Rates for auto insurance in San Diego depend on a lot of different factors. The good news is that you can find competitive rates, and possibly save hundreds of dollars. Here are some tips for finding the cheapest quotes.

First, keep in mind that rates are determined by the individual insurance companies and approved by the state of California. Each company has their own goals when they do this, thus car insurance rates can vary quite a bit from one insurer to the next. For example, one company may have better rates for younger drivers than another. Or you may get a better rate depending upon where you live in San Diego County.

This means that one of the most important things you should do to save money on your auto insurance is to comparison shop. To get started have your current auto policy handy, or at least information about your vehicle and driving record. If you don’t currently have coverage, remember that you need the following minimum requirements in California. These are just minimums and you probably should think about increasing your coverage for better financial protection.

Bodily Injury: Minimum of $15,000 per person and $30,000 if two or more people are injured per accident.

Property Damage: Minimum of $5,000 per accident.

There are a couple of ways you can start requesting quotes:

1. Contact the individual companies that do business in San Diego County. The California Department of Insurance Web site has a list of insurers in the state, with phone numbers and Web addresses. You can call or go online to each and request a quote. You should get at least three quotes for the best comparison. Make sure you provide the same information about your desired coverages and deductibles to each company to get an accurate comparison.

2. Visit a comparison Web site. This is a convenient way to shop for the cheapest quotes because at a site like this, you only need to enter your information once and you’ll receive several quotes back from agents or companies in your area.

Also, make sure you take advantage of any available discounts such as insuring both your home and auto on the same policy, having an anti-lock brake system (ABS), maintaining good grades if you’re a student (especially important for teenage drivers), and more.