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Car insurance in San Francisco costs $2,777 per year for full coverage – $231 monthly. In 2024, USAA offers the cheapest car insurance policy at $159 per month.

San Francisco is not the biggest city in California. In fact, it’s not even the largest city in the Bay Area, as its population now trails that of San Jose. However, San Francisco remains one of the most iconic cities in the U.S. Although the population has seen a sharp decrease since 2019, the city is home to more than 808,000 residents.  

If you are moving to San Francisco — or already live there — it is important to find the right car insurance policy. Fortunately, there are ways to get cheap car insurance in San Francisco that will provide the coverage you need. 

Key Takeaways

  • Full-coverage car insurance in San Francisco costs an average of $2,777 per year, higher than the nationwide average of $1,895.
  • The cheapest car insurance company for a full-coverage policy in San Francisco is USAA, at $159 monthly.
  • Car insurance rates in San Francisco are high compared to other large cities across the U.S.

How to find the best car insurance in San Francisco

With the right tools and a little work, you can find the best car insurance policy in San Francisco that marries the coverage you need with a cost you can afford. 

Before shopping for car insurance, determine the type of policy you need, including the amount of coverage necessary to protect yourself. Make sure you get quotes from at least three companies comparing similar coverage limits and options and ask about any discounts you qualify for. It’s always best to buy as much coverage as you can afford.

Cheapest car insurance company in San Francisco

USAA provides the cheapest car insurance in San Francisco, according to 2023 data. It costs an average of $1,909 annually to purchase a full-coverage policy from the insurer.  The next cheapest car insurance companies are Geico and Progressive.

See other cheap car insurance rates in San Francisco in the table below.

Average annual rates from insurers in San Francisco

CompanyAverage annual rates for state minimum Average annual rates for full coverage
Geico$353$1,925
Progressive$466$2,371
Mercury Insurance$485$2,391
CSAA Insurance (AAA)$526$3,277
State Farm$585$2,893
Kemper Insurance$597$2,887
Auto Club Enterprises (AAA)$670$2,739
Nationwide$771$3,334
Farmers$855$3,533
Allstate$857$3,233

How much is car insurance in San Francisco per month?

San Francisco residents can expect to pay an average of $231 per month in full coverage car insurance costs – $51 per month for the state minimum coverage.

Of course, some drivers pay less than this average, while others pay more. Factors that determine how much you pay for car insurance include the insurance company you choose and the amount of coverage you need. 

Other factors — including your age and gender, the type of car you drive, and your history of accidents and violations — also influence car insurance costs.  

You can also lower your costs if you qualify for discounts. 

“Bundling discounts are available,” says Robert Passmore, APCIA department vice president, personal lines with the American Property Casualty Insurance Association. “Talk to your agent or company about bundling auto insurance with your other coverage needs like homeowners, renters, boat, or motorcycle insurance.” 

Other possible discounts may be available for driving fewer miles than average or for students who earn good grades, for example. 

Monthly rates for car insurance in San Francisco, California

CompanyAverage monthly rates for state minimum  Average monthly rates for full coverage
 Geico $29 $160
 Progressive $39 $198
 Mercury Insurance $40 $199
 CSAA Insurance (AAA) $44 $273
 State Farm $49 $241
 Kemper Insurance $50 $241
 Auto Club Enterprises (AAA) $56 $228
 Nationwide $64 $278
 Allstate $71 $269
 Farmers $71 $294

How do rates in San Francisco compare to other large cities in the U.S.?

The cost of coverage in San Francisco compares unfavorably to other major cities. San Francisco drivers pay more than other California drivers – the statewide rate is $2,416 annually, compared with San Francisco’s $2,777. Los Angeles drivers pay more than San Francisco drivers but Bay Area drivers pay higher rates than drivers in San Diego.

See how much you can expect to pay for car insurance in several major U.S. cities in the table below.

Full-coverage car insurance costs in major U.S. metropolitan areas

CityFull-coverage cost
Chicago$1,930
Dallas$2,278
Houston$2,317
Los Angeles$3,149
New York$2,600
Philadelphia$2,782
Phoenix$2,251
San Antonio$2,181
San Diego$2,324
San Jose$2,406
Las Vegas$2,594
Baltimore$2,345
Boston$2,103
Charlotte$,1824
Columbus$1,597
Denver$2,337
Detroit$2,987
El Paso$2,112
Fort Worth$2,030
Indianapolis$1,627
Jacksonville$2,692
Memphis$2,161
Nashville$1,708
Oklahoma City$2,373
Portland$2,033
San Francisco$2,777
Seattle$1,910
Washington$2,157
Louisville$2,359

Here’s what you need to know when driving in San Francisco

As with any big city, San Francisco has its share of traffic problems. 

In 2022, drivers in San Francisco lost an average of 97 hours in traffic, according to INRIX, which looks at traffic patterns. That makes San Francisco the seventh most-congested city in the U.S., and 15th in the world. 

If you are driving in the San Francisco area during rush hour, you can expect to spend an extra 22.6 minutes in traffic, according to the website CoPilot. That places San Francisco at No. 7 among all cities in the nation when it comes to losing time due to rush hour. 

Other things to remember when driving around San Francisco:

  • Speed limits on residential roads in San Francisco are typically between 15 mph and 30 mph, with an average of 25 mph. The speed limit typically is 45 mph on highways. Variations on these limits should be posted on roads where other speed limits apply.
  • You will find toll roads along the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, Golden Gate Bridge, and San Mateo-Hayward Bridge. Toll roads on bridges typically only charge if you are heading west.  
  • There are more than 715 electric vehicle chargers in San Francisco, and more than 130 are free to use. 

How much car insurance do I need in San Francisco?

California law requires you to purchase a minimum amount of liability car insurance coverage. These amounts are: 

  • $15,000 injury/death to one person
  • $30,000 injury/death to one person to more than one person
  • $5,000 damage to property

However, these minimum levels of coverage will not be adequate for most drivers. 

Many drivers will prefer to carry much higher levels of liability coverage so they are better protected financially. In addition, liability insurance does not cover you or your car. 

That means drivers also might be interested in going beyond the minimums and protecting their own vehicles by purchasing insurance beyond the minimum, such as comprehensive and collision coverage. 

If you are unsure of how much coverage you need, consult with an insurance agent who can help. 

Average cost of car insurance in San Francisco

The average cost of full-coverage car insurance in San Francisco is $2,777 annually. That compares to a statewide average of $2,416 and a nationwide average of $1,895. 

TABLE: Annual average rates in San Francisco for state minimum coverage and full coverage

State minimum coverage in San FranciscoAnnual full coverage rates in San Francisco
$610$2,777

How much does car insurance in San Francisco cost with violations?

Moving violations on your driving record are likely to push your car insurance rates higher. Violations such as speeding tickets often cause a significant but manageable rise in rates. California doesn’t allow credit to be a factor in car insurance rates.

Other types of violations can make rates climb much higher. This is particularly true if you are convicted of a DUI. 

See rate increases in San Francisco in the table below by violation.

Violation typeRate increase percentage
At-Fault accident99%
DUI265%
Speeding59%

Cheapest car insurance in San Francisco by age

Your age will impact how much you pay for car insurance. The youngest drivers tend to pay the highest rates. Older drivers also are likely to pay more. See how much you can expect to pay by age in the table below.

Annual rates for state minimum and full coverage car insurance in San Francisco, by age

AgeState minimum coverageFull coverage
18$1,695$7,187
25$729$3,388
40$610$2,777
65$608$2,608

Compare auto insurance rates in San Francisco by ZIP code 

Where you live also plays a role in how much you pay for car insurance. Here are the San Francisco area ZIP codes with the cheapest and most expensive car insurance rates. 

See the tables below for the cheapest and most expensive ZIP codes for car insurance in San Francisco. 

Cheapest annual car insurance rates in San Francisco, by ZIP code 

ZIP codeAverage annual rate
94128$2,515
94114$2,547
94123$2,566
94131$2,573
94127$2,578
94158$2,589
94129$2,594
94117$2,618
94188$2,628
94107$2,631

Most expensive annual car insurance rates in San Francisco, by ZIP code 

ZIP codeAverage annual rate
94130$3,167
94124$3,123
94134$3,115
94141$2,990
94104$2,965
94102$2,937
94132$2,922
94112$2,920
94108$2,913
94143$2,910

Our recommendations: Car insurance for drivers in San Francisco

If low prices are your top focus when shopping for car insurance, USAA might be your best choice. It has the lowest average rates in our survey. 

However, it’s often a mistake to shop by price alone. It is crucial to make sure you have exactly the coverage you need, even if you have to pay a little more for it. 

Shopping around and gathering quotes from several insurance companies is the best way to get the coverage you need at the best price. 

A full coverage insurance policy with liability limits of 100/300/100 is the best option for most drivers. Consider increasing your liability limits as you accumulate wealth and your net worth increases. Purchasing as much car insurance as you can afford will give you peace of mind as you navigate the roads of San Francisco.

expert

What our expert says

Q. How can you save money on car insurance? 

expert-image
Robert PassmoreAPCIA department vice president, personal lines with the American Property Casualty Insurance Association.
“Find out if your insurer offers a telematics policy that rewards safer driving habits with reduced premiums.”

Resources & Methodology

Sources:

CA.gov “Insurance Requirements.” Accessed February 2024.

CoPilot. “Cities That Lose the Most Time in Rush Hour Traffic.” Accessed February 2024.

Hertz. “San Francisco Driving Guide.” Accessed February 2024.

INRIX. “Inrix 2022 Global Traffic Scorecard.” Accessed February 2024.

INRIX. “San Francisco CA.” Accessed February 2024.

San Francisco Chronicle. “This chart ranks Bay Area’s most populous cities over past 100 years.” Accessed February 2024.

SF.gov. “San Francisco Population and Migration.” Accessed February 2024.

Methodology

In 2024, Insure.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services to pull rates for a 40-year-old who has a 12-mile commute and drives a 2023 Honda Accord LX 10k miles annually. The hypothetical driver has full coverage, carrying policy limits of 100/300/100 with $500 deductibles for comprehensive and collision coverages. We analyzed 51,088,003 insurance quotes from 167 companies across 34,588 ZIP codes in every state and Washington, D.C.

author image
Chris Kissell
Contributing Researcher

 
  

Chris Kissell is a Denver-based writer and editor with work featured on U.S. News & World Report, MSN Money, Fox Business, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, Money Talks News and more.