Car insurance in San Jose, the third largest city in California, can be on the expensive side. The average cost of car insurance in San Jose is $596 a year for minimum coverage, while full coverage, which includes collision and comprehensive insurance, costs an average of $2,239.

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If you are looking for the best car insurance in San Jose at an affordable rate, Bankrate has your back. We reviewed the top insurers writing policies in the state to find out who offers the cheapest rates while not stinting on coverage. Based on our research, the cheapest car insurance companies are Wawanesa, Geico, Mercury, National General and Progressive.

Best cheap car insurance companies in San Jose

Determining the best cheap car insurance companies in San Jose depends on a number of factors. We look to see what kinds of coverage and endorsement options are available from each provider for an auto insurance policy. Using the latest proprietary data from Quadrant Information Services to compare and analyze rates, we also take into consideration any discounts and savings programs that are available to help you save money each year. Finally, we look to industry experts for conclusive ratings, including the 2022 1 J.D. Power’s Auto Insurance Study and AM Best for financial strength.

Based on this data, we assigned each company a Bankrate Score between 0.0 and 5.0. The higher a company’s Bankrate Score, the more likely it is to offer robust, effective coverage at affordable rates. Following our analysis, we determined that the best car insurance in San Jose is being written by companies including Wawanesa, Geico and Mercury.

Insurance company Bankrate Score J.D. Power score
(California region)
Average annual premium for full coverage Average annual premium for minimum coverage
Wawanesa 3.1 879/1,000 $1,603 $576
Geico 4.4 824/1,000 $1,682 $365
Mercury 3.2 827/1,000 $1,864 $523
National General 3.5 Not rated $1,965 $623
Progressive 4.2 803/1,000 $2,007 $538


Wawanesa is a regional insurer that sells car insurance only in California. It is known for high-quality customer service, and ranks first in J.D. Power’s Customer Satisfaction Ranking for the Golden State. Wawanesa offers some nice perks for California drivers, such as optional special vehicle equipment coverage, which means damaged car elements can be replaced with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts rather than standard parts after a covered accident. On the other hand, the company falls a bit short in claims management. Claims can be filed at any time of the day or night, but claims assistance and support are only available during regular business hours. The company’s mobile app, in addition, is only available for Android users; there is no app for iOS users.

Learn more: Wawanesa Insurance review


A suite of online tools makes buying and managing Geico policies convenient for the busy San Jose driver. From claims filing to viewing policy documents and getting help from an agent, the mobile app gives drivers everything they need in an easily accessible format. In addition to a long list of discounts and savings, additional coverage is available for your San Jose car insurance, including emergency roadside assistance, rental reimbursement, and mechanical breakdown insurance. Geico is above the regional average places among the top five in the J.D. Power customer satisfaction study. Additionally, Geico offers some of the most competitive rates in the industry, a range of coverages, discounts and the option to bundle multiple policies for more savings. Geico does not, however, offer a broad range of endorsements to allow policyholders to customize their coverage.

Learn more: Geico Insurance review


Like our other top choices, Mercury offers average rates that are well below the broader average rates for San Jose. The company is in fourth place on J.D. Power’s Customer Satisfaction Index Ranking, which indicates that it takes the time and effort to ensure that policyholder’s needs are being met in a professional and effective manner. It has a few nice endorsements, including rideshare coverage and roadside assistance, but its discount list is a bit sparse. There are numerous agents throughout California, so if you would rather handle your insurance business with a live person rather than a digital interface, Mercury may be a good choice for you.

Learn more: Mercury Insurance review 

National General

National General is owned by Allstate, the fourth largest writer of auto insurance policies in the U.S. This may account for the company’s superior ranking for financial strength from AM Best. The company offers a full range of both essential coverage types as well as optional endorsements, or add-ons, to allow you to customize your policy. If, after a covered claim, you have repairs done at one of the company’s Gold Medal Repair Shops, National General will guarantee the repairs for the life of the vehicle. Another nice perk: it will cover up to $500 in food, lodging and travel expenses after a covered claim. The company says it handles most claims within 48 hours, and it has a generous handful of discounts that can help you save money and lower your premium rate. One drawback? The company does not offer accident forgiveness or gap insurance for its policyholders.

Learn more: National General Insurance review


A household name in insurance, Progressive earns its reputation by offering a multitude of standard and optional coverages, a long list of discounts for maximum savings and online tools for convenience and hassle-free service. The add-ons offered are some of the most varied in the industry, from gap insurance to rideshare coverage and custom parts. There is even an option for a deductible savings bank. Its Name Your Price Tool could show you policy features within your budget, allowing you to personalize a policy with the options you need and avoid spending excess money. Additionally, you could get safe driving perks with the usage-based Snapshot program. Note, however, that Progressive scores below the industry average on J.D. Power’s Customer Satisfaction Index Ranking.

Learn more: Progressive Insurance review

How to get and keep the cheapest car insurance in San Jose

Finding and keeping the cheapest car insurance in San Jose may take a little extra effort, but it’s not impossible. Here are a few strategies you can use when you are looking for cheap car insurance companies:

  • Shop around: When you are looking for affordable rates, don’t stop after you get a single quote. Instead, pick some companies that consistently write the cheapest insurance in California and ask for premium quotes from four or five of them. This is easy to do, since most companies allow you to obtain a free online quote from the website. Once you have multiple quotes, you will have a better sense of who is truly the cheapest for your situation.
  • Practice safe driving habits: Your insurer is likely to give you a better rate if you are a safe and careful driver who rarely, if ever, needs to file claims. Once you have a policy with one of the best car insurance companies in San Jose, consider signing up for its telematics program, if it has one. This allows you to demonstrate that you are a good driver, and could save you up to 40 percent off on your policy.

Frequently asked questions

    • The best car insurance companies are different for each driver, but often balance a combination of reasonable rates, a wide range of coverages and discounts, superior customer service and high third-party agency ratings. Comparing quotes and coverage options from multiple insurers is the most reliable way to find out what is right for you.
    • The minimum liability coverage requirements in San Jose are the same as the rest of California: 15/30/5.
    • The average cost of full coverage car insurance in San Jose is $2,239, while minimum coverage is $596. This is actually less than the California state averages, which are $2,291 for full and $636 for minimum coverage. The national average, however, is lower than both for full coverage, at $2,014, and roughly the same for minimum coverage, at $622. Insurers determine their average rates based on a broad range of variables, but where you live does play a role. Congested urban areas, where fender benders and serious accidents are more common, may have higher average rates than those in rural areas.
    • After you find the cheapest car insurance in San Jose, you will need to provide certain information to complete your purchase. Your insurance provider will likely ask you to provide a copy of your driver’s license, your vehicle identification number (VIN) and banking information.
    • Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2023 rates for 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 2021 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.
    • 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.