What Car Insurance is Cheapest in San Francisco, California?

Finding good, low-cost auto insurance is not easy, and determining which companies quote the lowest-priced insurance rates in San Francisco involves even more work. Every auto insurer has a different formula to determine rates, so let’s begin by examining the most competitive insurance companies in California.

Cheapest California car insurance ranked by price
Rank Company Cost Per Year
1 USAA $1,155
2 Wawanesa $1,157
3 Century National $1,178
4 CSAA $1,222
5 Nationwide $1,263
6 21st Century $1,379
7 Grange $1,477
8 GEICO $1,513
9 Mercury $1,533
10 Allied $1,541
11 Progressive $1,542
12 Allstate $1,559
13 The Hartford $1,575
14 MetLife $1,654
15 Unitrin $1,699
16 Esurance $1,705
17 State Farm $1,733
18 Bristol West $1,777
19 Travelers $1,806
20 Farmers $2,026
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USAA normally has some of the cheapest car insurance rates in San Francisco at around $1,155 a year. This is $496 less than the average price paid by California drivers of $1,651. Wawanesa, Century National, CSAA, and Nationwide would also be considered some of the more affordable San Francisco, CA car insurance companies.

As shown above, if you are insured with Nationwide and switched to Wawanesa, you may see a yearly savings of in the vicinity of $106. Insureds with 21st Century might save as much as $222 a year, and Grange policyholders might lower prices by up to $320 a year.

Bear in mind that those rates are averages across all drivers and vehicles and are not factoring in an exact vehicle garaging location in San Francisco. So the car insurance company that has the lowest price for you may not even be in the list above. That emphasizes why you need to get quotes using your own driver information and specific vehicle type.

For drivers in San Francisco, one of the more important things that are looked at to help calculate the amount you pay for auto insurance is where your car is garaged. Areas with more people or more claims will most likely have higher rates, whereas areas with less people or fewer weather incidents tend to receive slightly lower rates.

The information below shows the highest-priced areas in California to purchase a policy in. San Francisco shows up at #3 costing $1,745 for the average insured, which is about $145 monthly.

How much is auto insurance in San Francisco, CA?
Rank City Annual Rate
1 Los Angeles $2,083
2 Glendale $2,079
3 San Francisco $1,745
4 Sacramento $1,703
5 Oakland $1,687
6 San Bernardino $1,628
7 Stockton $1,603
8 Fontana $1,581
9 Santa Clarita $1,580
10 Long Beach $1,578
11 Moreno Valley $1,551
12 Riverside $1,527
13 Garden Grove $1,524
14 Modesto $1,502
15 Fresno $1,502
16 Santa Ana $1,453
17 Anaheim $1,430
18 San Jose $1,395
19 Bakersfield $1,381
20 San Diego $1,368
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Table data uses estimated as specific San Francisco zip code can lower or raise insurance rates considerably.

Don’t make the mistake of not shopping around

California insurance rates are impacted by many things that will increase or decrease your annual premium. Improving your credit rating, marrying your spouse, or getting a speeding ticket may prompt premium changes that can now make some companies much cheaper than others. Additionally, car insurance companies change the rates they charge in California every year to reflect underwriting profits or losses. Higher than normal claim frequency or severity may result in additional price hikes, while a lower level of claims may result in lower-priced San Francisco car insurance rates.

To illustrate this example, the data below shows which company has the cheapest car insurance in San Francisco, CA for a 40-year-old female driver with no accidents or violations, and a good credit rating. If we look at prices based on her personal risk profile, USAA has the most affordable car insurance rates in San Francisco at $1,530 annually. This is $121 less than the average price paid by California drivers of $1,651. Century National, Wawanesa, Nationwide, and CSAA are the remainder of the top five cheapest San Francisco, CA auto insurance companies.

Now we will give the driver from the first example a chargeable accident, poor credit, and a stop sign violation. Due to the fact that every insurance company uses their own method to determine rates, comparing prices may now show a slightly different list of the cheapest car insurance companies in San Francisco as shown below.

Grange now has the best car insurance rate in San Francisco, CA with Allstate, Progressive, GEICO, and Mercury also being competitive. This illustrates why it is important to compare many different companies when trying to get cheap auto insurance quotes in San Francisco.

Car insurance prices consist of many different factors and change dramatically, so the most affordable company the last time you checked may now be quite expensive.

The car, truck, or SUV driven is one of the primary factors that determines whether or not you find the best cheap insurance in San Francisco. Vehicles with economical engines, good safety features, or a track record of few liability claims will cost significantly less to insure than fast, unsafe models. The information below illustrates auto insurance rates for a handful of the cheapest vehicles to buy coverage for.

Cheapest Vehicles to Insure in San Francisco, CA
Make and Model Estimated Cost for Full Coverage
Ford Explorer XLT AWD $1,563
Honda Accord LX 4-Dr Sedan $1,592
Ford Edge SEL AWD $1,617
Chevrolet Malibu Hybrid $1,649
Toyota RAV4 Limited 4WD $1,659
Toyota Tacoma Double Cab TRD Sport Package 4WD $1,681
Dodge Grand Caravan SXT $1,688
Honda CR-V EX 2WD $1,705
Ford Escape XLS 2WD $1,712
Toyota Corolla LE $1,734
Toyota Prius $1,764
Ford Fusion Sport 4-Dr Sedan $1,766
Hyundai Sonata GLS 4-Dr Sedan $1,775
Dodge Ram Quad Cab SLT 4WD $1,799
Chevrolet Impala LT $1,884
Ford Focus SES 4-Dr Sedan $1,948
Nissan Altima 3.5 SR 2-Dr Coupe $1,967
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Table data assumes single female driver age 40, no speeding tickets, no at-fault accidents, $1,000 deductibles, and California minimum liability limits. Discounts applied include claim-free, safe-driver, homeowner, multi-policy, and multi-vehicle. Price estimates do not factor in garaging location in San Francisco, CA which can revise price quotes noticeably.

Looking at the data, you can conclude that cars like the Ford Explorer, Honda Accord, Ford Edge, Chevrolet Malibu, and Toyota RAV4 will definitely be some of the most budget-friendly vehicles to insure for drivers in San Francisco.

Cost of full coverage

Saving money when shopping for car insurance is probably important to the majority of drivers, and one way to buy cheaper insurance in San Francisco is to not buy comprehensive and collision coverage. The illustration below illustrates the difference between annual premium costs when comparing full coverage to liability only. The premium estimates are based on a clean driving record, no claims, $250 deductibles, single marital status, and no discounts are applied to the premium.

If we average all the age groups together, comprehensive and collision coverage on your policy costs an additional $3,093 per year over having just liability coverage. That amount may make you wonder when is it safe to stop buying full coverage. There is no written rule that works best for making the decision to drop physical damage coverage, but there is a general convention. If the annual cost of having full coverage is more than 10% of any settlement you would receive from your insurance company, then you may need to consider dropping full coverage.

There are a few situations where eliminating full coverage is not in your best interest. If you have an outstanding loan on your vehicle, you have to keep full coverage in order to keep the loan. Also, if your savings is not enough to buy a different vehicle if your current one is in an accident, you should keep full coverage on your policy.

The diagram below illustrates how choosing a deductible can raise or lower insurance rates when researching cheap insurance in San Francisco. The premiums assume a married male driver, comp and collision included, and no discounts are applied.

The chart above illustrates that a 30-year-old driver could lower their policy premium by $460 a year by switching from a $100 deductible to a $500 deductible, or save $692 by using a $1,000 deductible. Even younger insureds, such as the 20-year-old chart data, can cut $1,398 every year by choosing a larger deductible amount.

When choosing a higher deductible, it will be important to have enough savings set aside to be able to pay the extra out-of-pocket expense that comes with higher deductibles.

Rate increases following a ticket or accident

In a perfect world, the best way to maintain affordable car insurance premiums in San Francisco for drivers in San Francisco is to be a careful driver and avoid accidents and traffic violations. The diagram below illustrates how traffic citations and at-fault accidents can increase auto insurance rates for different insured age categories. The costs are based on a single male driver, full coverage, $500 deductibles, and no discounts are applied.

In the example above, the average cost of car insurance in California per year with no accidents and a clean driving record is $2,816. Factor in one speeding ticket and the average cost swells to $3,177, an increase of $361 each year. Next add one accident along with the one speeding ticket and the yearly cost of car insurance in San Francisco jumps again to an average of $4,183. That’s an increase of $1,367, or $114 per month, just for being a careless driver!