Best cheap car insurance in San Francisco

Bankrate Logo

Why you can trust Bankrate

While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for . This content is powered by HomeInsurance.com (NPN: 8781838). For more information, please see our

Car insurance is a legal requirement in San Francisco, where the average annual premium is $2,441 for a full coverage policy and $842 for a minimum coverage policy. In 2017, there were 3,124 accidents in San Francisco that resulted in property damage, so having a comprehensive car insurance policy with adequate protection is important.

Drivers in San Francisco pay high rates for car insurance, but there are ways to get a cheaper premium. We did some research to identify the best cheap car insurance in San Francisco based on factors like average rates, coverage options, discounts, customer service and more.

Best car insurance companies in San Francisco

The best car insurance companies in San Francisco offer below-average premiums, generous discounts, a variety of coverage options, good third-party ratings and excellent financial strength. The table below includes the four providers we recommend, and their average annual full coverage and minimum coverage rates:

Insurance company J.D. Power score Average annual premium for minimum coverage Average annual premium for full coverage
Wawanesa 853 / 1,000 $709 $1,752
State Farm 836 / 1,000 $651 $1,985
Geico 828 / 1,000 $494 $1,596
Progressive 823 / 1,000 $718 $2,001

Wawanesa

Wawanesa is the top rated insurance company for overall customer satisfaction in California, according to J.D. Power. Wawanesa offers some of the cheapest rates in San Francisco, and drivers can take advantage of their available discounts for even more savings. There are discounts for good drivers, loyal customers, drivers over 55, bundling your policies and insuring multiple vehicles. The only downside to Wawanesa is that there are limited coverage options.

State Farm

State Farm is the largest car insurance company in the country with just under 16% of the total market share. State Farm is a popular choice for auto insurance in San Francisco because of the company’s low rates and generous discounts. You can save money by taking advantage of traditional savings, or enroll in one of State Farm’s safe driver rewards programs—Steer Clear for young drivers under 25 and Drive Safe & Save for drivers over 25.

Geico

Based on our sample quotes, Geico has the cheapest policies in San Francisco, with an average full coverage premium of just $1,596 per year. But Geico stands out for more than just its low rates. The company offers lots of discount options. There are savings for military personnel, federal employees, employer/membership groups, good students, safe drivers, vehicles with safety features, bundling your policies and more.

Progressive

Drivers in San Francisco have a great option in Progressive. In addition to good discounts, low rates and flexible coverage options, Progressive also has great online tools and resources. You can use the Name Your Price Tool to find coverage within your price range, and compare Progressive’s rates to competitor prices right on their website. Progressive also has a highly-rated app-based safe driver discount program called Snapshot.

Cheapest car insurance in San Francisco

Drivers in San Francisco pay slightly more for car insurance than the average rate in California, which is $2,065 per year for full coverage insurance and $733 per year for minimum coverage insurance. For comparison, the average cost of car insurance in the United States is $1,674 for a full coverage policy and $565 for a minimum coverage policy.

Although auto insurance in San Francisco is expensive, it is possible to find cheap car insurance in California. The following table includes the cheapest car insurance rates in San Francisco from the most popular carriers based on market share:

Insurance Company Average Annual Premium for Minimum Coverage Average Annual Premium for Full Coverage
Geico $494 $1,596
AAA $613 $2,574
State Farm $651 $1,985
Progressive $718 $2,001
Mercury $750 $2,019

Not all cheap car insurance companies are created equal. For example, Geico and State Farm offer limited coverage options. If you want to purchase add-ons, like gap insurance or accident forgiveness, AAA and Mercury are better options.

The same goes for discounts. While these five providers have great discounts, they offer different savings. For instance, Geico is the only company that has military discounts and Progressive is the only carrier that offers a discount for having continuous insurance.

San Francisco insurance requirements

Drivers in San Francisco are required to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. The car insurance requirements in California are represented as 15/30/5, which includes the following coverages:

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

Drivers who are looking for cheap car insurance should consider that while settling for a minimum coverage policy may seem to be the most affordable option, it may not offer enough protection in the event of an accident. If you hit another driver and cause more than $5,000 in property damage, for example, the rest of the money would come directly out of your pocket.

San Francisco insurance companies recommend that most drivers upgrade to a full coverage insurance policy, which includes collision and comprehensive insurance to protect your vehicle. Additionally, if you lease or finance your car, your lender might require you to carry full coverage insurance until your loan is paid off.

Car insurance discounts in San Francisco

Most car insurance companies in California offer discounts that can help drivers get a cheaper rate. Here are some of the discounts available in San Francisco:

  • Claims-free discount: If you have no prior insurance claims on your record within the last several years, you can likely qualify for a discount.
  • Defensive driving course discount: Most insurance companies offer a discount to drivers who complete an approved defensive driving or safe driver training program.
  • Pay in full discount: If you can afford to pay your annual premium upfront and in one lump sum, you can probably get a discount on your insurance
  • Multi-policy discount: Customers who insure their vehicle and their home with the same insurance company usually qualify for a multi-policy discount.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best car insurance company?

The best car insurance company is different for every driver. Some companies stand out for offering affordable rates, some are known for great discounts and others have excellent customer service. Shop around and compare providers using your personal criteria, and get multiple quotes before choosing a policy.

How much does car insurance in San Francisco cost?

The average car insurance quote in San Francisco is $2,441 per year for a full coverage policy and $842 per year for a minimum coverage policy. However, every driver pays a different rate for coverage. Insurance companies look at factors like your age, credit score, claims history, the type of coverage you need and your deductible when calculating your rate.

How much car insurance do I need in San Francisco?

Drivers in San Francisco are required to carry at least 15/30/5 personal liability coverage, but upgrading to a full coverage policy and raising your liability coverage limits is a good idea. There is no guarantee that minimum coverage insurance in San Francisco will cover the full cost of an at-fault accident, and you are financially responsible for losses that exceed your policy’s limit.

Methodology

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 2019 Toyota Camry, 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.

Written by
Elizabeth Rivelli
Insurance Contributor
Elizabeth has two years of experience writing for insurance domains such as Bankrate.com, The Simple Dollar, Coverage.com and NextAdvisor, among others. In addition to auto insurance, Elizabeth regularly writes about home insurance, renters insurance and life insurance. She also covers industry trends and general insurance education.