have less of an impact on your car insurance premium. This can mean other factors such as discounts, location and vehicle type may impact your average premium more than before.

Coverage type
Insurance company 30-year-old 40-year-old 50-year-old
$396
$387
$381
$501
$452
$478
$511
$408
$472
$544
$530
$535
$579
$574
$533
Insurance company 30-year-old 40-year-old 50-year-old
$1,702
$1,762
$1,786
$1,919
$1,710
$1,701
$1,959
$1,908
$1,862
$2,011
$1,589
$1,841
$2,233
$2,227
$2,053

San Diego rates for senior drivers

As drivers age, hearing, sight and strength impairments can impact reaction time, leading to more frequent and severe car accidents. Car insurance rates tend to start increasing when drivers turn 65 and continue to rise for the rest of the time they are licensed. California is one of the many states that offer defensive driver discounts specifically for drivers over 55. This can help keep car insurance rates for seniors more affordable.

Coverage type
Insurance company 60-year-old 70-year-old
$380
$405
$474
$581
$489
$450
$499
$539
$535
$584
Insurance company 60-year-old 70-year-old
$622
$1,652
$499
$1,871
$651
$1,977
$380
$1,906
$474
$2,163

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Advertising disclosure
This advertisement is powered by Coverage.com, LLC, a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 19966249) and a corporate affiliate of Bankrate. The offers and links that appear on this advertisement are from companies that compensate Coverage.com in different ways. The compensation received and other factors, such as your location, may impact what offers and links appear, and how, where and in what order they appear. While we seek to provide a wide range of offers, we do not include every product or service that may be available. Our goal is to keep information accurate and timely, but some information may not be current. Your actual offer from an advertiser may be different from the offer on this advertisement. All offers are subject to additional terms and conditions.

Coverage.com, LLC is a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 19966249). Coverage.com services are only available in states where it is licensed. Coverage.com may not offer insurance coverage in all states or scenarios. All insurance products are governed by the terms in the applicable insurance policy, and all related decisions (such as approval for coverage, premiums, commissions and fees) and policy obligations are the sole responsibility of the underwriting insurer. The information on this site does not modify any insurance policy terms in any way.

The cheapest car insurance in San Diego by driving record

Auto insurance rates are rising across the country and maintaining a good driving record is the easiest way to ensure your rates are the lowest for your state. However, accidents happen and San Diego drivers with moving violations or at-fault accidents have significantly higher car insurance premiums than drivers with a clean history. Bankrate's insurance editorial team analyzed proprietary data provided by Quadrant Information Services to help you find the cheapest San Diego car insurance for various driving infractions.

Car insurance with a speeding ticket in San Diego

A speeding ticket in California can cost between $35 and $1,000, depending on the situation. Along with heavy fines, you will likely see a steep increase in your car insurance rates. San Diego drivers pay an average of $3,264 per year for full coverage car insurance after receiving a speeding ticket. This is 11 percent less than the state average.

Insurance company Average min coverage rate Average full coverage rate
$560
$2,627
$561
$2,648
$625
$1,761
$645
$2,580
$677
$2,599

Car insurance after an accident in San Diego

Drivers found at fault for causing an accident usually experience a steep increase in their car insurance rates due to the addition of policy surcharges. In California, policy surcharges typically last for three years, so searching for lower premiums during the surcharge period can help you save money. Drivers in San Diego pay 11 percent less than the state average for full coverage car insurance after an at-fault accident.

Insurance company Average min coverage rate Average full coverage rate
$629
$2,847
$816
$3,730
$848
$3,485
$850
$3,855
$931
$3,503

Car insurance after a DUI in San Diego

In California, it is common for drivers who receive DUIs to need an SR-22 for three to five years after the offense. This form proves to the state that you are maintaining at least the minimum liability insurance required to keep your driver's license active. Not all insurance companies are willing to underwrite the added risk from a driver who received a DUI. If you have trouble securing coverage, you may consider going with a carrier specializing in auto insurance for high-risk drivers. On average, San Diego drivers pay 13 percent less than the state average for full coverage car insurance after receiving a DUI.

Insurance company Average min coverage rate Average full coverage rate
$741
$3,466
$827
$3,124
$834
$3,905
$850
$2,384
$1,017
$4,041
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Minimum coverage requirements in San Diego

Drivers in San Diego have many coverage levels and endorsement options available to build a policy that meets their financial needs. While most car insurance professions recommend carrying higher levels of liability coverage for more financial protection, California car insurance law only requires drivers to carry the following minimum liability insurance:

  • $15,000 in bodily injury per person
  • $30,000 in bodily injury per accident
  • $5,000 for property damage

Drivers in San Diego should consider the extreme weather conditions and population density of their city when looking for the best car insurance coverage. Common losses such as wildfire, flooding, wind, hail, theft and vandalism are all covered by comprehensive coverage which can be much more affordable than people expect.

Frequently asked questions

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze July 2024 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Rates are weighted based on the population density in each geographic region. Quoted rates are based on a single, 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverage that meets each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2022 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.

Incidents: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the following incidents applied: clean record (base), at-fault accident, single speeding ticket and single DUI conviction.

Age: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the ages 20-70 (base: 40 years) applied. Depending on age, drivers may be a renter or homeowner. Age is not a contributing rating factor in Hawaii and Massachusetts due to state regulations.

Teens: Rates were determined by adding a 16- or 18-year-old teen to their 40-year-old married parents' policy. The rates displayed reflect the total cost of a driver this age added to their parents’ policy.

Bankrate Score

Our 2024 Bankrate Score considers variables our insurance editorial team determined impacts policyholders’ experiences with an insurance company. These rating factors include a robust assessment of each company’s product availability, financial strength ratings, online capabilities and customer and claims support accessibility. Each factor was added to a category, and these categories were weighted in a tiered approach to analyze how companies perform in key customer-impacting categories.

Each category was assigned a metric to determine performance, and the weighted sum adds up to a company’s total Bankrate Score — out of 5 points. Our scoring model provides a comprehensive view, indicating when companies excel across several key areas and highlighting where they fall short.

5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Overall Score
  • Cost & ratings 50%
  • Coverage & savings 30%
  • Support 20%
  • Tier 1 (Cost & ratings): To determine how well auto and home insurance companies satisfy these priorities, average quoted premiums from Quadrant Information Services (if available), as well as any of the latest third-party agency ratings from J.D. Power, AM Best, Demotech and the NAIC, were analyzed.
  • Tier 2 (Coverage & savings): We assessed companies’ coverage options and availability to help policyholders find a provider that balances cost with coverage. Additionally, we evaluated each company’s discount options listed on its website.
  • Tier 3 (Support): To encompass the many ways an auto insurance company can support policyholders, we analyzed avenues of customer accessibility along with community support. This analysis incorporated additional financial strength ratings from S&P and Moody’s and factored a company’s corporate sustainability efforts.
Written by
Shannon Martin
Writer, Insurance
Shannon Martin is a licensed insurance agent and Bankrate analyst with over 15 years of experience in the industry. She enjoys helping others navigate the insurance world by cutting through complex jargon and empowering readers to make strong financial decisions independently.
Edited by Editor II, Insurance