Cheapest Car Insurance Quotes In San Jose, CA

Our research has found that Wawanesa offers the best cheap car insurance policies to residents of San Jose.

We’ve saved shoppers an average of $600 per year on their car insurance.

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Updated: 07 July 2024
Written by Bob Phillips
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San Jose boasts some famous places like Santana Row, the Winchester Mystery House, and Silicon Valley. But when it comes to car insurance, it can be expensive. On average, drivers here pay around $1,280 annually. That’s lower than the $1,393 state average in California and way higher than the national average of $1,242.

In this innovative city, finding affordable car insurance is a constant concern for South Bay drivers. We’ve done the research for you and found that Wawanesa offers the best rates in San Jose.

We’ve also gathered information on other top car insurance companies in different categories: Mercury is the best choice for comprehensive coverage, GEICO has the cheapest minimum coverage, CIG is a good option for drivers with past violations, State Farm offers competitive rates for young drivers, and 21st Century is the go-to for experienced drivers looking for affordable options.

Cheapest And Best Car Insurance Companies In San Jose, CA 2024

Best Car Insurance, San Jose 2024

Comparison Of The Cheapest Car Insurance Companies In San Jose, CA

Overall Rating J.D. Power Rating (California) Best For Average Annual Cost AM Best Rating Get A Quote


Cheapest Overall



Instant Quote


Cheapest Full Coverage



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Cheapest Minimum Coverage



Instant Quote

Not Rated

Cheapest For Driving Violations



Instant Quote
21st Century

Not Rated




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State Farm


Young Drivers



Instant Quote
Scroll to see comparisons

Our Methodology

In the search for the most economical car insurance rates in San Jose, we delved into insights gathered from a variety of car insurance review platforms. Some of these sources examined rates sourced from publicly available records obtained through Quadrant Information Services. For the sake of this evaluation, we've taken an average of these rates. However, it's important to note that the rates of each company are subject to frequent changes and will differ based on your individual circumstances.

Additionally, a subjective perspective enhances the comprehensive rating. This viewpoint is shaped by fifteen years of experience as a licensed insurance agent, coupled with sixteen years of residency in California and a spanning of over three decades of procuring car insurance.


Quotes Analyzed


Years Of Industry Experience


Brands Reviewed


Research Hours

Reviews Of The Cheapest Car Insurance Companies In San Jose, CA

Cheapest Overall

Overall Rating

Key Statistics

10/10 Affordability
10/10 Customer Reviews
8/10 Claims
9/10 Coverage Level

Why We Like Them

In our assessment of the most affordable car insurance options in San Jose, California, Wawanesa stood out as a strong contender across all categories. Yet, it’s their average rate encompassing both minimum and full coverage that takes the lead in overall affordability.

Exclusive to California, Wawanesa’s standard coverage not only meets the state’s mandatory bodily injury and property damage liability requirements but also extends to additional benefits. Notably, this includes special vehicle equipment coverage, which assures that any aftermarket customizations or added vehicle equipment will be replaced with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) parts rather than standard or aftermarket components.

In the pursuit of the finest overall choice, our evaluation encompassed more than just rates – the insurer’s quality also factored in. We’re of the opinion that claiming the title of cheapest doesn’t automatically translate to being the optimal selection for a specific category. In this regard, Wawanesa stood out with its remarkably competitive rates, comprehensive coverage, and an array of diverse options at hand.

Benefits & Drawbacks

  • Consistently receives top customer satisfaction ratings from J.D. Power
  • Offers an extensive range of add-on options
  • Distributed through a broad network of independent agents across California
  • Operates exclusively within California, causing inconvenience for those departing the state
  • Support for claims and policies limited to regular business hours
  • The mobile app caters exclusively to Android users

Cheapest Overall Rates In San Jose

Company Rate Per Year
Wawanesa $1,100
Allstate $2,000
State Farm $2,120
Nationwide $2,100
Progressive $1,900

Cheapest For Full Coverage

Overall Rating

Key Statistics

10/10 Affordability
7/10 Customer Reviews
8/10 Claims
8/10 Coverage Level

Why We Like Them

Taking the lead for the most affordable full coverage in San Jose is Mercury. What sets Mercury apart is not only its plentiful selection of standard discounts, a common offering among car insurance companies, but also its distinct offerings: Mercury RealDrive and MercuryGO.

Mercury RealDrive operates by tracking the miles you’ve traveled, resulting in rates that can be up to 5% lower for those who log lower mileage. This presents a valuable advantage for individuals who work remotely or have short commuting distances.

Furthermore, MercuryGO has the potential to deliver substantial savings, up to 40% (10% for teenagers), for drivers who showcase safe driving practices such as maintaining smooth driving habits, avoiding speeding, and refraining from phone use while driving.

Opting for minimum coverage translates to securing the most budget-friendly rates, yet embracing full coverage ensures the highest level of financial safeguarding against property and liability risks.

Benefits & Drawbacks

  • Boasts competitive rates across all age brackets
  • Provides the option for mechanical breakdown insurance
  • Faces criticism through numerous negative online customer service reviews
  • Available through a smaller agent network compared to several competitors

Cheapest Full Coverage In San Jose

Company Rate Per Year
Mercury $1,203
Travelers $1,456
State Farm $1,210
Nationwide $1,378
Chubb $1,764

Cheapest For Driving Violations

Overall Rating

Key Statistics

9/10 Affordability
8/10 Customer Reviews
8/10 Claims
9/10 Coverage Level

Why We Like Them

Accumulating driving violations in California swiftly leads to rate hikes, but in our exploration, we pinpointed Capital Insurance Group (CIG) as the frontrunner in offering the most affordable rates for Golden State drivers with violations.

CIG stands as a prominent property and casualty insurer focused primarily on the West Coast. While it exclusively provides auto insurance in five states, including California, its products are distributed through a network of independent agents representing various car insurance companies.

Interestingly, CIG boasts a comprehensive mobile app. However, it’s worth noting that this app is solely accessible on iTunes and Google Play, omitting Android users and thus limiting this service for a significant number of San Jose drivers.

Instances of driving violations within the Bay Area lead to a visible surge in rates. It becomes crucial to locate insurers that don’t impose such severe penalties, ensuring that car insurance remains within reach for San Jose drivers even if they have violations on their record.

Benefits & Drawbacks

  • Offers round-the-clock availability of customer service
  • Brings over 120 years of experience to the table
  • Holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau
  • Limited to operation in just five states, which can be disadvantageous for Californian residents relocating outside the state
  • Absence of online quoting functionality

Cheapest For Driving Violations

Company Annual Increase
CIG $2,476
Progressive $2,482
GEICO $2,217
Farmers $2,670
Travelers $3,021

Cheapest For Young Drivers

Overall Rating

Key Statistics

9/10 Affordability
9/10 Customer Reviews
10/10 Claims
10/10 Coverage Level

Why We Like Them

Due to their higher likelihood of accidents and limited road experience, teen drivers face the steepest car insurance costs among all age groups. In San Jose, State Farm emerges as the provider offering the most economical rates for young drivers.

However, State Farm’s appeal extends beyond just affordability. Their coverage is comprehensive, accompanied by an array of available discounts. For instance, the “Good Student” discount can lower rates for student drivers who maintain a “B” average or better, offering a discount of up to 25% off the standard rate.

The advantageous aspects of State Farm don’t stop there. With numerous local offices catering to sales and service needs, alongside multiple claims centers scattered across the Bay Area, the company ensures accessible assistance. State Farm consistently ranks well in annual customer service evaluations by J.D. Power and holds an A++ rating for financial strength from AM Best, the highest rating achievable.

No other age group in San Jose faces steeper car insurance costs than young drivers, mainly due to their lack of experience and increased likelihood of accidents.

Benefits & Drawbacks

  • Provides a multitude of discounts, including the good student discount
  • Includes comprehensive rental car coverage as a standard feature
  • Earns high ratings for customer satisfaction and financial stability
  • Exclusive availability through State Farm agents, without options for brokers
  • Excludes gap insurance from its offerings

Cheapest Coverage For Young Drivers

Company Rate Per Year
State Farm $1,340
Allstate $1,345
Travelers $1,720
Progressive $1,348
Nationwide $1,800

Cheapest For Minimum Coverage

Overall Rating

Key Statistics

10/10 Affordability
9/10 Customer Reviews
10/10 Claims
9/10 Coverage Level

Why We Like Them

In our San Jose assessment, we discovered that GEICO extends the most budget-friendly average rates for state minimum coverage. California regulations dictate a minimum of $15,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person and $30,000 per accident, along with $5,000 in property damage liability per accident.

These rates hold appeal if you’re content with minimal coverage. However, it’s worth considering additional coverage if you log extensive mileage, possess a history of driving violations, or seek heightened protection.

GEICO consistently garners high marks in aspects such as customer service, claims processing, customer endorsements, policy renewals, and customer loyalty. As the second-largest auto insurance company in the U.S., it has established a reputation for providing cost-effective rates both online and via phone interactions.

GEICO rolls out a plethora of discounts and emerges as the most economical choice for San Jose drivers with older vehicles who seek cost savings through California’s obligatory minimum auto insurance coverage. The company’s website and mobile app offer intuitive platforms for managing policies.

Opting for minimum coverage might be suitable if you own an older model vehicle with substantial mileage and don’t require comprehensive and collision coverage. However, it’s important to recognize that such a choice does expose you to heightened financial risk should an accident occur.

Benefits & Drawbacks

  • Earns an above-average J.D. Power score for customer satisfaction
  • Features a comprehensive website and mobile app
  • Provides a multitude of available discounts
  • Does not include offerings for gap or rideshare insurance
  • Maintains a restricted number of local agents

Cheapest For Minimum Coverage

Company Rate Per Year
GEICO $349
USAA $517
State Farm $474
Nationwide $572
Allstate $611

Cheapest For Seniors

Overall Rating

Key Statistics

9/10 Affordability
6/10 Customer Reviews
8/10 Claims
8/10 Coverage Level

Why We Like Them

Among all age groups, senior drivers often enjoy some of the most economical car insurance rates in San Jose. Our findings point to 21st Century as the provider with the most budget-friendly rates for seniors.

Operated under the banner of Farmers Insurance, 21st Century boasts a strong financial standing with an A (Excellent) rating for financial strength from AM Best. Notably, the company doesn’t have a designated rank from J.D. Power for customer service among insurers in California. It’s worth mentioning that there’s a notable presence of negative online reviews.

While 21st Century does offer standard roadside assistance as part of its policies, the array of coverage options is limited. Additionally, the company exclusively offers car insurance within California, which poses a limitation for customers who may be relocating out of the state and will need to switch carriers.

Discovering affordable coverage holds significant importance for seniors, especially those relying on fixed incomes, as rates tend to escalate with advancing age.

Benefits & Drawbacks

  • Supported by Farmers Insurance
  • Presents a mobile app for convenience
  • Boasts a robust financial rating
  • Receives a notable volume of online complaints
  • Restricted availability to only California residents

Cheapest Coverage For Seniors

Company Rate Per Year
21st Century $1,197
Nationwide $1,261
Mercury $1,194
Travelers $1,378
CIG $1,287

Average Cost Of Car Insurance In San Jose

Average Cost In San Jose– By Age

Age Group Average Yearly Rate
Teenagers $2,940
20s $2,160
30s $1,776
40s $1,620
50s $1,500
60s $1,464
70s $1,620

Average Cost In San Jose – By Gender

Gender Average Annual Rate
Male $1,384
Female $1,384

Average Cost In San Jose – By Marital Status

Marital Status Average Monthly Rate
Single $90
Married $91

Largest Rate Increases In San Jose – By Violation

Violation Average % Increase
DUI 158%
Refusing Chemical Test 158%
Leaving Accident Scene 152%
Racing 151%
Reckless Driving 148%

Average Cost In San Jose – By Zip Code

ZIP Code Average Rate
95119 $155
95120 $138
95121 $162
95122 $154
95123 $142

Minimum Car Insurance Requirements In California

While considering car insurance options, it’s important to remember the mandatory minimum coverage in California:

  • Bodily injury liability: $15,000 per person / $30,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability: $5,000 per accident

These figures reflect California’s minimal coverage criteria. Depending on your vehicle and driving habits, you might consider higher limits and the inclusion of collision and comprehensive insurance.

How To Buy Car Insurance In San Jose

When purchasing car insurance in San Jose, adhere to these five steps:

  1. Collect driver and vehicle details: Compile names and birthdates of all drivers, driver’s license numbers, vehicle’s VIN, current mileage, present insurance particulars, and registered owner’s name.
  2. Determine your purchase method: Decide whether to buy online or through an agent. Both approaches are valid; it hinges on personal preference and your comfort level in understanding the needed coverage type and amount.
  3. Obtain quotes from a minimum of three companies: Ensure that you compare similar coverage levels and deductibles.
  4. Seek out discounts: Numerous available discounts can contribute to making car insurance in San Jose more budget-friendly for you.
  5. Transition from your previous policy: Upon selecting a carrier and activating your new coverage, contact your former insurer to terminate your policy, averting duplicate coverage expenses.

Factors That Impact The Cost Of Your Car Insurance Policy In San Jose

The cost of living in San Jose is notably high, and this includes car insurance rates. The city’s distinct landscape of steep hills and intense storms amplifies accident risks, consequently elevating rates. Naturally, the vehicle you drive and your driving history also play pivotal roles in determining your rates.

Consider these three additional factors contributing to the relatively expensive auto insurance landscape in San Jose:

  1. Population Density: San Jose ranks among the largest U.S. cities, characterized by its dense urban environment. The inherent traffic congestion raises the likelihood of accidents, particularly in densely populated ZIP codes, which can lead to higher rates.
  2. Crime Rates: Specific pockets of the city experience heightened levels of crime, encompassing theft and vandalism. Residing or working in these areas may result in rates exceeding the city’s average.
  3. Accident Frequencies: The city’s daily traffic reports and bustling rush hours underscore the frequency of accidents on San Jose’s streets and highways. Insurers offset this surge in crashes by imposing elevated rates, particularly for individuals with extensive commutes across the Bay or Golden Gate bridges.

California Car Insurance Laws To Know

  • As per the guidelines of the California Department of Insurance, it’s necessary to demonstrate financial responsibility for any vehicle you own. This applies to scenarios involving injury to others or damage to their property. Most individuals fulfill this obligation by purchasing auto liability insurance. The law in California stipulates that “All drivers and all owners of a motor vehicle shall at all times be able to establish financial responsibility and shall at all times carry in the vehicle evidence of the form of financial responsibility in effect for the vehicle.”
    If you lack auto liability insurance, you can face fines, potential license suspension, and the potential impoundment of your vehicle.
  • In California, insurance companies are prohibited from utilizing an individual’s credit history or credit score as a basis for decisions regarding insurability and rates. This safeguard helps maintain equity in insurance costs across different economic segments.

In The News

As reported by CBS News, major auto insurance companies are reevaluating their presence in the California market, citing the high costs associated with insuring the state’s drivers.

Despite the pandemic’s impact, Californians are maintaining their pre-pandemic driving habits, but there appears to be a decline in driving behavior. Consequently, the incidence of auto accidents has risen, leading some insurance companies to pay out more claims than they’re collecting.

In the span from 2020 to 2021, auto insurance losses surged by 25%, while premium rates only saw a 4.5% increase, according to the American Property Casualty Insurance Association. This discrepancy underscores the heightened frequency and severity of auto accidents, consequently driving up the costs of coverage.

Information About San Jose

If you’ve caught glimpses of “Visit California” promotions and explored its website, you’re probably familiar with its enthusiasm for San Jose. The portrayal emphasizes, “Even though it covers less than 50 square miles and holds a population shy of a million, San Jose undeniably earns its place as one of the world’s most remarkable cities. Adorned with iconic Victorian architecture, cable cars, a vibrant waterfront, and an iconic golden bridge, this city encapsulates a diverse array of attractions.

Boasting trend-setting gastronomy spanning from Michelin-starred fine dining to unconventional food trucks, a globally acclaimed symphony, ballet, theater, and opera scene, and an abundance of outdoor escapades, San Jose undoubtedly claims its spot as a prime destination on every traveler’s checklist.

Car Insurance Discounts In San Jose

Exploring discounts is essential if you’re seeking ways to reduce expenses on car insurance in San Jose. Here are the prevailing discounts you’re likely to come across:

  • Being a “safe driver” with a good driving history
  • Installing vehicle safety features
  • Customer loyalty discount for staying with the insurer for a specified period
  • Being claims-free for a specified period
  • Driving fewer than average miles
  • Having a short commute to work
  • Being a student with at least a “B” average
  • Being in the military
  • Being age 55+ and retired


How much does car insurance cost in San Jose on average?  

On average, the annual expense for full coverage car insurance in San Jose stands at $1,280.

What is the cheapest car insurance in the State of California?  

Claiming the title of the most economical car insurance provider in California is GEICO, offering coverage for minimum liability at an annual rate of $349.

Do I need car insurance in San Jose?  

California law mandates auto liability insurance, necessitating San Jose drivers to possess this coverage.

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