Why Auto Insurance is Expensive in San Francisco

San Francisco auto insurance is not cheap, but there are a number of reasons why prices are so high that are out of your control.

  1. With over 850,000 residents in the city of San Francisco and more than 4.7 million in the bay area, that's a lot of drivers. With this many vehicles, accidents are bound to happen and insurance rates have to rise to pay for the increase in claims. As more people move into the bay area, rates will only continue to rise.
  2. The ten year span between 2004 and 2014 saw high gas prices and the result was people drove less. Insurance companies saw fewer claims and they adjusted their rates to reflect this trend. Now that gas prices have eased, drivers have hit the road in record numbers, and insurance companies were not prepared for the sudden spike in losses. To make up for several years of underwriting losses, companies are now increasing rates to help mitigate the increase in claims.
  3. Vehicles even ten years ago didn't have all the fancy technology that today's cars have, and although it's nice to have blind spot monitors, lane departure warnings, backup cameras, and reverse sensors, a minor accident can now cost several thousand dollars to repair. Not only that, but vehicle paint options now include difficult to replicate colors that increase the cost at the body shop.

How to Lower Your San Francisco Auto Insurance Rates

There are several things you can control that contribute to high car insurance prices in San Francisco.

  1. Traffic violations and at-fault accidents are the largest contributor to high rates. A single speeding or failure-to-yield violation can increase rates by 10% or more. Add in an at-fault accident and you'll see rates jump by 50% or more.
  2. The type of vehicle you buy directly impacts your policy rate. High-performance vehicles or luxury cars cost more to repair, and many have much higher liability rates. Safe, lower-performance vehicles have lower rates due to cheaper cost to repair and less likelihood of costly liability claims.
  3. Other factors like your credit rating and where you live have a significant impact on the price you pay. Poor credit indicates a lack of financial responsibility, and insurance companies will charge more if your credit rating is not up to par. Living in areas where there is a good chance of vehicle theft or high likelihood of weather damage like hail will also drive up your rates significantly.
  4. Sticking with the same car insurance company year after year may be costing you a lot of money. Brand loyalty is commendable, but there may be much cheaper options available. Shopping your coverage around at least once a year is a great way to lower rates. A recent study showed that drivers who compare rates once a year save over $850 a year compared to drivers who never shop around.

What is the Cheapest Auto Insurance in San Francisco?

Each insurance company has their own rating criteria that determines how much you will pay. Some companies may favor insuring married homeowners with excellent credit, while others may prefer to take more risk and insure drivers with a history of DUI or reckless driving. These drivers may be required to have an SR-22 filing, which means their insurance company verifies they have coverage. If their coverage lapses for any reason, the insurer notifies the California Department of Motor Vehicles and the insured's license can be revoked or suspended.

The cheapest insurance coverage for you is completely dependent on your personal situation and risk profile, and the only way to find which company has the best prices is to compare rates from as many companies as possible. We can help you compare rate quotes by either visiting the companies listed on this page or complete a quick quote request form on this page.

The example rates shown below give an idea of how much car insurance costs in San Francisco. The rates are based on a single male driver, age 40, with no violations or at-fault accidents. Full coverage is included with $500 deductibles and California minimum liability limits. Policy discounts include multi-policy, safe driver, claim-free, multi-vehicle, and homeowner. Rates do not factor in a specific location in San Francisco, which can have a significant impact on prices.

To view rates for your specific make and model of vehicle, click here.

Auto Insurance Rates in San Francisco
Make, Model, and Trim Level Annual Policy Premium 6-month Policy Premium Monthly Premium
Chevrolet Equinox LTZ AWD $1,660 $830 $138
Chevrolet Silverado LTZ Crew Cab 4WD $1,660 $830 $138
Dodge Ram Crew Cab ST 2WD $1,660 $830 $138
Ford Escape XLS 2WD $1,290 $645 $108
Ford Explorer XLT 2WD $1,436 $718 $120
Ford F-150 XLT Crew Cab 2WD $1,436 $718 $120
Ford Focus SE 4-Dr Sedan $1,496 $748 $125
Honda Accord EX-L 4-Dr Sedan $1,422 $711 $119
Honda CR-V LX 4WD $1,290 $645 $108
Honda Civic GX 4-Dr Sedan $1,722 $861 $144
Hyundai Sonata GLS 4-Dr Sedan $1,626 $813 $136
Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT-8 4WD $1,660 $830 $138
Kia Optima EX $1,754 $877 $146
Nissan Altima 2.5 S 4-Dr Sedan $1,626 $813 $136
Toyota Camry LE $1,532 $766 $128
Toyota Corolla XLE $1,626 $813 $136
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