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Best Cheap Car Insurance in San Diego for 2021

Dec. 9, 2020
Auto Insurance, Insurance
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If you’re shopping around for cheap car insurance in San Diego, you’re already ahead of the game.

On average, San Diego auto insurance costs $1,800 a year, NerdWallet’s 2021 rates analysis found. That’s $111 below the California average and $205 more than the average cost of car insurance nationwide.


Those average rates are based on a 40-year-old with a clean driving record, buying full coverage car insurance. Depending on your car, driving history and insurance company, you might be paying well over the average.

If you’d rather keep some of those dollars in your pocket, make sure to compare car insurance rates before you buy. We analyzed rates in the San Diego metro area from 39 insurers in California for several types of drivers, looking for San Diego auto insurance rates that were cheaper than the California average.

Shopping around is essential, because every driver is different, and your actual rate will vary from the prices shown here. Here are the five cheapest options we found for drivers in the San Diego metropolitan area.

Cheapest for 20-year-old drivers in San Diego

Drivers in their 20s may have to get a lot of quotes to find cheap car insurance. Prices can be sky-high for younger 20-somethings, but tend to come down as drivers get more experience on the road. Still, some companies routinely have better insurance rates for young drivers, so it's best to shop around to find them.

Cheapest full coverage in San Diego for 20-year-olds

Drivers in San Diego with clean driving records may want to consider the following companies, which had the lowest average rates:

  1. Wawanesa: $1,930 per year.
  2. Grange Insurance Association: $2,247 per year.
  3. Esurance: $2,365 per year.
  4. Geico: $2,418 per year.
  5. State Farm: $2,566 per year.

Cheapest minimum coverage in San Diego for 20-year-olds

Drivers in San Diego who want just the state minimum coverage may want to check with these companies, which had the lowest average rates:

  1. Grange Insurance Association: $638 per year.
  2. Geico: $771 per year.
  3. Wawanesa: $774 per year.
  4. Travelers: $854 per year.
  5. State Farm: $905 per year.

Cheapest for 20-year-old drivers with one at-fault crash in San Diego

For drivers with a recent accident in San Diego, here are the companies with the lowest average rates for minimum coverage:

  1. Grange Insurance Association: $772 per year.
  2. Geico: $1,062 per year.
  3. Wawanesa: $1,214 per year.
  4. Esurance: $1,308 per year.
  5. Travelers: $1,347 per year.

Cheapest insurance for 20-year-old drivers after a DUI in San Diego

The cheapest auto insurance we found after a DUI is shown here, alongside the insurers’ average rates for minimum coverage.

  1. Grange Insurance Association: $966 per year.
  2. National General: $987 per year.
  3. Wawanesa: $1,354 per year.
  4. Geico: $1,391 per year.
  5. Travelers: $1,746 per year.

Cheapest for 30-year-old drivers in San Diego

By the time they reach their 30s, most drivers will enjoy cheaper car insurance rates than in their teens and 20s. Still, factors like a person’s driving record and car make and model can increase prices. Drivers in their 30s can get lower rates by shopping around and taking advantage of any car insurance discounts.

Cheapest full coverage in San Diego for 30-year-olds

Drivers in San Diego with clean driving records may get the lowest rates from these companies:

  1. Esurance: $1,236 per year.
  2. Geico: $1,394 per year.
  3. Wawanesa: $1,525 per year.
  4. Infinity: $1,639 per year.
  5. Grange Insurance Association: $1,693 per year.

Cheapest minimum coverage in San Diego for 30-year-olds

Drivers in San Diego who want their state’s minimum coverage can check with the following companies, which had the lowest average rates:

  1. Geico: $396 per year.
  2. Grange Insurance Association: $480 per year.
  3. Auto Club of SoCal: $518 per year.
  4. Progressive: $526 per year.
  5. Wawanesa: $569 per year.

Cheapest for 30-year-old drivers with one at-fault crash in San Diego

For drivers in San Diego with a recent accident, here are the lowest average rate options for full coverage:

  1. Esurance: $1,948 per year.
  2. Grange Insurance Association: $2,166 per year.
  3. CIG: $2,198 per year.
  4. Wawanesa: $2,288 per year.
  5. Geico: $2,533 per year.

Cheapest insurance for 30-year-old drivers after a DUI in San Diego

For the cheapest auto insurance after a DUI, we found the following options for full coverage.

  1. Infinity: $2,325 per year.
  2. Grange Insurance Association: $2,708 per year.
  3. Wawanesa: $2,726 per year.
  4. Mercury: $2,840 per year.
  5. Esurance: $3,100 per year.

Cheapest for 40-year-old drivers in San Diego

Drivers in their 40s tend to have better insurance rates than their younger counterparts on average, but still pay more than older age groups. Shopping around for cheap car insurance quotes with multiple insurers is the best way to find lower rates. Good drivers who don’t get behind the wheel often might want to consider pay-per-mile insurance, which charges drivers by how many miles they drive.

Cheapest full coverage in San Diego for 40-year-olds

Drivers in San Diego with clean driving records may want to think about the following companies, which had the lowest average rates:

  1. Esurance: $1,167 per year.
  2. Geico: $1,357 per year.
  3. Wawanesa: $1,439 per year.
  4. Grange Insurance Association: $1,543 per year.
  5. 21st Century: $1,598 per year.

Cheapest minimum coverage in San Diego for 40-year-olds

Drivers in San Diego who want just the minimum coverage may want to check prices from these companies, which had the lowest average rates:

  1. Geico: $387 per year.
  2. Grange Insurance Association: $438 per year.
  3. Auto Club of SoCal: $510 per year.
  4. Progressive: $517 per year.
  5. Wawanesa: $542 per year.

Cheapest for 40-year-old drivers with one at-fault crash in San Diego

For drivers with a recent accident living in San Diego, here are the companies with the lowest average rates for full coverage:

  1. Esurance: $1,837 per year.
  2. Grange Insurance Association: $2,018 per year.
  3. CIG: $2,120 per year.
  4. Wawanesa: $2,159 per year.
  5. Geico: $2,467 per year.

Cheapest insurance for 40-year-old drivers after a DUI in San Diego

The cheapest full coverage auto insurance we found for drivers with a DUI came from the following companies.

  1. Infinity: $2,278 per year.
  2. Grange Insurance Association: $2,521 per year.
  3. Wawanesa: $2,571 per year.
  4. Mercury: $2,767 per year.
  5. Esurance: $2,919 per year.

Cheapest for 50-year-old drivers in San Diego

Drivers in their 50s have cheaper car insurance rates than most other age groups on average. Prices will continue to drop as they inch toward their 60s and gain more driving experience. Rates can still vary depending on other factors such as a driver’s gender and location, so it’s smart to shop around to find the best rate. Our list of the best cheap car insurance companies is a good place to start.

Cheapest full coverage in San Diego for 50-year-olds

Drivers in San Diego with clean driving records may want to get quotes from these insurers, which had the lowest average rates:

  1. Esurance: $1,155 per year.
  2. Geico: $1,330 per year.
  3. Wawanesa: $1,409 per year.
  4. 21st Century: $1,484 per year.
  5. Infinity: $1,522 per year.

Cheapest minimum coverage in San Diego for 50-year-olds

Drivers in San Diego who opt for the state minimum coverage may want to consider the following companies, with the lowest average rates:

  1. Geico: $381 per year.
  2. Grange Insurance Association: $438 per year.
  3. Auto Club of SoCal: $511 per year.
  4. Progressive: $512 per year.
  5. Wawanesa: $538 per year.

Cheapest for 50-year-old drivers with one at-fault crash in San Diego

For drivers living in San Diego with a recent accident, here are the insurers with the lowest average full coverage rates:

  1. Esurance: $1,821 per year.
  2. Grange Insurance Association: $2,018 per year.
  3. CIG: $2,038 per year.
  4. Wawanesa: $2,117 per year.
  5. Geico: $2,420 per year.

Cheapest insurance for 50-year-old drivers after a DUI in San Diego

The cheapest auto insurance we found for drivers with a recent DUI comes from the following companies, listed with rates for full coverage.

  1. Infinity: $2,154 per year.
  2. Wawanesa: $2,516 per year.
  3. Grange Insurance Association: $2,521 per year.
  4. Mercury: $2,622 per year.
  5. Esurance: $2,886 per year.

Cheapest for 65-year-old drivers in San Diego

Although 65-year-olds have cheaper car insurance rates than many other age groups on average, prices will start increasing as they get older. To find cheap auto insurance for seniors, drivers in their mid-60s should make sure to shop around to find the best rate. Drivers in this age group should also take advantage of any available discounts for senior citizens.

Cheapest full coverage in San Diego for 65-year-olds

Drivers in San Diego with clean driving records may want to think about getting quotes from these companies, which had the lowest average rates:

  1. Esurance: $1,181 per year.
  2. Geico: $1,314 per year.
  3. Wawanesa: $1,346 per year.
  4. State Farm: $1,400 per year.
  5. 21st Century: $1,464 per year.

Cheapest minimum coverage in San Diego for 65-year-olds

Drivers in San Diego who want just the state minimum coverage may want to check with these insurers, which had the lowest average rates:

  1. Geico: $383 per year.
  2. Grange Insurance Association: $438 per year.
  3. State Farm: $459 per year.
  4. Wawanesa: $524 per year.
  5. Auto Club of SoCal: $537 per year.

Cheapest for 65-year-old drivers with one at-fault crash in San Diego

For drivers with a recent accident living in San Diego, here are the companies with the lowest average rates for full coverage:

  1. Esurance: $1,864 per year.
  2. CIG: $2,002 per year.
  3. Grange Insurance Association: $2,018 per year.
  4. Wawanesa: $2,026 per year.
  5. State Farm: $2,217 per year.

Cheapest insurance for 65-year-old drivers after a DUI in San Diego

The cheapest auto insurance we found after a DUI came from the following companies, shown with their average rates for full coverage.

  1. Infinity: $2,397 per year.
  2. Wawanesa: $2,403 per year.
  3. Grange Insurance Association: $2,521 per year.
  4. Mercury: $2,658 per year.
  5. Esurance: $2,955 per year.

Cheapest for military families

If you’re an active member of the military or a veteran — or have an immediate family member who is — chances are you’ll get a relatively cheap rate with USAA, a company that isn’t available to the general public.

Because of that restriction, USAA isn’t ranked with the others, but it was among the cheapest five auto insurance options for some of the driver profiles we examined.

» MORE: Best car insurance for veterans and military

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.

Methodology

For our “good driver” profile, NerdWallet averaged insurance estimates from an average of 14 insurers in each state and Washington, D.C., for single male and female drivers with no tickets or violations. The analysis included 5-10 of the largest insurance companies in each state; smaller insurers were also included when rates were available. Liberty Mutual and its subsidiaries were excluded from our analysis as rates were not available.

For full coverage policies, we used the following coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person.
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident.
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident.
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person.
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident.
  • Collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible.
  • Comprehensive coverage with a $1,000 deductible.

In states where required, minimum additional coverages were added. Some policies include additional coverages at the insurer’s discretion.

  • We used a 2018 Toyota Camry L for all drivers and assumed 12,000 annual miles driven.
  • We analyzed rates for drivers 20 to 80 years old in five-year increments.

We used the same assumptions for all other driver profiles, with the following exceptions:

  • For drivers with minimum coverage, we adjusted the numbers above to reflect minimum required coverage by law in the state.
  • For drivers with one at-fault crash, we added a single at-fault crash that happened six months ago, resulting in $10,000 in property damage and no bodily injury claim.
  • For drivers with a DUI, we added a single drunken driving violation that happened six months ago.

These are rates generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.

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