Cheapest Auto Insurance in Santa Barbara, California (2024)

The average cost of liability-only coverage is $58 per month, and full coverage costs $137 per month in Santa Barbara.

Christy Rakoczy
Written byChristy Rakoczy
Christy Rakoczy
Christy Rakoczy

Christy Rakoczy has been a personal finance and insurance writer for over a decade. Her work has been published on USA Today, MSN, Yahoo Finance, Credit Karma, Forbes Advisor, and more. Christy has a JD from UCLA School of Law and previously worked as a data analyst for Blue Cross and as a paralegal studies instructor before transitioning to writing full time.

Chris Schafer
Edited byChris Schafer
Chris Schafer
Chris SchaferSenior Editor
  • 15+ years in content creation

  • 7+ years in business and financial services content

Chris is a seasoned writer/editor with past experience across myriad industries, including insurance, SAS, finance, Medicare, logistics, marketing/advertising, and many more.

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Updated February 29, 2024 at 11:00 AM PST

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In Santa Barbara, the average monthly cost of car insurance is $98. This is below the statewide average of $165 and the national average of $156. Santa Barbara is one of California’s smaller cities by population.[1] It’s also considered a very walkable city. These factors result in fewer drivers on the road, which can lower driving risks and result in reduced auto insurance premiums.

However, while rates remain lower in Santa Barbara, you can still find ways to cut your costs even more. Here’s how.

Quick Facts
  • California doesn’t allow insurers to use your credit history during the underwriting process.

  • If you have a DUI, speeding ticket, or at-fault accident on your record, you’ll likely pay significantly more for your car insurance.

  • Drivers younger than 25 and older than 70 pay higher rates for car insurance than middle-aged drivers.

Cheapest car insurance companies in Santa Barbara

While auto insurance is generally affordable in Santa Barbara, California car insurance rates vary by insurer as well as by driver profile. Some insurers offer more affordable coverage than others for drivers who have certain driving records, live in certain ZIP codes, or are in certain age groups. That’s why it’s important to compare rates from several insurers to find the best coverage for you.

The table below shows some of the top auto insurers in Santa Barbara, including their statewide rates for full and liability coverage. Include them in your car insurance search.

Insurance CompanyIQ 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.
Full CoverageLiability OnlyBest For
Mercury3.6$155$84Students
Clearcover3.2$137N/ADrivers with a DUI
USAA4.5$211$99Military members
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.
  • Insurify uses an in-house, proprietary method to rate and review the best car insurance companies. The Insurify Quality (IQ) Score uses more than 15 crucial criteria, including average premiums, customer satisfaction, discounts, third-party ratings, and more, to calculate a final score for a company.

    Criteria are weighted by importance to the consumer — factors such as customer reviews and affordability influence the score more than availability and third-party ratings. With the IQ Score, Insurify is able to provide quantitative ratings for drivers to better compare car insurance companies and make informed decisions to meet their coverage needs.

Best insurer for students: Mercury Auto Insurance

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.
3.6
JD Power
J.D. Power data measures overall customer satisfaction and claims satisfaction based on a 1,000-point scale.
827
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.
$68/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.
$128/mo

Numerous colleges are in the Santa Barbara area, including the University of California, Santa Barbara; Antioch University; Westmont College; and Santa Barbara City College. While younger drivers often pay higher prices for coverage, Mercury, which is based in California, tends to offer more affordable coverage options for drivers who are students.

Pros
  • Offers many options to save, including good student discounts for drivers younger than 25

  • Has an extensive network of local agents

Cons
  • Not available in every state

  • Below-average J.D. Power customer satisfaction rating in California

Fast service.

kristen - December 2, 2023
Verified

30years with Mercury.

Harold - October 22, 2023
Verified

They were okay, but I didn't care for their price hikes.

Sydney - October 7, 2023
Verified
Read our Mercury review

Best insurer for drivers with a DUI: Clearcover

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.
3.1
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.
$54/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.
$113/mo

In Santa Barbara County, there were 1,811 DUI arrests in 2019.[2] Drivers with a DUI on their record often pay higher auto insurance rates, but Clearcover’s prices may be more affordable. Because Clearcover uses AI technology to help set premiums, it can offer more personalized, and often lower, pricing than many other insurers.

Pros
  • Eligible claims are paid within seven minutes

  • Mobile app has positive reviews on App Store and Google Play

Cons
  • Premiums change more often because Clearcover offers a maximum six-month coverage term instead of the 12 months many competitors offer

  • Coverage isn’t available in all states, and the agent network is small

The pricing is good, but the renewal process is a nightmare; calling, chatting, and filling up forms for extended renewal is too much work. Just get Progressive.

BAYRON - July 23, 2023
Verified

I filed a claim with Clearcover last year, and they haven't paid it. Now my policy has gone up by $40 per month.

Catherine - January 14, 2023
Verified

Great service, low price, very helpful staff

Jack - September 12, 2022
Verified
Read our Clearcover review

Best insurer for the military community: 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.
$81/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.
$173/mo

Santa Barbara is home to 3,217 veterans.[1] Vandenberg Space Force Base is also located in Santa Barbara County. Both veterans and active-duty military members should consider getting auto insurance through USAA, as this insurer offers top-notch customer service and affordable rates aimed at the military community.

Pros
  • Received the highest customer satisfaction rating in California in the J.D. Power 2023 U.S. Auto Insurance Study

  • More affordable rates than many competitors

Cons
  • Only people with certain military affiliations are eligible

  • Gap insurance not available and car replacement coverage not available on leased vehicles

They have stopped thinking about how today's financial strain is impacting their customers.

Darcy - November 26, 2023
Verified

Not satisfied with price hike even after lowering coverage.

Linda - November 3, 2023
Verified

Wonderful service, pricing, and care.

Robert - October 24, 2023
Verified
Read our USAA review

How to get the cheapest car insurance in Santa Barbara

The car insurance rates you get will depend on many things, including your age, driving record, marital status, credit history, and more. While some of these aspects are out of your control, you can do some things to lower your car insurance rates, including:

  • Get multiple insurance quotes. Many insurers cover drivers in California, and the cheapest company for one driver may not be the cheapest for someone else. Try to get at least three quotes from different insurers to find the best plan for you. Independent insurance agents can help, or you can answer a few simple questions to get online auto insurance quotes.

  • Take advantage of discounts. Many insurers offer savings for being accident-free, bundling home and auto coverage, earning good grades, or working for a certain business. It’s a good idea to explore available discounts and make sure to ask for all the savings you and your family are eligible for.

  • Be smart about your vehicle. Cars with anti-theft devices and certain safety features cost less to insure. Compare insurance quotes for different cars before deciding which to buy.

  • Drive safely. Avoiding accidents and moving violations will help you keep your insurance costs down.

Find Cheap Car Insurance in Santa Barbara

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Cheapest liability-only car insurance in Santa Barbara

Liability-only insurance provides the state-minimum required liability coverage. California requires every driver to buy liability insurance to protect others. If you’re at fault in a collision, this coverage will pay for the other party’s injuries and property damage. It doesn’t cover you against any losses except the money you owe others.

The average rate for liability-only insurance in California is $115, and you can see average quotes from area insurers in the table below.

Insurance CompanyAverage Monthly Quote
Clearcover$49
Mile Auto$50
Sun Coast$54
Infinity$61
Mercury$61
Anchor$65
USAA$65
Safeco$77
National General$79
Dairyland$86
GEICO$88
Allstate$91
Farmers$93
State Farm$101
Bristol West$104
Travelers$106
21st Century$116
Nationwide$143
Chubb$181
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 Santa Barbara

Full-coverage auto insurance adds additional protections beyond the required state-minimum liability insurance. It typically includes both collision and comprehensive insurance. Collision insurance pays for your losses in a crash, no matter who caused it. Comprehensive coverage pays for your losses from something other than a collision, such as falling objects or vandalism. While not required, these added coverages protect against financial loss.

The table below shows how quotes in Santa Barbara compare with the state full-coverage average rate of $216 per month.

Insurance CompanyAverage Monthly Quote
Clearcover$133
Mile Auto$124
Sun Coast$148
Infinity$155
Mercury$142
Anchor$179
USAA$178
Safeco$173
National General$229
Dairyland$270
GEICO$237
Allstate$246
Farmers$253
State Farm$274
Bristol West$293
Travelers$206
21st Century$314
Nationwide$386
Chubb$488
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.

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Car insurance requirements in California

California requires every driver to have liability coverage to protect others in case they cause a collision. Here are the minimum requirements for California liability insurance:

CoverageMinimum Requirements
Bodily injury liability$15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident
Property damage liability5$5,000

While the table above includes your minimum requirements, you may want to expand your protection with some additional coverages. Some other kinds of coverage you may want include:

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

    Physical damage protection

    This includes comprehensive insurance to pay for non-crash losses, as well as collision insurance to pay for damage to your own vehicle after a crash.

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

    Medical payments coverage

    This pays for medical expenses for you and your passengers after an accident, regardless of who was to blame.

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

    Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage

    This pays for damage when the responsible driver doesn’t have sufficient insurance coverage to pay for losses.

Cheapest car insurance for drivers with an incident

Speeding tickets, at-fault accidents, driving under the influence, and other moving violations make you a riskier driver in the eyes of insurers. As a result, insurers charge higher premiums when motorists have such incidents on their driving record. Depending on the incident, your rates in California could almost double compared to what a driver with a clean record might pay.

The table below shows the cheapest auto insurance for drivers who have various incidents on their record.

Insurance CompanyClean Driving RecordWith Speeding TicketWith At-Fault AccidentWith DUI
Clearcover$49$73$69$74
Mile Auto$50$75$71$76
Sun Coast$54$79$75$80
Infinity$61$90$85$91
Mercury$61$90$85$91
Anchor$65$96$91$98
USAA$65$96$91$98
Safeco$77$113$107$115
National General$79$117$110$118
Dairyland$86$127$121$129
GEICO$88$131$123$132
Allstate$91$135$128$137
Farmers$93$138$131$140
State Farm$101$149$141$151
Bristol West$104$154$146$156
Travelers$106$157$148$159
21st Century$116$171$162$173
Nationwide$143$211$200$214
Chubb$181$267$253$271
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.

Average cost of car insurance by age

People at the beginning and end of their driving lives present a higher risk of auto accidents. For teens, this is because of their inexperience. For older drivers, it’s due to their reduced faculties. This is why auto insurance rates are generally higher for drivers younger than 25 and older than 70, although rates do vary by insurer.

The table below shows what Santa Barbara drivers of different ages can expect to pay for auto insurance.

AgeAverage Monthly Quote
Teens$233
20s$170
30s$124
40s$116
50s$111
60s$97
70s$101
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.

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Santa Barbara car insurance FAQs

Looking for more information to help you find the lowest rates in Santa Barbara? Consult the answers below.

  • How much is car insurance in Santa Barbara?

    The average rate for car insurance in Santa Barbara is $98 per month. The average rate for liability-only coverage is $58 per month, and the average for full coverage is $137. This makes Santa Barbara more affordable than the California state averages of $115 and $216 per month, respectively.

  • Can insurers review your credit history in California?

    No. California law prevents insurers from reviewing your credit history as part of their underwriting process. In the states where this is legal (which is most states), people with good or excellent credit pay significantly less for insurance compared to people with poor credit histories.

  • What are the best car insurance companies in Santa Barbara?

    Mercury, Clearcover, and USAA are three of the top insurers in Santa Barbara, and each is known for serving specific groups. Mercury’s student discounts are appealing to the thousands of college students in the area, while Clearcover offers some of the lowest rates for drivers with a DUI on their record. Finally, USAA is dedicated to serving the military community and has several offerings military members can take advantage of.

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. United States Census Bureau. "QuickFacts Los Angeles city, California; Santa Barbara city, California; Anaheim city, California." Accessed November 1, 2023
  2. California Department of Motor Vehicles. "ANNUAL REPORT OF THE CALIFORNIA DUI MANAGEMENT INFORMATION SYSTEM." Accessed November 1, 2023
Christy Rakoczy
Christy Rakoczy

Christy Rakoczy has been a personal finance and insurance writer for over a decade. Her work has been published on USA Today, MSN, Yahoo Finance, Credit Karma, Forbes Advisor, and more. Christy has a JD from UCLA School of Law and previously worked as a data analyst for Blue Cross and as a paralegal studies instructor before transitioning to writing full time.

Chris Schafer
Edited byChris SchaferSenior Editor
Chris Schafer
Chris SchaferSenior Editor
  • 15+ years in content creation

  • 7+ years in business and financial services content

Chris is a seasoned writer/editor with past experience across myriad industries, including insurance, SAS, finance, Medicare, logistics, marketing/advertising, and many more.

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