Who Has Affordable Car Insurance for First-time Drivers in San Diego?

The make and model of vehicle that is being insured is one of the main factors that determines whether or not you can buy low-priced car insurance for first-time drivers. Vehicles with economical engines, an excellent safety record, or a low likelihood of having liability claims will cost quite a bit less to insure than high performance models.

The data below presents coverage prices for a number of the cheaper vehicles to buy coverage for.

Cheapest Vehicles to Insure in San Diego, CA
Vehicle Make and Model Estimated Cost for Full Coverage
Honda CR-V LX 2WD $3,086
Ford Escape XLT 4WD $3,114
Hyundai Elantra SE Touring Station Wagon $3,302
Toyota Prius $3,330
Honda Odyssey LX $3,446
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4WD 2-Dr $3,474
Ford Explorer XLT 4WD $3,484
Ford Edge Limited 2WD $3,634
Chevrolet Equinox LS AWD $3,662
Ford Fusion S 4-Dr Sedan $3,668
Toyota RAV4 Limited 2WD $3,662
Volkswagen Jetta LE 4-Dr Sedan $3,672
Chevrolet Impala LT $3,662
Dodge Grand Caravan SXT $3,690
Toyota Tacoma Double Cab 4WD $3,699
Honda Civic VP 4-Dr Sedan $3,822
Toyota Corolla LE $3,850
Toyota Camry SE $3,859
Nissan Altima 3.5 SR 4-Dr Sedan $3,878
Chevrolet Malibu LTZ $3,886
Ford F-150 Lariat Crew Cab Platinum 2WD $3,878
GMC Sierra SLT Extended Cab 4WD $3,883
GMC Sierra 2500HD SLE Extended Cab 4WD $3,878
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Data variables include single female driver age 16, no speeding tickets, no at-fault accidents, $1,000 deductibles, and California minimum liability limits. Discounts applied include safe-driver, and claim-free. Information does not factor in San Diego, CA location which can influence coverage rates greatly.

Looking at the data, models like the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, and Hyundai Elantra will be some of the less-costly vehicles to insure for new drivers. Prices will tend to be more expensive because there is more liability exposure for first-time drivers, but generally speaking those specific models will tend to have the lowest insurance rates that you are likely to find.

One of the more important criteria that are looked at to determine car insurance rates is where you keep your vehicle in San Diego. Areas with high crime rates or more dense population likely pay more, whereas areas with fewer weather claims and lower vehicle theft rates profit from lower rates.

The information below lists the priciest cities in California for first-time drivers to purchase a policy in. San Diego is listed at #22 with an annual rate of $1,368 for the average policyholder, which is around $114 monthly.

How much does car insurance cost in San Diego, CA?
Rank City Annual Rate
1 Los Angeles $2,083
2 Glendale $2,079
3 Oakland $1,755
4 San Francisco $1,745
5 Sacramento $1,720
6 San Bernardino $1,596
7 Santa Clarita $1,595
8 Stockton $1,588
9 Fontana $1,581
10 Long Beach $1,578
11 Riverside $1,527
12 Garden Grove $1,508
13 Moreno Valley $1,506
14 Modesto $1,502
15 Santa Ana $1,483
16 Fresno $1,472
17 Anaheim $1,444
18 San Jose $1,437
19 Huntington Beach $1,416
20 Fremont $1,403
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Premium costs are approximated as the specific San Diego residence address can influence insurance rates considerably.

Trying to buy affordable car insurance is tough enough, and finding out which insurers offer the cheapest auto insurance rates for first-time drivers calls for even more rate comparisons.

Each company has their own guidelines to set their prices, so first we will examine the most budget-friendly auto insurance companies in San Diego. It’s important to know that San Diego, CA auto insurance rates are impacted by many factors that can increase your annual premium. Simply having a birthday, buying a home, or having a fender bender can trigger changes in premium that can cause some rates to be more expensive than competitors.

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USAA quotes some of the cheapest car insurance rates in San Diego at around $1,143 annually. Wawanesa, CSAA, Century National, and Nationwide would also make the list of some of the cheaper San Diego, CA auto insurance companies.

As illustrated above, if you are currently insured with Century National and switched to USAA, you might realize yearly savings of roughly $47. California drivers with Nationwide might save as much as $120 a year, and 21st Century insureds might reduce rates by $195 a year.

Bear in mind that those rates are averages for all insureds and vehicles and and are not calculated with an exact location for first-time drivers. So the insurer that can offer you the best rate may not even be in the list above. That underscores the importance of why you need to quote rates from many companies using your own driver data and vehicle information.

Accidents and violations increase rates

The easiest method to snag affordable auto insurance premiums in San Diego for new drivers is to drive carefully and not get tickets or have accidents. The diagram below shows how traffic citations and accident claims increase insurance rates for each age group. The premiums are based on a single male driver, full physical damage coverage, $500 deductibles, and no discounts are applied to the premium.

The data above shows the average cost of a car insurance policy in San Diego per year with a clean driving record and no accidents is $2,075. Get one speeding ticket and the average cost jumps to $2,341, an increase of $266 each year. Next add one accident along with the one speeding ticket and the annual cost of auto insurance for first-time drivers jumps again to an average of $3,077. That’s an increase of $1,002, or $84 per month, just for not keeping your driving record clean!

Cost difference between full coverage and liability

Saving on auto insurance is probably important to most drivers, and one way to find cheaper insurance for first-time drivers is to buy only liability coverage. The information below shows the comparison of auto insurance costs with full coverage compared to only the California minimum liability coverage. The price estimates are based on a clean driving record, no at-fault accidents, $1,000 deductibles, single status, and no discounts are applied to the premium.

If all age groups are averaged, physical damage insurance costs an additional $2,003 per year over having just liability coverage. Many drivers may wonder if paying for full coverage is worth it. There is no clear-cut formula for dropping physical damage coverage, but there is a general school of thought. If the annual cost of coverage is more than around 10% of the vehicle’s replacement cost less your deductible, then you might consider buying liability only.

For example, let’s pretend your vehicle’s replacement value is $8,500 and you have $1,000 full coverage deductibles. If your vehicle is severely damaged, the most your company would pay you is $7,500 after paying your policy deductible. If you are paying in excess of $750 annually to have full coverage, then it’s probably a good time to buy liability coverage only.

Discount San Diego insurance

Discounts on auto insurance for first-time driversInsurance companies that offer coverage for first-time drivers may also offer special discounts that could reduce prices by 25% or more if you can meet the requirements. Larger auto insurance companies and some of their more popular discounts are detailed below.

The chart below illustrates the comparison of premium costs with and without discounts applied to the policy rates. The prices are based on a female driver, no claims or violations, California state minimum liability limits, comp and collision included, and $250 deductibles.

The first bar for each age group shows premium with no discounts. The second bar shows the rates with paperless filing, paid-in-full, vehicle safety, continuous coverage, anti-theft, and passive restraint discounts applied. When taking advantage of discounts, the average amount saved each year on auto insurance for first-time drivers is 28% or $1,058.

How to find low-cost insurance for first-time drivers

It is possible to find better rates, and here are some penny-pinching ideas that can help you quote cheap coverage.

The last tip in the list is very critical, as we pointed out in this piece. Prices can change significantly in a year, so drivers shouldn’t be reluctant to change insurance companies if a lower-cost policy is available.

Having a favorite company is great, but is isn’t recommended if that stubbornness costs you major coinage every year. Now is a great time to compare prices and find cheaper car insurance for first-time drivers in San Diego.