Auto Insurance in San Jose, CA (The Complete Guide)
California requires 15/30/5 for bodily injury and property damage coverage. The average rate for insurance in San Jose is $411.35. Save now and compare rates below.
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UPDATED: May 29, 2020
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|San Jose, CA City Summary||Statistics|
|Density||5803/per square mile|
|Average Cost of Car Insurance||$4,936.18|
|Cheapest Car Insurance Company||Geico|
Lying in the heart of Silicon Valley is the innovative city of San Jose. A beautifully urban city that is home to over a million people. San Jose is the third-largest city in California behind only Los Angeles and San Fransisco.
At a poverty rate of only 10 percent and an average annual income of over $100,000, San Jose is one of the most affluent cities in the entire country. According to Forbes, the city is home to the most millionaires and billionaires in the nation as well. Initially settled by the Spanish, then founded in 1777, San Jose was the first city founded in California.
Oddly enough, San Jose was once part of Mexico during the Mexican War of Independence. No less than 20 years later, San Jose was back to being a U.S.city and has never stopped growing.
If you are shopping for car insurance, read on to find out everything you need.
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Car Insurance in San Jose, California
The city may be rich and famous, but car insurance exists even for billionaires. At an average auto insurance cost of just under $5,000 annually, rates aren’t nearly as high as the cost of living. For comparison, the people in some cities in Michigan can pay upwards of $20,000 annually for their car insurance.
- $15,000 for bodily injury/death per person
- $30,000 for total bodily injury/death per accident
- $5,000 for damage to property per accident
California is an “at fault” state. This means that drivers are responsible for anything that incurs from an accident they caused. Because of the strict financial responsibility laws, most Californians end up choosing liability coverage.
In this article, we’ll help you understand the ins and outs of auto insurance in San Jose. We’ll break down road laws, rates, coverages, and more to find you the best insurance for you.
Whether you’ve run into money and are moving to the city or have lived there for years; this article will help you understand what minimum coverage you must have, what rates are best, and what companies are the best.
Male vs. Female vs. Age
At a median age of 36.8, San Jose is right around the same age as the national average of 37.9.
|Group||Married 35-year old female||Married 35-year old male||Married 60-year old female||Married 60-year old male||Single 17-year old female||Single 17-year old male||Single 25-year old female||Single 25-year old male|
The cheapest age in every city and every state is 60 and older. Older people are rewarded for their experience on the road.
Teens pay nearly $3,000 more annually than the 25 and older age groups. Teens are known as high-risk drivers. Insurance companies risk a lot, letting them drive. They are more prone to accidents, speeding, and receiving a citation than any other age group.
Since January 1 of 2019, California has banned the use of gender to set car insurance rates. This table shows the data before then.
California also banned accepting, rejecting, or raising rates on applicants due to their educational status, job, or credit score. The state is revolutionizing the old ways of the auto insurance world, and it could save you thousands.
Cheapest Zip Codes in San Jose
Zip-codes are a remarkable statistic to look at when it comes to rates in your city. They can be accommodating in finding where you will save the most money.
Zip-codes are determined from several different things, however. Poverty, average household income, and many other economic factors are the most significant reasons rates are low or high. Things like amount of car insurance for students can hurt your zip=codes average annual rate as well.
The higher the income in your zip-code, obviously the more you are going to pay. The cheapest zip-code in San Jose is in 95130 for $4,620.35. The most expensive is in 95122 at $5,391.72. For such a wealthy area, rates for car insurance are not overpriced.
|Zip-Code in San Jose||Average Rate|
Best Car Insurance
Choosing any kind of insurance is an outright difficult game. Auto insurance seems to be the trickiest of all. There are hundreds (thousands in California) of companies that offer the same insurance at different rates and different insurance at the same rates.
It’s both confusing and overwhelming. Sometimes the best car insurance isn’t the cheapest., though. Low, medium, and high coverage can make or break you in terms of an accident.
That low coverage car insurance is good on your pocketbook until you get in an at-fault accident that isn’t covered.
In this section, we’ll break down the best rates from the best companies to help you choose what coverage is the best for you and your family.
Cheapest Rates by Company
Everyone knows the big companies; State Farm, Allstate, Geico, etc. But there are a lot of companies other than the ones seen in commercials. Sometimes the most significant companies aren’t always the best. Then again, sometimes they are.
Comparing rates and coverage levels by the company is a great way to find the best insurance for you and your family.
|Company||Average Annual Rate|
This table is broken down in order from the cheapest to the most expensive rates by each company. Again it is also broken down by age and gender. If you know what company is giving you the most competitive rate, you can then choose from the right coverage level to fit your needs.
USAA is the cheapest rate in every situation. This is deservedly, so for our military. We owe them much more than an affordable insurance rate.
Other than USAA, in San Jose, the cheapest company on average is Geico. Their average annual rate for the city is $2,754.42. Compared to the nation’s average, this is right on par.
Best Car Insurance by Commute
Car insurance companies have to use different ways to determine your car insurance rates. In California, they use a “prior approval” system of committing auto insurance rates. This means that before a company gives you a quote, they must get it approved by the legislature to assure they aren’t gauging prices.
In the next sections, we’ll talk about the main ways companies use to determine those rates.
Daily commutes are important to many insurance companies. Most believe the more you are on the road, the more likely there is to be an incident. Commuting is becoming a big part of the American workday. In some cases, it can account for more than three hours of a person’s day.
|Company||10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.||25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.||Average|
When it comes to commute times, most insurers in California raise their rates by about $500. To say San Jose’s traffic is bad is an understatement. The average commute time in the city is 30 minutes; which is five minutes longer than the national average.
Insurance companies will know these statistics; that’s why you will see an increase in prices if you have a commute of over 25 miles a day.
Best Car Insurance by Coverage Level
Another critical factor insurers use to determine your rates is the type of coverage level you use. Car insurance has three different types of auto insurance coverage levels; low, medium, and high. Each company will cover different things within those levels, but it is generally similar.
Low coverage will always be the cheapest, but if you are to get in an at-fault accident, you could pay thousands out of pocket to cover the costs that your policy doesn’t cover.
In San Jose, low coverage is only a few hundred dollars less annually than medium coverage. Medium coverage could be the best for you. If you pay a little extra each month, if an accident does happen, you will be much more protected.
Again, Geico has the lowest rates by coverage. Even their high coverage at $2,955.16 is much lower than a lot of other companies’ low coverage premiums.
Best Car Insurance by Credit History
In California, it is illegal for insurance companies to change their rates for consumers by their credit scores. As mentioned before, they have also banned setting rates due to gender, education, or job title.
In all other states except Massachusetts, Hawaii, and California insurers can change rates based on credit history.
Auto insurance scores are not the same as credit scores, but that score does take into account your credit history. The scores are designed to predict the likelihood that you’ll file an insurance claim. The following things make-up that auto insurance score.
- The age of your credit history
- The number of accounts you have in good standing
- How many payments you’ve made on time
- How much of your available credit you’re using
Luckily, in San Jose, you won’t have to worry about your gender or your credit history. Both statistics are no longer allowed to be used to determine policy rates.
Best Car Insurance by Driving Record
Because of gender and credit history being banned in the state, your driving record is of the utmost importance. A DUI will guarantee a rise in rates by at least $1000 annually.
A simple parking ticket three years ago could buy you a few hundred dollars extra a year on your rate. A clean record will save you a lot of money a year, though. Good drivers get rewarded.
|Company||Clean record||With 1 accident||With 1 DUI||With 1 speeding violation||Average|
In San Jose, Progressive went from a rate of $1,888.63 with a clean driving record to $3,701.89 with a DUI. A nearly $2,000 jump in pricing.
The best way to avoid unnecessary spending is by driving safely. Sometimes it is impossible to prevent accidents, but doing everything you can as a driver will certainly help.
Car Insurance Factors in San Jose
Many different variables go into determining auto insurance rates. We’ve discussed the things that you do that affect them, such as driving record and commute times.
However, there are some things your city, metropolitan area, and the state does that can affect your rates as well. Everything from poverty to household income to the number of cars owned can change your rates significantly. In this section, we’ll delve into what makes insurance tick.
Growth & Prosperity
The growth of cities and their states is an important statistic that can show you exactly how well the area is doing economically.
Between 2016 and 2017 the population of San Jose grew from 1.03 million to 1.04 million, a 0.973 percent increase, and its median household income grew from $101,940 to $104,675, a 2.68 percent increase.
According to the Metro Monitor, the San Jose/Sunnyville/Santa Clara metro is ranked first in prosperity and sixth in overall growth.
The median property value also increased from $802,000 to $854,700, a 6.57 percent increase in just one year. Things are great and only getting better in Silicon Valley.
Median Household Income
In 2017, the median household income of the 322,000 households in San Jose grew to $104,675 from the previous year’s value of $101,940.
This graph shows San Jose’s households by income in red and the nation’s average in grey. At about 24 percent, most people make over $200,000 a year per family.
Median household income gives insurance companies a base value of what the area can afford. Above all other factors, this will noticeably change car insurance rates.
Below you can use an insurance cost calculator to see what you can afford based on your income.
In 2017, 57.4 percent of the housing units in San Jose were occupied by their owner. This grew from the previous year’s rate of 56.9 percent.
This percentage of owner-occupation is lower than the national average of 63.9 percent. What that means for you is that a lot of people may be renting throughout San Jose. That can create a problem for noise and overall “riff-raff.”
Which, in turn, means a headache for insurance companies. The more people who rent, the less likely they are to have multiple cars, a high income, etc.
The student population of San Jose is skewed towards women, with 25,414 male students and 26,852 female students. Of those 52,266 students, most of them majored in General Business Administration.
There are multiple different colleges in the San Jose area. The most populated universities are San Jose State and San Jose City College.
Student populations correlate with the age of drivers. Most students are in the age bracket of below 25. Remember, this age pays the most for car insurance. These statistics are based on them being the most reckless driving age. On average teens speed, text and drive, and drive distracted more often than any other age.
Wage by Race & Ethnicity
At an average household income of $104,675, San Jose is much wealthier than the median annual salary of $60,336 across the entire United States. Because of this, wages will be higher, and poverty will be lower.
As in most areas of the United States, the Asian demographic in San Jose has the highest wages, followed by whites, then following them American Indians.
The reason this is worth mentioning is based purely off the average income of people in the city. If you are looking for car insurance and do not have a high salary, you will be forced to choose a lower coverage plan.
Wage by Gender
In 2017, male employees in California made 1.26 times more than female employees. The average male salary was just over $75,000, and the average female salary was just under $60,000. A significant difference, but a difference that is less than the rest of the nation.
Poverty by Age & Gender
Poverty runs rampid in every city of every state in the entire nation. San Jose is no exception, but they are among the lowest in the nation.
As mentioned previously, based on demographics and ethnicity, insurance companies determine what the base rate will be for you.
Both genders below the age fo 25 pay the most on car insurance. This makes sense of poverty statistics as well. According to DataUSA, women between the age of 18 and 24 suffer from the most poverty in San Jose. This includes single mothers and pregnant wives in most cases, which skews the data somewhat.
In San Jose, 10 percent of the 1.04 million people live below the poverty line, a number that is lower than the national average of 13.4 percent.
Poverty by Race & Ethnicity
As you can see in the table below, Hispanics and whites make up the most significant percentage of poverty in San Jose. The same races make up a majority of the population as well, so that has a large factor on these numbers.
When choosing auto insurance, see if you can find any discounts that may tend to minorities, or those living in poverty-stricken areas. You never know what you could come across.
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Driving in San Jose
In the next few sections, we’ll dissect the roads, safety, and traffic congestion. Auto insurance companies look at the same factors as they decide how high or low average rates will be in each zip code. It is best to know the facts and questions to ask when deciding on insurance.
Roads in City
Roads are a huge part of the rates you receive from company to company. If there is a lot of construction and poor road conditions in the city, the rates will be hiked up.
Highways are extremely important when it comes to determining those auto insurance rates. Mainly due to the traffic factors. The more highways there are through your city, the more traffic there will be.
San Jose is a place loaded with traffic. With interstates 280, 880, 580, and five it is loaded with major roadways. Not to mention the sheer amount of people. As the 10th most populated city in the nation, you will not be going to many places without experiencing some traffic.
Popular Road Trips/Sites
California is huge. There are major cities, the best beaches in the world, amusement parks and scenic roadways all within driving distance.
San Jose is best known for Santana Row and the Sharks. But there are many other places to visit, such as the Winchester Mystery House and the Happy Hollow Zoo.
There are also loads of hiking trails up in the nearby mountain ranges.
Road conditions are important in determining rates for insurance companies. If you live in a small town with a lot of bad roads and old potholes that have cursed the town for generations; you will be paying a little more on rates.
We’ve all been plagued by bad roads a time or two. A popped tire because you didn’t have the heart to ask for directions.
If you live in a city with brand new roads in most areas, you will pay less. Safety and precautions are the main reason for this insurance adjustment. If your city has a high probability of blown tires, broken axels, and ruined alignment, insurance companies will charge more.
Each large area containing more than 500,000 people has statistics on how their pavement/road rates. The San Jose area has as follows:
- Poor Roads – 64 percent
- Mediocre Roads – 18 percent
- Fair Roads – 9 percent
- Good Roads – 9 percent
These statistics are used by companies to determine some of the things they will cover. Sixty-four percent of poor roads is not good at all. This means that insurance rates are going to be skewed to account for the possibility of damage to your vehicle.
Each metro area over 500,000 people also has extra vehicle costs called VOC’s, which averages out how much you may have to spend on your vehicle due to road conditions. This does not include gas and other obvious things every car must have; instead, it refers to blown-out tires, ruined suspension, or a bad axel.
The San Jose area has a VOC of $958. This is high compared to the rest of the United States, and insurance companies will take a look at all of these small factors.
Speeding or Red Light Cameras?
Cameras are an effective way to discourage red-light running and speeding. Enforcement is the best way to get people to comply with any law, but police can’t be at every intersection.
Red-light runners cause hundreds of deaths and tens of thousands of injuries each year.
According to IIHS, California only uses red-light cameras and does not use speeding cameras.
Vehicles in San Jose
Every city has it’s most popular vehicles, it’s favorite spots for a speed-trap and amount of cars. This section will walk you through some different aspects of vehicles in San Jose and all of California.
Classic cars, motorcycles, buses, and public transits are all some different ways to get around. The type of vehicle you drive can drastically affect your insurance rates.
Classic car insurance is often double the cost of regular car insurance. Motorcycle insurance is often a lot lower. If you have a souped-up red sports car that attracts the attention of every police officer in the county; you can guarantee your insurance will be higher than the average soccer mom van.
Most Popular Vehicles
In San Jose, only 25 percent of all cars are American made. In addition, San Jose has one of the highest percentage of hybrid/electric cars at 2.5 percent.
It only fits that the most popular car in San Jose is the BMW 540i. A luxurious car that will still blow away a fast car. The insurance on a BMW will be a bit higher simply due to the price of the cars, but other than that the insurance on one of these will be about average.
Cars Per Household
These statistics matter simply because of the number of people on the road. If a city has an average of three cars per household, that means there are many more cars on the road.
In San Jose, around 38 percent of households have two cars, and 22 percent of households have three cars.
As you can see, most households in San Jose have two cars. This is consistent with most cities in the United States. Much of those two cars per household are shared as well.
San Jose also has 10 percent of households that own five or more cars. That is about double the amount of the average city.
Households Without a Car
Only about 1 percent of the population of San Jose does not have a car at all.
This is a very low number, which is both good and bad for you. It’s bad because this means there are more cars on the road, but it’s good because it means there isn’t a lot of poverty.
Places like Chicago, where there is a lot of poverty, those numbers can reach upwards of 10 percent.
According to Speedtrap, San Jose does not rank in the top 10 for speed traps in California. Neighboring San Fransisco does, however, so being aware is always a good thing.
This probably sounds like a very small number, but they aren’t referring to single police officers hiding in dark alleys. A speed-trap is referring to when an entire police station comes together in a certain area to catch a lot of different violators. Sometimes these will also be tied in with DUI checkpoints.
Rates of theft are growing as the costs of living rise. The FBI has found this has been a consistent trend in the past decades. According to the FBI, there were an estimated 765,484 thefts of motor vehicles nationwide in 2016. That left the rate to about 236 thefts per 100,000 people.
Of the over one million people in San Jose, there were reported 8,068 vehicle thefts according to the FBI.
The safest neighborhoods in San Jose are located on Silver Creek Road and Country Club Parkway. If you live in these areas, your rates for theft are extremely low.
Auto insurance companies will use theft information and your zip code to determine the probability of your car being stolen. This will determine the rate for you. If you live in a poverty-stricken area, theft may be higher, and in turn, your insurance may urge you to get extra coverage.
San Jose ranks at number seven for the worst traffic cities in the United States.
The culmination of major highways, over one million people, and an up and coming innovative city proves to be a sure-fire way to be stuck in traffic. According to Inrix, commuters in San Jose spent an average of 35 hours sitting in traffic along Highway 101 and Interstate’s 280 and 580.
Insurance companies adjust rates based on the amount of traffic, and the congestion it causes. The longer people are on the road, the more chance they have of getting in some driving incident. In this section, we’ll show what areas have the worst amount of traffic, and where the busiest highways run.
Traffic Congestion in California
Los Angeles, San Jose, San Fransisco, and Sacramento are four of the most congested cities in the entire nation. California is arguably the worst state for traffic in the U.S.
If you live in California, be prepared to be in stop-and-go traffic.
According to the chart. Eighteen percent of people spend 30-34 minutes in traffic daily. That is just above average. The problem is the 10 percent of people that spend 60-89 minutes in traffic that makes San Jose, and all of California a traffic nightmare.
In 2017, the most common method of travel for workers in San Jose was diving by themselves, followed by those who carpooled with others.
As mentioned before, the average commute for San Jose is over 30 minutes. Of those commuters, almost 80 percent of them travel alone to work. This is a very high number but is only a little higher than the nation’s average.
Driving alone is a beautiful thing for insurance companies. The fewer people in the car, the less liable the insurance company may be in the case of a bad incident.
It is as clear as it can be. America is a dangerous place to be on the road. Some things are unavoidable due to the sheer amount of people in the country, but how do we keep our roads safer?
It’s a question that has an easy answer, but a difficult solution that begins with each individual driver. We, as a whole, are a distracted bunch of people. Below you can see traffic fatalities by different types.
|California Traffic Safety Stats 2017||Amount|
|Fatalities (All Crashes)||3,602|
|Fatalities (Drunk Driving Cases)||1,120|
|Fatalities (Single Vehicle Crashes)||2,067|
|Fatalities (Speeding Crashes)||1,070|
The easy answer is this; don’t drink and drive. Put down your cell phone. Slow down to the speed limit. Those main tips would save countless lives.
Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report
Every year Allstate comes out with their Best Drivers Report. This shows the best drivers based on cities in America. They take into account many different things, but the main three are as follows:
- Years between claims (per driver)
- Likelihood of claims
- Hard-Braking incidents
The San Jose metro area is ranked 170th among the entire nation. This is not a great number, so driving in the area is a dangerous game.
You may want to consider the Best-Drivers Report. It can show you how hard the drivers drive in the area.
Ridesharing is becoming a huge epidemic in the United States and the whole world. Uber and Lyft are creating a new wave of people who aren’t even buying cars. This tactic does save you a ton of money as long as you aren’t taking multiple rides a day, doing a lot of driving.
Be careful whose car you get into though, some Uber drivers may not have insurance that covers you if you were to get in an accident.
Some auto policies do not automatically cover every person who is in a car. A driver may have the most minimal insurance required. As an alternative, taking the bus is just as a cost-effective mode of transportation if you’re on a budget. It is also one of the safest ways to travel.
EStar Repair Shops
EStar is a system developed by esurance to be a sort of repair/customer service shop. You can find the locations of them in many places throughout the U.S.
Esurance loves making your life easier. That’s where the idea came from. You can file a claim and find a repair shop within miles, all through your cell phone. Car insurance can get tough; this is Esurance’s tactic to help you out.
San Jose and California as a whole have amazing weather. With an annual high temperature of 72.6°F and an annual low temperature of 50.5°F; the temperature is almost always fair and enjoyable.
With the average annual rainfall at only 15.09 inches, it rains but not too often. There’s a reason California is known for its beautiful weather.
The only issue with California is the number of Earthquakes a year. In 2015 there were 130 earthquakes which were actually a record low.
Weather directly correlates with how long your car lasts. In the harsh winters of the midwest, cars break down much more frequently. In the sunshine state of Florida, cars will last a long time. The fair temperatures in California will lead auto insurance companies to overlook the weather aspect.
– Public Transit
The absolute best way to get anywhere quickly in San Jose is by car. As mentioned before, traffic is terrible, but public transits have to deal with the same traffic as regular vehicles.
However, not everyone can afford to buy a car, so public transit is available at rates of less than $5 a day. If you’re not looking to buy a car or insurance, the bus may be your best bet.
Many people drive motorcycles, but new means of transportation are popping up everywhere. San Jose is a large city; scooters and bikes are available for rent to get you from one place to another much faster than walking.
In the downtown area, there are some places to rent a scooter, which only costs a few dollars. Of course, the best mode of transportation is always by car. Cars eliminate all the difficult parts of finding rides and making sure you’re on time for each and every stop.
Finding a good parking spot may be the trickiest part of your day, though.
Parking in Metro Areas
Parking is never fun in any city. More often than not, you will be doing quite a bit of walking when going out downtown.
In San Jose, be prepared to park at the top of a parking garage or a metered lot far from where you’re going. This is when the rentable scooters and bicycles come in handy.
Most parking lots are monitored and are ran by Online App Meters so they can be paid through your phone. Some more outer areas may still be pay change by meter on the street, which can leave your car at risk.
We all know how important the earth is to us. We call it our home, and it deserves to be taken care of. That ship is starting steer back on course. The more cars on the road, the less clean the air is going to be. Vehicle emissions account for a lot of the air pollution we put out into the atmosphere.
San Jose is not one of the best places to live for air quality. It is about average as far as that goes.
The military is one of America’s most prized possessions. Those in the military keep us safe, and we owe them a great deal of gratitude. There are an astounding 32 different military bases in California from every branch of the service.
USAA offers the cheapest rates of any company across the board in San Jose. They are, on average, the cheapest insurance company in the nation as well.
If you’re prior or, the current military makes sure to check out which insurance companies offer a discount if you choose not to go with USAA.
Unique City Laws
In every city and state, there are weird laws that people don’t know about, or the legislature doesn’t feel like taking care of. San Jose has it’s a fair share of them as well.
- It is illegal to throw a frisbee on the beach without the permission of a lifeguard.
- You must attain a $100 permit to own a Rhinocerous
- Your garage is not for storage; it is illegal to use your garage only for storage and not your vehicle
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San Jose Car Insurance FAQs
– How much insurance does California require?
California state law states that every driver must have at least liability coverage.
How do I lower my auto insurance costs?
A clean driving record, good credit score, and old age are the best ways to get lower rates.
Why do insurance companies use my prior insurance information?
Insurance companies use this information to see what kind of customer you were. They look at how many claims you may have had and how many incidents you may have had.
What kinds of discounts are available in California?
There are discounts for loads of things. If you took drivers-ed in high school, you get a discount. Military personnel gets a discount. Safe driving gets you a refund. Asking your company is the best way to know.
How do I compare auto insurance quotes?
Some sites will compare quotes from many different companies based on where you want to buy. Lucky for you, you’re already on one of those sites. Here’s a way to do that:
Start comparing car insurance today, enter your ZIP code in our FREE tool above.