San Francisco is one of the most expensive cities in the United States, and that includes the cost of car insurance. According to a study by The Zebra, the average annual premium for car insurance in San Francisco is $2,257, which is 37% higher than the national average of $1,647.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to pay a fortune to insure your car in the City by the Bay. There are ways to find cheap car insurance in San Francisco if you know where to look and how to compare quotes.
In this article, we will cover:
- The minimum car insurance requirements in California
- The factors that affect your car insurance rates in San Francisco
- The best car insurance companies in San Francisco
- The tips to save money on car insurance in San Francisco
The Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in California
California is a state that follows the “fault” system when it comes to car accidents. That means that the driver who causes an accident is responsible for paying for the damages and injuries of the other parties involved.
To protect yourself from financial liability, you need to have at least the minimum amount of car insurance required by law in California. This includes:
- $15,000 for bodily injury liability per person
- $30,000 for bodily injury liability per accident
- $5,000 for property damage liability per accident
These are the minimum limits, but you may want to consider higher limits or additional coverage options to protect yourself better. For example, you may want to add:
- Collision coverage, which pays for the repairs or replacement of your own car after an accident
- Comprehensive coverage, which pays for the damages to your car caused by non-collision events, such as theft, vandalism, fire, or natural disasters
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, which pays for your medical expenses and property damage if you are hit by a driver who has no insurance or not enough insurance
- Medical payments coverage, which pays for your medical bills and funeral expenses regardless of who is at fault
- Personal injury protection coverage, which pays for your lost income and other expenses related to your injuries regardless of who is at fault
The Factors That Affect Your Car Insurance Rates in San Francisco
Car insurance rates are not the same for everyone. They vary depending on several factors that reflect your risk level as a driver. Some of these factors are:
- Your age: Younger drivers tend to pay more for car insurance because they are considered more inexperienced and prone to accidents. Older drivers may also pay more if they have health issues or declining vision that affect their driving ability.
- Your gender: Men tend to pay more for car insurance than women because they are statistically more likely to cause accidents and drive more aggressively.
- Your marital status: Married drivers tend to pay less for car insurance than single drivers because they are seen as more responsible and stable.
- Your driving record: Drivers with a clean driving record pay less for car insurance than drivers with tickets, accidents, or DUIs on their record. These violations can increase your rates significantly and stay on your record for years.
- Your credit score: Drivers with a good credit score pay less for car insurance than drivers with a poor credit score because they are seen as more financially responsible and less likely to file claims.
- Your location: Drivers who live in urban areas pay more for car insurance than drivers who live in rural areas because they face more traffic congestion, crime, and vandalism. Drivers who live in areas with high rates of uninsured drivers also pay more for car insurance.
- Your vehicle: The type, make, model, year, and value of your vehicle affect your car insurance rates. Generally, newer, more expensive, and more powerful vehicles cost more to insure than older, cheaper, and less powerful vehicles. Vehicles that are more likely to be stolen or vandalized also cost more to insure.
- Your mileage: The more you drive, the more you pay for car insurance because you have a higher chance of getting into an accident. Drivers who use their cars for work or commute long distances pay more than drivers who use their cars occasionally or for leisure.
- Your coverage: The amount and type of coverage you choose affect your car insurance rates. The higher your limits and deductibles are, the lower your premiums will be. However, this also means that you will have to pay more out of pocket if you file a claim.
The Best Car Insurance Companies in San Francisco
Finding cheap car insurance in San Francisco is not impossible, but it requires some research and comparison shopping. You need to compare quotes from different companies and see which one offers you the best value for your money.
To help you with this process, we have compiled a list of some of the best car insurance companies in San Francisco based on customer satisfaction ratings, financial strength ratings, and average premiums. Here they are:
- GEICO: GEICO is one of the largest and most popular car insurance companies in the country, and it offers competitive rates and discounts in San Francisco. GEICO has an A++ rating from A.M. Best, which indicates superior financial strength, and a 4-star rating from J.D. Power, which indicates above-average customer satisfaction. The average annual premium for GEICO in San Francisco is $1,789, which is 21% lower than the city average.
- USAA: USAA is a car insurance company that caters exclusively to military members and their families, and it offers some of the lowest rates and best benefits in San Francisco. USAA has an A++ rating from A.M. Best and a 5-star rating from J.D. Power, which indicate superior financial strength and customer satisfaction. The average annual premium for USAA in San Francisco is $1,421, which is 37% lower than the city average. However, USAA is not available to everyone, so you need to check your eligibility before applying.
- State Farm: State Farm is another large and reputable car insurance company that offers affordable rates and discounts in San Francisco. State Farm has an A++ rating from A.M. Best and a 3-star rating from J.D. Power, which indicate superior financial strength and average customer satisfaction. The average annual premium for State Farm in San Francisco is $1,828, which is 19% lower than the city average.
- Progressive: Progressive is a car insurance company that offers innovative features and options in San Francisco, such as the Snapshot program that monitors your driving habits and rewards you with discounts. Progressive has an A+ rating from A.M. Best and a 3-star rating from J.D. Power, which indicate excellent financial strength and average customer satisfaction. The average annual premium for Progressive in San Francisco is $2,071, which is 8% lower than the city average.
- Allstate: Allstate is a car insurance company that offers comprehensive coverage and benefits in San Francisco, such as the Drivewise program that tracks your driving performance and rewards you with cashback. Allstate has an A+ rating from A.M. Best and a 3-star rating from J.D. Power, which indicate excellent financial strength and average customer satisfaction. The average annual premium for Allstate in San Francisco is $2,295, which is 2% higher than the city average.
These are some of the best car insurance companies in San Francisco, but they are not the only ones. You should always compare quotes from multiple companies to find the one that suits your needs and budget.
The Tips to Save Money on Car Insurance in San Francisco
Besides comparing quotes from different companies, there are other ways to save money on car insurance in San Francisco. Here are some tips:
Shop around: Car insurance rates vary widely from company to company, so you should shop around at least once a year to see if you can find a better deal. You can use online tools or agents to help you compare quotes easily and quickly.
Bundle your policies: If you have other types of insurance, such as home, renters, or life insurance, you may be able to save money by bundling them with your car insurance policy. Many companies offer discounts for customers who buy multiple policies from them.
Raise your deductible: Your deductible is the amount of money you have to pay before your insurance kicks in when you file a claim. By raising your deductible, you can lower your premium, but you also have to be prepared to pay more out of pocket if you have an accident.
Lower your coverage: If you have an older or less valuable car, you may not need as much coverage as you have. You can save money by dropping collision and comprehensive coverage or lowering your limits. However, you should not lower your coverage below the minimum required by law or below what you can afford to lose.
Take advantage of discounts: Most car insurance companies offer discounts for various reasons, such as being a good driver, having a good credit score, having a good student record, having low mileage, having a safe car, having an anti-theft device, taking a defensive driving course, being a loyal customer, or being a member of certain groups or organizations. You should ask your company what discounts they offer and see if you qualify for any of them.
Drive safely: The best way to save money on car insurance in San Francisco is to drive safely and avoid accidents and violations. By doing so, you can maintain a clean driving record and lower your risk level as a driver. This will result in lower rates and fewer claims.
Car insurance in San Francisco can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. By following these tips and comparing quotes from different companies, you can find cheap car insurance in San Francisco that meets your needs and budget.
Remember that cheap car insurance is not always the best car insurance. You should always consider the quality