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When looking for the cheapest car insurance in San Diego, drivers have options. California has slightly higher average car insurance rates than the rest of the nation, but San Diego drivers may still be able to find competitive rates below the national average. Based on Bankrate’s research, State Farm, Geico and Mercury offer some of the cheapest average full coverage rates in San Diego.
For full coverage, San Diego drivers pay an average of $1,976 per year, or $165 per month. For minimum coverage car insurance, the average annual premium is $564 per year. While minimum coverage insurance is often cheaper because of its lower levels of financial protection, insurance professionals typically recommend purchasing higher limits when possible to better protect your finances. For this reason, Bankrate looked at a variety of features, in addition to cost, to find the best cheap car insurance companies in San Diego.
Best cheap car insurance companies in San Diego
State Farm, Geico and Mercury offer some of the cheapest car insurance for full coverage in San Diego, based on 2022 average rate data from Quadrant Information Services. Affordable premiums may be a priority for many drivers when it comes to car insurance, but there are other factors you might consider in addition to the cheapest rates.
To help drivers find the best car insurance in San Diego, Bankrate utilizes its Bankrate Score. The Score operates on a 5-point scale, with Scores closer to five indicating stronger performance across several key categories. These categories include 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.
|Insurance company||Bankrate Score||J.D. Power score (California)||Average annual premium for full coverage||Average annual premium for minimum coverage|
*Not eligible for J.D. Power ranking due to eligibility restrictions.
Along with standard auto insurance coverages, State Farm also offers optional emergency roadside service, car rental reimbursement, travel expenses coverage and rideshare driver coverage. The provider’s bundling discount may enable you to bundle auto coverage with condominium, home, life or renters insurance policies. You may also qualify for a discount with one of the company’s telematics programs. Customers should note that State Farm received a below-average customer satisfaction score in J.D. Power’s 2022 U.S. Auto Insurance Study, indicating that some customers may not be satisfied with the company. State Farm sells car insurance through 25 San Diego agencies.
Learn more: State Farm Insurance review
Geico is one of the cheapest car insurance companies in California, and San Diego is no exception. The carrier offers one of the cheapest full coverage auto insurance policies on our list. Geico sells standard auto insurance policies plus optional emergency road service, mechanical breakdown insurance and rental car reimbursement coverage. Policyholders may also save with Geico’s discounts. Geico offers discounts for military members, safe driving, good student and safety equipment installation, among others. While San Diego drivers can purchase Geico insurance online or over the phone, the carrier does not operate any branch offices in California.
Learn more: Geico Insurance review
Among our top San Diego insurers, Mercury offers some of the lowest average minimum and full coverage rates. The provider ranked fourth in the J.D. Power study and earned an A (Excellent) rating for financial strength from AM Best. Mercury doesn’t offer as many endorsements as some other carriers on this list, but it does offer rental car reimbursement, rideshare coverage and roadside assistance coverages. Low-mileage drivers may be interested in Mercury as the insurer offers a discount for drivers who track low mileage with its RealDrive program. Additional discounts include a telematics program and potential savings for anti-theft devices.
Learn more: Mercury Insurance review
Among our San Diego car insurance companies, Esurance did not make the cut in the 2022 J.D. Power study. Even so, the insurer offers all standard auto insurance coverages plus optional emergency roadside assistance, gap insurance and rental car reimbursement coverage. Esurance’s highly-rated mobile app enables you to access your insurance ID card, contact roadside assistance and file a claim. While Esurance extends a discount to policyholders who bundle auto and renters policies, its usage-based discount program is not available in California.
Learn more: Esurance Insurance review
In the J.D. Power study, USAA earned the second-highest overall customer satisfaction score, but the insurer only sells car insurance to U.S. military members, veterans and their immediate family members. USAA offers all standard auto insurance coverages, but just one optional protection, rental car reimbursement coverage. Policyholders who bundle auto and home policies may earn up to a 10 percent discount, and military members who garage their vehicles on base may receive up to a 15 percent savings. USAA also extends discounts for automatic payments, good student and multi-vehicle, among others.
Learn more: USAA Insurance review
How to get and keep the cheapest car insurance in San Diego
Insurers determine rates based on several factors, which may include your age, annual mileage, claims history, driving record, location and the type of vehicle you own. Coverages and coverage levels may also impact your premium. There are a few steps you might consider taking to find the most competitive auto insurance rates:
- Shop around: Most insurance professionals recommend getting quotes from multiple insurance companies to get a sense of what your rate might be. When reviewing car insurance quotes, double check that the coverage options are similar between carriers, so you’re getting an accurate comparison.
- Find discounts you may be eligible for: When you purchase an auto policy for a new car, you might qualify for discounts right off the bat. For instance, your insurer might extend discounts for cars equipped with safety equipment, such as airbags or anti-theft devices. Down the road, you may qualify for additional savings through affiliation, good driver or good student discount programs. Whenever you renew your policy, consider asking your agent about discounts for which you might qualify. Bear in mind that discounts may vary by insurer.
After you’ve obtained your car insurance, here are a few tips that could help keep your rates low:
- Maintain safe driving habits: Maintaining good driving habits could help keep your car insurance premium low. Avoiding marks on your driving record might keep your rates low, and you may even qualify for good driver discounts.
- Re-shop when live events occur: Major life events like adding a new driver or purchasing a new vehicle could be great opportunities to review your auto insurance policy to see if your policy needs any adjustment to keep the best rate.
Frequently asked questions
Typically, some of the best car insurance companies offer a combination of low rates, varied discounts, strong customer service, diverse coverage options and reputable financial strength ratings. However, the best car insurance company for you will likely depend on personal factors like where you live, the kind of car you drive and your claims history.
According to recent rate data gathered from Quadrant Information Services, the average cost for car insurance in San Diego is $564 per year for minimum coverage and $1,976 for a full coverage policy.
Most major auto insurance companies enable you to get insurance quotes online or over the phone. You may also be able to call or visit local agencies to discuss your insurance needs. When shopping for car insurance, most insurance professionals recommend comparing quotes from multiple providers to find the cheapest rates for your needs.
Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2022 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 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 2020 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.
Bankrate Scores are calculated on a five-point scale and primarily reflect a weighted rank of industry-standard ratings for financial strength and customer experience in addition to analysis of quoted annual premiums from Quadrant Information Services, spanning all 50 states and Washington, D.C. We know it is important for drivers to be confident their financial protection covers the likeliest risks, is priced competitively and is provided by a financially-sound company with a history of positive customer support.
To determine how well the best car insurance companies satisfy these priorities, third-party agency ratings from J.D. Power, AM Best, S&P, NAIC, and Moody’s had the most impact on the companies’ Bankrate Scores. As price is a common consideration for drivers, we analyzed quoted premiums based on 40-year-old male and female drivers with a 2019 Toyota Camry. This profile, assessed across nearly 35,000 ZIP codes in the U.S., provided a basis on which drivers may compare each provider.
While coverage options, insurer availability, affordability and customer experience are often the top priorities, Bankrate also analyzed each insurer’s online and mobile resources for policy management and claims handling. Insurance is rapidly evolving to keep pace with our digital world, so these aspects also carried weight in determining Bankrate Scores.