Who Has The Cheapest Auto Insurance in San Diego?

Who Has The Cheapest Auto Insurance in San Diego?

Find Cheap Auto Insurance Quotes in San Diego

Currently insured?

San Diego residents can find the most affordable car insurance policies through Geico, according to our survey of seven companies.

The average cost of car insurance in San Diego is $570 per year, or $48 per month, for a minimum coverage policy.

Depending on where you shop, you could save almost $400 on a minimum coverage policy.

Cheapest car insurance in San Diego

Similarly to elsewhere in California, we found Geico offers the most affordable minimum coverage car insurance for San Diegans, with an average rate of $363 per year for our sample driver. The next cheapest insurer is Progressive, which costs $106 more.

This graph identifies and ranks the three companies in San Diego with the best rates for insuring our sample drivers' cars

Find Cheap Auto Insurance Quotes in San Diego

Currently insured?

Each state sets a minimum required amount of auto insurance you must obtain to be able to legally drive. While minimum coverage is the cheapest option, it does not include comprehensive or collision coverage. Minimum liability covers bodily injury and property damage to others, while comprehensive and collision cover damage to your vehicle.

Rank
Insurance company
Average annual rate
1Geico$363
2Progressive$469
3AAA SoCal$508
4Mercury$539
5Allstate$682
6Farmers$713
7State Farm$716

Insurer with the most affordable full coverage policy: Geico

A full coverage auto insurance policy can be more than three times as expensive as a minimum coverage policy but provides additional protection. Geico also has the cheapest full coverage policy in San Diego.

You should also consider getting quotes from Mercury and Progressive, which are the next most affordable options.

Rank
Company
Annual premium
1Geico$1,295
2Mercury$1,446
3Progressive$1,506
4AAA SoCal$1,748
5Allstate$1,799
6State Farm$1,966
7Farmers$2,172

Full coverage includes comprehensive and collision protection. Comprehensive coverage protects you from damage caused by "acts of God" like car theft and damage from natural disasters or civil commotions. Collision usually covers damage inflicted from crashing into another vehicle or object.

It’s recommended that you obtain a full coverage policy if one of these two applies to you:

  • Your car is new or less than 10 years old
  • Your vehicle is expensive or worth at least $3,000

Cheapest full coverage insurance after an accident

The companies with the lowest premium hikes following an accident are Geico, Mercury and AAA of Southern California, which all increase prices by less than $1,100.

AAA of Southern California, also called AAA SoCal or The Auto Club of Southern California, is only available to residents of Southern California.

Rank
Company
Quote before accident
Quote after accident
Difference
1Geico$1,295$1,712$417
2Mercury$1,446$2,493$1,048
3AAA SoCal$1,748$2,599$851
4Progressive$1,506$3,094$1,589
5State Farm$1,966$3,120$1,154
6Farmers$2,172$3,687$1,516
7Allstate$1,799$3,860$2,061

A driver who gets into an accident will almost certainly face a rate increase, but there are a few ways to reduce your bill. Some insurance companies have accident forgiveness, which protects you from price hikes following an accident. Each company has different qualification criteria for accident forgiveness, so you should follow up with each insurer on its policy.

Cheapest insurance for young drivers looking for full coverage

The most affordable insurer for young people is Mercury, with an average annual premium of $3,496. State Farm, which has a similar price range, is priced at an average of $3,639 annually.

Rank
Company
Annual premium
1Mercury$3,496
2State Farm$3,639
3AAA SoCal$4,866
4Progressive$5,109
5Geico$5,633
6Allstate$6,495
7Farmers$11,498

This chart reflects the average full coverage premium costs of an 18-year-old sample driver.

Age has a major influence on your estimated car insurance rates. Drivers under the age of 25 are less experienced and more likely to be in accidents, so they are seen as riskier by insurers.

It is recommended that drivers look into discounts and ways to save on costs. Here are some of the best ways to save money when you’re a young person with a car:

  • Compare quotes. It is important for you to get at least three car insurance quotes so that you can compare rates and make the best decision.
  • Stay on your parents’ policy. Being on a combined or multicar policy is much cheaper than having two separate policies.
  • Ask insurance companies what discounts they offer. Most companies will have a menu of various discounts that you may already qualify for, such as discounts for being a good student, installing safety or anti-theft devices in your car or being accident-free for a certain amount of time.

Insurance companies with the best customer service in San Diego

The companies that have the best customer service, measured by the frequency of customer complaints, are AAA SoCal, Dairyland and Mercury.

Geico and Progressive, our top picks for affordability, also performed reasonably well — they both fared better than the state average complaint ratio of 7.6 complaints per 100 thousand policies sold.

The complaint index reflects the frequency of formal complaints filed to state regulators. The lower the index, the fewer complaints were made.

Rank
Insurer
Complaint ratio
1AAA SoCal1.7
2Dairyland1.9
3Mercury1.9
4State Farm2.1
5Allied/Nationwide2.2
6Geico2.3
7Wawanesa2.5
8California Casualty2.7
9Farmers2.9
10Esurance3.7
11Allstate4.1
12USAA4.6
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The California Justified Complaint Ratio shows how many complaints an insurer has received per 100,000 policies sold. A lower number suggests that customers are more likely to be happy with their service.

Minimum car insurance requirements in San Diego

The minimum liability insurance requirements for drivers in California are:

  • Bodily injury liability coverage: $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability coverage: $5,000

California's minimum car insurance requirements are a bit lower than other states, so we recommend adding higher liability limits if you are able.

If your car is worth more than $3,000, we also recommend adding collision and comprehensive insurance to your policy.

An exception to the requirements listed above is if you acquire a policy through California’s Low Cost Automobile (CLCA) insurance program. The purpose of the CLCA is to provide affordable car insurance to low-income, safe drivers. The limits are lower than California’s standard minimum limits but will still satisfy the state’s auto insurance laws.

Cost of car insurance in San Diego by neighborhood

Car insurance rates vary by area within the city. Some neighborhoods have a higher crime rate, crash rate and density compared to adjacent areas. Hillcrest, for example, is less expensive than Oak Park by around $85 per year for our sample driver. Below you can see how a few San Diego neighborhoods compare in terms of car insurance rates for minimum coverage.

ZIP code
Neighborhood
Average cost
92101Downtown$557
92102Golden Heights / Mt. Hope$540
92103Hillcrest$535
92104North Park$549
92105Oak Park$620
92106Fleet Ridge$558
92107Sunset Cliffs / Point Loma Heights$576
92108Mission Valley East$561
92109Pacific Beach$570
92110Morena$570
92111Kearny Mesa$553
92113Logan Heights$578
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The expensiveness of your neighborhood ultimately stems from the number of car accident claims that come from that area. The best way to save on your yearly auto rates — especially if you live in an expensive neighborhood — is to shop around for quotes.

Methodology

The sample driver used was a 30-year-old man who owns a 2015 Honda Civic EX. Insurance data was compiled from seven auto insurers in San Diego. In instances where a full coverage insurance policy was discussed, these were the limits:

Coverage type
Study limits
Bodily injury liability$50,000 per person / $100,000 per accident
Property damage liability$50,000 per accident
Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury liability$50,000 per person / $100,000 per accident
Uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage liability$50,000 per accident
Comprehensive and collision$500 deductible

ValuePenguin's analysis used insurance rate data from Quadrant Information Services. These rates were publicly sourced from insurer filings and should be used for comparative purposes only. Your quotes may be different.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.