Best Cheap Auto Insurance in San Francisco, California (2023)

San Francisco has higher-than-average car insurance premiums and rising car thefts, so it’s important to find affordable coverage.

Anna Baluch
Written byAnna Baluch
Photo of an Insurify author
Anna BaluchInsurance Writer
  • 4+ years writing insurance and personal finance content

  • MBA from Roosevelt University

Anna leverages her personal finance and insurance knowledge to create educational content that helps people make smart financial decisions.

Featured in

media logomedia logomedia logo
Courtney Mikulski
Courtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
  • 3+ years producing insurance and personal finance content

  • Main architect of the Insurify Quality Score

Courtney’s deep personal finance knowledge extends beyond insurance to credit cards, consumer lending, and banking. She thrives on creating actionable content.

Featured in

media logomedia logo

Updated November 30, 2023 at 11:00 AM PST

Save up to $717 by comparing quotes from the top 70+ insurance companies

Secure. Free. Easy-to-use.
Based on 3,806+ reviews
4.8/5
Shopper Approved
ProgressiveLiberty MutualTravelers
Advertiser Disclosure

At Insurify, our goal is to help customers compare insurance products and find the best policy for them. We strive to provide open, honest, and unbiased information about the insurance products and services we review. Our hard-working team of data analysts, insurance experts, insurance agents, editors and writers, has put in thousands of hours of research to create the content found on our site.

We do receive compensation when a sale or referral occurs from many of the insurance providers and marketing partners on our site. That may impact which products we display and where they appear on our site. But it does not influence our meticulously researched editorial content, what we write about, or any reviews or recommendations we may make. We do not guarantee favorable reviews or any coverage at all in exchange for compensation.

Why you can trust Insurify: Insurify’s expert insurance writers and editors operate independently of our insurance partners. As an independent agent and insurance comparison website, we make money through commissions from insurers. But that does not influence any editorial content, including reviews. Learn more.

Despite San Francisco’s population being less than 1 million people, drivers there have higher-than-average premiums compared to the rest of California.[1] The average monthly cost of a liability-only policy in San Francisco is $147, while full coverage is $317 a month. Even though auto insurance is more expensive in the Bay Area, cheap policies are still available. 

Here’s what you need to know about finding affordable car insurance rates in San Francisco.

Quick Facts
  • San Francisco’s average full-coverage car insurance rates are 21% higher than the state average and 25% higher than the national average.

  • San Francisco is one of the most densely populated cities in the U.S., which may contribute to its higher car insurance costs.

  • Insurance companies in California can’t use your credit history when determining your car insurance rates.[2]

Find Car Insurance in San Francisco

Secure. Free. Easy-to-use.
Based on 3,806+ reviews
4.8/5
Shopper Approved
ProgressiveLiberty MutualTravelers

Cheapest car insurance companies in San Francisco

Finding affordable car insurance coverage in the Bay Area is important, but getting the best price takes more than buying the first policy an insurance company offers you. Compare multiple companies, starting with the ones Insurify identified as some of the best insurers in San Francisco below.

Best liability-only coverage: Mile Auto

Compare personalized, real-time quotes
IQ Score
The Insurify Quality (IQ) Score uses more than 15 criteria to objectively rate insurance companies on a one-to-five scale. The Insurify editorial team researches insurer data to determine the final scores.
3.4
A.M. Best
A.M. Best analyzes an insurer’s financials, operating performance, business profile, and other factors to generate an opinion-based rating of a company’s financial and credit strength. Ratings range from A++ (exceptional) to D (poor).
NR
Liability Only
Liability-only insurance, sometimes called minimum-coverage insurance, pays for bodily injury and property damage to others in an accident the policyholder causes. It does not pay for the insured’s own damages.
$69/mo
Full Coverage
Full-coverage car insurance generally includes liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage, and may include other optional coverages such as uninsured motorist coverage. Collision covers a policyholder’s repair or replacement costs in case of an accident. Comprehensive covers damages caused by non-accident events. The average quote displayed here reflects policies with the following coverage limits: $50,000 bodily injury liability per person; $100,000 bodily injury liability per accident; $50,00 property damage liability per accident; $1,000 collision deductible; and a $1,000 comprehensive deductible.
$125/mo

Mile Auto launched in 2010 and specializes in pay-per-mile car insurance. It provides cheap coverage for low-mileage drivers by charging a monthly base rate, plus a low per-mile rate. To track mileage, customers send in pictures of their odometers each month.

Pros
  • Affordable coverage for infrequent drivers

  • Doesn’t require an in-vehicle telematics device

Cons
  • No discounts available

  • No mobile app available

Best for teen drivers: Sun Coast

Compare personalized, real-time quotes
IQ Score
The Insurify Quality (IQ) Score uses more than 15 criteria to objectively rate insurance companies on a one-to-five scale. The Insurify editorial team researches insurer data to determine the final scores.
A.M. Best
A.M. Best analyzes an insurer’s financials, operating performance, business profile, and other factors to generate an opinion-based rating of a company’s financial and credit strength. Ratings range from A++ (exceptional) to D (poor).
Not rated
Liability Only
Liability-only insurance, sometimes called minimum-coverage insurance, pays for bodily injury and property damage to others in an accident the policyholder causes. It does not pay for the insured’s own damages.
$74/mo
Full Coverage
Full-coverage car insurance generally includes liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage, and may include other optional coverages such as uninsured motorist coverage. Collision covers a policyholder’s repair or replacement costs in case of an accident. Comprehensive covers damages caused by non-accident events. The average quote displayed here reflects policies with the following coverage limits: $50,000 bodily injury liability per person; $100,000 bodily injury liability per accident; $50,00 property damage liability per accident; $1,000 collision deductible; and a $1,000 comprehensive deductible.
$153/mo

Headquartered in Laguna Beach, Sun Coast offers a number of insurance products, including car insurance, boat insurance, and professional liability insurance. Customers can save money through various discounts, like the good driver discount and homeowner discount.

Pros
  • A+ Better Business Bureau (BBB) rating

  • Discounts available

Cons
  • No A.M. Best rating

  • Phone-only claims process

Best for military members and veterans: USAA

Compare personalized, real-time quotes
IQ Score
The Insurify Quality (IQ) Score uses more than 15 criteria to objectively rate insurance companies on a one-to-five scale. The Insurify editorial team researches insurer data to determine the final scores.
4.3
JD Power
J.D. Power data measures overall customer satisfaction and claims satisfaction based on a 1,000-point scale.
880
Liability Only
Liability-only insurance, sometimes called minimum-coverage insurance, pays for bodily injury and property damage to others in an accident the policyholder causes. It does not pay for the insured’s own damages.
$97/mo
Full Coverage
Full-coverage car insurance generally includes liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage, and may include other optional coverages such as uninsured motorist coverage. Collision covers a policyholder’s repair or replacement costs in case of an accident. Comprehensive covers damages caused by non-accident events. The average quote displayed here reflects policies with the following coverage limits: $50,000 bodily injury liability per person; $100,000 bodily injury liability per accident; $50,00 property damage liability per accident; $1,000 collision deductible; and a $1,000 comprehensive deductible.
$196/mo

USAA serves active, retired, and reserve military members and their families. In addition to car insurance, it offers deposit accounts, loans, and more. It earned an A.M. Best rating of A++ (Superior) for its financial strength and consistently earns above-average J.D. Power customer satisfaction scores.

Pros
  • IntelliDrive usage-based insurance program

  • High customer satisfaction ratings

Cons
  • No gap insurance

  • Restrictive membership eligibility

They are the best in customer service.

Brenda - September 13, 2023
Verified

Overall poor service, took a safe driving discount away because I wasn’t driving enough.

Kenneth - September 9, 2023
Verified

Great operation since I was a Lt.

raymond - September 7, 2023
Verified
Read our USAA review

Cheapest liability-only car insurance in San Francisco

California law requires all drivers to have liability car insurance, at a minimum. This type of policy covers the other driver’s property damage and injuries that you cause following an at-fault accident. Liability-only insurance typically has the lowest rates because of its limited coverage — it won’t cover damages to your car or your injuries from an accident you cause. But people who drive older, low-value cars may choose liability-only coverage to save money on car insurance.

Here are the cheapest car insurance companies in San Francisco for liability-only insurance.

The below rates are estimated rates current as of: Thursday, November 30 at 11:00 AM PST
Insurance CompanyAverage Monthly Quote
Clearcover69
Mile Auto69
Mercury85
Infinity88
USAA97
Safeco106
National General118
Dairyland119
GEICO129
Allstate134
Farmers138
State Farm149
Travelers156
Bristol West163
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

Cheapest full-coverage car insurance in San Francisco

Full-coverage car insurance usually refers to a combination of liability, collision, and comprehensive insurance. If you have a loan or lease on your vehicle, your lender may require a full-coverage policy.

Furthermore, because full-coverage insurance includes damages to and theft of your vehicle, it may be a good idea to purchase it amid rising car theft rates in San Francisco. Motor theft rates in the city increased by 3.9% from 2021 to 2022. They also increased by 7.1% in the first half of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022.[3]

Here are the cheapest companies for full-coverage insurance in San Francisco.

The below rates are estimated rates current as of: Thursday, November 30 at 11:00 AM PST
Insurance CompanyAverage Monthly Quote
Mile Auto125
Clearcover136
Mercury155
Infinity163
Safeco177
USAA196
National General237
GEICO261
Allstate271
Dairyland274
Farmers278
State Farm301
Travelers316
Bristol West335
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

Estimate your insurance costs

Select discounts that apply to you
Save 30%
Save 8%
Save 24%
Save 39%
Age
Credit Score
Are you insured
Your estimated deal

*Estimate based on a market average of rates provided to other users like you.

Select discounts that apply to you

Car insurance requirements in California

Because California is an at-fault or tort state, a driver who causes an accident is responsible for the property damage and injury costs of the other driver and passengers. While California requires bodily injury and property damage liability, drivers can purchase additional coverage for more financial protection. If drivers are unable to show proof of insurance, they’ll likely face legal and financial consequences.

Here are the minimum liability requirements for California drivers:[4]

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/e30eeeebc5/personal-injury-protection.svg

    Bodily injury liability

    $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/9ffcc07fc9/damage-from-aircraft.svg

    Property damage liability

    $5,000 per accident

Important Information

California liability limits are increasing on Jan. 1, 2025, to 30/60/15. This translates to $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident for bodily injury liability and $15,000 per accident for property damage liability.[5]

Coverage beyond minimum liability is optional for drivers in San Francisco. But you may want to consider adding these coverages to your policy for more protection:

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/665da91bf7/comprehensive-coverage.svg

    Comprehensive coverage

    A comprehensive policy helps pay for vehicle damage for non-collision claims. This can cover damages and losses from theft, falling objects, severe weather, vandalism, and more.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/9ffcc07fc9/damage-from-aircraft.svg

    Collision coverage

    Collision coverage reimburses you if your car needs repairs or a replacement after an accident with another vehicle or object, even if you’re at fault.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/5285c4cd74/uninsured-or-underinsured-motorist-coverage.svg

    Uninsured motorist coverage

    Uninsured motorist coverage can pay for damages if a driver without car insurance causes an accident.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/4c9753bdbe/medical-payments.svg

    Medical payments coverage

    Also known as MedPay, medical payments coverage may pay for medical expenses that result from an accident, even if you caused it.

California’s low-cost auto insurance plan

California’s Low Cost Automobile Insurance program (CLCA) can help eligible drivers purchase affordable car insurance coverage through the state. The eligibility requirements for the program are:

  • Have a valid California driver’s license

  • Meet income eligibility requirements

  • Own a vehicle valued at $25,000 or less

  • Be at least 16 years old

  • Have a good driving record or be a new driver

Buying car insurance through the CLCA costs $232 to $932 a year for minimum-liability car insurance, depending on the county. However, it offers optional coverages, like uninsured/underinsured motorist and medical payments insurance, for an extra $37 to $107 a year. You can learn more and apply for the low-cost car insurance program at MyLowCostAuto.com.

Learn More: How Much Car Insurance Do You Need?

Learn More: How Much Car Insurance Do You Need?

Find Car Insurance in San Francisco

Secure. Free. Easy-to-use.
Based on 3,806+ reviews
4.8/5
Shopper Approved
ProgressiveLiberty MutualTravelers

Cheapest car insurance for drivers with an incident

Incidents such as at-fault accidents, speeding tickets, and driving under the influence (DUI) convictions can increase your risk as a driver and cause your car insurance rates to go up. Drivers with these types of violations on their records typically pay much higher premiums than drivers with clean driving records. Here are the average monthly quotes for people with marks on their driving record.

Cheapest car insurance for drivers with a speeding ticket

Speeding reduces the amount of time you have to react to dangerous situations and, in turn, increases the risk of accidents. San Francisco reported 434 speed-related injuries and fatalities in car crashes in 2020.[6] So having a speeding ticket on your record in San Francisco signals to insurers that you’re a risky driver, which leads to more expensive car insurance.

The table below highlights the cheapest car insurance policies for San Francisco drivers with speeding tickets.

The below rates are estimated rates current as of: Thursday, November 30 at 11:00 AM PST
Insurance CompanyAverage Monthly Quote
Clearcover181
Infinity223
Mercury225
Safeco246
USAA253
National General310
GEICO339
Allstate351
Farmers361
Dairyland364
State Farm385
Travelers415
Bristol West438
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

Cheapest car insurance for drivers with an at-fault accident

If you cause an accident, your car insurance costs will likely increase because insurers will consider you a risky driver. But how much your car insurance rates increase depends on the severity of the accident — generally, a fender bender with no injuries won’t increase your premiums as much as a three-car pileup that resulted in injuries.[7]

Here are the cheapest car insurance companies for San Francisco drivers with at-fault accidents on their records.

The below rates are estimated rates current as of: Thursday, November 30 at 11:00 AM PST
Insurance CompanyAverage Monthly Quote
Clearcover208
Infinity209
Mercury225
Safeco254
USAA255
National General311
GEICO341
Allstate353
Farmers362
Dairyland363
State Farm389
Travelers416
Bristol West432
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

Cheapest car insurance for drivers with a DUI

In California, the consequences for a DUI include fines, jail time, and license suspension.[8] A DUI is a serious offense that can also lead to higher car insurance rates and an SR-22 insurance requirement, which can keep your premiums elevated for several years.

Here are the average car insurance quotes for drivers with a DUI in San Francisco.

The below rates are estimated rates current as of: Thursday, November 30 at 11:00 AM PST
Insurance CompanyAverage Monthly Quote
Mile Auto189
Clearcover206
Mercury227
Infinity247
Safeco268
USAA297
National General359
GEICO395
Allstate410
Dairyland415
Farmers421
State Farm456
Travelers478
Bristol West507
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

Cheapest car insurance for seniors

Seniors have higher car accident mortality rates than young drivers. In most cases, average premiums decrease around age 35 and increase a bit around age 75.[9] Despite this slight increase, senior drivers tend to pay the lowest premiums compared to other age groups, especially teens and young adults.

Here are the most affordable quotes for senior drivers in San Francisco.

The below rates are estimated rates current as of: Thursday, November 30 at 11:00 AM PST
Insurance CompanyAverage Monthly Quote
Mile Auto73
Infinity80
Mercury92
USAA112
Clearcover114
Safeco121
GEICO143
Farmers149
State Farm152
Allstate153
National General156
Dairyland170
Travelers178
Bristol West198
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

Cheapest car insurance for teens

Teenagers don’t have a lot of driving experience and have higher crash rates than any other age group.[10] Because of this increased risk, teens and young adults tend to pay more for car insurance than older drivers. Fortunately, they can save on a policy if they stay on their parents’ insurance and drive an older yet reliable car.

The table below shows the cheapest car insurance quotes for teen drivers in San Francisco, by insurance company.

The below rates are estimated rates current as of: Thursday, November 30 at 11:00 AM PST
Insurance CompanyAverage Monthly Quote
Mile Auto227
Clearcover235
Mercury276
Infinity289
Safeco306
USAA309
GEICO392
Dairyland427
National General429
Allstate454
Farmers466
State Farm492
Bristol West534
Travelers546
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

How to get the cheapest car insurance in San Francisco

Car insurance companies have their own coverage options, policy discounts, and rates. If you want cheap car insurance, follow these tips to find affordable coverage in the Bay Area:

  • Shop around. Get car insurance quotes from at least three different companies for the same coverage levels. Compare all your options to find the best one for your unique needs.

  • Bundle policies. If you buy your auto insurance policy with homeowners insurance, renters insurance, or life insurance, the insurance company will usually apply a discount.

  • Increase your deductible. A higher deductible usually means lower premiums. Just make sure you can afford to pay more out of pocket if you file a claim.

  • Look for discounts. Most auto insurers advertise long lists of discounts. If you aren’t sure which ones you’re eligible for, you can call an insurance agent and ask which ones the insurer will apply to your policy for lower premiums.

  • Avoid a coverage lapse. “Maintain auto insurance and avoid any lapse in coverage, as it will cause future policies to be higher,” explains Lauren McKenzie, a senior insurance agent at A Plus Insurance.

Find Car Insurance in San Francisco

Secure. Free. Easy-to-use.
Based on 3,806+ reviews
4.8/5
Shopper Approved
ProgressiveLiberty MutualTravelers

Is car insurance more expensive in San Francisco?

Compared to the national average, car insurance rates in San Francisco are more expensive. But you can still land a good deal on a policy. As you shop around and do your research, keep in mind that car insurance premiums vary by city and ZIP code within California due to factors like population and crime rates.[11] For example, rates in many cities like Anaheim, Irvine, and Modesto are cheaper than they are in San Francisco.

More cities in California

The table below shows how full-coverage auto insurance quotes in San Francisco compare to the rest of California.

CityAverage Monthly QuoteCompared to San Francisco
Anaheim$258-19%
Bakersfield$244-23%
Fresno$234-26%
Irvine$234-26%
Long Beach$264-17%
Los Angeles$34910%
Modesto$223-30%
Oakland$273-14%
Riverside$257-19%
Sacramento$264-17%
San Diego$223-30%
San Jose$258-19%
Stockton$249-21%
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

San Francisco car insurance FAQs

Learn which factors may contribute to your higher car insurance costs in San Francisco, and read the answers to common questions about car insurance in the city below.

  • How much is car insurance in San Francisco?

    The average cost of car insurance in San Francisco is $147 a month for liability-only insurance and $317 a month for full-coverage insurance.

  • What are the best car insurance companies in San Francisco?

    Some of the best car insurance companies in San Francisco include USAA, Sun Coast, and Mile Auto. These companies have lower-than-average quotes and solid Insurify Quality Scores. But you should always compare quotes from at least three different insurers at the same coverage levels to find the cheapest car insurance rates for your unique needs and budget.

  • Can insurers use your credit score when setting insurance rates in San Francisco?

    No. California doesn’t allow car insurance companies to use a driver’s credit history when setting premiums.[2] This means that, with all other factors the same, a San Francisco driver with poor credit won’t pay more than someone with good credit.

  • Is car insurance more expensive in San Francisco?

    Generally, car insurance in San Francisco is more expensive than in many other California cities, except Los Angeles. This could be due to the city’s dense population and three major roadways that feed into a small geographic area — San Francisco is less than 49 square miles with a population of about 800,000 people.

Methodology

Insurify data scientists analyzed more than 90 million quotes served to car insurance applicants in Insurify’s proprietary database to calculate the premium averages displayed on this page. These premiums are real quotes that come directly from Insurify’s 50+ partner insurance companies in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quote averages represent the median price for a quote across the given coverage level, driver subset, and geographic area.

Unless otherwise specified, quoted rates reflect the average cost for drivers between 20 and 70 years old with a clean driving record and average or better credit (a credit score of 600 or higher).

Liability-only premium averages correspond to policies with the following coverage limits:

  • Bodily injury limits between state-minimum rates and $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident
  • Property damage limits between $10,000 and $50,000
  • No additional coverage
Full-coverage premium averages correspond to the same bodily injury and property damage limits in addition to:
  • Comprehensive coverage with a $1,000 deductible
  • Collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible

Quotes for Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, State Farm, and USAA are estimates based on Quadrant Information Services’ database of auto insurance rates.

Sources

  1. U.S. Census Bureau. "QuickFacts: San Francisco County, California." Accessed July 10, 2023
  2. Federal Trade Commission. "Credit-Based Insurance Scores: Impacts on Consumers of Automobile Insurance." Accessed July 10, 2023
  3. San Francisco Police Department. "Crime Dashboard." Accessed July 10, 2023
  4. California DMV. "Auto Insurance Requirements." Accessed July 10, 2023
  5. California Legislative Information. "SB-1107 Vehicles: insurance.." Accessed July 3, 2023
  6. California Office of Traffic Safety. "Crash Rankings Results: San Francisco." Accessed July 10, 2023
  7. III. "Do auto insurance premiums go up after a claim?." Accessed July 10, 2023
  8. California DMV. "Driving Under the Influence (DUI)." Accessed July 10, 2023
  9. III. "Senior driving safety and insurance tips." Accessed July 10, 2023
  10. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. "Teenagers." Accessed July 10, 2023
  11. III. "What determines the price of an auto insurance policy?." Accessed July 10, 2023
Anna Baluch
Anna BaluchInsurance Writer

Anna Baluch is a Cleveland-based personal finance and insurance expert. With an MBA from Roosevelt University, she enjoys writing educational content that helps people make smart financial decisions. Her work can be seen across the internet on many publications, including Freedom Debt Relief, Credit Karma, RateGenius, and the Balance. Connect with Anna on LinkedIn.

Courtney Mikulski
Edited byCourtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
Courtney Mikulski
Courtney MikulskiSenior Editor, Auto
  • 3+ years producing insurance and personal finance content

  • Main architect of the Insurify Quality Score

Courtney’s deep personal finance knowledge extends beyond insurance to credit cards, consumer lending, and banking. She thrives on creating actionable content.

Featured in

media logomedia logo

Compare Car Insurance Quotes Instantly

Secure. Free. Easy-to-use.
Based on 3,806+ reviews
4.8/5
Shopper Approved
ProgressiveLiberty MutualTravelers

Latest Articles

View all