Compared to Los Angeles car insurance rates, San Diego's are hundreds of dollars less, but still not cheap. The same driver will pay hundreds of dollars more in Coronado than in Carlsbad, according to our California car insurance rate analysis. But even if you live in one of the higher-cost ZIP codes, you can save money by simple comparison shopping. No two car insurance companies will offer you the same rate.
San Diego ZIP code 92136 is the most expensive for car insurance in the city, $1,623 a year, on average for full coverage, according to a survey of rates from six major carriers. But the difference between the highest rate ($1,993) for that ZIP and the lowest ($1,110) is $883.
Why comparing car insurance rates saves you money
Prices for the same policy vary by hundreds – sometimes thousands – of dollars because no two insurance companies us the same formula to calculate rates. That’s why you have to shop around to save money. To see how car insurance rates compare, use our average rates tool below.
Enter a ZIP code to see the average premium for the location, as well as the highest and lowest rates from the six major carriers surveyed.
San Diego Car Insurance Rates by ZIP Code
Enter ZIP for average rate. Then enter Age, Gender and Coverage Level for customized rate.
Invalid ZIP code or data not available
CarInsurance.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services to provide a report of average auto insurance rates for a 2016 Honda Accord for nearly every ZIP code in the United States. We calculated rates using data for up to six large carriers (Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, Nationwide, Progressive and State Farm).
Averages for the default result are based on insurance for a married 40-year-old male who commutes 12 miles to work each day, with policy limits of 100/300/100 ($100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $100,000 for property damage in an accident) and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage. The rate includes uninsured motorist coverage.
Averages for customized rates are based on drivers ages 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70 for the following coverage levels: state minimum liability, liability of 50/100/50 and 100/300/100 with $500 deductible on comprehensive and collision. These hypothetical drivers have clean records and good credit. Average rates are for comparative purposes.
Your own rate will depend on your personal factors and vehicle.
State Minimum: Required liability coverage to drive legally in your state; some states mandate additional coverage, such as personal injury protection, uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist.
Liability Only 50/100/50: $50,000 per person/$100,000 maximum per accident for bodily injury; $50,000 for property damage. Liability pays for injuries/damage you cause others.
Full Coverage 100/300/100: $100,000 per person/$300,000 maximum per accident for bodily injury; $100,000 for property damage; comprehensive and collision coverage with $500 deductible. Liability pays for injuries/damage you cause others. Comprehensive and collision pay for damage to your car.
Here's how San Diego’s highest average rate ($1,623) compares to others, assuming full coverage policy:
$552 more than the least expensive average rate ($1,071) in California, Los Olivos ZIP code 93441
$105 more than the state average ($1,518)
$268 more than the national average rate ($1,355)
You’ll see in the chart below how San Deigo ZIP codes rank for car insurance, from the most expensive to the least, and how much rates can vary for the same policy.
Car insurance rates in San Diego by ZIP code
Average annual premium
Highest annual premium
Lowest annual premium
Methodology: CarInsurance.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services to run auto insurance rates for a 2016 Honda Accord for more than 30,000 ZIP codes in the United States using six large carriers -- Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, Nationwide, Progressive and State Farm. (In cases where an insurer’s rate wasn’t available, another major carrier's rate was substituted.) Averages are based on insurance for a single 40-year-old male who commutes 12 miles to work each day, with policy limits of 100/300/100 ($100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $100,000 for property damage in an accident) and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage. This hypothetical driver has a clean record and good credit. The rate includes uninsured motorist coverage. Average rates are for comparative purposes. Your own rate will depend on your personal factors and vehicle.
San Diego car insurance requirements
California state law requires the following minimum car insurance coverage:
Minimum bodily injury liability
Minimum property damage liability
Cheapest car insurance in San Diego
If you need just enough coverage to drive legally, you’ll want to shop for the lowest liability car insurance limits required by the state. In California, (written as 15/30/5) that means your liability car insurance would pay up to:
$15,000 for injuries you cause to others
$30,000 per accident
$5,000 for damage you cause to others’ cars and property
The state average rate for a year of minimum coverage is $491, according to our rate analysis. You would pay just $101 more if you hiked your liability coverage to 50/100/50. That's less than $9 a month.
Cheapest San Diego car insurance companies
Geico leads the pack in terms of offering car insurance in San Diego at the lowest rates. To see how major insurance companies rank on price, see the chart below.
Best car insurance in San Diego
If you want to have enough car insurance coverage to protect your home and assets, you should buy liability insurance in the following amounts:
$100,000 to pay for others’ medical bills
$300,000 to pay for injuries to others in an accident you cause
$100,000 to pay for damage to others’ property
You should also consider buying these optional coverages:
Comprehensive, which replaces stolen cars and covers damage to your car from floods, fire, hail, vandalism.
Collision, which pays for damage to your car from accidents.
Comprehensive insurance and collision coverage pay out up to the actual cash value of your car. In California, comprehensive costs $98 and collision costs $361, on average per year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. These two coverages come with a deductible. That’s the amount you pay for each claim before your insurer pays out. Deductibles of $1,000, $500 and $250 are the usual amounts from which you can choose. The lower the deductible is, the higher your rate will be.
How much does insurance go up after a speeding ticket in San Diego?
CarInsurance.com’s rate analysis shows that drivers in San Diego can expect to pay, on average, up to about $1,692 more a year for car insurance after minor violations such as speeding.More serious infractions, such as DUI can hike rates as much as $3,085. Minor traffic violations typically stay on your record for about three years, and you can expect to see the rate increase upon your policy renewal date.
Rate after violation
DUI/DWI first offense
Operating a vehicle in a race (highway racing)
2 speeding tickets 11 mph or over
Driving without a license or permit
Driving without insurance
Failure to stop
Failure to yield
Following too closely
Speeding 30+ over limit
Speeding ticket 1-5 MPH over limit
Speeding ticket 6-10 MPH over limit
Speeding ticket 11-15 MPH over limit
Speeding ticket 16-29 MPH over limit
Lapse of coverage for 7 days
Lapse of coverage for 15 days
Lapse of coverage for 30 days
Lapse of coverage for 60 days
*Methodology: CarInsurance.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services in 2019 to field rates from up to six major insurers for 10 ZIP codes in the city for the following driver profile: male, age 40, good credit, clean driver record, driving 2017 Honda accord. We compared the clean record driver rate to the rate for various tickets and accident claims to get the average percentage and dollar increase, for the coverage level of 100/300/50; with comprehensive and collision and $500 deductible. These are estimates; your actual rate will depend on your personal rating factors.
How much will an accident raise my insurance in San Diego?
When you file a claim for an accident that's your fault, typically your car insurance rates will increase. The table below shows how much for drivers in San Diego can expect to pay for common car insurance claims.
Rate after claim
Hit and run - injury
Hit and run property damage
2 At-fault property damage accident over $2k
At-fault bodily injury accident
1 At-fault property damage accident over $2K
1 At-fault property damage accident under $2K
1 comprehensive claim for over $2k
1 comprehensive claim for under $2k
2 comprehensive claims for over $2k
Adding a teen driver to your insurance
Teen drivers are inexperienced, and are involved in more accidents than older drivers, so they cost more to insure. In San Diego, adding a 16-year-old daughter to your policy will hike your rates by $3,084 annually, or 182 percent. It's more for boys. Insuring your 16-year-old son will increase your yearly rate by $4,232, or 250 percent, according to CarInsurance.com rate data. If you're insuring a teen driver of any age, you can get expert tips, more rate data by age and details from our "Parents guide to insuring a teen driver."
If you're convicted of a serious offense, such as DUI or reckless driving, you may be required to have your insurance company file an SR-22 form on your behalf. An SR-22 is a car insurance company’s guarantee to the state that you are carrying the legally mandated coverage. If you are required to have an SR-22 filed, your car insurance rates will increase. CarInsurance.com data show that for drivers in San Diego, your rate will go up by an average of $1,218, or 64 percent.
Driving in San Diego
Traffic in San Diego: The city and nearby areas came in 13th for the worst traffic in the country in a recent report by USA Today, which noted that commuters spend about 37 hours a year stuck in traffic.
Car crashes: Major accidents have resulted in an average of 70 deaths a year in recent years (2012-2014).
Commuting: The average commute in San Diego is 24.4 minutes.
High Occupancy Vehicle rules: The HOV lane, also known as the carpool or diamond lane, is designed to reduce traffic congestion and promote ride-sharing on freeways. In the San Diego area, only vehicles with at least two people, mass transit vehicles like buses and motorcycles are allowed to use the lanes. The lanes may be restricted during specified hours.
Public transportation: The U.S. Census Bureau says that the majority of riders in San Diego who commute to work by public transportation are white (about 29 percent), Hispanic (about 43 percent) and black (about 9 percent). The bureau notes that commuting is the main reason people use mass transit.
Smog rules: All California residents much have their vehicles tested for emissions at a licensed smog testing center every two years to renew registration. Vehicles that are six years old or less are exempt from testing. New California residents must have an initial inspection to have their vehicle registered, even if they have a current smog certificate from their previous state.
Bad intersection: Where 54th Street and University Avenue meet is considered one of the worst intersections in San Diego, with 77 accidents reported during the past ten years.
The information was gathered from various sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Texas A&M Transportation Institute, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, state transportation departments and city police departments.