Auto Insurance in San Diego, CA (The Complete Guide)
California requires 15/30/5 for bodily injury and property coverage. The average rate for auto insurance in San Diego is $367.89/mo. Save now and compare rates below.
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UPDATED: May 29, 2020
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|SAN DIEGO STATISTICS||DETAILS|
|City Density||4,377 people per square mile|
|Average Cost of Car Insurance||$4,414.64|
|Cheapest Car Insurance Provider||Progressive|
|Road Conditions||Poor Share: 34%|
Mediocre Share: 30%
Fair Share: 19%
Good Share: 17%
From the sandy shores of Coronado Beach to the San Diego Zoo, if you live in the San Diego area then you know why it is called the City in Motion.
With a population of approximately 1.42 million though this can mean a lot of time spent behind the wheel.
More time spent in traffic means an increased chance of a car accident. If the unfortunate should happen it will be comforting to know that your car insurance provider has your back.
There is so much more to shopping for car insurance than simply finding the cheapest price though. That is where we come in.
We have collected all of the information you need in one place to help you choose the best car insurance provider for you and your family.
Enter your zip code above to get started and then keep reading to find out how we can help you save even more money.
The Cost of Car Insurance in San Diego
Part of finding the best price for your car insurance policy in the City in Motion depends on your ability to understand the factors that car insurance providers use to set your rates.
When most people think about these things they automatically assume that these factors only include their age and driving record. Nothing could be further from the truth. Check out how auto insurance companies check your driving record.
In fact, car insurance providers also look at things like your gender, the zip code you live in, and in some cases even your credit score. That’s not all they look at either.
Not to worry. We will help you go through each of the factors that determine your car insurance rates so that you will in a better position to get a great deal on car insurance when it comes time to spend your hard-earned money.
Male vs. Female vs. Age
Everyone knows that auto insurance costs more for young drivers because of their age and lack of driving experience. Teens are not the only ones whose premiums can be more expensive because of their age either.
A 2017 study conducted by Consumer Federation of America (CFA) found in 10 cities studied:
That 40- and 60-year old women with perfect driving records were charged more than men for basic coverage nearly twice as often as men were charged the higher rate.
Residents of San Diego are lucky though. The first reason is that, according to Data USA, the median age for most people who live in the City in Motion is 34.5-years-old.
As of January 1, 2019, the practice of using gender as a factor for determining car insurance rates in California has been banned as well which is another thing that could add some relief to the prices that you might pay for car insurance.
While this is good news for the older women mentioned in the CFA study this could actually result in a rate increase for teen drivers who are females according to Business Insider.
Business Insider also reported that teen males could actually see a rate decrease which means that the cost of car insurance throughout the Golden State is slowly being equalized across the lines of age and gender.
|Average Annual Rate||$6,423.69||$2,975.17||$2,319.96||$2,065.66|
As you can see, the cheapest premiums for car insurance customers in the San Diego area were paid by 60-year-olds. The typical male in San Diego is still paying more for car insurance than his female counterpart is though. Take a look to see what we mean.
|DEMOGRAPHIC||AVERAGE ANNUAL RATES|
|Single 17-year old female||$5,804.91|
|Single 17-year old male||$7,042.47|
|Single 25-year old female||$2,930.89|
|Single 25-year old male||$3,019.45|
|Married 35-year old female||$2,340.99|
|Married 35-year old male||$2,298.94|
|Married 60-year old female||$2,063.00|
|Married 60-year old male||$2,068.32|
Gender and age aren’t the only things that can account for the differences in premium prices between men and women. Where you live could also raise or lower your rates. Keep reading to find out what we mean.
Cheapest Zip Codes in San Diego
While the State of California may have put a ban on using gender as a factor for determining car insurance rates no such legislature exists when it comes to the neighborhood that you live in.
This means that not all zip codes are created equal when it comes to the price that you will pay for your car insurance policy in the city in motion. Take a look at the table below to see what we mean.
|ZIP CODE||AVERAGE ANNUAL RATE|
As you can see, the area near Scripps Ranch enjoys the lowest annual rates for car insurance out of the entire San Diego area. Those who call NAS North Island home also have the most expensive rates in the City in Motion.
If you live on NAS North Island it might be worth asking your car insurance provider about any military discounts that are available to you before purchasing your car insurance policy.
What is the Best Car Insurance Company in San Diego?
Determining which car insurance company is the best in the San Deigo area will depend mostly on your needs.
As you shop around for car insurance you will need to consider things such as the types of drivers that will be covered by your policy and how often they might drive.
You will also want to take things like your driving record and the minimum state requirements under consideration as well as if you might need any additional coverage such as comprehensive to protect you against Mother Nature.
Keep scrolling and let us help you make sense of it all.
Cheapest Car Insurance Rates by Company
Now that you know that the Golden State has set out protections against gender discrimination when it comes to purchasing your car insurance policy it is time to start looking at some of the factors that they can consider. One of these factors is your marital status.
The table below reveals how age and marital status combine to determine how much your car insurance premiums might be.
|Group||Married 35-year old female||Married 35-year old male||Married 60-year old female||Married 60-year old male||Single 17-year old female||Single 17-year old male||Single 25-year old female||Single 25-year old male|
This data reveals that a 35-year-old woman who is married pays between $1,000 to $1,500 less than her 25-year-old counterpart across the board. The table also demonstrates that teen drivers are still the most expensive age group to insure in San Diego.
If you are single or have a teen driver that will be included in your policy then it will definitely be worth shopping around in order to save money.
Best Car Insurance for Commute Rates
Marital status and age are not the only things to consider when shopping for the best prices on car insurance in the City in Motion. Sometimes something so unavoidable as your daily commute can also add a few bucks to the price you will pay.
This is an important thing for San Diego residents to think about given that data collected by the Federal Highway Administration reveals Californians racked up 13,414 roadway miles per licensed driver in 2014 alone.
Most of these miles are spent commuting to and from work forcing some San Diegans to rethink about where they live.
Moving to shorten your commute is not a luxury afforded to most of us, but you can save money on car insurance which could make the commute less of a pain. Take a peek at how your commute in the city might be impacting the price you pay for your car insurance policy.
|Group||10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.||25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.||Average|
A quick glance at the data would make it appear as if USAA is the best company in San Diego when it comes to commute rates and prices. Things aren’t that simple though.
If you have any speeding tickets that affect car insurance or accidents on your driving record then you will need to consider who might have the best price with those factors in mind before deciding to purchase your policy solely based on how long your commute is.
Best Car Insurance for Coverage Levels
Demographic and geographic factors are not the only things that determine how much you will pay for your car insurance policy. The amount of coverage that you purchase also helps set the price.
The table below reveals how much a shift in your coverage amounts could impact your wallet.
As expected, the price goes up with each level of coverage. The amount of coverage you need varies based on where you live, what risk factors might surround you, or even the value of your car though.
For instance, give San Diego’s propensity for natural disasters, adding comprehensive coverage to your car insurance policy might be best for you in the long run.
Natural disasters are not the only things to consider when thinking about your coverage types. If you have a modified car or a classic car it might be a good idea to consider adding the specific types of coverages available for the specialty cars to your policy.
Best Car Insurance for Credit History Rates
When most people think about the things that might impact their car insurance premiums their credit score does not automatically come to mind.
The fact is though that car insurance companies have historically used credit scores as a factor for setting the price that consumers pay for their car insurance policy, and they aren’t the only ones using your credit score to charge you more money.
There is good news for residents of San Diego. Because you call the Golden State your home car insurance providers cannot use your credit score as a factor for setting the price of your premiums.
This has led to big savings over the last few years for residents of California as a whole. In fact, Consumer Reports asserted that:
According to a 50-state study of insurance regulations by the Consumer Federation of America in 2013, California’s pricing practices, enacted as part of Proposition 103 in 1988, saved $8,625 per family during those 25 years.
Just because car insurers can’t use your credit score doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be concerned with the average costs of car insurance premiums from each company. Take a look at the table below to see how each of the providers in your area stacks up.
|Group||Average Annual Rate|
Looking at the table by itself could fool you into thinking that USAA will always be the cheapest. Here again though, if you have tickets, accidents, teen drivers, or just live in a particular zip code one of the other companies could be the one that will save you the most money. This is why it is always smart to shop around.
It is also a great idea to keep your eye on your credit report and keep it up-to-date and free from errors in order to save you money on other large purchase. Part of this means getting the one free copy of your credit report from Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian that you are entitled to every 12 months.
Best Car Insurance Companies for Driving Record Rates
Now that you know about some of the hidden factors that car insurance providers use to set your rates it is time to start thinking about the impact that your driving record has on how much you pay for your car insurance policy. The table below can help to get you started.
|Group||Clean record||With 1 accident||With 1 DUI||With 1 speeding violation||Average|
Just looking at the rates provided by Allstate you can see how one speeding ticket, accident, or DUI could end up costing you thousands of dollars more for car insurance each year.
The choices are simple then: slow down, drive defensively, and always designate a driver.
Car Insurance Factors in San Diego
Getting the best deal on car insurance in San Diego is not just about understanding how things like your age, gender, or zip code might impact your rate.
Snagging the best deal also means understanding how factors such as your city’s growth and prosperity rates are driving the overall car insurance market.
Whether or not you own a home or have a higher education can also have an influence on the price you pay for car insurance. Keep reading to find out how.
Growth and Prosperity
According to the Bookings Institute, San Diego ranks 33rd in growth and 25th in prosperity nationwide.
Over the 10-year period between 2005 and 2015 job growth rose 7.1 percent with local government, hospitality, and federal government jobs leading the way.
The City in Motion also saw a 6.7 percent rise in productivity over that same period and the standard of living rose 1.8 percent as a result. The average annual wage also saw an 11.1 percent increase between 2005 and 2015.
San Diego’s growth and prosperity also outpaced national growth and prosperity rates along the way.
So what does all of this mean to you as you shop for car insurance? It means that you are shopping in a highly competitive market which could help keep prices low.
Median Household Income
The positive trends in San Diego’s growth and prosperity rates mean that the area is attracting more high-paying jobs. Just because you make more money doesn’t mean that you want to spend more of it on your car insurance policy though.
This median income is higher than the national average which stands at $60,336.
So just how much of their annual income are residents of San Diego spending on car insurance? Let’s break it down.
If the median household income in San Diego is $76,662 and the average annual cost for insurance in the area is $4,414.64 this means that residents of the City in Motion are spending approximately $368 out of a monthly budget of $6,389 on car insurance. This is roughly 5.76 percent of their yearly income.
You can use the calculator below to see just how much of your annual income is being dedicated to your car insurance premiums each year.
Now that you know how your car insurance rates are impacting your annual budget you understand why it’s so important to compare companies and rates before you purchase your policy.
Home Ownership in San Diego
Like credit scores and zip codes, many people don’t know that whether or not they own their home can be an important factor in what they will pay for their car insurance premium.
In fact, in 2016, the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) reported that:
Major auto insurance companies charge good drivers as much as 47 percent more for basic liability auto insurance if they don’t own their home.
This hardly seems fair so why do they do it? Like credit scores, homeownership is believed to demonstrate stability for many car insurance providers.
There is good news for you as a resident of San Deigo though. According to CFA:
Consumer protection laws in California, prohibit auto insurance companies from considering customers’ homeownership status or other socio-economic factors such as level of education or credit score when setting premiums.
These laws have made it so that all of the companies sampled by CFA showed the same premium being awarded to good drivers whether or not they owned their homes.
According to Data USA, 47.1 percent of San Diegans owned their home in 2017. The median property value in San Diego also sat at around $600,300 in 2017 demonstrating a growth spurt from the previous year.
Even though you are lucky enough to be protected by California’s consumer laws doesn’t mean that you can’t use your accomplishment of buying a home to your benefit.
When purchasing your policy you should always ask about the car and home bundles just to make sure you are getting the most for your money.
Education in San Diego
Like the laws that protect people who rent versus those who own their homes in San Diego, there are also consumer protections against using your education level when setting your car insurance rates in the Golden State.
Even with these protections in place, many residents of the City in Motion are still choosing to go on to seek some type of post-secondary education.
As you can see from the chart provided by Data USA, the most common concentrations for Bachelor’s Degree-seeking students are Early Childhood Education and General Business and Administration.
Women in San Diego also had a higher rate for earning a college degree than their male counterparts in 2016 with 30,353 of the total 51,124 total degrees earned for that year being awarded to females.
Whether you are looking towards self-improvement or career advancement, when it comes to institutes for higher learning San Diego has you covered.
The city offers everything from trade schools and community colleges to major universities according to Study.com.
The three largest of these are:
- Ashford University with 13,260 degrees awarded in 2016.
- San Diego State University who awarded 9,079 degrees in 2016.
- And the University of California-San Diego which awarded 8,531 degrees in 2016.
Californians really care about education as well. In fact, the Public Policy Institute of California reports that:
California voters passed Proposition 30, which was designed in part to provide more funds for higher education.
It seems then that both Californians and the residents if San Diego understand that the value of good education goes beyond getting a car insurance discount.
Discounts are nice though so why not ask your agent about student discounts when purchasing your car insurance policy?
Wage by Race & Ethnicity
While self-improvement and self-fulfillment are great goals, the reality is that most people go to college as a means of obtaining a higher paying job.
Not all higher-paying jobs require a post-secondary education either. Take a look at the most common jobs in the City in Motion by race and ethnicity according to Data USA.
The data reveals that Asians and whites make up the majority of San Diego’s workforce. The chart also displays the variety of jobs held by residents of San Diego by both college degree-holding and non-degree-holding people.
When you look at the percentage of annual income spent on car insurance by each of these segments of the population of San Diego it becomes clear why it is so important to shop around for the best price for car insurance. Take a look at the table below to see what we mean.
|Ethnicity||Miscellaneous Managers||Premiums as Percentage of Income||Elementary & Middle School Teachers||Premiums as Percentage of Income||Driver/Sales Workers & Truck Drivers||Premiums as Percentage of Income||Retail Salespersons||Premiums as Percentage of Income||Cashiers||Premiums as Percentage of Income|
|Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander||$128,245||3.44%||$48,953||9.02%||$42,284||10.44%||$25,712||17.17%||$17,167||25.72%|
|Two or More Races||$110,079||4.01%||$52,813||8.36%||$38,941||11.34%||$26,840||16.45%||$15,090||29.26%|
|Other Native American||$72,969||6.05%||$40,539||10.89%||$16,935||26.07%||$6,238||70.77%|
As you can see, the lower your income the higher the percentage of your annual income that will be eaten up by car insurance premiums. With this in mind, you can see why getting the best price on car insurance is such a big deal.
Wage by Gender in Common Jobs
Although California has legislation in place that prevents the use of gender as a factor in determining your car insurance rates there are no current laws on the books that have been able to close the wage gap.
This disparity between the genders when it comes to wages does not just impact your day-to-day costs of living; it can also influence your percentage of income spent on car insurance as seen by looking at the table below.
|Gender||Miscellaneous Managers||Premiums as Percentage of Income||Elementary & Middle School Teachers||Premiums as Percentage of Income||Retail Salespersons||Premiums as Percentage of Income||Driver/Sales Workers & Truck Drivers||Premiums as Percentage of Income||Cashiers||Premiums as Percentage of Income|
The table demonstrates how your chosen career field combines with your gender to create major shifts in the percentage of income that you will pay for your annual car insurance premiums. This is why comparing insurance companies and rates is so important.
Poverty by Age and Gender
Gender and employment type are not the only two things that can combine to cost you more for car insurance each year.
Even with protections against the use of age and gender put in place by the California Department of Insurance, age and gender can sometimes collide and end up costing you higher prices for car insurance.
The chart below demonstrates the rates of poverty by age and gender in the San Diego area.
As you can see, 14.5 percent of residents of the City in Motion live below the poverty line. This is above the national average according to Data USA.
Women are more likely to be the ones living below the poverty line as well which means that a greater percentage of their annual income will be dedicated to paying for their car insurance premiums than their male counterparts.
Poverty by Race and Ethnicity
Courtesy of the ProPublica report regarding how minorities were generally being charged more for car insurance California put regulations in place to help level the purchasing prices.
According to Consumer Reports:
California’s action marks a rare regulatory rebuke of the insurance industry for its long-time practice of charging higher premiums to drivers living in predominantly minority urban neighborhoods than to drivers with similar safety records living in majority-white neighborhoods.
As you have seen in the above sections of this article, gender, age, and race can still have an impact on the percentage of income spent of car insurance premiums though.
The Data USA chart below reveals how San Diego fares when it comes to race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
While white people in the City of Motion may appear to be paying out a higher percentage of their annual income in San Diego because they make up the majority of people living in poverty in the area this may not be the case.
White residents of San Diego actually make up a higher percentage of the population of the city which could account for the higher numbers of them who find themselves living at or below the poverty line. In fact, Data USA reports that:
In 2017, there were 1.41 times more White Alone residents (604k people) in San Diego, CA than any other race or ethnicity.
White residents of San Diego are not more or less disadvantaged than their counterparts when it comes to the amount that they pay for car insurance overall though courtesy of California’s protections of consumers through insurance regulations.
Employment by Occupation
The city of San Diego is always looking for ways to improve its economy. With more economic growth comes the potential to lower unemployment rates and increases in wages for workers as well.
One of the fastest-growing sectors in the San Diego area is Biotech field, and you may not even need a college degree to gain employment in this field.
If the Biotech field is not your thing you are not alone. Most residents of the City in Motion actually prefer jobs in management positions according to Data USA. Take a look at what other types of jobs were trending between 2016 and 2017.
From Educational Training & Library Occupations to Office Administration, San Diego residents really are some busy bees. No wonder San Diego is called the City in Motion.
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Driving in San Diego
Geography and demographics are not the only forces working in the background to determine your car insurance rates.
The type of roads in San Diego, their overall condition, and how America’s Finest City chooses to enforce things such as redlight violations and speeding can also influence the price you will pay for car insurance.
Keep reading to find out how all of these factors play their part in determining the price of your car insurance premiums.
Roads in San Diego
With the Metropolitan Transit System offering everything from trolleys to trains, it is no wonder that San Diego is called the City in Motion.
San Diego is very car-oriented in its design as well. In fact, it had four major interstates and several state highways that run either through the city’s center or around the perimeter.
Even with all of these roadway miles meant to give commuters options for avoiding traffic congestion can bring the City in Motion to a standstill.
Traffic and other road conditions can also end up adding to your bottom line when it comes to your car insurance policy. Keep scrolling to find out what we mean.
When it comes to major highways San Diego has plenty to choose from.
Some of the most popularly traveled routes by San Diegans include:
- Interstate 5-Which is the biggest interstate in the area and also the most popular.
- Interstate 805-Which runs from Noth County to Mission Valley
- Interstate 15-Which runs from South Bay northward and has a reversible HOV lane for rimes of high occupancy.
- Interstate 8-Which runs east to west through San Diego.
- State Route 94-which acts as an alternative to the I-8 for La Mesa.
- State Route 163-which connects I-5 in downtown with I-15.
- State Route 78-which connects North County form the inland to the coast.
- State Route 56-which runs from Poway to the southern edge of the county.
- State Route 52-which connects some of the urban neighborhoods in San Diego to the Eastern part of the county.
San Diego also offers trolley service through the Metropolitan Transportation System for anyone moving within the city center. The COASTER Commuter Rail Service also connects the city center with some of the suburbs that surround it.
San Diego has added the SPRINTER Hybrid Rail System to its list of options for commuters in order to alleviate some of its traffic problems as well.
San Diego also has some FastTrak options that can help you speed up your commute such as the State Road 125 South Bay Expressway if you are willing to pay the toll and the I-15 also has express lanes that are part of the FastTrak system.
FastTrak operates using a transponder which has a $3.50 minimum monthly toll. There is also a $1.00 transponder fee attached to each transponder associated with your account.
Be aware that even if you don’t use your pass in any given month you will still be assessed the fees. You should also note that your fees might be assessed differently if you use your transponder in the carpool function.
For more information on the FastTrak system and how it works, you can contact FastTrak the following ways:
- By phone Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at (619) 661-7070 or call 511. These lines are closed every other Monday.
- In-person at 1129 La Media Road, San Diego, CA 92154. This site closes every other Monday at 5 p.m.
- By Email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The FastTrak option and/or the use of the Metropolitan Transit System, COASTER, or SPRINTER could save you a few bucks on car insurance as well since these options limit the amount of time that you spend behind the wheel.
Popular Road Trips and Sites
Saving money on your car insurance policy could give you a few bucks to use on enjoying the sites and sounds of the City in Motion such as the San Diego Zoo or the U.S.S. Midway Museum.
Not everything will cost you money in San Diego. According to U.S. News and World Report, four of the best places to go in the San Diego area that won’t cost you a dime are Balboa Park, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, and Coronado Beach.
Looking to get out of the City in Motion completely for a day? Los Angeles, Tijuana, Ensenada, and Palm Springs are all within a day’s drive from San Diego and each one offers a unique experience for the traveler.
As you prepare to set out on your adventures you will want to take note of the conditions of the roads that will take you there and how they might impact your vehicle operating costs.
The average vehicle operating cost in San Diego is $694 a year. This includes things such as the cost of your insurance and the maintenance costs for keeping your ride in good operating condition.
These costs are dependant on things such as the factors that determine your insurance rates as well as the conditions of the roads that you travel on and as anyone who lives in San Diego can tell you, the roads in the city leave a lot to be desired.
Keeping the roads in San Diego in good condition is a monumental task. In fact, according to the Department of Public Works:
The Roads Section is responsible for nearly 2,000 miles of county roads – enough to drive from San Diego across the country to Pensacola, Florida.
This could explain why 34 percent of San Diego’s roads are rated as being in poor condition according to data collected by Tripnet.org.
Hitting the right pothole at the wrong time could cause you to have an accident which can result in your need to file a claim. Since filing a claim has the potential to raise your premiums you can see how the conditions of the road that you travel on are something that you should be concerned about when purchasing your car insurance policy.
Having additional coverage such as roadside assistance or collision could also help you keep the out-of-pocket costs of repairs and towing down should you ever have the need.
Does San Diego Use Red Light Cameras?
The issue of red-light cameras is a pretty controversial one even though, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS):
In 2017, 890 people were killed in crashes that involved red light running.
According to FindLaw.com, the state of California still permits their use but that doesn’t mean that all cities in the Golden State are opting in.
In 2013 the San Diego Union-Tribune reported that:
San Diego…became the latest in a cadre of California cities turning their backs on red-light cameras.
The decision by then-mayor Bob Filner brought up safety concerns from area cyclists and pedestrians who claimed that these cameras were making intersections safer for them. The cameras were costing the city more than the revenue that they were generating tough so they were ultimately shut down.
Be aware that just because San Diego has done away with photo enforcement of red-light infractions and does not use photo enforcement for speeding violations does not mean that other cities in the Golden State have.
Places Such as Bakersfield, Los Angelos County, and San Francisco still have their cameras in place and active.
If you get caught speeding or running a red light by a law enforcement officer in San Diego you can receive a citation and this could impact your car insurance rates so pay attention and slow down when on the road in the City in Motion.
Vehicles in San Diego
Running a red light or getting caught speeding are not the only things that can drive up your car insurance rates. Sometimes just owning a particular type of car can also cost you more money for your policy according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).
YourMechanic.com reports that the Most Unusually Popular Car in San Diego is the Toyota Pickup truck. This is not really so unusual according to the San Diego Union-Tribune though since in 2017:
The registration numbers for light trucks — which includes sport-utility vehicles — surpassed the total for passenger cars sold in San Diego County and in the Golden State as a whole.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) ranked the Toyota Tacoma as one of the safest light trucks for 2019.
Some of the safety features that helped this model gain a 9.1 on its scorecard include:
- Driver Side Airbags
- Passenger Side Air Bags with an on/off switch
- 4-Wheel ABS
- Electronic Stability Control
- And a Lane Departure Warning System
This model does pretty well on gas for its size and weight as well; boasting 18 MPG in the city and 22 MPG on the highway.
Saving money on gas and having a plethora of safety features, which can help you lower your car insurance rates, could help you keep your vehicle operating costs down overall.
Cars Per Household in San Diego
Keeping vehicle operating costs down is important. This is especially true if you are like most households in San Diego who own two cars according to Data USA.
Twice the cars mean twice the price for car insurance as well. This price can also jump exponentially if one of these cars is driven by a teenager or someone with a few dings on their driving record.
This is one of the many reasons why it is so important to shop around for the best price.
San Diego Households Without a Car
While most households in the City in Motion have two cars, Governing.com reports that around 6.6 percent of households in San Diego did not even own a car in 2015.
Just because you don’t own a car doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t purchase a car insurance policy. Many car insurance companies offer Non-Owner Car Insurance for people who drive on occasion even if they don’t personally own a vehicle.
In short, non-owner Insurance provides you with limited liability coverage even if the car you are driving isn’t registered to you.
Speed Traps in San Diego
One of the easiest ways to unintentionally raise your car insurance rates is to get caught in a speed trap. What is a speed trap though?
According to Tech-FAQ.com:
A speed trap is any area in which one or more police officers intentionally hide in order to catch a driver speeding.
Tech-FAQ is not the only company working towards helping drivers avoid these situations either. Even Google Maps is offering a speed trap reporter as part of its latest features according to Newsweek.
If you don’ have the app then it is perfect;y legal to purchase and use a radar detector in the state of California. Be aware though that according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) California fatalities involving speeding have been on the rise since 2013 with 1,070 people losing their lives to this type of crash in 2017 alone.
Slowing down could not just save you money on your car insurance policy then; it could save your life. Getting there late is better than not getting there at all so slow down and arrive alive.
Vehicle Thefts in San Diego
Overall, San Diego really is a great place to live. Some of the safest places to live within the City in Motion include Mission Hills and the neighborhoods surrounding the Boundary Street and Hollar Street intersection according to NeighborhoodScout.
San Diego has its fair share of crime just like any other major city in America though. Take a look at the pair of tables below to see how the City in Motion compares to the national averages.
|San Diego Annual Crimes||Violent||Property||Total|
|Number of Crimes||5,287||27,397||32,684|
|Crime Rate (per 1,000 residents)||3.72||19.3||23.02|
These statistics make San Diego safer than 27 percent of other U.S. cities. Your chances of becoming a victim of violent crime in San Diego are one in 268 which is higher than California as a whole.
|San Diego Violent Crimes 2017||Murder||Rape||Robbery||Assault|
|Rate per 1,000||0.02||0.4||1.01||2.3|
The FBI also reported 6,143 vehicle thefts in San Diego in 2013 alone which means that generally speaking it might be a good idea to consider adding comprehensive coverage to your car insurance policy.
If your car is stolen or comprehensive could help you replace it or repair the damage done to it as a result. Comprehensive car insurance coverage does not just handle vehicle theft either.
Some of the other things that this type of coverage might help you recover losses from also include:
- Falling objects
- Animal strikes
- and natural disasters
As great as it is, comprehensive is not an end-all or be-all solution to these problems so be sure to check with your agent to see what is covered specifically.
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San Diego Traffic
Whether your neighborhood is one of the best or one of the worst in the Sand Diego area one thing that all residents of the City in Motion have in common is traffic.
INRIX has listed San Diego as one of the worst cities in America when it comes to traffic ranking it 45th out of the 1,360 cities in 38 countries included in its data. On average, San Diegans spend 56 hours in traffic at a cost of $781 per year as a result.
TomTom also ranked San Diego as 17th in the world for having the worst traffic with a 25 percent congestion level.
The worst times are as one would expect: morning and evening rush hours. What might not be expected is the reason why.
San Diego has such a congestion problem because it is enjoying job growth. More jobs mean more commuters (aka cars on the road).
More cars on the road also mean a greater chance that you might become involved in a traffic incident. If you do find yourself involved in such an unfortunate situation it will be comforting to know that you did your homework and got the best deal for the best car insurance policy to protect you and your family.
Data USA reports that the average commute time in San Diego is around 23 minutes. This is considerably lower than the 28-minute average indicated by the top bar on the graph below which represents Roman, CA.
San Diegans also spend less time commuting than the national average of 25.5 minutes which is good news when it comes to the cost of car insurance. Keep reading to see what we mean.
Approximately 75 percent of drivers in the San Diago area choose to drive alone each day which is one of the reasons why traffic congestion seems so bad in the City in Motion.
Driving alone each day can give you a chance to listen to that good audiobook that you have been waiting to dig into or just to get a few minutes of peace before jumping between home and work mode.
More cars on the road also translate into a higher potential for the occurrence of car accidents though. While this is true for all major cities, the numbers are particularly grim for San Diego.
How Safe are San Diego’s Streets and Roadways?
According to a 2017 report done by KPBS:
In pure numbers, more people die from car crashes in San Diego than are murdered. The city’s police department counted 260 traffic deaths on city streets from 2012 to 2016, and 206 murders over the same time period.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has also collected statistics regarding driving fatalities in the San Diego area. Take a look at the table below to see what they found when it comes to comparing San Diego County to its neighbors.
|COUNTY||2013 FATALITIES||2014 FATALITIES||2015 FATALITIES||2016 FATALITIES||2017 FATALITIES|
|San Luis Obispo||18||21||18||19||19|
As you can see, San Bernardino, San Diego, and Los Angeles counties were the three counties in the Golden State with the most traffic fatalities reported in the five-year period between 2013 and 2017.
This may not seem surprising given that these are three of the largest counties in the entire state. These numbers become even more concerning though when looked at in light of the numbers for the fatal crash statistics for accidents involving alcohol-impaired drivers.
|COUNTY||2013 ALCOHOL FATALITIES||2014 ALCOHOL FATALITIES||2015 ALCOHOL FATALITIES||2016 ALCOHOL FATALITIES||2017 ALCOHOL FATALITIES|
|San Luis Obispo||4||8||12||11||13|
Here again San Bernardino, San Diego, and Los Angeles counties were the three counties in the Golden State when it came to alcohol-related deaths behind the wheel. According to Responsibility.org, 113 of the total 2017 fatalities in California which involved alcohol were drivers who were under the age of 21 as well.
A good deal of the fatal car accidents that occurred between 2013 and 2017 also involved a single-vehicle.
|COUNTY||2013 SINGLE VEHICLE CRASH FATALITIES||2014 SINGLE VEHICLE CRASH FATALITIES||2015 SINGLE VEHICLE CRASH FATALITIES||2016 SINGLE VEHICLE CRASH FATALITIES||2017 SINGLE VEHICLE CRASH FATALITIES|
|San Luis Obispo||18||21||18||19||19|
With so many cars on the road in San Diego is may come as a shock that 145 of the fatal crashes in San Diego in 2017 only involved one vehicle. Distracted driving and speeding help account for some of these deaths though.
|COUNTY||2013 SPEEDING FATALITIES||2014 SPEEDING FATALITIES||2015 SPEEDING FATALITIES||2016 SPEEDING FATALITIES||2017 SPEEDING FATALITIES|
|San Luis Obispo||8||11||7||8||13|
When it comes to speeding-related death, San Diego ranks 4th in the state with 78 deaths from this type of car accident reported in 2017. When speeding combines with distracted driving the numbers increase though.
|COUNTY||2013 ROADWAY DEPARTURE FATALITIES||2014 ROADWAY DEPARTURE FATALITIES||2015 ROADWAY DEPARTURE FATALITIES||2016 ROADWAY DEPARTURE FATALITIES||2017 ROADWAY DEPARTURE FATALITIES|
|San Luis Obispo||20||20||22||21||18|
Roadway departure fatalities in San Diego County have been on the rise since 2013 as you can see from the data collected by NHTSA. With this in mind, you can see how important it is to pay attention and drive defensively when on the roads in the City in Motion.
This is especially true when approaching an intersection in San Diego.
|COUNTY||2013 INTERSECTION FATALITIES||2014 INTERSECTION FATALITIES||2015 INTERSECTION FATALITIES||2016 INTERSECTION FATALITIES||2017 INTERSECTION FATALITIES|
|San Luis Obispo||6||9||6||8||8|
This is one area of traffic-related fatalities that San Diego has made improvements in though by bringing the fatality rate down from 43 deaths in 2013 to just 35 for 2017. San Diego also remained steady when it came to passenger car occupant fatalities between 2013 and 2017. Take a look.
|COUNTRY||2013 PASSENGER CAR OCCUPANT FATALITIES||2014 PASSENGER CAR OCCUPANT FATALITIES||2015 PASSENGER CAR OCCUPANT FATALITIES||2016 PASSENGER CAR OCCUPANT FATALITIES||2017 PASSENGER CAR OCCUPANT FATALITIES|
|San Luis Obispo||7||10||9||16||14|
Occupants of passenger cars are not the only people involved in car crashes either. Sometimes pedestrians and cyclists pay the price for inattention or carelessness.
|COUNTY||2013 PEDESTRIAN FATALITIES||2014 PEDESTRIAN FATALITIES||2015 PEDESTRIAN FATALITIES||2016 PEDESTRIAN FATALITIES||2017 PEDESTRIAN FATALITIES|
|San Luis Obispo||0||2||2||4||2|
Pedestrian fatalities are up from the 54 reported in 2013 to a staggering 70 for the year of 2017. Fatal accidents involving pedalcyclists are down though from the 10 reported in 2014 to just three for 2017.
|COUNTY||2013 PEDALCYCLIST FATALITIES||2014 PEDALCYCLIST FATALITIES||2015 PEDALCYCLIST FATALITIES||2016 PEDALCYCLIST FATALITIES||2017 PEDALCYCLIST FATALITIES|
|San Luis Obispo||1||4||1||2||2|
Part of the reason that fatalities involving cyclists are so low has to to do with the fact that the City of San Diego has provided well-marked bike lanes to keep cyclists out of the flow of traffic whenever possible.
Even with improvements to cycling lanes and roadways overall, there are still a few trouble spots in San Diego that everyone should be aware of.
Knowing which types of roadways in California report the most fatalities could help save your life. Take a look at the data provided by the NHTSA below.
|CALIFORNIA ROAD TYPE||FATAL CRASHES|
|Freeway and Expressway||459|
|Total Fatal Crashes||3,304|
As you can see, there were 459 freeway and expressway fatalities in 2017 on Californian roadways. Urban areas also boasted the highest number of fatal crashes for this year.
Pedestrians, bikes, and other cars are not the only things to look out for when behind the wheel either. According to a 2019 report by Channel 7 NBC San Diego:
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) ranked San Diego among the nation’s 10 most dangerous counties for fatal accidents between trains and pedestrians.
There are a few things that you can do to prevent a train-related car fatality though. Some of these include:
- NEVER racing the train
- ALWAYS heeding the lights and signal arms at railway crossings
- Making sure that your trailer hitches are in the up positions.
An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure. Be aware that law enforcement in the San Diego area also performs stings to catch violators of railway crossing laws from time to time.
Paying attention to traffic signals, railroad crossing warnings, and your surrounding won’t just save you money on car insurance. These simple things can save your life.
Allstate America’s Best Driver’s Report
With all of this talk about all of the things that can go wrong behind the wheel, you may be wondering if San Diegans do anything right.
According to Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report for 2019, San Diego ranked as the 119th safest city for driving. On average, residents of the City in Motion also went around 8.5 years between filing each claim.
Since the national average for years between filing a claim is just over 10 years nationally San Diegans are doing pretty well in this regard.
Sometimes it is easier to just let someone else do the driving. When this occurs it is a relief for residents of San Diego to know that they have several options according to RideGuru.com.
Some of these options include:
- Traditional Taxi
- And Uber
If you are planning to become a rideshare driver yourself then there are a few things that you should know.
For instance, working for a rideshare company that allows you to use your personal vehicle as a ‘company car’ requires that you notify your car insurance provider of your intentions.
You should also check with the rideshare company that you will be employed with to see if they have additional coverage that you can purchase.
EStar Repair Shops
Whether you drive for a rideshare company or just for personal reasons you will want to make sure that you are getting quality repairs should you ever find yourself involved in an accident.
One of the best ways to do this is to locate your nearest EStar Repair Shop. You can do this by typing in your address in their convenient EStar repair Shop finder tool.
Check out the list below to see which one is closest to you.
|SHOP NAME||ADDRESS||CONTACT INFO|
|ALL-AMERICAN PAINT & BODY, INC.||8315 BUCKHORN ST|
SAN DIEGO CA 92111
P: (858) 467-0700
F: (858) 541-1101
|ELITE AUTO COLLISION REPAIR CENTER||4949 BALTIMORE DR|
LA MESA CA 91941
P: (619) 667-3788
F: (619) 667-3981
|PHILIP THEARLE'S AUTOWERKS, INC.||8809 MISSION GORGE ROAD|
SANTEE CA 92071
P: (619) 449-0111
F: (619) 562-8009
|CARRILLO AND SONS COLLISION CENTER||4680 OLD CLIFFS ROAD|
SAN DIEGO CA 92101
P: (619) 287-7200
|CALIBER - SAN DIEGO - MIRAMAR||6598 MIRAMAR RD|
SAN DIEGO CA 92121
P: (858) 453-3800
F: (972) 906-7164
|SE COLLISION||2175 HANCOCK STREET|
SAN DIEGO CA 92110
P: (619) 260-1167
|CALIFORNIA AUTO BODY||1921 ROOSEVELT AVE|
NATIONAL CITY CA 91950
P: (619) 477-9141
F: (619) 477-8253
|AUTO BODY EXCELLENCE||13907 POWAY RD|
POWAY CA 92064
P: (858) 486-4476
F: (858) 486-4477
|TORREY PINES COLLISION||11633 SORRENTO VALLEY ROAD|
SAN DIEGO CA 92121
P: (858) 350-0397
|ABX COLLISION CENTERS, INC.||11875 SORRENTO VALLEY ROAD|
SAN DIEGO CA 92121
P: (858) 486-4476
F: (858) 486-1706
When you choose an EStar repair shop you can be sure that you will receive the best customer service and the finest repairs.
You may not always be able to count on having a pleasant commute in San Diego but you can just about bet on pleasant weather in the city.
With 2,958 hours of sunlight a year, according to U.S. Climate Data, and an average temperature of around 64 degrees, San Deigo really is a sun worshipper’s dream.
San Diego only has an average of 43 days a year that see rainfall as well. While the rain may not fall as often in the City in Motion as it does in other places one place that San Diego does outpace its neighbors in the number of natural disasters.
According to City-Data.com:
The number of natural disasters in San Diego County (35) is a lot greater than the US average (13).
The majority of these natural disasters are from fires with floods coming in second.
If Mother Nature should happen to come calling on you and your car having comprehensive car insurance coverage could go a long way towards easing your financial difficulties and getting your car replaced or repaired fast.
We talked a little bit about the Metropolitan Transit System in a previous section, but you are probably wondering what it will cost you if you opt into one of the many options available to you through them.
If you choose to take the MTS Trolley the fare is $2.20 for adults and youths and $1.25 for seniors or those with disabilities.
The MTS Bus is a bit cheaper at $2.25 for adults and youth and $1.10 for seniors or those with disabilities.
If you need to get there quicker the MTS Rapid and MTS Express will cost you $2.50 as well for adults and youths and $1.25 for seniors and those with disabilities.
Premium MTS Rapid Express passes are $5.00 for adults and youths and $2.50 for seniors and the disabled.
You can also use Compass Cloud from your mobile device to get your passes for the MTS.
For more information about day passes and annual passes, you can visit the MTS fare site for all of your needs.
If you don’t want to drive your car, take public transit, or indulge in ridesharing you can always rent a bike in San Diego to get around. From privately-owned bike shops to the more public Lime, there are a lot of ways to do it.
If biking is not your thing you can always rent a Vespa to tool around the City in Motion instead. Keep in mind though that if you rent a Vespa you may be asked to sign an insurance waiver or to purchase rental insurance.No matter which way that you choose to go you should always be respectful.
If you fail to return your rented bikes to their proper place you could be fined or be forced to play overage charges so follow the advice that your mother gave you and always put things back where you found them.
Parking in Metro Areas
If you opt-out of the use of the Metropolitan Transit System and biking is not your thing then at some point you will probably need to find a parking spot in San Diego.
While this may sound like quite the hassle it doesn’t have to be if you do a little research ahead of time. In fact, websites like Parkopedia and Parking Panda offer you filters and search engines that put all of the paid parking spots in San Diego right at your fingertips.
The City of San Diego also offers two-hour free parking on a variety of streets if your business in downtown is short and sweet. There are some metered parking options downtown that allow you to use your phone to pay as well.
The City in Motion has also placed EV Charging Stations in a variety of places around the city to help you go green. Some of the features of these stations include dual ports and a variety of payment methods such as credit, debit, and OpConnect Card.
These charging stations also have pretty reasonable rates of between $1.50 to $1.80 an hour.
Whichever way you choose to park just remember that if you overstay your welcome you could receive a citation. Failure to pay your fines could also result in a lien being placed against your vehicle registration.
The City of San Diego is not without a heart. They offer a payment plan for those who qualify as low income. The city also makes exceptions for people who can prove that their vehicle was stolen prior to the issue of the citation and for those who sold the vehicle before the vehicle received a ticket.
If you use your car to participate in a peer-to-peer renting program and someone who rented your car got the citation you can also appeal to the Parking Administration.
Air Quality in San Diego
Whether it is from a peer-to-peer company, a traditional rental company, a rideshare company or in your own personal vehicle, every time a car engine cranks up and you hop in for a ride you are contributing to global warming.
Global warming isn’t just some trendy catchphrase. It is a serious issue that could have major impacts on the planet for generations to come. This is especially true for Americans according to the Union of Concerned Scientists who assert that:
In total, the US transportation sector—which includes cars, trucks, planes, trains, ships, and freight—produces nearly thirty percent of all US global warming emissions, more than almost any other sector.
This can be seen by looking at the amount of good and bad air quality days that San Diegans have been exposed to over the last few years according to the EPA. Take a look.
|SAN DIEGO-CARLSBAD AIR QUALITY INDEX||2016||2017||2018|
|Days Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups||40||56||35|
|Days Very Unhealthy|
As you can see, San Diego has had more days spent in the moderate category than in any other type. While air quality on these types of days is technically considered acceptable the number of pollutants in the air on days like these actually poses a moderate health risk.
Since it is unlikely that you will be able to limit your time behind the wheel in most cases here are a few other tips that can help you improve the air quality in San Diego:
- Pump gas during the coolest part of the day.
- Choose the most fuel-efficient way to get around town.
- Limit the use of your lawn equipment to days when the air quality is good.
- Turn off your vehicle if you are going to be idling for more than 10 seconds such as when sitting at a drive-thru, in the school pick-up line, or at a railroad crossing.
Following through with just a few of these simple tips can really help everyone in San Diego breathe easier. Choosing a more efficient car such as a hybrid or electric one could also qualify you for certain car insurance discounts so be sure to ask your agent.
Military Members and Veterans
Serving in the military also has some benefits when it comes to purchasing your car insurance policy. This is important to note for the more than 100,000 active duty members that call the City in Motion their home.
San Diego is also home to more than 240,500 veterans who make up an amazing 13 percent of the population of the City in Motion according to Thomas Jefferson School of Law, many of whom served in Viet Nam.
There are also seven major military bases scattered around the San Diego area which include:
- Camp Pendleton
- The Marine Corps Air Station at Miramar
- The Marine Corps Recruit Depot at San Diego
- The Coronado Naval Base
- The San Diego Naval Base
- The Point Loma Naval Base
- And the U.S. Coast Guard Station at San Diego
The San Diego area is also home to:
- Ft. Rosecran’s Cemetary
- The Marine’s Legal Services Office
- The Naval Legal Services Office
- The Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Office
- Abd the MCRD Command Museum
There is no denying that San Diego really is a military town, and for your service, you deserve to be rewarded so why not ask your car insurance provider if you qualify for a military or veterans discount?
Some of the providers that offer military and veterans car insurance discounts are:
- Esurance (LA only)
- Liberty Mutual
- SafeAuto (LA only)
- State Farm (selected states only)
- The General (LA only)
- and USAA
Some of these providers such as Geico offer discounts to both active duty members and veterans while others such as Liberty Mutual limit the discount to active duty only.
Other providers such as met life base your discount on years of service so be sure to ask your agent about the specifics to see just what you qualify for and for how much.
Unique City Laws
Like most towns in America, San Diego really does have its own personality. This personality shines through not just in the people who call the City in Motion home or the local foods and shops.
San Diego’s personality also comes through in some of the laws that govern the behavior of its residents such as San Diego Municipal Code §59.0502 which prevents you from tossing a football, baseball, or frisbee while tailgating.
San Diego also has municipal codes to protect its citizens while riding in an automobile such as San Diego Municipal Code §85.10 which states that there is to be no drinking and driving and that there shall be no drinking and being a passenger either.
San Diego enforces the distracted driving laws enacted by California’s legislature as well. This hasn’t stopped San Diegans from texting and driving though leading to an 80 percent increase in citations for these offenses over the last few years.
Even with their flaws, residents of the City in Motion are some pretty bright entrepreneurs. In fact, many San Diegans have figured out a way to run small businesses literally out of the back of a truck.
If you are looking to become one of these brave food truck business owners, or one of the many people who are now a part of the food delivery industry, you should be aware that before you crank the engine you must get the proper approvals and permits from the City of San Diego.
You will also need to check into getting the proper type of car insurance to cover your mobile office should you be involved in an accident.
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San Diego Car Insurance FAQs
Now that you have a good grasp of the types of car insurance options available to you in the City in Motion and a general idea of culture that makes San Diego so unique we want to help you really make San Diego feel like home.
Since you already know that zip codes matter when it comes to purchasing your car insurance policy we have collected a few of the most frequently asked question that can make settling into the right neighborhood for you simple and smooth.
Which school district am I in?
The San Diego County Office of Education has a list of schools and school districts on their website to help you figure things out. You can get everything there from the address of the schools in your area to information on the school boards that run each district. There is even an interactive school finder to help you find the right district and schools for your address.
Where is the local library?
San Diego has several conveniently located public libraries for residents to enjoy. Not sure which one is closest to you? Hop on the City of San Deigo’s website and take a look at the map of locations. There are 33 branches in the San Diego Public Library System for you to choose from.
Where is the airport?
San Diego actually has two airports: San Diego International and McClellan-Palomar.
San Diego International is located at 3225 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101 and offers foreign and domestic flights daily from both of its two terminals. McClellan-Palomar is an executive airport located at 2198 Palomar Airport Rd, Carlsbad, CA 92011. There is also only one terminal and no commercial airline flights are offered from this location.
Who handles the utilities in my area?
Electricity in the San Diego area is serviced by Sempra Energy who offers convenient online service for turning your power on and off online. Water service in the City in Motion is handled through the CIty of San Diego’s Public Works Department who also offers convenient online bill paying and service start and stop.
How close is the nearest MTS station from my house?
The Metropolitan Transit System website has many convenient tools for finding the locations of all of the stops and stations for its variety of transportation options. Just click on their interactive menu on their homepage and find a stop or station that works best for you.
What type of car insurance coverage is best for me in my neighborhood?
Car insurance coverage types and amounts vary based on both your necessity and your location as we have discussed. Looking at the crime statistics or likelihood that your neighborhood could befall a natural disaster all go a long way towards helping you decide whether things such as comprehensive coverage or roadside assistance might be right for you.
What are the state minimums for car insurance in California?
The bare minimum car insurance coverage that you must carry to comply with the law in the Golden State is:
- $15,000 – Bodily injury liability per person
- $30,000 – Total bodily injury liability per accident
- $5,000 – Property damage liability
Do I need car insurance if I don’t own a car?
The simple answer would be no, but life is rarely simple. If you are going to get behind the wheel of anyone’s car you should always have some type of car insurance coverage.
Whether that car insurance is the rental insurance provided by your rental car company or you choose to purchase a non-owner car insurance policy it will be good to know that you are covered in case of an accident.
What do I do if my registration for my car has been blocked?
Registering your vehicle with the state of California is easy. Unblocking that registration if you get too many tickets or fail to renew your registration on time is not.
Fortunately, the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles has detailed instructions for you to follow on its website if you are doing it by mail or in person. If you want to do it online they also offer a walkthrough of the process.
How do I get my driver’s license reinstated?
Your driver’s license can be suspended for a number of reasons in California including such things as a failed vision test, a lapse in insurance coverage, or a DUI.
In order to get your driver’s license reinstated in Californa, you must complete the suspension period, pay the reinstatement fee, and provide the proper documentation depending on your infraction.
Now that you understand the ins and outs of driving, living, and working in the City in Motion its time to put your knowledge to work for you shopping around for the best deal on car insurance. If you have any more questions just stop back by or enter your zip code below to get started. Whichever way you choose to go, will be here to help you through it all.