What Insurance is Cheapest for Infrequent Drivers in San Francisco?

The words “cheap” and “insurance” really shouldn’t be used in the same sentence, in particular when looking for the best coverage prices for infrequent drivers. To save some money, let’s go over some of the factors that can significantly affect auto insurance prices, and see how we can help you cut the cost of your next policy.

Finding reliable, low-cost car insurance is challenging, and determining which companies offer the cheapest insurance rates for infrequent drivers involves a bit more work. Each insurer has a proprietary formula for establishing rates, so we’ll take a look at the most competitive insurance companies in San Francisco.

Best Auto Insurance Prices in California

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California car insurance ranked by cost per year
Rank Company Cost Per Year
1 USAA $1,109
2 Wawanesa $1,146
3 CSAA $1,186
4 Century National $1,214
5 Nationwide $1,250
6 21st Century $1,379
7 Grange $1,491
8 Allstate $1,513
9 Mercury $1,548
10 Allied $1,556
11 Progressive $1,558
12 GEICO $1,575
13 The Hartford $1,591
14 MetLife $1,606
15 State Farm $1,699
16 Unitrin $1,750
17 Esurance $1,756
18 Travelers $1,788
19 Bristol West $1,831
20 Farmers $1,946
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USAA may offer some of the lowest car insurance rates in San Francisco at around $1,109 a year. Wawanesa, CSAA, Century National, and Nationwide would also be considered some of the cheaper San Francisco, CA car insurance companies.

As shown in the rates above, if you are currently insured with Wawanesa and switched to USAA, you may see an annual savings of approximately $37. Customers with CSAA might save as much as $77 a year, and Century National insureds might reduce prices by as much as $105 a year.

Be aware that those premiums are averages across all types of insureds and vehicles and do not take into consideration a specific vehicle garaging location for infrequent drivers. So the car insurance company that fits your needs best may not even be in the list above. That points out the importance of why you need to get rate quotes using your own driver data and vehicle information.

The car, truck, or SUV you are trying to insure is one of the largest factors that determines the availability of the most affordable car insurance for infrequent drivers. Vehicles with lots of horsepower, a lack of modern safety features, or a track record of large liability claims will cost much more to insure than safer, lower-performance models. The table below estimates auto insurance prices for some of the most cost-effective vehicles to insure.

Cheapest Vehicles to Insure in San Francisco, CA
Make and Model Estimated Cost for Full Coverage
Hyundai Elantra SE Touring Station Wagon $1,433
Toyota Prius $1,462
Dodge Grand Caravan CV $1,485
Honda Odyssey EX $1,535
Volkswagen Jetta SE 2.5 Station Wagon $1,543
Ford Escape XLT 4WD $1,548
Ford Explorer Limited 4WD $1,595
Honda CR-V LX 2WD $1,624
Ford Edge Sport 2WD $1,647
GMC Sierra SL Crew Cab 2WD $1,676
Honda Accord LX-S 2-Dr Coupe $1,757
Nissan Altima 2.5 S 2-Dr Coupe $1,785
Kia Optima EX $1,792
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Prices based on single female driver age 40, no speeding tickets, no at-fault accidents, $1,000 deductibles, and California minimum liability limits. Discounts applied include multi-vehicle, safe-driver, multi-policy, homeowner, and claim-free. Price estimates do not factor in specific San Francisco, CA garaging location which can decrease or increase coverage prices significantly.

By looking at the data, we can tell that makes and models like the Hyundai Elantra, Toyota Prius, and Dodge Grand Caravan will definitely be some of the cheapest vehicles to insure for low mileage drivers.

For low mileage drivers, one of the largest criteria that are looked at to help calculate the cost of insurance is your address. Cities with larger populations or higher claim trends tend to have more expensive auto insurance rates, whereas areas that tend to be more rural tend to receive slightly lower rates.

The table below sorts the most expensive places in California for infrequent drivers to buy an auto insurance policy in. San Francisco comes in at #3 with an annual premium of $1,763 for coverage, which is about $147 each month.

How much is car insurance in San Francisco?
Rank City Average Per Year
1 Los Angeles $2,146
2 Glendale $2,142
3 San Francisco $1,763
4 Oakland $1,738
5 Sacramento $1,652
6 Santa Clarita $1,595
7 San Bernardino $1,580
8 Long Beach $1,578
9 Garden Grove $1,570
10 Stockton $1,556
11 Riverside $1,527
12 Fontana $1,519
13 Fresno $1,517
14 Moreno Valley $1,491
15 Modesto $1,487
16 Santa Ana $1,453
17 Anaheim $1,430
18 Fremont $1,403
19 San Jose $1,381
20 San Diego $1,368
21 Huntington Beach $1,360
22 Oxnard $1,344
23 Bakersfield $1,340
24 Chula Vista $1,337
25 Irvine $1,330
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Price information shown is estimated as specific location information can lower or raise premium rates considerably.

Liability rates compared to full coverage

Paying a lower price for insurance is probably important to the majority of vehicle owners, and an effective way to find cheaper insurance for infrequent drivers is to not pay for full coverage. The example below shows the comparison of premium costs with full coverage and liability only. The information is based on no claims or driving citations, $1,000 deductibles, single marital status, and no policy discounts are applied.

If averaged for all ages, physical damage coverage on your policy costs $2,467 per year over and above liability only. That touches on the question if it’s worth it to buy full coverage. There is no definitive guideline of when to stop paying for physical damage coverage, but there is a guideline you can consider. If the yearly cost for physical damage coverage is more than about 10% of the replacement cost minus the deductible, then it’s probably a good time to buy liability coverage only.

Discounts on San Francisco car insurance

Discounts on insurance for infrequent driversCar insurance companies that offer cheap quotes for infrequent drivers may additionally offer price discounts that can reduce rates by 25% or more if you are eligible for them. The best insurance companies and a partial list of their discounts are:

The illustration below illustrates the comparison of auto insurance rates with and without discounts. The premiums are based on a male driver, no claims or driving citations, 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 homeowner, claim-free, anti-theft, safe-driver, multiple vehicle, and vehicle safety discounts applied. In this example, theaverage amount saved on insurance for infrequent drivers is 28% or $576.

Cautious San Francisco drivers save money

The best way to maintain the cheapest insurance prices in California for low mileage drivers is to be a safe driver and avoid accidents and keep your driving record clean. The diagram below highlights how traffic violations and accident claims can impact annual premium costs for different age groups. The premium estimates are based on a single male driver, full coverage, $100 deductibles, and no discounts are applied to the premium.

The data in the chart shows the average cost of an auto insurance policy per year with no accidents or violations is $3,444. Factor in one speeding ticket and the average cost increases to $3,880, an increase of $436 each year. Then add in one accident along with the one speeding ticket and the yearly cost of insurance for infrequent drivers jumps again to an average of $5,118. That’s an increase of $1,674, or $139 per month, just for being a little careless behind the wheel!