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Renata Balasco

Senior Content Strategist

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Renata joined The Zebra in 2020 as a Customer Experience Agent. Since 2021, she has worked as licensed insurance professional and content strategist.…

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Nathan Foster

Agency Trainer

  • Licensed Insurance Agent - Property and Casualty

Nathan is an insurance professional with a focus on creating positive customer experiences with more than 10 years of industry experience.

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Kristine Lee

Insurance Analyst

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty
  • 4+ years of Experience in the Insurance Industry

Kristine is a licensed insurance agent who joined The Zebra in 2019 as an in-house content researcher and writer. Before joining The Zebra, she was a…

How much does car insurance cost in San Diego?

San Diego is a relatively affordable city when compared to other major cities in the United States. The average auto insurance rate in San Diego is $922 for a six-month policy, or approximately $157 per month. Wawanesa is the most cost-effective car insurance provider in San Diego, according to our 2022 data, with rates beginning at $528 for a six-month policy. GEICO and 21st Century are also great options.

San Diego residents pay slightly less than the statewide average for auto insurance in California, which is $967 per six-month policy. The city's average rates are also higher than the national average of $742. According to our data, 34% of San Diego residents feel like they are paying too much for their car insurance. Whether you want to compare your rates to those typical of San Diego or gain a better understanding of the factors that impact your premiums, such as age, credit score, and weather, we can help.

Car Insurance in San Diego vs. California Avg. 6 Mo. Premium
California Average $967
San Diego Average $922

The cheapest car insurance companies in San Diego

1st place medal
1st place: Wawanesa

Coming in first place is Wawanesa, with average premiums at $528 for a six-month policy.

2nd place medal
2nd place: GEICO

GEICO takes second place with average monthly auto insurance rates at $108 (or $649 for a six-month policy)

3rd place medal
3rd place: 21st Century

The third-cheapest car insurance company in San Diego is 21st Century. 21st Century policies cost an average of $786 for six months. 

The Zebra's key takeaways about car insurance in San Diego:

  • The average cost of a car insurance policy in San Diego is $922 per six-month policy — $154 per month.
  • The cheapest company in San Diego is Wawanesa ($528).
  • 34% of Zebra customers in San Diego stated they used our product because they were paying too much for car insurance with their current provider.

Are you paying too much for auto insurance?

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San Diego car insurance rates by company

The cheapest company for full coverage car insurance in San Diego for 2022 is Wawanesa with rates of $88 per month or $528 for a six-month policy, according to our data. GEICO is the second most affordable option, with rates at $108 per month or $649 for a six-month policy.

If you're interested in learning more about the top-rated car insurance companies based on The Zebra's Customer Satisfaction Survey, we can provide you with further information.


Cheapest car insurance companies in San Diego, CA
Company Avg. 6 Mo. Premium
Wawanesa $528
GEICO $649
21st Century $786
USAA $814
Progressive $869
Allstate $1,019
State Farm $1,036

The Zebra’s Dynamic Insurance Rating Tool data methodology

The Zebra’s Dynamic Insurance Rating Tool for home and auto insurance rates utilizes the latest ZIP code-level rate filings from across the U.S., sourced from Quadrant Information Services and S&P Global. These filings, typically updated annually or biennially by insurers, are verified through Quadrant’s QA process and then integrated into The Zebra’s estimator.

The displayed rates are based on a dynamic home and auto profile designed to reflect the content of the page. This profile is tailored to match specific factors such as age, location, and coverage level, which are adjusted based on the page content to show how these variables can impact premiums.

For a comprehensive understanding, see our detailed methodology.

Shop around for the best rates

Finding the right car insurance coverage in San Diego can be both time-consuming and expensive. Let us help you save both by using our comparison tool to shop around for the coverage you need at a price you can afford. By entering your ZIP code, you can compare rates from top companies such as Progressive, Allstate, GEICO, State Farm, and others, to find the best and cheapest car insurance in San Diego.

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Average car insurance in San Diego by rating factor

Different rating factors affect your car insurance rates in San Diego, and different insurance companies may weigh one factor more heavily than another. For instance, some insurers may give more importance to credit scores, while others may examine previous claims history more closely. This implies that the car insurance provider that worked for you in your 20s may not be the best fit for you in your 40s.

In San Diego, it's important to obtain insurance quotes regularly to make sure you're getting the best possible rate. Additionally, it's wise to reassess your insurance needs and the cost of coverage when personal circumstances change due to events such as marriage, landmark birthdays, or credit improvement.

Q: I haven't had an accident, why are my insurance rates going up in San Diego?

A: End-of-year earnings, which refer to the revenue of premiums versus the cost of paying insureds’ claims, are a significant factor in auto insurance rates in San Diego. Even if you're a great driver with zero claims, you may still pay more with one insurance company than another due to the costs they incur by doing business in San Diego.

Auto insurance premiums by age in San Diego

Age is a crucial factor when it comes to determining car insurance premiums in San Diego. Insurance companies evaluate risk when analyzing data to determine which drivers, or groups of drivers, are more likely to file a claim. Unfortunately, teen drivers have an accident rate that is significantly higher than any other group, resulting in the steepest increase in premiums. In San Diego, it can cost up to $2,422 more per year for teens than for someone who is 20-29 years old, which is about a $200 per month difference.

Insurance rates for teens in San Diego can be startling for both them and their parents, but it's important to remember that insurers are in the business of risk management. Higher rates for teen drivers help offset the costs of paying claims. Since teenage drivers are more likely to have an accident than drivers of other ages, companies have to take this into consideration when it comes to rates.


Cheapest car insurance companies for teen drivers in San Diego, CA
Company Avg. 6 Mo. Premium
Wawanesa $884
GEICO $1,533
USAA $1,792
State Farm $1,825
Progressive $2,159
Allstate $2,210
21st Century $2,970
Age Bracket Cheapest Companies Avg. 6 Mo. Premium
20s Wawanesa $580
30s Wawanesa $469
40s Wawanesa $469
50s Wawanesa $469
60s Wawanesa $469
70s Wawanesa $460

Zebra Tip: The cheapest companies for San Diego drivers between 20-30 are Wawanesa, GEICO and USAA

Zebra Tip: The most affordable car insurance companies for San Diego drivers aged20-29 are Wawanesa, GEICO and USAA. Most San Diego drivers fall within this age group, and they pay an average of $1,172 every six months. However, by choosing these specific insurers, they can potentially save up to 35%.

Auto insurance premiums for minimum coverage in San Diego

Adjusting your coverage level is one factor that can directly impact the premium you'll pay for car insurance in San Diego. According to our research, 27% of drivers in San Diego have the state minimum coverage, which can lower premiums but also puts them at risk of being underinsured in the event of an accident. While states only require a certain amount of coverage, the bare minimum isn't always the best option in the long run.

Adding collision or comprehensive coverage can increase your rates, but it can give you more peace of mind while driving in San Diego. These coverages usually require a deductible, which can also affect your rates. In general, the higher your deductible, the lower your rates will be. For instance, coverage with a $2,500 deductible will typically cost less per month (or per policy period) than coverage with a $1,000 deductible.

In San Diego, you might want to opt for extras like roadside assistance or uninsured motorist coverage that can safeguard you against drivers who don't have their own auto insurance. These additions can increase your overall car insurance rates, but The Zebra's insurance experts advise carrying them for both peace of mind and practicality in the event of an accident. 

Q: Can I lower my car insurance coverage?

A: Possibly — if your vehicle is paid off.

San Diego drivers who own their vehicles can potentially save on car insurance by adjusting their coverage levels. If you have an older car that is worth less than $4,000, you may want to consider dropping collision or comprehensive coverage to lower your premiums. However, it's important to remember that in the event of an accident, you will be responsible for paying for repairs out of pocket if you do not have these coverages. Consider your options carefully before making any changes to your policy.

Cheapest car insurance companies for minimum coverage in San Diego, CA
Company Avg. 6 Mo. Premium
GEICO $184
Wawanesa $237
USAA $239
Progressive $260
21st Century $331
State Farm $337
Allstate $347
  • Minimum: State liability coverage only
  • Basic: State liability + collision and comprehensive (full) coverage
  • Better: Better liability limits at 50/100/50. Full coverage included with towing and rental car benefits. May include additional personal medical benefits and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
  • Best: Best liability limits at 100/300/50. Full coverage included with better towing and rental car benefits and better personal medical benefits and increased uninsured/underinsured coverage.

Most of our customers in San Diego opt for the basic level of coverage, but this may not be the best option for everyone. While we understand state minimum coverage is a budget-friendly solution, it does leave you at risk for damages that exceed your liability limits. California's 15/30/5 liability limits provide coverage for damage you cause up to $15,000 per person in bodily injury, $30,000 per accident in bodily injury and $5,000 for property damage. While this may be sufficient for most standard car accidents, it might not be for bodily injury claims or multi-vehicle accidents.

Learn more about insurance laws in California.

San Diego car insurance rates by credit score

In most states, credit score is an important factor in rating car insurance policies. However, California — and some other states — have ruled to reject this practice.

It's common procedure for car insurance companies to assess an applicant's credit score when determining a fair premium. This is due to the historical correlation between poor credit and risky driving behaviors. In short, poor credit means higher premiums. 

California no longer allows insurance companies to use credit score as a rating factor. This is good news for all applicants as the absence of this practice can keep rates low, regardless of your credit tier. 

car insurance in San Diego by credit score

Auto insurance rates with an at-fault accident

In San Diego, at-fault accidents and collisions are the most common type of insurance claims. If you're involved in an at-fault accident, it can increase your monthly insurance premium by an average of $112. However, this can vary depending on your insurance company and other factors such as the severity of the accident. Shopping around for insurance quotes is always a good idea, especially after an accident.

The best way to keep your auto insurance premiums affordable is by driving safely and avoiding accidents. A clean driving record can help you get better rates and lower your risk of being seen as a high-risk driver. Just remember that citations for speeding, reckless driving, and DUIs, as well as at-fault accidents, can all lead to higher premiums.


Cheapest car insurance companies after an at-fault accident in San Diego, CA
Company Avg. 6 Mo. Premium
Wawanesa $796
USAA $1,156
GEICO $1,177
State Farm $1,637
Progressive $1,722
21st Century $1,943
Allstate $2,214

San Diego car insurance rates by violation

Below you can see how much different violations and claims will increase your rate in San Diego.

Car insurance rate increases after violations and citations in San Diego, CA
Accident/Violation Avg. 6 Mo. Premium % Rate Increase $ Rate Increase
One Med/PIP claim $922 0% $0
Two comp claims $922 0% $0
Two Med/PIP claims $922 0% $0
None $922 0% $0
One comp claim $922 0% $0
Not-at-fault accident $926 0% $4
At-fault accident - less than $1000 $943 2% $21
Failure to show documents $1,213 32% $291
Driving with expired registration $1,220 32% $298
Driving without lights $1,221 32% $299
Failure to wear a seat belt $1,224 33% $302
Child safety restraint $1,228 33% $306
Speeding 11 - 15 MPH over limit $1,283 39% $361
Speeding 16 - 20 MPH over limit $1,283 39% $361
Following too closely $1,285 39% $364
Illegal turn $1,285 39% $364
Failure to stop at a red light $1,285 39% $364
Failure to yield $1,287 40% $365
In 65 MPH zone $1,287 40% $365
Speeding 6 - 10 MPH over limit $1,287 40% $365
Speeding in school zone $1,287 40% $365
Driving too slowly $1,287 40% $365
Speeding 21 - 25 MPH over limit $1,289 40% $367
Texting while driving $1,289 40% $367
Cell phone violation $1,289 40% $367
Improper passing $1,302 41% $380
Passing school bus $1,326 44% $404
Wrong way/wrong lane $1,524 65% $603
Operating a vehicle without permission $1,586 72% $664
At-fault accident - $1000-$2000 $1,592 73% $671
At-fault accident - greater than $2000 $1,592 73% $671
Open container $1,708 85% $786
Driving with a suspended license $1,951 112% $1,029
Reckless driving $2,293 149% $1,371
Racing $2,312 151% $1,390
Leaving scene of an accident/hit and run $2,330 153% $1,408
Refusal to submit to a chemical test $2,402 161% $1,480
DUI $2,402 161% $1,480

Why is car insurance in San Diego so expensive?

San Diego is a large and diverse city with a mix of urban and suburban areas. This can make it difficult for insurance companies to assess risk, which can result in higher premiums. Additionally, San Diego has a high number of drivers on the road, which can increase the risk of accidents and lead to higher insurance rates.

Let's explore a few specific reasons why car insurance can be so costly in San Diego.

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Lack of public transit

With few options for public transit[1], San Diego residents are forced to drive personal vehicles, putting an excess of cars on the road. The more vehicles on the road, the higher likelihood of accidents, leading to naturally high premiums. 

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Dense traffic congestion

According to INRIX, an analytics site dedicated to providing real-time automotive, mobility and transportation statistics, San Diego ranks among the worst areas for traffic congestion in both the United States and the world[2]. With so much traffic, car accidents are inevitable and explain the high car insurance rates in this city. 

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Wildfires and severe weather

In all of the United States, California ranks highest for the number of acres burned in wildfires[3]. Devastating weather events like this can have a severe impact on car insurance rates.

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Insurance companies consider many factors when calculating your car insurance rates, including your location. In San Diego, some areas may have higher insurance rates than others due to higher crime rates or a higher likelihood of accidents. Insurance companies consider these factors to assess the risk of insuring drivers in different locations. This is why it's important to compare insurance rates across different neighborhoods in San Diego to find the most affordable options.

Expensive San Diego ZIP codes: 92135, 92134, 92140, 92105, 92182

Cheap San Diego ZIP codes: 92119, 92128, 92120, 92131, 92117

Uninsured drivers

As supported by the data above, San Diego is a city of drivers. However, this does not mean that all motorists are insured. The Insurance Information Institute reports that California ranks in 10th place for the highest number of uninsured drivers per state[4]

29% of our San Diego respondents admitted that they do not currently carry auto insurance. If you’re hit by an uninsured driver in San Diego, you could be left paying for the damage yourself.

Zebra Tip: Consider uninsured property damage coverage

San Diego drivers who want to protect themselves financially in case of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver should consider adding uninsured motorist coverage to their auto insurance policy. This coverage is often less expensive than collision coverage and usually has a lower deductible. Plus, it can provide valuable peace of mind on the road.

Bundling insurance policies in San Diego

Did you know that you can save on your insurance costs by bundling your policies? If you have both home and auto insurance, combining them with the same company can result in lower premiums. Contact your insurance provider to learn more about the benefits of bundling.

If you're looking to save money on your insurance premiums, bundling your home and auto policies could be a great way to do it. Many insurance providers offer discounts for customers who have multiple policies with them, so be sure to explore your options.

bundling home and auto insurance in San Diego
Cheapest car insurance companies for bundling home and auto insurance in San Diego, CA
Company Avg. 6 Mo. Premium
Wawanesa $528
GEICO $649
USAA $736
Progressive $746
21st Century $786
State Farm $818
Allstate $1,000

While some things may be out of your control, drivers can work to make their profiles more appealing to insurers. The best advice we offer is to shop around and compare auto insurance quotes with as many companies as possible to ensure you're getting the most affordable rate that doesn't compromise coverage and service — especially if any personal factors have changed (like moving, celebrating a birthday and improving your credit). Try as you might, some companies are just more expensive than others; don't be afraid to switch.

Find the best rates for both auto and home insurance in minutes!

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Frequently asked questions

San Diego drivers pay an average of $922 for a six-month auto insurance policy. This is slightly less than the average for California at $967, but far more than the national average of $742.

When comparing San Diego car insurance rates with the national average, results are significantly higher — about 24% more, in fact. This has much to do with San Diego's metropolitan status, high number of drivers, and uninsured drivers. Still, you can keep your auto insurance premiums low by keeping a clean driving record and shopping around with many companies frequently.

According to our data, Wawanesa offers the lowest car insurance rates for San Diego drivers. An average full-coverage Wawanesa policy is just $528 for six months — almost $300 less than the average for this city. 21st Century and State Farm are also worthwhile options to look into for affordable rates.

Find affordable rates in minutes!

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How much is car insurance near me? — explore more cities near San Diego, CA

Recently answered questions about car insurance in San Diego from real Zebra customers

Car insurance near me in San Diego

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About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance editorial content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.