San Diego Car Insurance Guide (Comprehensive)

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Rachel Bodine

Insurance Feature Writer

Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

Insurance Feature Writer

Eric Stauffer

Licensed Insurance Agent

Eric Stauffer is an insurance agent and banker-turned-consumer advocate. His priority is educating individuals and families about the different types of insurance coverage. He is passionate about helping consumers find the best coverage for their budgets and personal needs. Eric is the CEO of C Street Media, a full-service marketing firm and the co-founder of, a financial educat...

Licensed Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 26, 2024

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Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident car insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one car insurance company and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider.

Our insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about car insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything car insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by car insurance experts.

San Diego, California Statistics
City Population1,406,622
City Density4,337 people per square mile

Average Cost of Insurance$4,414.64
Cheapest Car Insurance CompanyProgressive
Road ConditionsPoor - 34%
Mediocre - 30%
Fair - 19%
Good - 17%
Vehicle Operating Costs - $694

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San Diego is, undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful cities in the United States. Located right on the Pacific, it’s the second-largest city in California, and the eighth-largest city in the United States. So you know it has a ton to offer residents and tourists alike.

San Diego’s got world-class surfing, world-class Mexican food, Balboa Park, and the renowned San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo. San Diego is also known as the craft beer capital of America, and the weather is perfect year-round.

With all these attractions, you’re going to need a car to travel from one adventure to the next. If you need a car, you definitely need car insurance. So, whether you’re a full-time San Diegan or you’re just in for the weekend, keep reading to learn about all your car insurance needs so you can drive safely in America’s Finest City.

We know that learning about car insurance can be complicated and confusing. But we promise we’ll make this information as easy to understand as possible so you can drive safely and legally. In this article, we’ll show you the costs of insurance in San Diego, what factors determine these costs, insurance laws, and many other facts that will help you on your quest to find the best insurance.

Start comparing car insurance average rates in San Diego today by using our free tool above. Get multiple insurance quotes and compare today.

How much are auto insurance rates in San Diego?

It’s difficult to give an exact figure for how much your insurance will cost, as there are many different elements that insurance companies take into account when determining how much to charge you. We’ll get into some of those specific elements below so you can get a better idea of how they come up with their rates and what you’ll end up paying.

Below, we’ll show you how your gender, age, and ZIP code can affect your rate, along with some of the other factors your insurance company might take into account.

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What are rates for males vs. females by age?

California is one of the few states that prohibit insurance companies from adjusting rates based on a person’s gender. Age is definitely still a factor, though. So let’s take a closer look.

The median age for San Diegans is 35.8 years old. The average cost of insurance for 35-year-olds in San Diego is $2,319.96. This rate isn’t too high given that 17-year-olds pay an average of $6,423.69. In most cases your insurance cost decreases with age. So once you’ve aged from 17 (the most expensive age) to 25, your rate drops considerably to $2,975.17. This is assuming you maintain a clean driving record, credit score, etc. Auto policies base their rates on a number of factors.

Once you turn 60 the average rate drops down to $2,065.66. You’ll be wiser and more experienced. Insurance companies also have more objective data to base their analysis on. So you’ll typically pay less to drive.

It’s also worth noting that married people tend to pay less for car insurance than single people. This is because a married person is generally deemed to be responsible more likely to pay their bills and less likely to drive recklessly. A married person might also be more likely to own a house or other property that needs to be insured. When you combine your policies with one insurer, they may offer multi-policy, multi-car, and other discounts related to volume on your comprehensive coverage.

Where are the cheapest ZIP Codes in San Diego?

We’ve checked out the data surrounding age and the cost of car insurance, but did you know that where you live can also affect your rates? Let’s look at some data so you can figure how much you should be paying for car insurance.

ZIP CodeAverage Annual Rate

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Based on this information, you can see that the most expensive ZIP code for car insurance is 92135, and the average cost of car insurance for people living in this ZIP code is $5,707.40. Conversely, the cheapest ZIP code for car insurance in San Diego is 92131, with an average cost of $4,414.64 for car insurance.

What companies have the best car insurance rates in San Diego?

Now, let’s take a look at the best car insurance companies in San Diego. “Best” can mean something different to every driver. With each company, you’ll find some benefits and drawbacks, depending on what kind of driver you are and what’s most important to you. We understand that for most drivers, the most important factor is affordable premiums.

Price varies a lot depending on which company you choose to do business with.

How much you drive, your driving history, desired coverage level, and much more can all leave you with very different quotes from each provider.

Generally speaking, insured drivers mean the best customer service and coverage they need at the most affordable price. Insurance quotes allow drivers to compare their options and find the choice that makes sense. When you enter your zip code in our calculator, we’ll narrow it down to companies in your area with minimal effort from you.

In this section, we’re going to look at the cheapest car insurance rates by company, commute rates, coverage level rates, and many other factors that might affect your policy, along with how each company differs when deciding what to charge you based on these factors.

Cheapest Car Insurance Rates by Company

Here is a table that shows the different rates for each company in San Diego.

GroupMarried 35-Year-Old FemaleMarried 35-Year-Old MaleMarried 60-Year-Old FemaleMarried 60-Year-Old MaleSingle 17-Year-Old FemaleSingle 17-Year-Old MaleSingle 25-Year-Old FemaleSingle 25-Year-Old Male
Liberty Mutual$2,107.43$1,993.39$1,959.28$1,898.77$4,562.12$4,868.49$2,371.28$2,394.85
State Farm$3,008.21$3,008.21$2,687.26$2,687.26$5,544.77$6,891.23$3,328.53$3,430.05

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Based on this information, we can see that the cheapest car insurance companies are Geico and Progressive. The cheapest demographics to insure under Geico are married 60-year-old men and women, and the cheapest demographic to insure for Progressive is 60-year-old women.

On average, the most expensive car insurance company in San Diego is Nationwide. The most expensive demographic for Nationwide insurance is male 17-year-olds, and it costs $8,995.96 to insure them. Scroll through this graph on your own so you can see how much your insurance company charges.

Best Car Insurance for Commute Rates

Another factor that car insurance companies use to determine how much your insurance will cost is your commute. Before we check out the data, let’s discuss the average number of miles driven in your state.

Each licensed driver in California drove an average of 13,414 miles in 2014. This average is quite high, and many of these miles are from Californians commuting.

Long driving commutes are not only stressful, but they’re detrimental to the environment, too. It might be beneficial to move to a residence closer to your work or to look into public transportation options for commuting.

However, for many people, commuting is a necessary evil so it’s important that we show you the data for commute rates by car insurance company in San Diego.

Group10 Mile Commute (6000 Annual Mileage)25 Mile Commute (12000 Annual Mileage)Average
Liberty Mutual$2,543.75$2,995.16$2,769.46
State Farm$3,682.99$3,963.39$3,823.19

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As you can see from this data, Allstate, Farmers, and Nationwide all have a pretty substantial hike in their rates going from a 10-mile to a 25-mile commute. So, if you live far from work, you may want to consider doing business with one of the other companies.

This information is certainly important, but there are other elements about your driving and personal history that car insurance companies consider when they decide how much you pay.

Best Car Insurance for Coverage Level Rates

Another major consideration for car insurance companies when they set your rates is how much coverage you purchase. There are typically three different coverage level options: high, medium, and low. Here is a table showing the different costs for each company in San Diego.

Liberty Mutual$2,937.23$2,795.00$2,576.13$2,769.45
State Farm$4,152.88$3,892.90$3,423.80$3,823.19

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It makes sense that a higher level of coverage raises your insurance rates. However, for certain companies, some coverage levels are only a few hundred dollars apart, so it might be more beneficial to get the higher level of coverage. If you’re ever in a serious accident, having a high level of coverage could save you thousands.

As you can see in the table, Farmers is the most expensive across the different coverage levels with an average rate of $4,589.23. The cheapest is Progressive with an average of $2,613.01. Here are the cheapest rates for each coverage type:

  • High: Progressive – $2,807.16
  • Medium: Geico – $2,684.11
  • Low: Progressive – $2,337.42

Keep these numbers in mind when you’re deciding what kind of coverage you’re going to purchase from your insurance company.

Best Car Insurance for Credit History Rates

There’s a law in California that prohibits insurance companies from using your credit score to determine your rate. This has been great for California drivers, as they’ve saved a bunch of money because of this law.

According to Consumer Reports, a 2013 study by the Consumer Federation of America showed that California families saved an average of $8,625 each over the 25-year period this law has been in place.

Since your credit history won’t be a factor, let’s look at the average premiums of the major insurance companies in San Diego.

GroupAverage Annual Rate
Liberty Mutual$2,769.45
State Farm$3,823.19

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According to this data, Farmers has the highest average premium ($4,589.23), which makes sense because it has been the most expensive for several categories we’ve already covered. The cheapest average premium in San Diego is from Geico ($2,652.71).

Though these price differences are pretty substantial, remember: cheaper does always mean better. Look at what the insurance companies charge for, and how they handle coverages that are specific to your needs.

Finally, while it won’t affect your insurance rate in California, it’s still wise to keep track of your credit score by using websites such as Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

Best Car Insurance for Clean Driving Record (And No-So-Clean Driving Record) Rates

An absolutely massive consideration for car insurance companies is your driving record. For each mark on your driving record, a car insurance company will raise your price accordingly. The offenses that these companies take into consideration are accidents, DUIs, and speeding tickets. They also reward you with lower costs if you have a clean record.

San Diego Average Annual Rates by Driving Record
GroupClean Driving Record Average Annual RatesWith 1 Accident Average Annual RatesWith 1 DUI Average Annual RatesWith 1 Speeding Violation Average Annual RatesOverall Average Annual Rates
Liberty Mutual$2,403.42$3,220.38$2,906.98$2,547.03$2,843.59
State Farm$2,728.39$3,253.90$6,144.15$3,166.31$4,042.15

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As you can see from this table, the most expensive company for drivers with an imperfect record is Farmers, with an average rate of $4,589.92. The most expensive offense for Farmers is a DUI.

The least expensive are generally Geico and Progressive, but it ultimately depends on what offense you have. For example, Progressive will raise your rate less for a DUI, but Geico will raise your rate less for a speeding ticket.

Of course, having a clean record will earn you the cheapest rates at every company. The most expensive offense overall is a DUI, and the most expensive company to have if you get a DUI is Nationwide, as your insurance rate would be approximately $6,884.15.

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What factors affect your auto insurance rates in San Diego?

All the topics we’ve discussed so far are significant when it comes to determining your car insurance rates in San Diego. But there are other factors that aren’t directly related to you personally that play a role as well. Let’s explore these factors so you can have an idea of what you’re paying for and why.

Metro Report – Growth and Prosperity

A city’s growth and prosperity rates and rankings have an impact on car insurance. Let’s take a look at those numbers.

Based on information from the Bookings Institute, San Diego is 33rd for prosperity and 25th for growth when their numbers are compared with the rest of the United States. From 2010-2015 there was a .7 percent rise in productivity (33rd out of 100), 5.9 percent increase in the cost of living (37th out of 100), and a 4.4 percent wage increase (46th out of 100). San Diego has a higher cost of living then the average for the state of California.

As for growth, San Diego saw an increase in jobs by 11.7 percent (33rd out of 100), and an increase of 12.5 percent for gross metropolitan product (GMP) (31st out of 100). Not all of the changes during this time period were positive, though. San Diego also saw a decrease of 3.5 percent (68th out of 100) for jobs at young firms.

When reading this section, you may be wondering: “what does any of this have to do with car insurance in San Diego?” Well, these numbers indicate that the market you’re shopping in is highly competitive and this could keep your prices for insurance low.

Median Household Income

The statistics for median household incomes affect car insurance costs in San Diego, too. Based on the previous information, it’s clear that San Diego’s growth and prosperity numbers are attracting more high-paying jobs.

Data USA tracks data for each major national city and states that the median household income for San Diego in 2017 was $76,662, a 7.25 percent growth from the previous year. This is higher than the national average, which is $60,336.

“How much of this income do we spend on car insurance?” you may ask. Well, lucky for you, we’re going to calculate this for you. Given the fact that the median income for San Diego is $76,662 and its average annual cost of insurance is $4,414.64, we can say that 5.76 percent of a San Diegan‘s income is spent on car insurance.

Based on this percentage, you can see why it’s important to pick the most cost-efficient insurance so you can save as much as possible.

Homeownership in San Diego

As you’ve seen in the previous sections, there are many factors that influence your car insurance rates, such as age and ZIP code. But what you may not know is that your residence may play a role as well.

According to the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), insurance companies charge a driver about 47 percent more if they don’t own their own home. While this seems strange, insurance companies view owning a home as a sign of responsibility, much like marriage.

However, if you live in California, you’ve lucked out, as consumer protection laws in California prohibit auto insurance companies from considering customers’ homeownership status or other socioeconomic factors (like credit score, as previously mentioned) when setting premiums (CFA).

Education in San Diego

Car insurance companies also cannot base your rates on your education level if you live in California. But there are other, more rewarding reasons to get a secondary education, and San Diego is a great place to pursue that goal. Let’s take a look at some information about San Diego colleges and universities from Data USA.

The largest universities in the city based on the number of degrees awarded are Ashford University (13,260 degrees), San Diego State University (9,079 degrees), and University of California San Diego (8,531 degrees).

The most popular bachelor’s degree awarded at universities in San Diego is in general business administration and management, with 9.1 percent of undergraduates pursuing this program. The second most popular major is general psychology (with 6.87 percent of undergraduates), and the third is early childhood education and teaching (4.28 percent).

There are also community colleges in San Diego. According to a list from that shows the university rankings in San Diego by program variety, the second-highest ranked school is San Diego Mesa College. This college offers more than 110 academic programs, and it is the largest college in the San Diego Community College district. They have awarded over 1,400 certificates and associate degrees.

San Diego City College ranks third on this list, and it is also a reputable college. They offer certificate programs for substance abuse counseling, HVAC technology, plumbing technology, and child care. At the associate level, they offer registered nursing, biological sciences, and liberal arts/sciences. In 2015, over 1,000 certificates and more than 800 associate degrees were awarded by this college.

While car insurance companies will not take your education level into account when determining your rate, many companies do offer student discounts, so this could be a significant factor after all.

Wage by Race and Ethnicity in Common Jobs

In addition to education, you may want to know what the job market looks like in San Diego. It’s a well-known fact that, unfortunately, people of different races and ethnicities are often paid different salaries for doing the same job. Because it is our job to provide you with accurate information about what is happening in San Diego, let’s look at some numbers from Data USA.

These are the reported average salaries for people of different races/ethnicities in San Diego.

  • Asian: $69,782
  • White: $63,110
  • Two or More Races: $51,776

As you can see, Asian people have the highest salaries on average in San Diego. Now, let’s look at salaries by ethnicity and job type, and what percentage of these salaries are going to car insurance.

EthnicityMiscellaneous ManagersPremiums as a Percentage of IncomeElementary and Middle School TeachersPremiums as a Percentage of IncomeDriver/Sales Workers and Truck DriversPremiums as a Percentage of IncomeRetail SalespersonsPremiums as a Percentage of IncomeCashiersPremiums as a Percentage of Income
American Indian$87,4475.05%$53,5888.24%$42,82310.31%$21,27720.75%$20,57321.46%
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander$128,2453.44%$48,9539.02%$42,28410.44%$25,71217.17%$17,16725.72%
Other Native American$72,9696.05%$40,53910.89%$16,93526.07%$6,23870.77%
Two or More Races$110,0794.01%$52,8138.36%$38,94111.34%$26,84016.45%$15,09029.26%

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Based on this data, the group that pays the highest percentage of their salary toward car insurance is cashiers of Hawaiian or Pacific Islander descent. This group’s average salary is $17,167, and they spend roughly 25.72 percent of their income on car insurance, which is quite a lot. The people of the same ethnic group working as miscellaneous managers pay only 3.44 percent of their income for car insurance.

The state of California does have a program in place to help low-income individuals acquire liability car insurance. For more information, visit the California DMV website.

Wage by Gender in Common Jobs

Now that we’ve examined how race affects salary and car insurance, let’s look at how wages are affected by gender in San Diego. Interestingly, while California has passed a law that prevents insurance companies from basing rates on gender, they have yet to fix the wage gap.

In 2017, male employees made an average of $75,050 and female employees had an average salary of $59,658. This means that male employees made 1.26 times what female employees made.

The biggest disparity in wages exists between male and female miscellaneous managers, as males in this job category make over $120,000 per year, and females make approximately $95,000.

The smallest disparity is found among cashiers, as both males and females make around $27,000 yearly, though men still earn a little more than women in this field as well.

Poverty by Age and Gender

13.3 percent of San Diego’s population lives under the poverty line ($25,750 for a family of four). This puts San Diego just below the national average of 13.4 percent. The largest demographic within San Diego’s impoverished population is women aged 25-34 (8.73 percent). The next two highest groups are women aged 18-24 (8.26 percent), and men aged 18-24 (7.97 percent).

Poverty by Race and Ethnicity

Like age, race and ethnicity are important to mention in poverty statistics, too.

RaceNumber of People

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According to this table, people who are white make up the largest portion of those living in poverty in San Diego (284,994 people). Hispanics are the second-largest impoverished group (200,294 people).

Employment by Occupations

The last topic we’re going to cover in this section is employment by occupations.

Job Percentage
Management Occupations12.3%
Office Administration10.5%
Food Preparation 7.93%

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Based on these numbers, we can see that the highest percentage of the workforce in San Diego is comprised of management at 12.3 percent. The next highest numbers come from office administration (10.5 percent), sales (10.5 percent), food preparation (7.93 percent), and business (5.83 percent).

We made it — now that we’re done looking at demographics, poverty, education, and employment, we’re going to move on to information about driving in San Diego.

What do you need to know about driving in San Diego?

Driving in any major city can be a struggle. For one thing, it’s hard to keep track of all the local laws you have to follow on the road. We understand this, which is why we’re going to help you out and give you some tips about driving safely and legally in San Diego.

In this section, we’ll look at the roads, major highways, different cars, and much more so you’ll be prepared to drive in America’s Finest City.

Let’s take a peek at the roads in San Diego, shall we?

Major Highways in San Diego

Some highways in the San Diego area are busier than others. Below is a list of the active highways that are most frequently traveled by San Diegites:

  • Interstate 5 — This is the biggest interstate in the area, and it’s the most popular
  • Interstate 805 — This highway spans Noth County to Mission Valley
  • Interstate 15 — This highway spans from South Bay to the north and has a reversible HOV lane for times of high occupancy
  • Interstate 8 — This highway runs east to west through San Diego
  • State Route 94 — This is an alternative to the I-8 for La Mesa
  • State Route 163 — This connects I-5 in downtown with I-15
  • State Route 78 — This highway connects North County form the inland to the coast
  • State Route 56 — This highway runs from Poway to the southern edge of the county
  • State Route 52 — This highway connects some urban neighborhoods in San Diego to the Eastern part of the county

In total, California has 12 active routes and 2,457.34 total miles of highway. Here’s a full list of the interstates.

That’s a lot of routes. But, then again, California has the highest number of drivers in the United States, so it makes sense.

When you’re driving on a highway, it’s essential that you know about tolls, as they’re an unavoidable part of highway driving. California has a total of 18 toll roads. There are eight toll bridges. A bridge toll costs around $3-$7 depending on the bridge and time of day. You can find out more about each specific toll rate here.

If you choose to use a transponder, you must pay a $3.50 minimum monthly toll and a $1 fee for each transponder that’s associated with your account. There are also other fees for extra services or if you commit an infraction. You can learn more here.

Popular Road Trips/Sites

On your drives around San Diego, why not check out some of the sites? There are many excellent tourist destinations, like the San Diego Zoo and the U.S.S Midway Museum. There are also some awesome, lesser-known options you could try, like spending a night at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, going to a drive-in movie at the South Bay Drive-In Theater, and even ax throwing at AxeVentures. Take a look at this video to get a taste of what San Diego has to offer.

There are also world-class beaches in the City in Motion, such as Balboa Park, Mission BeachPacific Beach, and Coronado Beach. The best part is, these beaches are all free to visit.

Road Conditions in San Diego

Moving back to car insurance, we’re going to check out the road conditions in San Diego. Take a look at the table below.

Vehicle Operating
Costs (VOC)

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This information from shows that residents rated 34 percent of San Diego roads as poor, 30 percent as mediocre, 19 percent as fair, and a mere 17 percent as good. It’s also worth noting that the average cost of operating a vehicle in San Diego is $694 per month, which includes the cost of insurance and keeping your car in good condition.

Potholes are dangerous for your car, but you can see from this video that the San Diego government has a new budget of $18 million that is to be used for repairing potholes. Over 300 miles of roads will be fixed, so your driving will be smoother and safer.

Does San Diego use speeding or red-light cameras?

Red-light and speeding cameras are a controversial issue for drivers. However, in 2017, 890 people were killed in crashes that involved red-light running. And, while having a police officer at every corner is the ideal solution, this plan is simply unrealistic. Cameras can bridge the gap, and it’s proven that red-light cameras deter drivers from running lights.

In fact, cameras have reduced the fatal red-light running crash rate of large cities by 21 percent and the rate of all types of fatal crashes at signalized intersections by 14 percent.

San Diego does not use red-light cameras. Many cities in California do not use them because the cost of operation is more expensive than the revenue they generate. Only a few cities, such as Carlsbad, Del Mar, Encinitas, San Marcos, Solana Beach, and Vista, still use red-light cameras. Speeding cameras are not currently legal in the state of California.

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner was the one who ultimately decided that the red-light cameras should be removed. He explained his reasoning: “It just seemed to me that the hostility toward them (the cameras) bred more disrespect for the law than respect for the law.” He also asserted that the data did not prove that the cameras decreased accidents or improved safety awareness, so there was no point in keeping them.

How do vehicles affect your rates in San Diego?

It’s important to know about cars in San Diego because insurance companies absolutely take what kind of car you drive into consideration when they determine how much you should pay for car insurance. So, without further ado, here are some essential statistics and information on vehicles in the City in Motion.

Most Popular Vehicles Owned

According to, the most popular vehicle in San Diego is the Toyota Tacoma pickup truck.

The number one vehicle in San Diego is a superb choice for safety, based on a review from the IIHS.

The Toyota Tacoma has an excellent safety rating from the U.S. News Scorecard as well, at 9.2. Some of the car’s best safety features include:

  • Front Side Airbag
  • 4-Wheel ABS
  • Front Disc/Rear Drum Brakes
  • Brake Assist
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Daytime Running Lights
  • Front Tow Hooks
  • Traction Control
  • Lane Departure Warning

The gas mileage for the Toyota Tacoma is actually surprisingly good, considering it’s a truck; it gets 18 miles per gallon for city driving, and 22 miles per gallon if you’re driving on the highway.

If you want to drive the vehicle that is most popular with your fellow San Diegans, it costs $32,315 to purchase a 2020 Toyota Tacoma pickup. This is a great deal, as San Diego’s favorite is safe and environmentally friendly.

How many cars per household

According to reliable information from Data USA, 40.7 percent of households in San Diego own two cars. This aligns with the national average, as 40.5 percent of families across the country have two cars. About 22 percent of San Diegan households own three cars, which is also pretty close to the national average of 21.4 percent.

Households without a Car

Based on our data, in 2015, 6.6 percent of households did not have a car, and the average number of cars per household was 1.76. The number of households without a car dropped by .3 percent in 2016 to 6.3 percent, and the number of cars per household was bumped up to an average of 1.8. It’s interesting that the number of cars increased slightly, because future trend forecasting suggests car ownership will soon be on the decline.

Speed Traps in San Diego

San Diego is rated seventh on the list of worst California cities for speed traps. Many of these speed traps are in the metropolitan area. For anyone who’s not quite sure what a speed trap is, here’s a good definition:

A speed trap is any area in which one or more police officers intentionally hide in order to catch a driver speeding. In a speed trap, the police officer may sit in a parked car next to a sharp turn, behind a billboard, in a low ditch, in a parking lot, or any other place that prevents the driver from seeing him/her.

People get frustrated by speed traps, but remember: speeding is a highly dangerous crime that leads to many deaths every year. Drive responsibly so you can save money and lives.

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How bad is vehicle theft in San Diego?

While San Diego is a great, safe place to live, crime is an inevitable part of living in any major city. According to the FBI, there were 5,182 vehicle thefts in 2018.

And though crime is an inevitable part of life in a city, there are usually areas that are safer than others. According to Neighborhood Scout, the safest neighborhood in San Diego is Alameda Boulevard/Palm Avenue.

Unfortunately, there are violent crimes that happen in San Diego as well. The table below shows the total number of violent crimes that happen in San Diego annually and the crime rate per 1,000 residents.

San Diego Annual CrimesViolent
Number of Crimes5,415
Crime Rate (per 1,000 residents)3.80

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As you can see, there are 5,415 violent crimes in San Diego per year, and that equals 3.80 violent crimes per 1,000 people. Your chances of becoming a victim of violent crime in San Diego are 1 in 263. The chances of becoming a violent crime victim in California as a whole are 1 in 224.

The United States sees 1,245,065 violent crimes per year, with a rate of 3.81 violent crimes per 1,000 people. Thus, people in San Diego are safer than the average U.S. citizen. It’s also worth noting that San Diego’s crime index is 23, which means it is safer than 23% of the United States.

Finally, here is a table that details the number of annual crimes that occur in San Diego.

San Diego Annual CrimesViolentPropertyTotal
Number of Crimes5,41528,23233,647
Crime Rate (per 1,000 residents)3.8019.8023.60

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According to these numbers, there are more property crimes than violent crimes in San Diego (28,232 compared to 5,415). There are a total 33,647 crimes in San Diego annually, which is equivalent to 23.60 crimes per 1,000 residents.

Why does traffic in San Diego affect your premiums?

Traffic, like crime, is an unavoidable part of living in the city. But traffic is a little more tolerable, and certainly easier to manage. Keep reading to learn about traffic in San Diego so you can plan your day and travel the city as efficiently as possible.

Traffic Congestion

According to INRIX, San Diegans spent an average of 56 hours sitting in traffic in 2018. TomTom states that the congestion percentage during the morning commute is 45 percent, and 59 percent during the evening commute. The total congestion levels for highways and non-highways is 51 percent.

The percentage of congestion on highways is 21 percent, and the percentage of congestion for non-highways is 30 percent. Traffic costs each driver in San Diego an average of $781 per year and contributes to an average of 14 minutes of extra travel time in the mornings and 28 minutes in the evenings.

Numbeo, shows that San Diego’s traffic index is 157.4. Essentially, a traffic index is a composite index of time spent in traffic due to job commutes, estimation of time consumption dissatisfaction, CO2 consumption estimation in traffic, and overall inefficiencies in the traffic system.

The time index, which is an average one-way time needed to get somewhere, is 33.6 minutes in San Diego. Lastly, the inefficiency index for the City in Motion is 206.28.

If you are unfamiliar with an inefficiency index, it can be defined as an estimation of inefficiencies in the traffic. High inefficiencies are usually caused by an excess of people driving instead of using public transportation, or long commute times. It can also be used as a traffic component measurement in economies of scale.

Hopefully, this gives you some idea of what to expect when you’re driving around in San Diego. In this next section, we’re going to show you some other facts about transportation that should be helpful as well.


Based on information from Data USA, the average commute time for a San Diego driver is 22.9 minutes. This average is slightly lower than the U.S. average of 25.5 minutes. About 1.94% of San Diego’s workforce must endure a super commute, which is a commute of over 90 minutes.

The vast majority of commuters in San Diego (75.4 percent) drive to work alone, while 7.85 percent of commuters carpool, and 7.3 percent work from home.

According to Texas A&M’s data, San Diegans sit in traffic for 64 hours each year. The city ranks 16th for traffic delays among all U.S. cities. Their travel time index, which is the ratio of the travel time during the peak period to the time required to make the same trip at free-flow speeds, is 1.35. This means that if it take 20 minutes to drive somewhere during free-flow traffic, it would take 27 minutes to drive during peak times.

San Diego drivers used 24 more gallons of fuel sitting in traffic than they did driving in free-flow traffic, which makes them 27th out of all U.S. cities in this category.

San Diego drivers also spent an average of $1,584 annually in congestion costs (essentially the value of travel time delay), ranking 7th in this category among U.S. cities.

San Diegans spend 41.3 percent more time driving in traffic during peak traffic times than free-flow traffic times, 28.4 percent more lane space is taken up during peak hours, there are 32,686 gallons of fuel used during this time, and the total delays measured in person-hours is 148,503 hours. All of these statistics really prove that traffic is a huge waste of time and resources.

How safe are San Diego streets and roads?

How safe is it to drive the streets of San Diego? Keep reading for data collected by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) about the safety of driving in San Diego compared to its surrounding areas.

NHTSA California Traffic Fatalities by County
CountyFatalities in 2013Fatalities in 2014Fatalitites in 2015Fatalities in 2016Fatalitites in 2017Rates per 100K Population 2013Rates per 100K Population 2014Rates per 100K Population 2015Rates per 100K Population 2016Rates per 100K Population 2017
Contra Costa50447681634.563.966.757.115.49
Del Norte128158643.1229.4155.0429.1421.84
El Dorado262326192614.3212.5514.0610.213.76
Los Angeles6256396518376586.246.346.438.256.47
San Benito79911912.215.5215.4218.5414.92
San Bernardino26228526027327112.5613.5512.2612.7712.56
San Diego1982332462432316.167.157.487.336.92
San Francisco35333836254.163.874.394.112.83
San Joaquin93839811911613.2111.6313.5416.2115.56
San Luis Obispo283234323410.1511.4912.1311.3411.34
San Mateo57253352337.
Santa Barbara31233534397.115.227.887.628.7
Santa Clara951061331141055.085.596.935.95.42
Santa Cruz14201920195.27.376.937.276.89

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The table above shows the total number of fatalities for each county in California. As you can see, San Diego had 231 fatalities in 2017, which dropped from 243 in 2016. In 2017, there were 6.92 deaths per 100,000 people.

Los Angeles (the county with the highest number) had 658 fatalities in 2017, which was 6.47 per 100k people. The county with the fewest number of fatalities in 2017 was Modoc, with zero.

If you look at the counties surrounding San Diego, you’ll see that Orange County had 178 fatalities in 2017, Riverside had 294, and Imperial had a mere 23. So, San Diego’s numbers are on the higher side when compared to its neighbors.

San Diego County 20132014201520162017

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This table shows how many people died as a result of alcohol-impaired driving in San Diego from 2013-2017.

San Diego County20132014201520162017

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As we’ve previously stated in this article, speeding is never a good idea. And while we’ve discussed penalties and increased insurance rates, the table above shows that speeding kills, too, as 78 people died from speeding-related accidents in San Diego in 2017 alone.

San Diego County20132014201520162017

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A roadway departure crash is defined as a crash which occurs after a vehicle crosses an edge line or a center line, or otherwise leaves the traveled way. These tragic accidents happen more often than you think, and unfortunately 103 people died in these types of accidents in San Diego in 2017.

San Diego County20132014201520162017

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You’ve probably seen a grisly intersection crash once or twice while driving. They can be deadly, and it is imperative that you drive defensively so you can avoid them. In San Diego, 35 people died from this type of accident in 2017.

San Diego County20132014201520162017

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The front seat is called the death seat, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Be smart when you drive, and if you’re a passenger always wear your seatbelt. Sadly, in 2017, 61 passengers in San Diego county died in fatal accidents.

San Diego County20132014201520162017

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Pedestrians are at risk, too. In fact, they are less safe because they are defenseless against drivers. In 2017, 70 pedestrians were killed by drivers.

San Diego County20132014201520162017

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There are cyclist fatalities too, but not as many as pedestrians, likely due to San Diego’s well-marked bike lanes that keep cyclists out of traffic. Just three cyclists were killed by cars in 2017.

Road types affect fatality rates, too, so take a look at the table below to view the road types with the most fatalities in San Diego and in California.

Road TypeFatalities in
San Diego County
Fatalities in
Rural Interstate7135
Urban Interstate41296
Freeway and Expressway38459
Minor Arterial45685
Collector Arterial45480

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The total number of fatalities for the combined road types is 215 in San Diego and 3,304 in California. The road types with the highest number of fatalities for San Diego are minor arterial and collector arterial roads, as each of these had 45 fatalities.

Lastly, San Diego is ranked as one of the nation’s 10 most dangerous cities for fatal accidents between trains and pedestrians by the Federal Railroad Administration.

While reviewing statistics like these can be unpleasant, it’s important to keep track of what sorts of traffic situations are most dangerous so we can exercise appropriate caution.

Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report

Based on Allstate’s data, we can see that San Diego drivers average 8.48 years between collisions, which really isn’t bad at all. San Diego was ranked 119th out of 200 in the 2019 Best Drivers Report Ranking, dropping three places from 116th in 2018.

Note: there was no data for hard-braking events in San Diego.


Ridesharing has become a major part of the transportation world in recent years, and San Diego is no exception. The city has Uber, along with plenty of other rideshare options, and soon there are even going to be drones delivering food in San Diego.

If you’re looking for a more environmentally conscious type of rideshare, there is also a dockless bike option. You can rent a bike through the app and take it from Point A to Point B without having to find a “pickup/dropoff” station.

The complete list of ridesharing services is below:

  • Bounce
  • Carmel
  • Curb
  • Flywheel
  • Jaywheel
  • Lyft
  • RideYellow
  • SuperShuttle
  • Talixo
  • Traditional Taxi
  • Uber
  • Dockless Bikes

EStar Repair Shops

Regardless of whether you’re driving a rideshare car or a personal car, it’s important that your car is operating at its best and can get the repairs it needs. If your car needs service or has been in an accident, it’s a good idea to check out your closest EStar Repair Shop, which you can do by using EStar’s search tool.

Here is a table with the top 10 EStar Repair Shops in San Diego.

email: [email protected]
P: (858) 486-4476
F: (858) 486-1706
email: [email protected]
P: (858) 467-0700
F: (858) 541-1101
POWAY CA 92064
email: [email protected]
P: (858) 486-4476
F: (858) 486-4477
email: [email protected]
P: (858) 453-3800
F: (972) 906-7164
email: [email protected]
P: (619) 477-9141
F: (619) 477-8253
email: [email protected]
P: (619) 287-7200
LA MESA CA 91941
email: [email protected]
P: (619) 667-3788
F: (619) 667-3981
email: [email protected]
P: (619) 449-0111
F: (619) 562-8009
email: [email protected]
P: (619) 260-1167
email: [email protected]
P: (858) 350-0397

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What is the weather like in San Diego?

San Diego is well known for having some of the best weather in the world, so when you’re feeling down about the traffic, remember that you’re lucky to have such an awesome climate.

According to US Climate Data, San Diego’s annual average high temperature is 69.8°F, and its annual average low temperature is 57.5°F. The general average temperature is a very mild 63.65°F. San Diego also has an unbelievable 2,958 hours of sunshine every year. Lastly, there are 10.4 inches of rain every year (and 43 days of rain) and, thankfully, zero inches of snow.

But while there is great weather, San Diegans are subjected to a higher number of natural disasters than people who live elsewhere. According to, San Diego has had a total of 35 natural disasters, compared to the U.S. average of 13. Most of these disasters are fires and floods.

If you want to insure your car against these natural disasters, your best option is comprehensive coverage.

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What is the public transit situation in San Diego?

If you want to avoid the traffic we’ve been talking about in this article, the best way to do so is by taking public transportation.

Here are some of your public transportation options in San Diego:

  • Bus ($2.25 for adults and youth; $1.10 for seniors or those with disabilities)
  • Trolley ($2.20 for adults and youths; $1.25 for seniors or those with disabilities)
  • MTS Rapid and MTS Express  ($2.50 as well for adults and youths; $1.25 for seniors and those with disabilities)
  • MTS Rapid Express passes ($5.00 for adults and youths; $2.50 for seniors and the disabled)

If you travel a lot and want to save some money, you should get a monthly transit pass, which costs $140 if you purchase for one zone, $161 for two zones, and $182 for three zones.

For more information, check out the website for San Diego’s Metropolitan Transit System.

What is the cost of alternate transportation in San Diego?

If you want an environmentally friendly, cheap option to get around San Diego, you can use Lime to rent a public bike. If you’re fatigued from biking all day, consider renting a Vespa. You can do this by using the Eagle Rider tool, and it’s a great way to see the city.

If you rent a scooter, please keep in mind that you will probably have to sign a rental insurance waiver. And remember: because it’s not yours, always treat what you borrow with respect so you don’t have to pay extra fees.

Is there a lot of parking in San Diego?

If you want to drive in San Diego, you’ll need a place to park. According to Parkopedia, street parking in San Diego is usually monitored from 8 AM to 6 PM. It costs $.25 for 12-15 minutes, and parking is free outside these marked hours.

There are over 5,700 parking meter spaces in San Diego, and, because we’re in the 21st century, you can use your credit/debit card, the Parkmobile app on your phone, or Near Field Communication app (Apple/Android/Samsung Pay). You can, of course, also pay using coins.

Parkmobile makes it easier to find and pay for parking without running back to feed the meter, and you can reserve spots ahead of time for concerts and sporting events. It’s the way of the future.

If you’re an electric car driver, it’s great to know that there are 975 charging stations in San Diego. You can check out all their locations on this map.

You can also use parking apps to find parking garages for all types of cars, and use San Diego’s airport’s website to find some great options for satellite parking.

While San Diego is a major city and there are some issues with parking that go along with this status, it’s actually one of the better larger cities for finding parking due to its efficient setup, the multitude of apps, convenient payment methods, and the helpful websites we’ve given you.

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What is the air quality like in San Diego?

With all the driving that happens in San Diego, it’s worth checking out the information on air quality in the city. Take a look at the table based on data from the EPA.

Air Quality in
San Diego - Carlsbad
Days with Air Quality Index365365366
Good Days738369
Moderate Days257220255
Days Unhealthy for
Sensitive Groups
Days Unhealthyn/a62
Days Very Unhealthyn/an/an/a

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According to this information, there were 73 good days in 2018 for air quality and 257 days that were considered moderate. There were also 35 days that were unhealthy for sensitive groups. But fortunately, there were no days that were considered unhealthy or very unhealthy for the general population.

If you would like to read more about the standards for air quality set by the EPA, please click here.

Are there a lot of military/veterans in the city?

Active-duty military members and veterans make up an important part of any community, and we need to give them the attention they deserve. These folks put their lives on the line for our country, so we’re going to provide some information about them and the discounts they can receive.

Military Veterans by Service Period

According to Data USA, the largest portion of veterans living in San Diego served in the second Gulf War from 2001 onward (29,651 veterans). This is followed by Vietnam (with 21,852 veterans), and the first Gulf War (11,823 veterans).

Military Bases within an Hour

There are seven military bases within an hour of San Diego:

  • 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

Military Discounts by Providers

And here are the insurance companies that give discounts to military members:

  • Allstate
  • Esurance (LA only)
  • Framers
  • Geico
  • Liberty Mutual
  • MetLife
  • SafeAuto (LA only)
  • State Farm (selected states only)
  • The General (LA only)
  • USAA

If you’re a veteran, we thank you for your service and suggest you look at these companies if you want to save money on car insurance.

Read more: SafeAuto Car Insurance Review

What are some unique San Diego laws?

We know it’s difficult to keep track of all the local laws in each city you drive in. We’re going to cover the rules of the road in San Diego so you can stay safe and ticket-free. In this section, we’ll discuss driving laws, hands-free laws, and many other topics that should help you achieve that end.

One interesting law that pertains to San Diego driving is that you are not allowed to drink as a passenger in San Diego. Also, if you’re driving on the highway, be aware of the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes that are marked with a white diamond. There must be at least two people in your car to drive in this lane. If you don’t follow this law, you’ll receive an expensive ticket.

San Diego prides itself on being a clean city, so if you litter while driving, especially with smoldering cigarette butts, you’ll receive a $1,000 fine. 

Hands-Free Laws

In San Diego, you can’t talk on or use your cell phone in any way unless you’re using hands-free technology. This law also applies to the rest of California. 

Food Trucks

If you own a mobile food truck in San Diego, you need to receive a health permit and maintain a valid business tax certificate issued by the City Treasurer.

Most operations are exempt from a city permit, but property owner authorization is required for any mobile food truck activity on private property, regardless of whether or not you need a permit. Food trucks are permitted in most downtown areas.

Tiny Homes

In addition to having meals on wheels, some San Diegans have their homes on wheels. There has been a recent rise in mobile tiny houses, which are typically 150-430 square feet. The San Diego Housing Panel has approved these.

Parking Laws

You should also keep in mind that San Diego has very strict rules about parking. In both San Diego and the state of California as a whole, it is illegal and highly dangerous to park on the wrong side of the road. It is not, however, illegal to reserve a parking space if you use a website or app like Parking Panda or Spot Hero.

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Do you have more questions?

We know that even with all the information you just read, you probably still have a few questions. So, we’re going to help you out and provide answers to the most frequently asked questions about car insurance in San Diego.

Some of the questions are about San Diego’s airports, school districts, and car insurance coverages. But there are other topics worth going over, too, so we’ll dive into the details of those as well.

Where’s the airport?

San Diego has two airports: the San Diego International Airport and McClellan-Palomar Airport. The San Diego International Airport is located at 3225 N Harbor Dr, San Diego, CA 92101, and McClellan is located at 2198 Palomar Airport Rd, Carlsbad, CA 92011.

The San Diego International Airport is the bigger of the two, and it offers both domestic and international flights. McClellan has only one terminal and does not offer commercial flights.

What is the Minimum Liability Coverage in California?

This question is a simple one, but it’s very important because you must have this coverage if you want to legally drive in California. You need to have the following:

  • $15,000 – Bodily injury liability per person
  • $30,000 – Total bodily injury liability per accident
  • $5,000 – Property damage liability

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What School District am I in?

This is a big one, as education is a significant part of life, especially if you have a family. If you use the San Diego County Office of Education website, you can find out which school district you’re in. This website provides the addresses of the schools in San Diego and information about the school boards, and also lets you look up what district you’re in based on your address.

Do I Need Car Insurance if I Don’t Have a Car?

If you absolutely never drive a car, no, you don’t need car insurance. However, if you get behind the wheel of a car, even if it’s not your own, you need car insurance to drive legally. If you want to drive another person’s car, it’s a wise decision to purchase non-owner insurance.

Can You Live in San Diego Without a Car?

While San Diego is certainly a very car-friendly city, there are many reasons why someone may not want to own a car. It’s possible to live in San Diego without a car, but some parts of the city are easier in that regard than others. Read here to see the best places to live in San Diego without a car.

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How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Car in San Diego?

The price for renting a car in San Diego varies depending on what kind of car you want to rent. If you’re interested in finding the best deals on renting a car, check out for some more information.

Save yourself some time and unnecessary effort today when you shop for car insurance in The City in Motion. Compare car insurance rates right now by putting your ZIP code in our free tool below. 

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