The lowest-priced auto insurance depends on your needs and driving history.
GEICO has the cheapest rate in San Francisco for minimum or full coverage, young adults, teens, with a sports car, a speeding ticket or at-fault accident. State Farm is the most affordable option for seniors, USAA for the military community and National General with a DUI.
MoneyGeek also found the best auto insurance companies in San Francisco for balancing affordable coverage and service quality.
Cheapest Car Insurance in San Francisco, CA
Cheapest Minimum Coverage Car Insurance in San Francisco
On average, the most affordable auto insurance providers in San Francisco, if you need a minimum coverage policy, are:
- GEICO: $364 per year
- Progressive: $470 per year
Out of the providers MoneyGeek reviewed quotes for in San Francisco, a minimum coverage policy is the most expensive with National General, with an average yearly cost of $951.
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California requires that car insurance policies include liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage and that each policy features the following minimum limits:
- $15,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $30,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $5,000 property damage liability per accident
After getting involved in an at-fault accident, you may need to cover any extra costs if damages exceed the above limits. For instance, if found at fault in an accident and the property damage cost is $20,000, your insurer will only cover $5,000, and you will have to pay the remaining balance of $15,000.
Cheapest Full Coverage Car Insurance in San Francisco
The following insurers offer the average lowest auto insurance premium for a full coverage policy in San Francisco:
- GEICO: $973 per year
- Progressive: $1,096 per year
The most expensive insurance company for full coverage in San Francisco is Chubb, with an average cost of $1,910 a year.
Although a full coverage car insurance policy costs more than minimum coverage, it includes liability, comprehensive and collision coverage, which heightens your financial protection.
- Collision insurance: If your car needs to get repaired or replaced after an at-fault accident that involves a collision with other cars or objects, including guardrails and trees, collision insurance covers the cost, excluding the deductible. It also covers rollover accidents.
- Comprehensive insurance: It pays to replace or repair your vehicle after damage from non-collision events. These may include weather events, theft, fire and hitting an animal.
A full coverage policy may be the best for most drivers. However, the added cost may not be ideal if you have an older car that has a very low value.
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Cheaper insurers could pocket you hundreds of dollars per year.
Cheapest Car Insurance in San Francisco After a Driving Offense
If you have a moving violation, you can find the most affordable full coverage auto insurance in San Francisco, on average, from the following insurers:
- Speeding ticket: GEICO ($1,456 per year)
- At-fault accident: GEICO ($1,625 per year)
- DUI: National General ($1,830 per year)
The highest average full coverage car insurance in San Francisco for drivers with a speeding ticket ($2,638 per year) is with Nationwide; with an at-fault accident ($3,083 per year), it is with Chubb; and with a DUI, it is Hartford ($5,596 per year).
A driving violation can significantly increase your auto insurance premium. Despite selecting the cheapest provider, you are likely to pay more than someone with a clean record for the same coverage.
Any moving violation may make your car insurance go up, but a severe traffic violation may result in an outstanding increase. In San Francisco, the average yearly cost for full coverage with a clean record is $1,486. The policy cost goes up by around $603 a year after a speeding ticket and roughly $2,068 a year after a DUI.
Even so, you can still get cheap auto insurance with a bad driving record.
While there are many optional coverages available in California on an auto policy, accident forgiveness is not one of them. Accident forgiveness stops your premium from going up after your first at-fault accident if you are a driver with a clean motor vehicle record. Since California law does not allow auto insurers to offer it, if you are involved in an at-fault accident, you should expect a rate increase.
Also, you can't try to lower your auto insurance in California, with or without a moving violation, by going with a telematics-based auto policy that tracks when you drive, how you drive (such as speed and hard braking) and other behavior-related factors because the state does not allow it. But, if you are an overall low-mileage driver, that can help you save money on your auto insurance in California. — Mark Friedlander, Director, Corporate Communications, Insurance Information Institute
Cheapest Car Insurance in San Francisco for Teens and Their Families
The average cheapest full coverage auto insurance in San Francisco for a teen driver on a family policy comes from:
- GEICO: $2,734 per year for female teens; $2,857 per year for male teens
- State Farm: $2,881 per year for male and female teens
The most expensive insurer if you have a teen driver on a full coverage family policy in San Francisco is Nationwide. The company charges approximately $5,989 per year, regardless of gender.
In most states, insurers can consider gender when calculating auto insurance costs, and many think male teen drivers are riskier to insure, so they charge them more than females. In California, considering gender is not allowed, so male and female teens pay the same for car insurance when all other rating factors are similar.
Car insurance for teen drivers is expensive, and to pay the least, parents should add their teen to the family policy over them buying a policy. Plus, it is usually illegal for a teen under 18 to get auto insurance without a parent or guardian as a co-signer.
For example, a full coverage family policy in San Francisco costs around $3,825 yearly with a teen on it, whereas an individual policy would cost roughly $4,498. That’s a difference of around $673 a year.
There are discounts available to teen drivers that can further lower the policy costs. Additionally, get cheap car insurance for teens by shopping around.
California is a unique state for auto insurance because it prohibits some very common rating factors. If you live in San Francisco or any other area of the state, your gender, credit history, employment status and occupation, education and more are off limits when auto insurance companies calculate the premium for your policy. In California, you should expect your motor vehicle record, years of driving experience, type of vehicle and miles driven per year to greatly influence how much you pay. — Mark Friedlander, Director, Corporate Communications, Insurance Information Institute
Cheapest Car Insurance in San Francisco for Military Drivers
The average cheapest full coverage car insurance, if you have a military background in San Francisco, comes from the following companies:
- USAA: $886 per year
- GEICO: $973 per year
San Francisco active-duty military members or veterans interested in a minimum coverage policy may find GEICO as the cheapest option, costing approximately $364 per year. USAA is the second cheapest, with an average yearly cost of $376.
The difference in the cheapest insurer for minimum and full coverage indicates how factors like the coverage amount can influence rates.
How to Compare Cheap San Francisco Car Insurance Quotes Online
You can get auto insurance quotes in San Francisco online through most providers' websites, but the process may take as much as 15 minutes or more for each insurer. That means you could spend hours providing the necessary personal information on each website as you try to compare rates from multiple companies.
Fortunately, MoneyGeek offers an easy-to-use and quick auto insurance calculator that allows you to estimate your premium from multiple companies based on essential factors, such as your age, car model, driving record and coverage amount.
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Cheapest Car Insurance in San Francisco for Young Adults
On average, the following companies offer the cheapest auto insurance in San Francisco for full coverage if you are in your 20s:
- GEICO: $1,121 per year
- Progressive: $1,316 per year
The insurance provider with the most pricey full coverage for young adults in San Francisco is Chubb, costing about $2,814 per year.
Car insurance for young adults often costs more than for middle-aged drivers, as insurers may see young drivers as higher risk. For example, in San Francisco, it costs approximately $365 more a year for full coverage if you are 25 years old than if you are 40.
Cheapest Car Insurance in San Francisco for Seniors
The following companies offer the average cheapest full coverage car insurance for seniors in San Francisco:
- State Farm: $927 per year
- GEICO: $940 per year
At an average yearly rate of $1,970, Chubb is the most expensive for full coverage auto insurance in San Francisco for seniors around 60 years of age.
Auto insurance rates differ for senior drivers from middle-aged drivers. In San Francisco, the rate is lower at 65 by about $40 than the average yearly cost of $1,486 for a 40-year-old driver, which isn't common. However, rates tend to increase after 70 and 80.
Cheapest Car Insurance in San Francisco for Poor Credit
California is one of the few states that does not allow insurers to consider credit history when calculating auto insurance rates. If you have poor credit, good credit or excellent credit, it will not affect how much you pay for car insurance in San Francisco.
In states where insurers are allowed to consider credit score or a credit-based insurance score when calculating a car insurance premium, they may consider those with poor credit as more likely to file claims and charge them more. However, since California does not allow credit history as a factor when determining auto insurance costs, San Franciscans don’t have to worry about paying more because of their credit standing.
You may still lower your auto insurance premium by comparing quotes from different insurers and taking advantage of discounts like bundling, airbags and paying in full.
Cheapest Car Insurance in San Francisco for Sports Cars
On average, the most affordable insurers in San Francisco, if you have a sports car and need full coverage, are:
- GEICO: $1,226 per year
- Progressive: $1,320 per year
From the insurers we profiled for sports car drivers, Chubb had the highest average yearly cost of $2,300 for full coverage in San Francisco.
Generally, insurers charge you a higher rate if you drive a sports car than those with a standard car because sports cars feature higher replacement and repair costs. In San Francisco, a Ford Mustang sports car is around $180 more a year than a standard Toyota Camry — a roughly 12% increase.
To establish the most affordable companies for drivers with a sports car in San Francisco, we compared quotes using a Ford Mustang, although costs vary depending on a car’s make and model.
Generally, you will pay a higher premium with a luxury, electric or sports car than with other car types. However, insurance companies consider several other factors when determining your actual rate.
Average Cost of Car Insurance in San Francisco
The average yearly cost of car insurance in San Francisco is $1,486. That price is for a full coverage policy with bodily injury liability limits of $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident, and $100,000 as the property damage liability limit per accident.
How much an insurer charges for auto insurance varies based on several factors, including the driver's record and location. San Francisco costs about $99 more than California's average yearly cost of auto insurance. The city's average also exceeds the national average of $1,265 by around $221.
Compared to other major California cities, San Francisco is cheaper or more expensive for full coverage. Los Angeles drivers pay around $1,877 yearly, but in San Diego, the annual cost is roughly $1,202.
About Mark Fitzpatrick