UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Auto Insurance in San Diego, California [Can’t-Miss Guide]
|City Density||4,377 people per square mile|
|Average Cost of Car Insurance||$4,414.64|
|Cheapest Car Insurance Company||Progressive|
|Road Conditions||Poor: 34%|
Welcome to the City in Motion, beautiful San Diego, California.
Sure, this city by the sea has lots of drivers, but it’s not just drivers who are in motion in San Diego.
San Diego is known for its beaches, like Coronado Beach, drawing in surfers from all corners of the globe. Producing more avocados that anywhere else in the United States, San Diego is also home to 7,000 working farms, more than any other American city.
For better and worse, lots of wildlife is moving about in the City of Motion. The San Diego Zoo is one of the world’s finest. Unfortunately, San Diego also has more fleas than any other city in the United States.
Water, too, is in motion in San Diego. This gem by the Pacific imports an estimated 80 to 90 percent of its water, which means moving in an average of 168 million gallons a day.
There’s a lot to love about San Diego, as we plan to show you.
We believe that as a hub for education, medicine, and technology, San Diego’s brightest days are still ahead.
Whether you’re a long-time resident or new to the City in Motion, we’ve created this guide to help you navigate car insurance in the great and growing metropolis of San Diego, California.
To get started on your search for an auto insurance provider, just enter your ZIP code in the box above.
Cheap Car Insurance in San Diego
It’s true: San Diego, California, is a great place to live. That’s in large part why it’s one of America’s most-desirable metros.
Now let’s learn more about buying car insurance in the City in Motion.
Male vs. Female vs. Age
Do men and women pay different amounts for car insurance?
Often, they do.
In most places, men will pay more than women, especially teenage men, who can pay substantially more than their female peers.
Luckily, California is one of six states — alongside Hawaii, Massachusetts, Montana, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania — to ban gender discrimination in car insurance premiums.
In any case, your age and marital status have a far larger effect on your car insurance premiums.
DataUSA reports that the median age of San Diegans is 34.5 years old.
The table below provides the average car insurance premiums for San Deigo residents based on gender, age, and marital status.
|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|
As you can see, teen drivers pay a lot more than drivers in their twenties or older.
You might be surprised to learn that where you live in San Diego can have an effect on the cost of your insurance.
Cheapest ZIP Codes in San Diego
Our research shows that your car insurance premium can vary not only by what city you call home, but also by what neighborhood you live in.
San Diego proper has 37 unique ZIP codes representing distinct parts of the city.
Want the cheapest average car insurance premiums in San Diego? Then you should look for a home in ZIP code 92131, the Scripps Ranch neighborhood, which has average yearly premiums of $4,414.64.
With 32,787 residents and a median home value of $627,000, 92131 isn’t a cheap place to live, though car insurance is a bit cheaper there than in other parts of the city of San Diego.
The table below shows you the average car insurance premiums for San Diego by ZIP code.
|ZIP Code||Average Rate|
So although your car insurance rate won’t be affected much by where in San Diego you call home, your ZIP code does make a difference.
What’s the best car insurance company in San Diego?
Who do San Diego residents say is the best car insurance company in the city?
Well, the best car insurance company for you depends on what you want and need from your insurer, and what kind of company you want to do business with.
When shopping for car insurance, the key issues you need to prioritize include:
- The level of insurance coverage you need
- The amount of money you can afford to pay for your car insurance premium
- The type of insurance company you want to do business with
Let’s cover some of the factors that can help you figure out the best San Diego car insurance provider for you and your family.
Cheapest Car Insurance Rates by Company
You won’t be surprised to hear that the cheapest car insurance company isn’t always the best car insurance company. But that doesn’t mean an affordable provider is a bad provider, either.
Again, it depends on a number of factors.
In San Diego, Progressive is likely to be your cheapest car insurance provider.
The table below offers the average premiums for San Diego’s nine biggest car insurance companies.
As you can see, Progressive and Geico provide the cheapest rates on average for car insurance in the City in Motion.
When researching car insurance providers, make sure to ask about discounts, incentives, or promotions the company may offer to save you money on your policy.
Let’s take a look at how your commute distance can affect your car insurance rates in San Diego.
Best Car Insurance for Commute Rates
San Diegans have an average one-way commute of 22.9 minutes, which is below the national average of 25.5 minutes.
So it’s worth asking: how far do you drive to work each day? Your car insurance company will want to know.
The length of your daily commute can affect your car insurance premium.
But no matter your commute, Progressive will probably be the most affordable car insurance provider for you in the City in Motion.
The table below provides average premiums for San Diego’s top insurers based on both a 10- and 25-mile average commute.
|Company||10 Miles Commute/6000 Annual Mileage||25 Miles Commute/12000 Annual Mileage||Average|
But you might be wondering: how much car insurance do I need, anyway?
It’s a good question. Do you need a little or a lot?
This is something you’ll need to think about as you begin your car insurance research.
Best Car Insurance for Coverage Level Rates
Perhaps it’s obvious, but the more car insurance you need, the higher your premium will be.
In San Diego, if you need a high or low level of insurance, Progressive will likely be your cheapest car insurance provider. But if you need a medium level of insurance, Geico may be slightly more affordable.
The table below provides average rates for San Diego’s biggest car insurers by coverage level, including high, medium, and low coverage.
So now we’ve got to ask: what’s your credit score?
Your credit history is one of the key factors car insurance companies will use to determine your car insurance premium.
Best Car Insurance for Credit History Rates
Our credit history affects so many parts of our lives, from buying a home, to even, in some cases, getting a job.
Our car insurance premiums are also affected.
This short video offers a great explanation as to how and why credit scores help determine car insurance premiums.
According to financial experts lendedu, San Diego residents have an average Vantage credit score of 694, well above the national average of 673. Given the cost of living in San Diego, this is not surprising.
But what if you don’t have a great credit score? Who will be the most affordable car insurance company for you in San Diego?
Good news: California uniquely bans car insurance companies from taking credit scores into account when calculating car insurance premiums for the Golden State’s residents.
Given this, it’s worth taking a second look at the average cost of San Diego car insurance by provider.
Even though California bans car insurance companies from taking credit scores into account, it is always a great idea to keep your eye on your credit report to make sure it is up-to-date and free from errors. This can save you money on other large purchases.
But no matter where you live, one thing will affect your car insurance premiums even more than your credit history.
It’s a factor that worries a lot of folks: your driving record.
Best Car Insurance for Driving Record Rates
Most of us don’t have spotless driving records.
So if you’re like most folks, there might be a speeding ticket, an accident, or even a DUI in your past.
But did you know that not all violations affect your car insurance premium in the same way?
For San Diegans with a speeding ticket or clean record, Progressive will likely be the cheapest car insurance provider.
For those with an accident in their past, look to Geico. What about a San Diegan with a DUI on their record? Liberty Mutual will probably provide the most affordable car insurance.
The following table provides the average rates for drivers of various histories in the City in Motion.
|Company||Clean Record||With 1 Speeding Violation||With 1 Accident||With 1 DUI||Average|
Did you know that even if you’ve had a speeding ticket, accident, or DUI, taking a driving course can often help negate increases in your car insurance premiums?
Make sure to look for defensive driving, advanced driving, and DUI awareness courses. Check with your insurance company to see what they consider to be important in a driving course.
But what if your driving record makes it impossible for you to find car insurance you can afford?
Please know: you’re not alone.
The Insurance Information Institute provides this helpful guide to help you explore your options, many of which are public and backed by the state. Driving education is important. You don’t want to end up on a fail video like the drivers below.
Regional factors such as a city’s growth, prosperity, and poverty rates can also affect your car insurance premiums.
Let’s take a look at some of these specific factors and how they can affect what you end up paying for car insurance in San Diego.
Car Insurance Factors in San Diego
As you know, San Diego is the City in Motion, and that motion means a lot of growth. As San Diego continues to grow, the city is forging forward into the future.
In the sections below, we’ll cover some of the factors of this growth.
These factors can affect your car insurance premiums in surprising ways, so it’s important to know about changing demographics in beautiful San Diego.
Metro Report — Growth and Prosperity
The Brookings Institute reports that San Diego is currently facing a steady, sustainable rate of growth.
The figures below reflect Brookings’ most recent findings on issues of both growth and prosperity in the San Diego-Carlsbad, California, metropolitan statistical area.
And by the way, that metropolitan statistical area is home to 3.34 million people.
- Jobs: +1.9 percent (32nd of 100)
- Gross metropolitan product (GMP): +2.5 percent (43rd of 100)
- Jobs at young firms: -0.5 percent (87th of 100)
- Productivity: +0.6 percent (60th of 100)
- Standard of living: +1.8 percent (34th of 100)
- Average annual wage: +0.9 percent (58th of 100)
With especially strong increases in jobs and standard of living, we think San Diego’s brightest days are still yet to come.
Median Household Income
San Diego has a strong median household income.
According to DataUSA, “households in San Diego, CA, have a median annual income of $76,662, which is more than the median annual income of $60,336 across the entire United States. This is in comparison to a median income of $71,481 in 2016, which represents a 7.25 percent annual growth.”
With an average annual car insurance premium of $4,414.64, San Diegans spend an average of 5.76 percent of their annual income on car insurance.
Use the handy calculator below to see what percentage of your income could go to car insurance.
Homeownership in San Diego
Property values in San Diego are very high compared to the national average.
DataUSA reports that in 2017, “the median property value in San Diego, CA, grew to $600,300 from the previous year’s value of $567,400.”
Not surprisingly, this means fewer San Diegans own their homes, and more are opting to rent. For 2017, only 47.1 percent of homes were owner-occupied, well below the national average of 63.9 percent.
Education in San Diego
There’s no doubt about it: San Diego is absolutely a hub for world-class educational institutions.
According to DataUSA, “in 2016, universities in San Diego, CA, awarded 51,124 degrees.” That’s so many.
San Diego is home to some great universities, colleges, and community colleges. These include:
- San Diego State University
- University of California San Diego
- University of San Diego
- Point Loma Nazarene University
- San Diego Christian College
- Thomas Jefferson School of Law
- California Western School of Law
- Azusa Pacific University
- Brandman University
- California College San Diego
- San Diego Community College District
The Princeton Review recently ranked the University of San Diego the most beautiful campus in the United States. Watch the video below to see why.
Wage by Race and Ethnicity in Common Jobs
Unfortunately, wages by race and ethnicity are not tracked on the city level for San Diego.
However, DataUSA explains that “in 2017 the highest paid race/ethnicity of California workers was Asian. These workers were paid 1.11 times more than White workers, who made the second highest salary of any race/ethnicity.”
The most common job types in California, they also report, are miscellaneous managers, elementary and middle school teachers, driver/sales workers and truck drivers, retail salespersons, and cashiers.
Wage by Gender in Common Jobs
Though wages by gender are not tracked on the city level for San Diego, DataUSA explains that, frustratingly, “in 2017, full-time male employees in California made 1.26 times more than female employees.”
We hope this is a trend that will soon be reversed through public action.
Poverty by Age and Gender
Whereas the national average of people living in poverty is 13.4 percent, San Diego has a slightly higher poverty rate of 14.5 percent.
Women ages 25–34 make up a disproportionate number of the people living below the poverty line in the city, says DataUSA.
Poverty by Race and Ethnicity
According to DataUSA, “the most common racial or ethnic group living below the poverty line in San Diego is white, followed by Hispanic and Asian.”
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Driving in San Diego
San Diego is a California dream, and driving here can be a real joy. Just check out the video below to see how gorgeous the city is, even downtown.
Did you know that a city’s road conditions, level of traffic congestion, and unique driving laws can all affect your car insurance premiums?
In the sections below, we’ll provide you with some of the best information about driving safely in San Diego.
You can start your search for car insurance in the City in Motion today just by entering your ZIP Code below.
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Roads in San Diego
What kind of roads does San Diegans have to work with?
San Diego’s roadways are largely constricted by the Pacific Ocean to the west and the international border with Mexico to the south.
However, many major roadways still converge here, keeping San Diego in motion. Interstate 5 — or “The Five,” as many Californians call it — runs right through the middle of the city, ending at the Mexican border.
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 times of heavy traffic.
- 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.
The only toll road in San Diego is the stretch of Interstate 15 running from San Marcos to San Diego proper. You can get an electronic FasTrak pass to avoid paying tolls here.
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.
With so many major roadways, both accidents and car breakdowns are bound to happen. Most car insurance companies offer some sort of towing coverage, which can come in handy if you find yourself in such a situation.
Various car insurance companies handle towing coverage differently, however, so you should always check with your insurer to confirm that they offer this service.
Popular Road Trips/Sites
You might be wondering: what is there to do in San Diego, California?
The short answer: a lot.
Check out this video of 26 great things to do in San Diego to keep you in motion.
We recommend touring the U.S.S. Midway.
Not all San Diego activities will cost you money. 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.
Does San Diego use speeding or red-light cameras?
Though the city does not use speeding cameras — which have largely been successfully challenged in California courts — red-light cameras are in use at some of the city’s busiest intersections, the places most prone to red-light running.
The City of San Diego lists the following camera locations and corresponding justifications:
10th Avenue at “A” Street
Council District 2, Community: Centre City
The intersection has a pattern of accidents caused by southbound drivers running red lights.
There is an average vehicular volume of 40,500 daily trips per day here, and with 109 pedestrians crossing the street in the peak hour each day, the possibility of a conflict is high.
In addition, there is the potential for gridlock, especially during peak commuter hours. The posted speed limit is 25 mph.
10th Avenue at “F” Street
Council District 2, Community: Centre City
This intersection has a westbound red light running problem. The average vehicular volume is 24,000 daily trips per day. The potential for vehicular gridlock is high during peak hours. The approach speed is 30 mph on F Street.
Aero Drive at Murphy Canyon Road
Council District 6, Community: Kearny Mesa
This intersection has a westbound to southbound red light running problem. The average vehicular volume is 62,000 daily trips per day. The potential for vehicular gridlock is high during peak hours. The posted speed limit is 45 mph on Aero Drive.
Camino Del Rio North at Mission Center Road
Council District 6, Community: Mission Valley
This intersection has a problem with northbound drivers running red lights. The average vehicular volume is 48,000 daily trips per day. The potential for vehicular gridlock is high during peak hours. The posted speed limit is 40 mph on Mission Center Road.
Camino De La Reina / Camino Del Rio North at Qualcomm Way
Council District 6, Community: Mission Valley Road
This intersection has a southbound red light running problem. The average vehicular volume is 42,000 daily trips per day. The potential for vehicular gridlock is high during peak hours. The posted speed limit is 40 mph on Qualcomm Way.
Clairemont Mesa Boulevard at Convoy Street
Council District 6, Community: Kearny Mesa
This intersection has a problem with northbound drivers running red lights. The average vehicular volume is 53,000 daily trips per day. The potential for vehicular gridlock is high during peak hours. The posted speed limit is 40 mph on Convoy Street.
Cleveland Avenue at Washington Street
Council District 3, Community: Uptown
This intersection has an eastbound red light running problem. The average vehicular volume is 31,000 daily trips per day. The potential for vehicular gridlock is high during peak hours. The posted speed limit is 35 mph on Washington Street.
Del Mar Heights Road at El Camino Real
Council District 1, Community: Carmel Valley
This intersection has a westbound red-light running problem. The average vehicular volume is 65,000 daily trips per day. The potential for vehicular gridlock is high during peak hours. The posted speed limit is 45 mph on Del Mar Heights Road.
Grape Street at North Harbor Drive
Council District 2, Community: Centre City
This intersection has a southbound to eastbound red light running problem. There is an average vehicular volume of 58,000 daily trips per day. The posted speed limit for travel on N. Harbor Dr. is 35 mph.
Mira Mesa Boulevard at Scranton Road
Council District 5, Community: Mira Mesa
This intersection has a westbound red light running problem. The average vehicular volume is 67,000 daily trips per day. The potential for vehicular gridlock is high during peak hours. The posted speed limit is 50 mph on Mira Mesa Boulevard.
Mira Mesa Boulevard at Westview Parkway
Council District 5, Community: Mira Mesa
This intersection has both an eastbound and westbound red light running problem. The average vehicular volume is 70,000 daily trips per day. The potential for vehicular gridlock is high during peak hours. The posted speed limit is 35 mph on Mira Mesa Boulevard.
Mission Bay Drive at Garnet Avenue
Council District 2, Community: Pacific Beach
This intersection has a right angle and rear-end accident pattern. The average vehicular volume is 90,000 daily trips per day. The posted speed limit is 35 mph on Garnet Ave. The potential for vehicular gridlock is high during peak hours.
Kearny Villa Road at Balboa Avenue
Council District 6, Community: Kearny Mesa
This intersection has a southbound red light running problem. The average vehicular volume is 46,200 daily trips per day. The potential for vehicular gridlock is high during peak hours. The posted speed limit is 40 mph on Kearny Villa Road.
North Torrey Pines Road at Genesee Avenue
Council District 1, Community: Torrey Pines
This intersection has a northbound red light running problem. The average vehicular volume is 41,500 daily trips per day. The potential for vehicular gridlock is high during peak hours. The approach speed is 40 mph on North Torrey Pines Road.
Rosecrans Street at Nimitz Boulevard
Council District 2, Community: Peninsula
This intersection has a Southbound red light running problem. The average vehicular volume is 42,000 daily trips per day. The potential for vehicular gridlock is high during peak hours. The posted speed limit is 40 mph on Rosecrans Street.
You might be wondering what the driving culture is like in San Diego, California.
Read on to find out.
Vehicles in San Diego
If you call San Diego home, chances are you live in a two-car household, have a commute of 22.9 minutes each way, and drive alone to work.
In the sections below, we’ll look at the particulars of the City in Motion’s car culture.
How Many Cars Per Household
According to YourMechanic, Toyota pickups are San Diego’s most popular vehicle.
Around 41.9 percent of San Diego’s households own two vehicles, according to DataUSA. 20.5 percent of the city’s households own one vehicle, and 19.7 percent own three.
Households Without a Car
Around 2.61 percent of San Diego households don’t have a vehicle, well below the national average of 4.25 percent.
Speed Traps in San Diego
Residents report that San Diego is home to some of the worst speed traps in the state of California.
Many of these speed traps lie along the busy Interstate 5 and Interstate 15 corridors.
What is a speed trap? Check out the short video below to find out.
Speed trap or no speed trap, it’s always important to drive at a safe and legal speed. Follow posted speed limits to keep you and your family safe, and your car insurance premiums affordable.
Vehicle Theft in San Diego
The Federal Bureau of Investigation reported that in 2017, 5,135 vehicles were stolen in the city of San Diego, a fairly small number compared to other cities of similar sizes.
According to NeighborhoodScout, crime is fairly low in San Diego.
San Diego is safer than 24 percent of other cities in the United States. And the City in Motion has a really low violent crime rate of 3.72 incidents per 1,000 residents.
Check out the short video below to see a tour of some of San Diego’s safest neighborhoods.
But what’s the traffic situation like in San Diego?
San Diego is part of a heavily populated — and thus, often congested — region that stretches from the Los Angeles metro to the north to the Mexican border to the south.
And as we’ve talked about above, the San Diego-Carlsbad, California, metropolitan statistical area alone is home to 3.34 million people. That can mean a lot of cars on the road.
Traffic Congestion in San Diego
San Diego is the 40th-most congested city in the United States, which is not bad, all things considered.
Traffic monitoring agency INRIX reports that folks in this region spend an average of 56 hours or more in congestion per year, with an average financial cost of $781 to each commuter because of traffic congestion.
TomTom reports that San Diego drivers face an average congestion level of 25 percent.
This means residents spend an extra 14 minutes in congestion during the peak morning commute period, and an extra 18 minutes during the peak evening commute hours.
According to Numbeo, those living in the City in Motion face a traffic index of 158.35, a time index of 33.89 minutes, and an inefficiency index of 207.83.
As DataUSA explains, San Diegans face a 22.9-minute one-way commute on average, well below the national average of 25.5 minutes.
“Additionally,” they explain, “1.94 percent of the workforce in San Diego, CA have ‘super commutes’ in excess of 90 minutes.”
They also report that “in 2017, the most common method of travel for workers in San Diego, CA, was Drove Alone (75.4 percent), followed by those who Carpooled (7.85 percent) and those who Worked At Home (7.3 percent).”
How safe are San Diego’s streets and roads?
Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration doesn’t track city-specific roadway safety statistics, they do provide county-wide statistics for San Diego County, which includes, not surprisingly, the city of San Diego.
The table below provides the number of traffic fatalities in San Diego County from 2014 to 2018.
In 2018, 255 traffic fatalities were reported on the county’s streets.
How safe are San Diegans on the road?
Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report
When it comes to “best drivers,” San Diego could be doing a bit better.
According to Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report for 2019, the City in Motion ranked as the 119th-safest driving city in the United States out of 200.
On average, residents of the city also went around 8.5 years between filing each car insurance claim.
According to RideGuru, the following rideshare services are available in the city of San Diego:
- Traditional taxis
Bounce, Curb, Flywheel, Lyft, RideYellow, Uber, and traditional taxis are available to pick you up from or take you to the area’s airports, including San Diego International Airport (SAN).
San Diego is known for its beautiful weather. Sea breezes, sunny days, what’s not to love?
Unfortunately, the area surrounding the city is becoming more and more susceptible to extreme wildfires, thanks to climate change.
But it’s not all doom and gloom weather-wise in the City in Motion. San Diego gets 2,958 hours of sunshine a year.
The table below offers some of the city’s annual atmospheric averages.
|Annual high temperature||69.8°F|
|Annual low temperature||57.5°F|
|Average annual rainfall||10.4 inches|
|Days per year with rainfall||43 days|
|Annual hours of sunshine||2958 hours|
With an average temperature of just under 70 degrees, we think sunny San Diego is a great place to call home.
You might be wondering: does San Diego have viable public transportation? Read on.
San Diego is served by the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System, or MTS.
MTS reports they handle a lot of passengers: “MTS generates 88 million annual passenger trips or 300,000 trips each weekday. To handle the demand, the agency schedules 7,000 trips each weekday, and has 128 trolley cars and 800 buses in its fleet (FY18).”
Check out the video below to see how MTS is changing the way San Diego moves and helping to reduce traffic congestion in the city.
The MTS system includes trolleys, buses, and rapid trains.
With fairly affordable fares, you can check out how much your trip will cost through MTS’s comprehensive fare guide.
Recently, they began operating one of the first smartphone fare cards in the country. Check out the video below for a look into their innovative Compass Cloud system.
Is there public parking in San Diego? Yes. Read on to find out more.
Parking in Metro Areas
If you opt-out of using the MTS, 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.
The City of San Diego offers two-hour free parking on a variety of streets if your business in downtown is short and sweet. There are also some metered parking options downtown that allows you to use your phone to pay through ParkMobile, 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 and keep your electric vehicle charged.
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 $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 hefty citation. Failure to pay your fines could also result in a lien being placed against your vehicle registration.
Air Quality in San Diego
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides air quality reports for all cities and counties across the nation. The agency designates an area’s air quality as good, moderate, unhealthy for certain groups, unhealthy, and very unhealthy, for every day of the year.
Air quality in San Diego is pretty good, we’re happy to report. For the last three years, the EPA has designated the majority of San Diego days as having good or moderate air quality.
The table below shows the number of days in San Diego with each EPA designation for the years 2016 to 2018.
|San Diego-Carlsbad Air Quality Index||2018||2017||2016|
|Days Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups||35||56||40|
|Days Very Unhealthy||0||0||0|
With a majority of good or moderate air quality days, that San Diego sun is sure to shine through most of the time.
You might have heard San Diego is a military town. That has car insurance implications.
The City in Motion is proud of its military connections. San Diego is home to over 100,000 active military personnel and nearly a quarter of a million veterans.
Veterans by Service Period
According to DataUSA, “San Diego, CA, has a large population of military personnel who served in the Gulf War (2001–), 1.36 times greater than any other conflict.”
Military Bases within an Hour
There are seven major military bases scattered around the San Diego metropolitan area, including:
- 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
Many of the nation’s Navy Seals are housed at The Coronado Naval Base.
San Diego is also home to:
- Ft. Rosecran’s Veteran’s Cemetery
- The Marine’s Legal Services Office
- The Naval Legal Services Office
- The Morale, Welfare, and Recreation Office
- The MCRD Command Museum
Military Discounts by Providers
Keep in mind that our research shows that many car insurance companies offer discounts to either active or retired military personnel.
These companies include Allstate, Esurance, Farmers, Geico, Liberty Mutual, MetLife, Safe Auto, Safeco, State Farm, and The General.
USAA Available in California
USAA is consistently ranked as one of the best auto insurance companies, and they insure only military personnel, active or retired, and their immediate family members.
Unique City Laws
According to the Navigato and Battin law firm, there are some perhaps peculiar — or at least surprising — laws you should keep in mind while moving through the City in Motion and surrounding areas:
No Drinking and Driving and No Drinking and Being a Passenger
No person who is under the influence of alcohol or narcotic drugs may be in a vehicle on the street or other public places — apparently including passengers. (San Diego Mun. Code §85.10).
Open Container Ban Only Applicable in Spring and Summer
It is illegal to consume an alcoholic beverage or possess any open bottle or can containing alcohol on Del Mar streets or sidewalks or in parking areas, public parks, playgrounds, or beaches from 12:01 a.m. on March 1st through the day after Labor Day at midnight — apparently, the fall and winter months are fair game. (Del Mar Mun. Code §9.04.070).
No Cup Sharing
It is unlawful to provide for common use or to use any common cup, glass, or drinking receptacle in San Diego. (San Diego Mun. Code §44.0101).
Billiard Halls Need Bathrooms Too
Pool halls and billiard halls must have running water and adequate toilets for patrons and employees to use — also, no sleeping allowed. (San Diego Mun. Code §6-2000).
No Tossing the Football While Tailgating at Qualcomm
It is unlawful for any person to do the following within the Qualcomm Stadium parking facility:
Intentionally throw, discharge, launch, or spill any solid object (including footballs, baseballs, frisbees, and other such devices) or liquid substance, or otherwise cause such object or substance to be thrown, discharged, launched, spilled, or to become airborne. (San Diego Mun. Code §59.0502).
How High Are Your Heels?
The wearing of shoes with heels which measure more than two inches in height and less than one square inch of bearing surface upon the public streets and sidewalks of the city is prohibited without the wearer’ first obtaining a permit for the wearing of such shoes. (Carmel-by-the-Sea Mun. Code § 639.2).
No Novelty Lighters in El Cajon
The retail sale, offer of retail sale, gift, or distribution of any novelty lighter within the territorial jurisdiction of the city of El Cajon is prohibited.
“Novelty lighter” means a lighter that is especially attractive to children ten years or younger due to a toy-like design or other features, such as buttons or devices that initiate visual effects, flashing lights, or musical sounds that might encourage a child to use the lighter. This includes, but is not limited to, lighters of the shape that resembles cartoon characters, toys, guns, watches, telephones, musical instruments, sporting equipment, vehicles, a human body or parts of the human body, animals, food or beverages, moving objects, or other entertaining features. (El Cajon Mun. Code §4885).
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San Diego Car Insurance FAQs
We hope you now have a good grasp of the types of car insurance options available to you in the City in Motion, as well as some of the particulars about driving here.
We also want to help you make San Diego feel like home.
Here are some of the questions asked most by new and soon-to-be San Diegans.
Who handles the utilities in San Diego?
Electricity and gas in the San Diego area are provided by San Diego Gas and Electric, which offers convenient online service for turning your power on and off.
Water service in the City in Motion is handled through San Diego’s Public Works Department, which also offers convenient online bill paying and service start and stop.
Do I need to get a resident parking permit?
In certain areas, you will. According to the City of San Diego, the following neighborhoods require a parking permit.
|Area A - Hillcrest||Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.|
|Area B - SDSU/College Area||Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.|
|Area D - Logan Heights||Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.|
|Area E - Mesa College||Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.|
|Area F - El Cortez/Downtown San Diego||Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.|
What are the state minimums for car insurance in California?
California requires drivers to have car insurance that meets or exceeds the following minimum coverage levels:
- Bodily injury liability coverage: $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident minimum
- Property damage liability coverage: $5,000 minimum
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage*: $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident minimum
- Uninsured motorist property damage coverage: $3,500 minimum
What are the teenage driving laws in San Diego?
According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, teenage drivers participate in a graduated licensing system. They explain that to get a permit you must:
- Be at least 15½ years old.
- Complete the Driver License and ID Card Application (DL 44/eDL 44) form.
- Have your parent(s) or guardian(s) sign the application.
- Pass the knowledge test. If you fail the test, you must wait seven days (one week), not including the day the test was failed, before retaking the test.
- If you are 15½–17½ years old, you will need to provide proof that you:
- Completed driver education (Certificate of Completion of Driver Education) OR
- Are enrolled and participating in an approved integrated driver education/driver training program (Certificate of Enrollment in an Integrated [Classroom] Driver Education and Driver Training Program).
For more information, refer to the Provisional Licensing (FFDL 19) Fast Facts brochure.
And once your permit is validated, the DMV explains, there are some restrictions:
“You must practice with a licensed California driver: parent, guardian, driving instructor, spouse, or adult 25 years old or older. The person must sit close enough to you to take control of the vehicle at any time. A provisional permit does not allow you to drive alone at any time, not even to a DMV field office to take a driving test.”
Speaking of minors, what 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 specific home address.
What’s the sales tax like in San Diego?
In San Diego, you can expect to pay a 7.75 percent sales tax.
Where is the airport?
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 only one terminal, and no commercial airline flights are offered from this location.
Is there anything to do in San Diego?
From fine, eclectic cuisine to surfing, from theater to shopping galore, San Diego has a lot to offer for a weekend (or a lifetime).
Just check out the video below for some of the hotspots — particularly restaurants — not to be missed.
Now that you understand the basics of driving, living, and working in the City in Motion, it’s time to put your knowledge to work by getting the best deal on your car insurance.
We know researching and buying car insurance is no simple task, but if you have a working knowledge of the basics, you are better equipped to handle the challenges it brings.
And that’s why we created this guide: to help you obtain that basic knowledge for the City of San Diego.
What part of this San Diego car insurance guide was the most helpful? Was there something we could explain better? Please, let us know.
To get started on finding the best car insurance rates in San Diego, California, for you and your family, just enter your ZIP code below.