Who Has The Cheapest Auto Insurance in San Diego?

San Diego residents can find the most affordable full-coverage car insurance policies through Geico, at $108 per month.

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Best cheap insurance companies in San Diego

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: Geico

Geico has the cheapest full coverage policy in San Diego, at $108 per month.

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

Cheapest for full coverage

Company
Monthly rate
Geico logo
Geico$108
Mercury logo
Mercury$121
Progressive logo
Progressive$126
AAA logo
AAA Socal$146
Allstate logo
Allstate$150
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Cheapest liability insurance quotes in San Diego: Geico

Similarly to elsewhere in California, we found Geico offers the most affordable minimum coverage car insurance for San Diegans, with an average rate of $30 per month, or $363 per year, for our sample driver. The next cheapest insurer is Progressive, which costs $9 more.

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

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Cheapest liability insurance in San Diego

Company
Monthly rate
Geico logo
Geico$30
Progressive logo
Progressive$39
AAA logo
AAA Socal$42
Mercury logo
Mercury$45
Allstate logo
Allstate$57
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Cheapest insurance for young drivers: Mercury

The most affordable insurer for young people is Mercury, with an average monthly rate of $291, or $3,496 per year. State Farm, which has a similar price range, is priced at an average of $303 monthly.

Cheapest for teens

Company
Monthly rate
Mercury$291
State Farm$303
AAA SoCal$406
Progressive$426
Geico$469
Allstate$541
Farmers$958

This chart reflects the average full coverage rates for 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.

Cheapest full coverage insurance after an accident: Geico

The companies with the lowest rate hikes following an accident are Geico, Mercury and AAA of Southern California.

Company
Monthly rate
Geico$143
Mercury$208
AAA SoCal$217
Progressive$258
State Farm$260
Farmers$307
Allstate$322
AAA of Southern California, also called AAA SoCal or The Auto Club of Southern California, is only available to residents of Southern California.

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.

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.

Insurer
Complaint ratio
AAA SoCal1.7
Dairyland1.9
Mercury1.9
State Farm2.1
Allied/Nationwide2.2
Geico2.3
Wawanesa2.5
California Casualty2.7
Farmers2.9
Esurance3.7
Allstate4.1
USAA4.6
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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.

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
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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.

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.

What's the best car insurance coverage in San Diego, CA?

A full coverage auto insurance policy can be more than three times as expensive as a minimum coverage policy but provides extra protection.

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

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.