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The correlation between the propagation loss and SiO2 film properties has been studied for temperature-compensated SAW devices using the SiO2/LiNbO3 structure. The SAW devices were prepared under different deposition temperatures for SiO2 film. Although they possessed excellent temperature coefficient of elasticity characteristics, devices prepared at lower temperature showed lower Q-factors. The SiO2 films were also deposited on a Si substrate under the same deposition conditions used for the SAW device preparation. Optical characterization was performed with Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), spectrometer measurement, and Raman spectroscopy. IR absorbance spectra were almost same in the FT-IR measurement. However, optical attenuation in the UV region decreased with the deposition temperature in the spectrometer measurement. The optical attenuation is caused by the increase of the extinction coefficient in the SiO2 layer, and its optical wavelength dependence indicated that observed excess attenuation is caused by Rayleigh scattering. The Raman scattering also decreased with the deposition temperature in the Raman spectroscopy. The scattering is caused by the distortion of the SiO2 network. These results indicate that the Rayleigh scattering caused by the distortion of the SiO2 network is the main contributor to the excess SAW propagation loss in this case.