If you want cheap car insurance in San Diego, you’ll do well to shop around. Rates can vary widely among insurers, and there are many in the area, so it pays to compare as many quotes as you can.
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To help you find the best deal, NerdWallet researched rates from the 13 largest insurers in San Diego and found the cheapest options for common driver types, including:
Also in this article
Cheapest for good drivers
For drivers with no at-fault accidents, DUIs or moving violations.
Good drivers typically qualify for more discounts — and therefore better rates — than those with a ding on their records. Esurance had the cheapest rates for good drivers in our analysis, at roughly $91 a month, followed by Geico and Farmers.
Cheapest for young drivers
For drivers in their early 20s.
Drivers in their early 20s tend to need less coverage than older motorists who have families to protect financially. We analyzed rates for young motorists in San Diego with the minimum required coverage levels in California.
Geico had by far the lowest quote for young drivers in our analysis, at about $38 per month. That’s over $14 per month cheaper than the next two options.
Cheapest for drivers with one at-fault crash
Causing a single accident can greatly affect what you pay for car insurance; exactly how much will vary among insurers. The cheapest quote we found for a driver with one at-fault accident was $471 more over a year compared with the cheapest quote for a driver of the same age with a clean record.
Esurance was the cheapest in our analysis at about $130 per month, with AAA and Mercury rounding out the top three.
Cheapest for retired drivers
For drivers in their mid- to late 60s who no longer use their car for commuting.
Retired drivers in San Diego who no longer have to worry about a daily commute can get relatively cheap car insurance compared with the typical good driver. Geico delivered the lowest price in our analysis, at roughly $74 per month, with 21st Century and Esurance not far behind.
To maximize savings, retirees should look into discounts aimed at mature or retired drivers age 55 or older.
Cheapest for low-mileage drivers
For drivers who travel 5,000 miles or less per year.
If you don’t drive much, or drive less than you used to, it might be a good time to look around for auto insurance. Metromile specializes in low-mileage drivers, so its rates are often best for those driving less than 5,000 miles per year. Other insurers offer per-mile insurance rates, where your bill may change every month with your mileage.
Cheapest for drivers with a military connection
USAA is available only to active military members, veterans and their families.
if you’re a veteran or active member of the military, or have an immediate family member who is, be sure to get a car insurance quote from USAA. The company doesn’t offer policies to the general public, but its rates are consistently among the lowest, and the insurer has top-rated customer service.
Minimum required car insurance in San Diego
In San Diego and all of California, drivers must carry at least:
- $15,000 bodily injury liability per person.
- $30,000 bodily injury liability per accident.
- $5,000 property damage liability per accident.
Liability coverage reimburses other people’s injury or property damage bills if you’re at fault in an accident. Experts recommend getting more than these minimums because you could find yourself using your own money to cover potential expenses after a crash.
For example, California’s property damage minimum of $5,000 could feel like little help after a crash. If the damage to another car or property exceeds that amount in an accident you cause, you’d have to come up with the difference.
Check out NerdWallet’s guide to state car insurance requirements for more details on the required and optional parts of your policy.
Alternative car insurance in San Diego
If you’re having trouble getting insured due to a high number of accidents, DUIs or other factors, check out the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan. This service connects high-risk or non-standard drivers to insurance companies that will cover them.
For more help finding the most competitive prices in San Diego, try NerdWallet’s car insurance comparison tool.
Here’s a summary of where you’ll find the cheapest insurance, by category:
Cheapest car insurance in San Diego
|Drivers with an at-fault crash||Esurance|
|Drivers with a military connection||USAA|
For most categories, NerdWallet averaged rates from the largest insurers for 30-year-old men and women in 10 ZIP codes and with 100/300/50 liability insurance limits, 100/300 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage limits, and collision and comprehensive coverages each with a $1,000 deductible.
We used a 2014 Toyota Camry in all cases. Our sample retired driver was 67 and drove 50% fewer annual miles than other groups, as did our sample low-mileage driver. Our sample young driver was 22 and carried the minimum required coverage.
These are sample rates generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.