The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate, we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. To help readers understand how insurance affects their finances, we have licensed insurance professionals on staff who have spent a combined 47 years in the auto, home and life insurance industries. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation of . Our content is backed by Coverage.com, LLC, a licensed entity (NPN: 19966249). For more information, please see our .
On average, drivers in San Francisco pay $2,488 per year for full coverage car insurance, which breaks down to about $207 per month, and $670 per year for minimum coverage, which equates to about $56 per month. While there are numerous car insurance options in San Francisco, not all of them offer the best cheap car insurance policies in the city. According to Bankrate’s research, Capital Insurance Group and State Farm are a few insurance companies that may be able to provide financial relief by having some of the cheapest car insurance rates in San Francisco.
Best cheap car insurance companies in San Francisco
Some of the best car insurance companies that made it to our list of cheapest car insurance companies in San Francisco include Capital, Wawanesa and Geico. However, affordable rates are only one of many factors when shopping for car insurance in California. To help you find and compare the best cheap car insurance companies in San Francisco, we reviewed average annual rates from Quadrant Information Services based on minimum and full coverage for 40-year-old male and female drivers with good credit and clean driving records.
In addition to cost and discounts, we also rated each company with a Bankrate Score — on a 5.0 scale — that takes into account coverage options, insurer availability, customer experience, policy management options and financial strength ratings. The Bankrate Scores are also based on overall provider scores or rankings from J.D. Power, AM Best, and other third-party rating agencies. Some companies may score higher with J.D. Power in a particular region, while its overall Bankrate Score is based on the provider’s national scores.
|Insurance company||Bankrate Score||J.D. Power score (California region)||Average annual premium for full coverage||Average annual premium for minimum coverage|
|Capital Insurance Group||2.7||Not rated||$1,536||$553|
Capital Insurance Group
Capital Insurance Group is a smaller regional company that sells policies exclusively on the West Coast and does not have a J.D. Power score. While Captial received one of our lower Bankrate Scores, it has the cheapest car insurance rates in San Francisco for drivers seeking full coverage. Along with options to personalize your policy and save money with additional discounts, Capital also sells homeowners and renters insurance, which allows policyholders to bundle discounts and consolidate both billing accounts into one payment. Commercial insurance, agriculture insurance, and umbrella policies are also available. On the downside, the company’s website offers limited extras and you cannot receive a quote or file a claim online.
Another regional insurer, Wawanesa ranked number one in the 2022 J.D. Power Insurance Study for customer satisfaction in California — which indicates positive customer experiences are the norm. Wawanesa’s premiums can be highly competitive compared to other carriers. Its good selection of discounts — including for safe drivers and loyal customers — can bring your rate down even further. While Wawanesa’s no-frills website covers only the essentials, it does allow you to file a claim, pay your bill and handle your policy management.
Learn more: Wawanesa Insurance review
Geico is in the middle of the pack on our list of cheapest car insurance companies in San Francisco, with an average annual rate of $1,708 for full coverage, or around $142 per month and $363 for minimum coverage, or about $30 per month. Still situated well below the average cost of car insurance in California, Geico also scored well on consumer satisfaction with J.D. Power and earned a top spot as Best Budget Auto Insurance Company in the 2023 Bankrate Awards. While Geico has limited options for customizable coverage, it tends to deliver on affordable pricing for high-risk drivers and offers an extensive list of discounts, which include good driver discounts, safety discounts and affinity group discounts for military, federal employees and others.
Learn more: Geico Insurance review
Although Progressive’s average cost of car insurance for San Francisco is at the higher end compared to the providers we reviewed, the company still has many benefits for drivers in most situations. This provider’s average annual premium for full coverage insurance is $2,070 or about $173 per month and for minimal coverage is $552 per year, which is around $46 per month—still well under the San Francisco average. Progressive has several discount opportunities, from as simple as enrolling in automatic payments to participating in its Snapshot telematics program. And while Progressive scores below average on J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction index, their easy-to-navigate app and online services allow policyholders to purchase, change and pay for a policy plus file a claim without having to pick up the phone.
Learn more: Progressive Insurance review
As the largest auto insurance company in the U.S., according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), State Farm is one of the most prominent names in insurance. As one of the best car insurance companies in San Francisco, State Farm has one of the highest Bankrate Scores, but it comes in slightly below average on J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction index. While they have the highest premiums on our list, drivers can still find their average annual rates for full coverage at $2,110 or around $176 monthly or their minimal coverage at $466 per year or $39 monthly, well below the San Francisco average. Having the cheapest rates isn’t always the most important factor, and State Farm is one of the few carriers offering products like rideshare coverage, life insurance and landlord insurance. It also offers home insurance and provides help with home loan needs.
Learn more: State Farm Insurance review
How to get and keep the cheapest car insurance in San Francisco
Getting and keeping the cheapest car insurance in San Francisco is easier if you practice safe driving habits and maintain a clean, claims-free driving history. Here are a few more tips on how to get the most from your insurance providers, while also enjoying the most affordable rates possible.
- Shop around. Comparing quotes from at least three car insurance companies in San Francisco should give you a good idea of which provider offers the coverage you need at the best price. Speak with a licensed agent to discuss coverage limits that are best for your circumstances and your budget. You could consider saving more on coverage by increasing your deductibles – if practical for your financial situation.
- Drive safely. Many larger insurers offer telematics driving programs that are easy to use and monitor your driving while you’re behind the wheel. By demonstrating you’re a safe driver, you may be able to save considerably on your insurance, depending on the carrier and other factors unique to you. Taking a simple defensive driving course is another way to potentially save money on your premiums. Check with the insurers when you collect quotes to see which discounts available in your area could save you the most.
Frequently asked questions
The best car company for your neighbor may not be the right one for you. To find your own best insurer, experts recommend comparing at least three car insurance quotes. A good starting point for many drivers is to compare quotes from some of the best car insurance companies of 2022 to see which ones offer the best combination of affordable rates, coverage, discounts and digital insurance resources. If you later decide that another insurer is a better fit as your life circumstances change, you can always switch car insurance companies.
The average cost of car insurance in San Francisco is $670 per year for minimum coverage and $2,488 per year for full coverage (which includes collision and comprehensive coverage). Comparatively, California car insurance averages $2,291 per year for full coverage and $636 per year for minimum coverage. Your own rates may differ and could be less if you have a clean driving record.
In general, insurance experts recommend you purchase car insurance in San Francisco with as high coverage limits as you can reasonably afford for the greatest amount of financial protection. California car insurance laws require having at least minimum coverage, which provides financial protection for damages caused to other vehicles and drivers, but having just minimum liability may leave you exposed to financial devastation in the event of a major collision. Minimum coverage also does not provide coverage for damages sustained to your vehicle, which is why leasing or financing vehicles typically requires having both comprehensive and collision coverage on your policy.
The average rates in San Francisco are, on average, $197 higher than the California average. These elevated rates can be in large part due to the high population, congested traffic, and uninsured drivers. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 16.6 % of drivers in California are uninsured. Since more of these drivers tend to live in the most populous cities, it all culminates in San Francisco having higher car insurance costs.
Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2023 rates for 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 coverage that meets each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2021 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.
Average state rates reflect 2022 averages based on a driver who owns a 2020 Toyota Camry.
These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.
Our 2023 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.
Like our previous Bankrate Scores, 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. This year, our 2023 scoring model provides a more comprehensive view, indicating when companies excel across several key areas and better highlighting where they fall short.
- Tier 1 (Cost & ratings): To determine how well auto and home insurance companies satisfy these priorities, 2023 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 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.