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Renata Balasco

Senior Content Strategist

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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

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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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Ross Martin

Insurance Writer

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  • 4+ years in the Insurance Industry

Ross joined The Zebra as a writer and researcher in 2019. He specializes in writing insurance content to help shoppers make informed decisions.

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How much does car insurance cost in San Francisco?

Car insurance in San Francisco can be expensive, with drivers paying an average of $1,148 every six months or $191 per month. These rates are higher than both California's state average and the national average ($964 and $742 respectively). According to our research, 35% of our customers in San Francisco believe they are paying too much for their car insurance coverage. However, there are insurance companies that offer rates up to 46% lower than this average, and we can help you find the best policy for your needs.

In San Francisco, drivers looking for affordable car insurance may be interested in Wawanesa, which currently offers rates that are almost 46% lower than standard rates. A six-month policy from the company costs just $620. Whether you're satisfied with your current insurance provider or looking to switch, The Zebra can help you find the best policy for your needs in San Francisco. We'll consider factors such as your age, credit score, and neighborhood to ensure that you're getting the best possible rates.

Car Insurance in San Francisco vs. California Avg. 6 Mo. Premium
San Francisco Average $1,148
California Average $964

The cheapest car insurance companies in San Francisco

1st place medal
1st place: Wawanesa

Wawanesa offers the cheapest rates in San Francisco with six-month policies at $620.

2nd place medal
2nd place: GEICO

GEICO is the second cheapest company in San Francisco with average rates at $728 for six months or $121 per month.

3rd place medal
3rd place: USAA

Coming in third place for the cheapest insurance company is USAA. USAA policies start at $930 for six months ($155 per month). 

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

  • The average cost of a car insurance policy in San Francisco is $1,148 per six-month policy — $191 per month.
  • The cheapest company in San Francisco is Wawanesa ($620).
  • 35% of Zebra customers in San Francisco 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 Francisco car insurance rates by company

San Francisco drivers can take advantage of our 2022 data, which shows that the cheapest car insurance company for full coverage is Wawanesa, offering a six-month policy for just $620 or $103 per month. GEICO comes in second, with a six-month policy costing $728 or $121 per month. To learn more about top-rated car insurance companies in San Francisco, check out The Zebra's Customer Satisfaction Survey.

 

Cheapest car insurance companies in San Francisco, CA
Company Avg. 6 Mo. Premium
Wawanesa $620
GEICO $728
USAA $930
Progressive $1,033
State Farm $1,117
Nationwide $1,193
Allstate $1,332

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


The only way to know which company is the cheapest coverage for you is to compare. Our comparison will do the leg work for you. Enter your ZIP code to see rates from Progressive, Allstate, Liberty Mutual and Nationwide (+ other top companies) to find the best and cheapest car insurance in San Francisco.

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Average car insurance in San Francisco by rating factor

When it comes to car insurance rates, the rating factors used by each provider can play a significant role in determining the cost of your policy. These factors, which may include your age, gender, location, and credit score, help insurers assess the level of risk you pose as a driver. However, the weight placed on each rating factor can differ from one provider to the next.

That's why it's important to shop around and compare quotes from multiple providers to ensure you're getting the best possible rates based on your unique rating factors.

Q: I didn't have an accident — Why is my insurance going up?

A: End-of-year earnings can have a significant impact on the cost of car insurance in San Francisco. Insurance providers in the city use revenue from premiums versus the cost of paying out claims to assess the level of risk drivers pose. Even if you have a clean driving record and haven't filed any claims, you may still end up paying more with certain providers due to the increased cost of doing business in San Francisco.

Auto insurance premiums by age in San Francisco

Age is an important factor for insurance companies in San Francisco when setting car insurance rates. Drivers of a younger age generally have less experience on the road, leading to higher accident rates. Insurance companies use this data to assess how likely drivers are to get into an accident, and as a result, teen drivers in San Francisco typically face the highest insurance rates. The difference in rates for teen drivers and drivers in their 20s is $1,564 in San Francisco, which is the largest difference between any two age groups.

 

Cheapest car insurance companies for teen drivers in San Francisco, CA
Company Avg. 6 Mo. Premium
Wawanesa $1,041
GEICO $1,694
State Farm $1,951
USAA $2,053
Progressive $2,557
Allstate $2,960
Nationwide $3,790
Age Bracket Cheapest Companies Avg. 6 Mo. Premium
20s Wawanesa $682
30s Wawanesa $549
40s Wawanesa $549
50s Wawanesa $549
60s Wawanesa $549
70s Wawanesa $538

Zebra Tip: The cheapest companies for San Francisco drivers between 30-40 are Wawanesa, GEICO and USAA


In San Francisco, our research indicates that the majority of drivers fall between the ages of 30-39. This group typically pays an average of $1,156 every six months for car insurance. However, by working with one of the three cheapest insurance companies, they could potentially save up to 38%. Keep in mind that USAA is only available to military members and their families.

Auto insurance premiums for minimum coverage in San Francisco

When it comes to car insurance, choosing minimum coverage may not always be the best decision. In San Francisco, only 24% of drivers have the state minimum coverage, indicating that many people prefer to have more comprehensive protection. If you are uncertain about which coverage is right for you, it is advisable to research and compare quotes from various insurance providers to find the coverage that meets your needs and budget.

While it's always a good idea to have more coverage than the bare minimum, adding collision or comprehensive coverage to your policy can be costly. Typically referred to as "full coverage," these add-ons come with a deductible and will raise your rates. Remember, the lower your deductible, the higher your rates will be. If you want to balance coverage and cost, consider opting for full coverage with a higher deductible.

To add another layer of protection in the event of an incident, consider adding roadside assistance or uninsured motorist coverage to your insurance policy. These options, like full coverage, can help protect you against uninsured drivers. While it may increase your rates, The Zebra still recommends carrying these options for added security, according to their experts.

Q: Can I lower my car insurance coverage?

A: Possibly — if your vehicle is paid off.

In San Francisco, 54% of drivers have owned vehicles. If you own your car outright, you have the option to drop comprehensive or collision coverage to save some money on your insurance premiums. However, it's important to evaluate the value of your vehicle before making this decision. If your car is worth less than $4,000, it may not be worth carrying collision coverage as the cost of repairs may not exceed the value of the car. Keep in mind that without this coverage, you'll be responsible for covering any damages out of pocket.

Cheapest car insurance companies for minimum coverage in San Francisco, CA
Company Avg. 6 Mo. Premium
GEICO $186
USAA $264
Wawanesa $270
Progressive $284
State Farm $332
Nationwide $361
Allstate $441
  • 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 Francisco 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 Francisco 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. 

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Auto insurance rates with an at-fault accident

San Francisco drivers also file the most auto insurance claims for at-fault and collision-type accidents. If you're found to be at-fault in an accident, your rates may increase. Our data shows that, on average, car insurance rates in San Francisco increase from $191 to $330 per month after an at-fault accident. If you're looking to save money, consider comparing quotes from different insurers or raising your deductible.

No matter where you're driving in San Francisco, the key to keeping your auto insurance rates affordable is to drive safely and avoid accidents and violations. Different types of violations can impact your rates in different ways, but most will stay on your record for three to five years. Major offenses like DUI or reckless driving can lead to significant rate hikes that can stay on your record for even longer, while minor infractions like parking violations or broken taillights may not have as much of an impact. In any case, it's best to aim for a clean driving record to enjoy the lowest possible rates on your auto insurance.

 

Cheapest car insurance companies after an at-fault accident in San Francisco, CA
Company Avg. 6 Mo. Premium
Wawanesa $937
GEICO $1,309
USAA $1,324
Nationwide $1,745
State Farm $1,761
Progressive $2,041
Allstate $2,919

San Francisco car insurance rates by violation

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

Car insurance rate increases after violations and citations in San Francisco, CA
Accident/Violation Avg. 6 Mo. Premium % Rate Increase $ Rate Increase
One comp claim $1,148 0% $0
Two comp claims $1,148 0% $0
Two Med/PIP claims $1,148 0% $0
None $1,148 0% $0
One Med/PIP claim $1,148 0% $0
Not-at-fault accident $1,154 1% $6
At-fault accident - less than $1000 $1,173 2% $25
Failure to show documents $1,496 30% $348
Driving with expired registration $1,505 31% $358
Driving without lights $1,513 32% $365
Failure to wear a seat belt $1,516 32% $368
Child safety restraint $1,521 33% $373
Illegal turn $1,592 39% $444
Following too closely $1,592 39% $444
Failure to stop at a red light $1,592 39% $444
Speeding 11 - 15 MPH over limit $1,594 39% $446
In 65 MPH zone $1,594 39% $446
Speeding 16 - 20 MPH over limit $1,594 39% $446
Driving too slowly $1,594 39% $446
Speeding in school zone $1,594 39% $446
Speeding 6 - 10 MPH over limit $1,594 39% $446
Failure to yield $1,594 39% $446
Cell phone violation $1,595 39% $447
Texting while driving $1,595 39% $447
Speeding 21 - 25 MPH over limit $1,600 39% $453
Improper passing $1,613 41% $466
Passing school bus $1,640 43% $493
Wrong way/wrong lane $1,876 63% $729
Operating a vehicle without permission $1,928 68% $780
At-fault accident - greater than $2000 $1,980 73% $833
At-fault accident - $1000-$2000 $1,980 73% $833
Open container $2,092 82% $944
Driving with a suspended license $2,440 113% $1,292
Reckless driving $2,850 148% $1,702
Racing $2,883 151% $1,736
Leaving scene of an accident/hit and run $2,893 152% $1,746
Refusal to submit to a chemical test $2,965 158% $1,817
DUI $2,965 158% $1,817

Why is car insurance in San Francisco so expensive?

San Francisco is known for its steep hills and challenging driving conditions, which can contribute to higher auto insurance rates in the city. Additionally, the cost of living in a popular city and the rising cost of vehicle repairs and medical expenses can lead to higher rates. Insurance companies also have to cover their operating costs, which means increasing rates. Auto insurance can be expensive for other reasons, such as the type of vehicle you drive and your personal driving history.

Stay tuned as we explore the reasons why auto insurance can be pricey, even for those with a clean driving record.

apartment complex
Population density

San Francisco is one of the most densely populated cities in America. More residents often mean more drivers on the road, and a high concentration of cars can lead to an increased likelihood of accidents. Some ZIP codes are more densely packed than others, so if you live in one of these ZIP codes, statistics show that you are more likely to get into an accident than a driver from a less concentrated community.

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Crime statistics

Areas in San Francisco with higher crime rates are likely to have increased car insurance rates. If you live in a San Francisco ZIP code with elevated rates of crime, theft, or vandalism, you may face higher insurance premiums.

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Accident rates

With so many cars on the road in such a densely populated city, the risk of accidents is greatly increased. Traffic in San Francisco can be extremely congested, leading to frequent accidents and claims. San Francisco auto insurance providers offset these costs onto policyholders in the form of high premiums. 

Zebra Tip: Consider uninsured property damage coverage


Uninsured motorist coverage (UMPD) can be a valuable addition to your auto insurance policy, especially if you live in an area with a high number of uninsured drivers. In the event of an accident with an uninsured or underinsured driver, UMPD coverage can help cover the costs of damages. Adding UMPD to your policy may be more affordable than you think, and it can often be less expensive than collision coverage. Additionally, if you ever need to file a UMPD claim, the rate increase is typically not as severe as it would be with a collision claim.


Bundling insurance policies in San Francisco

Although San Francisco is known for its high cost of living, there are still ways to save on car insurance. One of the simplest methods to save is by bundling your home and auto insurance. When you combine your homeowners or renters insurance with your auto insurance, you may qualify for a discount of 10% or more. While searching for rates, be sure to ask about bundling discounts, to help reduce your insurance premiums.

No matter where you live, there are ways to save money on your car insurance premiums. One of the most effective ways to do this is by shopping around and comparing quotes from different insurers. This allows you to see the different rates and coverage options available to you, and choose the policy that best fits your budget and needs. Additionally, maintaining a clean driving record and taking steps to reduce your risk on the road can help lower your insurance costs over time.

bundling home and auto insurance in san francisco
Cheapest car insurance companies for bundling home and auto insurance in San Francisco, CA
Company Avg. 6 Mo. Premium
Wawanesa $620
GEICO $728
USAA $841
State Farm $883
Progressive $885
Nationwide $899
Allstate $1,306

Taking control of your auto insurance premiums can start with small changes, like driving safely and maintaining a good credit score. Make sure to keep your insurance company updated with any changes to your information and be willing to shop around for the best rates and coverage. Even if it means switching insurance providers, remember that you have the power to make choices that can impact your budget and insurance needs. Don't be afraid to explore your options and find the right fit for you.

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

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Frequently asked questions

Our data states that the average monthly premium in San Francisco is $191 ($1,148 every six months). This number may be impacted by individual factors like age, driving history and coverage level.

San Francisco auto insurance is more expensive than the California state average and the national average. Drivers in San Francisco pay 19% more in premiums compared to other California drivers and 55% more than the national average. High premiums are due to by population density, traffic congestion and high rates of accidents.

Wawanesa offers the lowest rates for auto insurance in San Francisco with average rates at $620 for a six-month policy. GEICO and USAA are also worth checking out for competitive premiums.


Find affordable rates in minutes!

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


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

Car insurance near me in San Francisco

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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.