Known for outstanding quality of life, San Jose has the nation’s best public safety record of any metro area in California, thanks in part to state laws that require vehicle owners to carry minimum liability limits. If you are looking to save money, it pays to research all the available options for cheap insurance San Jose has to offer.
Saving Money in San Jose
Most people are trying to identify ways to cut costs, but cutting car insurance coverage can be risky. Even carrying the basic California state minimums could leave you exposed to lawsuits or financial hardship.
The average auto policy in San Jose is over $1,000 annually. Here are some ways to save money without sacrificing coverage:
- Consider raising your deductibles. If your lienholder requires you to carry Comprehensive and Collision coverage, they may allow you to have $1,000 deductibles rather than $500. This can save you between $10 and $30 a month on average.
- Consider using public transportation to commute. San Jose and the bay area as a whole have great transportation options. Taking BART or one of the Metro lines, or even carpooling can save you money. Putting fewer miles on your car every year means your rates will go down.
- Re-shop your auto insurance policy at least bi-annually. Rates are adjusted frequently and companies are always competing for your business. Speak to an agent to find out if another insurance carrier will offer you the same coverage at a lower rate.
- Keep your driving record clean. Always drive defensively and obey local traffic laws. Even one point on your record amounts to a significant increase in premiums.
- Know your city. Understanding your local crime statistics and traffic patterns will keep you better informed, and ultimately could save you money.
San Jose Traffic
In San Jose there are an average of 1 million commuters on the road each day during the 6 peak driving hours. The average driver spends almost 40 hours a year in traffic.
The Bay Area is considered one of the most congested traffic areas in the country. This leads to a drastically increased risk of traffic collision.
The last decade’s technology boom has brought a lot of wealth to the area (the median income in San Jose has risen to $76,000). This has resulted in more high-value vehicles on the road. Carrying higher liability limits, such as 100/300/50, is highly recommended.
California only requires $5,000 in property damage liability. However, Forbes has estimated the average price of a new car to be over $30,000. Let’s say you rear-end someone on the way in to work. How far would $5,000 stretch?
San Jose Accident Data
According to Calfornia’s Office of Traffic Safety, there were 3,431 accidents in 2011 that resulted in death or injury. Of those, 387 were alcohol-related and 726 were speed-related.
San Jose Crime
Another reason to consider extra coverage (particularly Comprehensive coverage) is San Jose’s high number of vehicle thefts. The FBI reported almost 9,000 motor vehicle thefts in 2012. On top of that, there were over 28,000 property crimes.
While this rate is on a slow decline as the economy improves, consider adding coverage to protect you in the event your vehicle is stolen. Especially considering that most San Jose residents still rely on their vehicle for their daily commute.
Carrying Comprehensive coverage will ensure you are compensated if your vehicle is stolen. Carrying Rental coverage will also ensure that you are back on the road while your claim is being processed.
San Jose’s crime rates are still slightly lower than California’s average, but it still pays to know which neighborhoods have lower crime.
According to areavibes.com, the neighborhoods with the lowest property crimes are (numbers represent estimates per 100,000 residents):
- Willow Glen (918)
- Almaden Valley (918)
- Rose Garden (998)
- West San Jose (1,004)
- Cambrian Park (1,199)
The neighborhoods with the highest rates were:
- Buena Vista (3,036)
- Fairgrounds (2,812)
- Edenvale (2,385)
- East San Jose (2,384)
- North Valley (2,295)
This sort of information can help explain why some areas of San Jose have higher insurance rates than others. It also comes in handy if you are thinking of relocating.
San Jose SR-22 Filings
Mistakes happen, and when they do they not only result in hefty fines, but significant increases in insurance cost. DUI’s alone are estimated to cost offenders up to $10,000 extra in premium.
DUI offenders automatically lose their driving privileges are required to prove financial responsibility for a period of three years. This is usually done by filing an SR-22 through your auto insurance policy.
The California Department of Motor Vehicles requires an SR 22 filing for drivers who have had their license suspended. Issued by an insurance company, an SR 22 document provides notice and guarantee to the DMV that you have the amount of liability coverage required by the state of California. Once your SR 22 filing is complete, CHEAP Insurance can provide a policy for you in as little as 20 minutes.
Offenders who don’t have vehicles usually opt to purchase “non-owners” policies which allow them to drive any vehicle that is not registered to them, or available for regular use. These policies alone cost an average of $500 a year.