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The second-largest city in California, San Diego is known for its beaches, biotech, and a bustling roadway system used by its more than 1.37 million inhabitants. San Diego has a well-planned highway system that is largely uncongested, explaining why this coastal city was ranked No. 1 for lowest commute times among similar peer cities.
Whether you already drive in San Diego or are planning to move to the area, buying the right auto insurance policy is a priority. Minimum-coverage car insurance in San Diego averages $113 a month, or about 46% less than the California state average of $294.
Here’s a look at what to expect while shopping around for car insurance in San Diego.
Table of contents
- How much does car insurance cost in San Diego?
- Average cost of auto insurance in San Diego
- Cheapest car insurance in San Diego: Mile Auto
- How much car insurance do you need in San Diego?
- Tips for getting cheap car insurance in San Diego
- How age affects car insurance rates in San Diego
- How credit scores affect cheap car insurance in San Diego
- The effect of driving habits on car insurance in San Diego
- How to save on car insurance in San Diego
- Auto theft statistics in San Diego
- Find local San Diego agents
- San Diego car insurance FAQs
How much does car insurance cost in San Diego?
Insurance costs can vary widely depending on personal factors, and rates in San Diego are no exception. To ensure that you get the best possible price for you, be sure to compare quotes and shop around with multiple insurers.
To help you determine how much you can expect car insurance to cost in San Diego and to identify the cheapest possible quotes, Insurify’s data scientists analyzed the latest insurance rates in the area. Based on this data, rates in San Diego for liability-only coverage may range from $71 to $271 per month, with an average cost of $112. This coverage protects you if you’re responsible for another person’s property damage or bodily injury, but it doesn’t offer coverage for your own vehicle.
For full-coverage auto insurance, typical rates can range from $127 to $352, with an average cost of $195. This coverage includes state-minimum liability coverage (or higher) as well as comprehensive and collision coverage. If you’re at fault for an accident or your vehicle is damaged by an uninsured or hit-and-run driver, this coverage can help repair or replace your vehicle.
Cheapest liability-only insurance coverage in San Diego: Mile Auto, $71
Cheapest full-coverage insurance in San Diego: Mile Auto, $127
Cheapest insurance for new or young drivers: Mile Auto, $106
Learn More: Cheap Auto Insurance in California
Average cost of auto insurance in San Diego
The average cost of auto insurance in San Diego is approximately $170 per month. But your own cost will depend on your age, driving record, vehicle type, chosen coverage, and even your credit score, among other factors.
Here’s a look at how much you can expect to pay for coverage with each available insurer, on average.
|Insurance Company||Average Monthly Cost|
Average car insurance premiums in San Diego by marital status
Married drivers are generally considered to be more responsible and financially secure, at least from an insurance provider’s standpoint. For this reason, insurance premiums may be lower for drivers who are married, compared to those who are single.
Among adult drivers in San Diego, for example, the average premium was $233 per month for single people, but only $198 for married drivers.
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Cheapest car insurance in San Diego: Mile Auto
Mile Auto, a pay-per-mile insurance company, offers the cheapest policies in San Diego for both state-minimum and full coverage. For liability-only policies, Mile Auto charges an average monthly premium of $71; for full-coverage policies, the average premium is $127 per month.
Of course, many factors can influence these car insurance rates, including the details of your coverage and even your ZIP code within the city.
Here are the four cheapest auto insurance companies in San Diego:
|Insurance Company||Liability Only||Full Coverage|
How much car insurance do you need in San Diego?
California requires all residents to have valid state minimum auto insurance (or greater). These coverage limits include:
Bodily injury liability: $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident
Property damage liability: $5,000 per accident
Of course, these are just the minimums. You can always opt for higher limits or to purchase additional protection, such as uninsured motorist coverage.
After buying car insurance, you need to keep proof of that valid coverage with you whenever you get behind the wheel. You may also need to show proof of insurance when buying a new vehicle, renting a car from certain companies, renewing your registration, after being involved in a car accident, when being pulled over by law enforcement, and more.
Learn More: How Much Car Insurance Do I Need?
California DMV information
Many services are available online through the California DMV, including driver’s license renewal and reinstatement fee processing. You can always visit a local DMV office for help with your license or vehicle registration, as well.
Tips for getting cheap car insurance in San Diego
You can do a few things to reduce your car insurance premiums in San Diego:
See if your insurer offers discounts, such as those for safe drivers, good students, or automatic payments.
Adjust your coverage and policy features; reducing your coverage limits and raising your deductible can both drop your premiums.
Bundle your auto coverage with other insurance policies, such as a homeowners policy.
“The auto-home discount is often the largest discount a carrier will offer on both policies,” says Dominic Frey of Hitchings Insurance Agency. “It can be a 10%–25% discount on each of those policies in many cases.”
Shopping around and comparing providers before buying is perhaps the most important way to save money on auto insurance, though. By getting quotes from multiple insurance companies, you have a better idea of what your policy should cost and who offers the best price on the coverage you need.
Learn More: Compare Home and Auto Insurance Bundles
How age affects car insurance rates in San Diego
Older drivers are usually more experienced than younger, newer drivers and are less likely to get in accidents. For this reason, your age can affect your car insurance rates in San Diego and elsewhere, especially if you’re under 25. However, once you hit age 70, rates will begin to rise again.
|Age Group||Average Monthly Rate|
Cheapest car insurance for young drivers in San Diego
Young drivers will likely find that their premiums are higher than those of older drivers. While you can’t do anything about your age, shopping around for coverage, avoiding speeding tickets, and bundling policies can help you lower your costs.
For young drivers in San Diego, Mile Auto offers the cheapest coverage available, on average.
Cheapest car insurance for middle-aged drivers in San Diego
If you’re a middle-aged driver in San Diego, you’ll find that your rates are a bit lower than those offered to younger drivers. Again, Mile Auto comes out ahead with the lowest average premiums.
|Insurance Company||Average Cost|
Cheapest car insurance for senior drivers in San Diego
While middle-aged drivers have the lowest insurance rates on average, senior drivers may begin to see their rates increase again. Aspire General pulls ahead for this age group, beating out Mile Auto by a few dollars per month.
How credit scores affect cheap car insurance in San Diego
Many drivers are unaware that their credit score doesn’t just affect their ability to take out loans or credit cards; it can also affect the auto insurance rates they’re offered. California doesn’t allow insurance companies to consider credit when setting car insurance rates or deciding on policy renewals.
Depending on the scoring model used, a credit score can range anywhere from 300 to 900. According to FICO, a good credit score is between 670 and 739. (Higher scores are considered very good and exceptional.) Fair scores range from 580 to 669, and poor scores are below 580.
In states that allow the use of credit scores, drivers with poor credit may find that their auto insurance premiums are notably higher than drivers with fair, good, or very good scores. The following table shows some variation in average premiums among credit tiers, but it’s worth noting that these variations are very small compared to the significant differences evident in states where credit is an insurance factor.
|Credit Tier||Average Monthly Quote|
Learn More: Car Insurance Rates by Credit Tier
The effect of driving habits on car insurance in San Diego
A driver with speeding tickets, DUIs, or at-fault accidents represents a higher risk to insurers than a driver with safer habits behind the wheel. As a result, drivers with a clean record will usually have lower premiums than drivers with a history of infractions. The sections below will show you how certain incidents can affect your insurance premiums in San Diego.
It’s important to note that when you see a negative difference in a table, it doesn’t mean that particular insurance company lowers rates for drivers with that infraction on their records. Rather, it may mean that our sample size was small — insurers may choose not to offer policies to drivers with that infraction. Your actual rate can vary based on a number of factors other than your driving record.
Cheapest car insurance with an accident in San Diego: Farmers/21st Century
If you’re unlucky enough to be involved in an accident, the good news is you have options for insurers. Here’s a look at how an accident affects your premiums in San Diego.
|Car Insurance Company||Clean Record||With Accident||Difference|
Cheapest car insurance with a DUI in San Diego: Aspire General
A DUI can have a profound impact on your insurance premiums. The chart below shows you what you can expect to pay if you have a DUI on your record.
|Car Insurance Company||Clean Record||With DUI||Difference|
Cheapest car insurance with a speeding ticket in San Diego: SafeAuto
Speeding tickets happen, and if you get a ticket in San Diego, it pays to understand how that ticket could affect your premiums. This chart shows you how.
|Car Insurance Company||Clean Record||With Speeding Ticket||Difference|
Car insurance in other California cities
Here’s a look at affordable car insurance in some other California cities:
How to save on car insurance in San Diego
You have a few different ways to save on car insurance in San Diego, or at least ensure that the quotes you receive are the lowest possible price for coverage.
Raise your deductible. Your deductible is the portion of costs you’re responsible for covering before your insurance will step in and pay the remaining bill. The higher your deductible, the less your coverage will cost.
Lower your coverage. As you might expect, the less coverage you buy, the less you may pay for premiums. It’s important to adequately protect yourself, but lowering your coverage limits can reduce your premiums.
Bundle policies. Your provider may allow you to bundle your auto insurance policy with other policies, such as a homeowners insurance policy. In return, they may offer discounts on your total cost.
Boost your credit score. In most states, your credit score can be a factor in determining your auto insurance rates. By maintaining a healthy credit score, you can keep your auto premiums low.
Keep your driving record clean. The safer a driver you are, the lower your premiums will be for coverage. By avoiding at-fault accidents and infractions, you’ll reduce your coverage costs.
Auto theft statistics in San Diego
In 2020, there were 9,143 vehicles stolen in San Diego County, with 4,489 of those stolen within the city of San Diego. This is a 2% increase in county-wide thefts compared to 2019 and a 3% increase in the city of San Diego.
When the rates of theft in an area are high, providers tend to charge more for auto insurance coverage.
Find local San Diego agents
Wilson and Company Insurance Services, Inc.401 B Street,
Suite 2340, San Diego, CA 92101
JPL Insurance Services3033 5th Avenue,
Suite 325, San Diego, CA 92103
WHINS Insurance Agency, LLC2358 University Avenue,
Suite 2035, San Diego, CA 92104
Fusco, Orsini Associates Risk and Insurance Services5095 Murphy Canyon Road,
Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92123
IOA Insurance Services4370 La Jolla Village Drive,
Suite 600, San Diego, CA 92122
Ahern Insurance Brokerage LLC9655 Granite Ridge Drive,
Suite 500, San Diego, CA 92123
Allenbrooke Insurance Services, Inc.1322 Scott Street,
Suite 201, San Diego, CA 92106
Champion Risk & Insurance Services, L.P.12250 El Camino Real,
Suite 375, San Diego, CA 92130
Ives Insurance Services, Inc.2850 Womble Road,
Suite 103, San Diego, CA 92106
HUB International Insurance Services Inc.5405 Morehouse Drive,
Suite 340, San Diego, CA 92121
San Diego car insurance FAQs
Here are answers to some commonly asked questions about car insurance in San Diego.
The average cost for full-coverage car insurance in San Diego is $186 per month ($2,232 per year), while liability-only coverage averages $110 monthly ($1,320 per year).
Drivers in San Diego must at least purchase California state-minimum coverage, which includes bodily injury coverage of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident and property damage coverage of at least $5,000 per accident.
Choosing to drive in San Diego without purchasing state-minimum auto insurance (or higher) can come with notable penalties. If the DMV doesn’t receive notice of proof of insurance for a specific vehicle, the registration for that vehicle will be suspended.
As a driver, you can be issued a citation and even have your license suspended or revoked for driving without insurance, especially if it’s a recurring infraction. After your license has been suspended, you may be required to obtain SR-22 coverage, which can be notably more expensive.
Depending on the type of coverage you purchase and your personal factors, your cost of coverage can vary. The three cheapest auto insurance companies in San Diego, though, are Mile Auto, Aspire General, and Travelers.
Over the three-year period between 2014 and 2016, San Diego saw an average of 22 crashes per day, for a total of more than 24,000 crashes. Of those, 541 crashes involved a serious injury or fatality.
If your insurer offers a digital insurance card, such as through a mobile app, you can show this instead of a physical card when requested. California also requires insurance companies to report valid policies through a separate platform; this internal system ensures that the state knows which vehicles have coverage and if or when that coverage status changes.
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Data scientists at Insurify analyzed more than 40 million real-time auto insurance rates from our partner providers across the United States to compile the car insurance quotes, statistics, and data visualizations displayed on this page. The car insurance data includes coverage analysis and details on drivers' vehicles, driving records, and demographic information. Quotes for Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, State Farm, and USAA are estimates based on Quadrant Information Service's database of auto insurance rates. With these insights, Insurify is able to offer drivers insight into how companies price their car insurance premiums.
- The City of San Diego. "Economic Development: Key Facts and Figures." Accessed December 23, 2022
- State of California Department of Motor Vehicles. "Insurance Requirements." Accessed December 23, 2022
- San Diego County District Attorney. "San Diego 2020 Vehicle Thefts." Accessed December 23, 2022