How Much is Auto Insurance for First-time Drivers in San Francisco?

For new drivers, one of the more important components that determine car insurance rates is where you live. Areas with increased crime or more people will most likely pay more, whereas areas with fewer weather claims and lower vehicle theft rates can boast about having cheaper rates.

The next table ranks the most expensive areas in California for first-time drivers to purchase car insurance in. San Francisco comes in at #4 with the yearly price of $1,745 for the average policy, which is approximately $145 each month.

How much does auto insurance cost in San Francisco?
Rank City Average Per Year
1 Los Angeles $2,146
2 Glendale $2,121
3 Oakland $1,755
4 San Francisco $1,745
5 Sacramento $1,720
6 Long Beach $1,626
7 Stockton $1,588
8 San Bernardino $1,580
9 Garden Grove $1,570
10 Santa Clarita $1,548
11 Riverside $1,542
12 Modesto $1,532
13 Fontana $1,519
14 Santa Ana $1,497
15 Moreno Valley $1,491
16 Fresno $1,457
17 San Jose $1,437
18 Anaheim $1,430
19 Bakersfield $1,394
20 Fremont $1,389
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Rate information is estimated as zip code location can affect price quotes significantly.

Figuring out which insurers offer the best insurance rates for first-time drivers will take more work in order to find coverage that fits your budget.

Each auto insurance company has a proprietary method for filing rates in each state, so we’ll go over the lowest cost insurance companies in San Francisco. It’s important that you understand San Francisco, CA insurance rates are calculated based on many things that control the price you have to pay for coverage. Improving your credit rating, marrying your spouse, or getting a speeding ticket can trigger price changes that may make certain companies cheaper than competitors.

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Cheapest California auto insurance companies
Rank Company Cost Per Year
1 USAA $1,143
2 Wawanesa $1,192
3 CSAA $1,222
4 Century National $1,226
5 Nationwide $1,263
6 21st Century $1,325
7 Grange $1,477
8 GEICO $1,529
9 Allied $1,541
10 Progressive $1,542
11 Allstate $1,543
12 Mercury $1,548
13 The Hartford $1,575
14 MetLife $1,590
15 Esurance $1,688
16 Unitrin $1,733
17 State Farm $1,733
18 Travelers $1,788
19 Bristol West $1,831
20 Farmers $1,946
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USAA may have some of the cheapest car insurance rates in San Francisco at around $1,143 a year. This is $508 less than the average policy premium paid by California drivers of $1,651. Wawanesa, CSAA, Century National, and Nationwide would also be considered some of the cheaper San Francisco, CA car insurance companies.

As illustrated above, if you are a policyholder with Century National and switched to USAA, you may see an annual premium reduction of around $83. Insureds with Nationwide might save as much as $120 a year, and 21st Century insureds might realize rate reductions of up to $182 a year.

To get a quick, customized rate comparison, click here to begin a quote or visit any of the companies below.

Remember that these prices are averaged across all drivers and vehicles in California and and are not calculated with a specific location for first-time drivers. So the company that fits your situation best may not even be in the top 24 companies in the list above. That underscores the importance of why you need to get quotes using your own driver data and vehicle information.

The type of vehicle you are buying coverage for is one of the largest considerations when comparing quotes for the cheapest auto insurance for first-time drivers. Vehicles with economical engines, advanced safety features, or low incidents of liability claims will cost quite a bit less to insure than fast, unsafe models. The next table presents auto insurance rates for the cheaper vehicles to insure.

Cheapest Vehicles to Insure in San Francisco, CA
Make and Model Estimated Cost for Full Coverage
Ford Escape XLS 4WD $5,402
Honda CR-V LX 4WD $5,408
Toyota Prius $5,869
Dodge Grand Caravan CV $6,060
Honda Odyssey EX $6,357
Ford Edge Limited 2WD $6,364
Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid $6,415
Toyota RAV4 Limited 4WD $6,424
Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 2WD $6,415
Dodge Ram 3500 Crew Cab Laramie 2WD $6,469
Ford F-150 Lariat Super Cab 2WD $6,476
Toyota Tacoma Double Cab 4WD $6,469
Ford Explorer Limited 4WD $6,477
Ford Focus SEL 4-Dr Sedan $6,709
Hyundai Elantra Blue 4-Dr Sedan $6,715
Toyota Corolla LE $6,767
Chevrolet Impala LTZ $6,773
Volkswagen Jetta SEL 4-Dr Sedan $6,822
Ford Fusion SEL 4-Dr Sedan $6,827
Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD LTZ Crew Cab 4WD $6,822
GMC Sierra 2500HD SLE Regular Cab 4WD $6,830
Chevrolet Equinox LTZ AWD $6,822
Ford F-350 XL Crew Cab Cabela Package 2WD $6,879
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Price data assumes single male driver age 17, no speeding tickets, no at-fault accidents, $1,000 deductibles, and California minimum liability limits. Discounts applied include claim-free, and safe-driver. Information does not factor in specific location which can increase or decrease coverage prices noticeably.

Based upon the rates shown, vehicles like the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Toyota Prius will definitely be the most economical vehicles to insure for new drivers. The price for an auto insurance policy will tend to be more expensive because of the fact that there is more liability risk for first-time drivers, but generally speaking those makes and models will tend to have the lowest insurance prices that you’ll find.

The example below highlights how deductible selection can influence premium costs when getting quotes for cheap insurance for first-time drivers. The premiums assume a single male driver, full coverage, and no discounts are applied to the premium.

As shown above, a 40-year-old driver could lower rates by $492 a year by switching the physical damage coverage from a $100 deductible up to a $500 deductible, or save $738 by changing to a $1,000 deductible. Young drivers, like the 20-year-old category, can save up to $1,640 every year just by choosing higher deductibles.

When insureds make the decision to increase the deductibles on their policy, it will be important to have enough funds in savings to enable you to pay the extra out-of-pocket expense that is associated with using high deductibles.

Impact of speeding/accidents on insurance rates

The obvious way to enjoy the best insurance premiums for new drivers is to be an attentive driver and avoid traffic citations and accidents. The chart below shows how speeding tickets and at-fault fender-benders drive up yearly insurance costs for each age group. Data assumes a single female driver, comprehensive and collision coverage, $100 deductibles, and no discounts are factored in.

In the prior example, the average cost of a car insurance policy in California per year with no accidents or violations is $2,394. Factor in one speeding ticket and the average cost rises to $2,714, an increase of $320 each year. Then throw in one accident along with the one speeding ticket and the 12-month cost of insurance for first-time drivers increases to an average of $3,611. That’s an increase of $1,217, or $101 per month, just for not driving responsibly!

Get discounts on San Francisco auto insurance

Insurance for new drivers in San Francisco, CAInsurance providers that offer coverage for first-time drivers may also give you rate discounts that may potentially lower prices by as much as 25% or more if you qualify. The best insurance companies and some of the premium reductions they offer are:

The diagram below shows the difference between car insurance costs with and without discounts applied to the policy premium. The premiums are based on a male driver, no accidents, no driving violations, California state minimum liability limits, full physical damage coverage, and $500 deductibles.

The first bar for each age group shows premium with no discounts. The lower bar shows the rates with paperless filing, passive restraint, good student, vehicle safety, continuous coverage, and anti-theft discounts applied. When these discounts are applied, theaverage yearly reduction on insurance for first-time drivers is 28% or $999.