California has the most drivers in the entire country, and San Diego has some of the highest commuter and tourist traffic due to its many attractions and sprawling layout. San Diego also has a fast-growing population, which means an increasing number of drivers on the road. With a 2019 study showing an increase in aggressive driving in San Diego, it is more important than ever that you protect yourself with the right car insurance.
The average cost of an insurance policy in San Diego with minimum coverage costs $561 per year, while the average full coverage policy costs $1,894 per year, according to Quadrant Information Services. It is far cheaper than the average cost of car insurance in California, which is more than $2,000 per year. There is more to consider than price, however, which is where our multifaceted studies can help.
Best car insurance companies in San Diego
With so many California car insurance companies to choose from, you may not know where to start. To find the best car insurance providers in San Diego, we based our research on five critical facets of auto insurance:
- Coverage – We review the type of coverage available for your auto insurance, looking for expanded protections that can lower your risk on the road and keep your family that much safer.
- Price – Affordability is key, so we compare pricing for the auto insurance providers in San Diego to find the most competitively priced car insurance premiums.
- Availability – Price and coverage mean nothing if an auto insurance provider does not service your address, so we look for each provider’s service area to compare coverage options across San Diego.
- Financial strength – It is critical to consider a company’s financial strength, which will indicate how quickly it is able to pay out your claims. We consider ratings from AM Best, a leading ratings provider which rates an auto insurance company on its financial stability based on an exclusive score system.
- Customer service – When there is an emergency, it is important to know that there is help available. J.D. Power is the industry’s most respected leader for customer satisfaction ratings. We also consider ratings from the Better Business Bureau and leading review sites.
Based on our research, these are the top five car insurance providers for San Diego in 2021:
|Insurance Company||J.D. Power Score||Average Annual Premium for Minimum Coverage||Average Annual Premium for Full Coverage|
|Geico||828 / 1000||$383||$1,428|
|Wawanesa||853 / 1000||$553||$1,470|
|Progressive||823 / 1000||$475||$1,614|
|USAA||891 / 1000||$477||$2,342|
Quadrant Information Services, 2020
Geico is one of the most popular companies in the country for its affordable policies and extensive list of discounts. It receives top ratings from AM Best for financial stability, scoring A++ (Superior) on its ratings scale. Geico also offers a wide range of coverages, with additional options for emergency road service, rental reimbursement and mechanical breakdown insurance, among others.
Wawanesa is a Canadian company that provides regional car insurance, focusing on California and Oregon for its coverage areas. There are niche protections, such as vehicle manufacturer replacement parts coverage, an optional add-on with your comprehensive and collision insurance that guarantees that replacement parts come directly from your manufacturer. However, there are also much stricter qualification guidelines, like a clean driving record and a minimum of three continuous years with a license. It may not be easy to qualify, but if you do, you could end up saving a lot of money on your car insurance with some of the most affordable rates in San Diego.
Grange Insurance offers a host of auto insurance options, including roadside assistance, full glass repair, rental car reimbursement and loan/lease gap coverage in case you owe more on your car than it is worth. There are also unique but thoughtful protections like pet injury, mobile device and identity theft coverage. While unrated by J.D. Power, Grange does hold high ratings from the Better Business Bureau and AM Best. Its rates are also very affordable and the company offers a wide range of available discounts.
Progressive provides excellent options for auto insurance coverage, including free coverage for your pet’s injuries, loan/lease payoff and a deductible savings bank with optional custom parts and equipment value protection. There’s also rideshare coverage if you drive for a company like Uber or Lyft. Progressive receives an A+ (Superior) rating from AM Best for financial stability and scores about average for customer satisfaction, and its rates are affordable for all that it offers.
USAA is an exclusive insurance provider for active-duty military, veterans and their families. It consistently receives top ratings for customer satisfaction and an A++ (Superior) rating from AM Best for financial stability. USAA also has excellent mobile tools to make managing your policy a simple matter, and there are plenty of extra ways to save with a host of discounts. Coverage options are generous and include such coverages as personal injury protection (PIP), extended benefits coverage, roadside assistance, rental reimbursement and accident forgiveness.
Cheapest car insurance in San Diego
Geico, Progessive and USAA join AAA and MetLife as the top five cheapest car insurance companies in San Diego. For the average policy with minimum coverage, prices begin at $383 each year with MetLife offering the most expensive minimum coverage policy. USAA has the most expensive average annual policy for full coverage, costing $2,342 per year compared to just $1,428 per year with Geico.
|Insurance Company||Average Annual Premium for Minimum Coverage||Average Annual Premium for Full Coverage|
Quadrant Information Services, 2020
Depending on which provider you choose, San Diego car insurance may be available to you at a much cheaper rate than the national average cost of car insurance, which is $1,738 per year. San Diego is also cheaper than the average cost of car insurance in California, which runs more than $2,000 per year for full coverage and $580 for the minimum coverage.
Of course, not all companies are the same, differing greatly in things like available coverage, discounts offered and ratings for both financial strength and customer service. Today, it is also important to consider what kind of technology is available to help you manage your policy, including mobile tools for claims filing and tracking. Our picks for the best cheap car insurance in San Diego provide all of these and more.
San Diego insurance requirements
Before you can legally drive in San Diego, you will need to carry a minimum amount of car insurance:
- Bodily injury liability coverage minimum – $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident
- Property damage liability coverage minimum – $5,000
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage minimum – $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident
- Uninsured motorist property damage coverage minimum – $3,500
Although it’s always cheaper to opt for minimum coverage, a full coverage auto insurance policy will provide you with far greater protection, reducing your risk level in the event of an accident and helping to pay for expensive damages. If you are leasing or financing a vehicle, your lender will likely require that you carry a specific amount of car insurance, such as a full coverage policy or one that includes gap insurance.
Car insurance discounts in San Diego
California drivers can benefit from a number of car insurance discounts in San Diego, including many of these discounts, which are available from our top auto insurance providers.
- Safe driver
- Good student
- Defensive driving
- New vehicle
- Low annual mileage
- Vehicle storage
- Family discount
- Loyalty discount
- Military installation
- Emergency deployment
- Teen driver
- Online quote
- Paperless statements
- Pay in full
- Automatic payment
- Deductible savings bank
- Small Accident Forgiveness
- Large Accident Forgiveness
Many of these discounts can result in huge savings. If you are a federal employee or a member of certain organizations, you could also be eligible for exclusive discounts. Most insurance providers will offer discounts when you bundle multiple policies, such as combining homeowners insurance or life insurance with your auto insurance.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best car insurance company?
The best car insurance companies for 2021 receive top scores for financial stability and customer service with widespread coverage throughout the U.S. However, the best car insurance company for you will depend on factors like where you live, the kind of car you drive and your payment history.
How much does car insurance in San Diego cost?
The average cost for car insurance in San Diego is $561 per year for minimum coverage and $1,894 for a full coverage policy, according to Quadrant Information Services.
How much car insurance do I need in San Diego?
If you are a driver in San Diego, you are required to carry a minimum amount of car insurance, outlined above in the “San Diego insurance requirements” section.
Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. 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 coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our sample drivers own a 2018 Honda Accord, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.
These are sample rates and should be used for comparative purposes only. Your quotes may be different.