San Jose, CA Car Insurance Guide (Comprehensive)
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UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021
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|San Jose Statistics||Details|
|City Density||5,921 people per square mile|
|Average Cost of Car Insurance||$4,975.37|
|Cheapest Car Insurance Provider||USAA|
|Road Conditions||Poor Share – 64%
Mediocre Share – 18%
Fair Share – 9%
Good Share – 9%
Vehicle Operating Costs – $983
Northern California is known for its tall redwoods, beautiful coastline, and trendy cities. Located near the southeastern part of the bay, San Jose is the largest city in NorCal and the epicenter of Silicon Valley, hence its nickname, the Capital of Silicon Valley.
Between the Mediterranean climate, high concentration of wealth, and unique neighborhoods like the SoFA District, there is plenty to do and see in San Jose. The best way to get around so you can see it all is by car. If you’re going to drive, it’s in your best interest to have a quality car insurance policy.
Finding the right insurance provider often leads to headaches, but you can avoid the hassle by taking advantage of this comprehensive guide. You can find cheap car insurance that makes sense for your needs. Price is only one of the many important factors.
It contains everything you need to know about San Jose’s driving laws, insurance laws, and more. So you have all the tools you need in one place to get auto insurance that makes sense for you.
Keep reading to learn more about driving in San Jose and keep this article handy so you can use it as a reference anytime you need answers about car insurance in the Capital of Silicon Valley. You may also want to compare San Jose’s average car insurance rates for California as a whole.
Enter your ZIP code in our FREE quote comparison tool to find the best insurance rates.
What’s the Cost of Car Insurance in San Jose?
If you’re curious to know how much the average car insurance is going to cost you in the city of San Jose, there’s no need to open any more tabs or run more Google searches.
Everything you need to know is outlined in explicit detail right here to provide you a thorough understanding of how much auto insurance policies cost and how they are priced.
For example, the price of a San Jose resident’s car insurance policy is determined by a number of factors including the driver’s gender, age, marital status, credit history, driving record, and even the ZIP code they live in.
We will cover all of this information in detail. So keep reading to learn about how car insurance is priced in San Jose. This will be the first step you take in securing a great policy at an exceptional value.
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Do Gender and Age Affect My Car Insurance in San Jose?
If you want to get a clear understanding of how insurance providers come up with their premiums, it helps to understand the demographic makeup of the city of San Jose.
According to Data USA, the median age in the Capital of Silicon Valley is 37. This impacts the average car insurance prices in the city because providers actually take into account things like gender and age when arranging policies for new customers.
Generally speaking, you’ll pay less for auto insurance as you age and gain more experience behind the wheel. While insurers have traditionally considered gender in rates, California outlawed the practice in 2019. Now, average rates still vary between men and women of the same age, but it’s related to whether they have a clean driving record, credit score, etc.
For more detailed information on what people in San Jose pay by age on average, take a look at the following table.
|Age||Average Annual Rate|
|17 Years Old||$6,822.04|
|25 Years Old||$3,124.32|
|35 Years Old||$2,437.21|
|60 Years Old||$2,172.39|
After briefly looking at this information, it’s easy to see the positive effect growing old has on the cost of car insurance. Every higher age group sees a break in prices, with the biggest jump coming from the age of 17 to the age of 25. The price difference for these two age groups is a whopping $3,697.72 on average. As responsible as your teen driver may be, they present a higher risk due to inexperience.
In many ways, gender also impacts the price of your car insurance. Take a look at the following table to see the difference in rates between male and female residents in the city of San Jose.
|Demographic||Average Annual Rate|
|Married 60-Year-Old Female||$2,169.47|
|Married 60-Year-Old Male||$2,175.31|
|Married 35-Year-Old Female||$2,459.45|
|Married 35-Year-Old Male||$2,414.98|
|Single 25-Year-Old Female||$3,078.99|
|Single 25-Year-Old Male||$3,169.65|
|Single 17-Year-Old Female||$6,151.00|
|Single 17-Year-Old Male||$7,493.09|
This data shows that females pay less than males at every level with the exception of married 35-year-olds. While it’s accurate to say that females are generally paying less for auto insurance, males are not paying a great deal more. The only big difference comes for single 17-year-old males, who are paying $1,408.33 more than their single 17-year-old female counterparts.
What are the Cheapest ZIP Codes in San Jose?
San Jose has a total of 31 ZIP codes, and each neighborhood has its own unique vibe. Did you know you may be paying more (or less) for car insurance than your friends that live in different parts of the city?
In fact, there’s a difference of $771.37 between San Jose’s most expensive ZIP code and its cheapest. Take a look at the following table that shows what each area pays for insurance on average.
|ZIP Code||Average Annual Rate|
Those who reside within the 95130 ZIP code which includes the communities of Bucknall, Castro, and Paynes pay the least in the entire city.
What’s the Best Auto Insurance Company in San Jose?
At the very beginning of this article, we touched on how finding a good auto insurance policy can feel a bit overwhelming. With so much information out there, it’s difficult to cut straight through the fluff to discover what you really want to know, like what’s the best car insurance provider in San Jose.
Price varies a lot depending on which company you choose to do business with.
How much you drive, your driving history, desired coverage level, and much more can all leave you with very different quotes from each provider.
Generally speaking, insured drivers mean the best customer service and coverage they need at the most affordable price. Insurance quotes allow drivers to compare their options and find the choice that makes sense. When you enter your zip code in our calculator, we’ll narrow it down to companies in your area with minimal effort from you.
The following section will provide clear information on the best auto insurance providers you can find in the Capital of Silicon Valley. We’ll explore the companies that have the cheapest rates, prices that vary by commute, what each provider charges at each level of coverage, and how your credit history and driving record can impact your rate.
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What Are the Cheapest Car Insurance Rates by Company?
A lot of people just want to know which car insurance provider is cheapest and make their decision based solely on who offers the lowest rate.
As one of the wealthiest cities in the country, San Jose residents may not be as concerned with saving a few dollars here and there, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t going to do your research so you can get the right policy at a great value.
Take a look at the following table to see what the most popular insurance providers can offer based on age, gender, and marital status.
|Group||Married 60-Year-Old Female||Married 60-Year-Old Male||Married 35-Year-Old Female||Married 35-Year-Old Male||Single 25-Year-Old Female||Single 25-Year-Old Male||Single 17-Year-Old Female||Single 17-Year-Old Male||Average|
As it turns out, USAA offers the cheapest rate in the city at an average of $2,652.57. However, it’s important to keep in mind that this company only caters to military families and may not be available to you. If that’s the case, the most affordable provider in San Jose is Geico, where residents are paying $2,754.42 on average for comprehensive coverage.
What’s The Best Car Insurance for A Standard Commute?
Similar to other American cities, a lot of people who live in San Jose rely on their own personal vehicles for their everyday commute. With so many big tech companies located outside of the city limits, it’s entirely possible that you might have to travel 10 or even 25 miles to get to work.
For example, Mountain View is home to the headquarters of Google and you’ll have to travel about 15 miles to get there if you live in West San Jose. This will drive up your rates, especially with the volume of traffic in this area. You don’t have to get the minimum coverage to make your rates affordable. Different companies offer discounts such as multi-policy discounts if you also buy homeowners insurance with them.
Auto insurance providers are very interested in the commuting patterns of the drivers they cover for one simple reason. They want to know the amount of time you spend on the road each day so they can analyze how risky you might be to insure.
Here’s a look at what the best car insurance providers in San Jose charge based on commute distances.
6,000 Annual Mileage
|25-Mile Commute |
12,000 Annual Mileage
Did you notice how every provider offers a different rate depending on how far you drive to and from work each day? The company that has the most drastic change in its pricing from a 10-mile commute to a 25-mile commute is Nationwide. This provider will raise the cost of its policy by $1,123.64 on average for those who have a longer commute.
What’s The Best Car Insurance for A Standard Coverage Level in San Jose?
Of course, you want to pick an auto insurance policy that meets your needs and budget. Auto insurers know you feel this way, which is why they offer low, medium, and high coverage options. To get an idea of what each of these policies might cost you, take a look at the following table that breaks down what each auto insurance company is offering in San Jose.
Nationwide has the greatest change in rates from high coverage to low coverage with a difference of $820.24. But if you’re unsure about whether you want full coverage or just minimum liability insurance coverage to meet the minimum legal requirements, take a look at the following video from Debt Free Millennials. Don’t be turned off by the name of the page because it offers great insight on coverage levels, even if you aren’t a millennial yourself.
There are plenty of coverage levels available. So if you’re ever on the fence, it’s ultimately up to you whether or not you want to play it safe or elect to have a cheaper policy. Things like raising your deductible can give you full protection against collision, uninsured motorists, etc. at a much lower price. Just make sure you can afford to pay the deductible when the time comes.
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What’s the Best Car Insurance for Credit History Rates?
In most parts of the country, auto insurance providers will look at your personal credit history and factor in your credit score when providing you with a quote.
Thanks to Proposition 103, which was passed in 1988, these companies cannot use a driver’s credit history as a point of reference when pricing a customer’s premium in California.
Take a look at the following table to see average annual rates from the top providers in San Jose. Since credit history is not an issue here, these averages are true for those who have a credit score of 400, 600, 850, or anywhere in between.
While it’s nice to know that your credit score won’t impact your car insurance premium, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on it. Maintaining a healthy credit history is never going to be a bad idea.
What’s the Best Car Insurance for Driving Record Rates?
While insurance providers in San Jose aren’t that concerned with your credit history, they definitely will consider your personal driving record when coming up with your insurance quote.
Take a look at the following table to see what car insurance companies in San Jose charge their customers based on individual driving behavior. The statistics are broken down into those who have a clean record, one moving violation, one accident, and one DUI.
|Group||Clean Record||With One Speeding Violation||With One Accident||With One DUI||Average|
After reviewing this info, it’s clear that rates tend to go up the most when a driver gets the black mark of a DUI on their record. The only exception to this comes from Liberty Mutual, which only raises its rates a minimal amount from a clean record to a DUI.
Overall, the providers that seem to increase their rates the most based on an individual driver’s record are Allstate, Farmers, and Nationwide.
If you already have a violation on your record, you’ll want to keep these rates in mind when you’re choosing your provider.
What Are Some Car Insurance Factors in San Jose?
The city’s growing population. A good number of high-paying jobs. Median home values that rank well above the national average. These are just a few of many factors that determine how car insurance is priced in San Jose.
We’re going to examine all of these factors and more in this next section so you can have a clear understanding of how and why auto insurance is priced the way it is in the Capital of Silicon Valley.
Keep reading to learn more about the city’s growth, income levels, homeownership, education, wage levels, employment, and poverty. Knowing this will give you the total objective view of what it’s like to live in the heart of the tech industry.
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What’s the Metro Report – Growth & Prosperity?
You’ll be hard-pressed to find another American city that’s doing as well or better than San Jose when it comes to growth and prosperity.
According to analysis from the Brookings Metro Report, San Jose has some impressive prosperity numbers:
- +6.2 percent change in productivity (1 out of 100)
- +8.3 percent change in the standard of living (1 out of 100)
- +5.4 percent change in average annual wage (1 out of 100)
San Jose ranks number one in the country across all three categories related to prosperity, which is outstanding. The same report also found the following information regarding growth for the major metropolitan area of San Jose:
- +2.4 percent change in jobs (22 out of 100)
- +8.7 percent change in GMP (1 out of 100)
- -0.7 percent change in jobs at young firms (88 out of 100)
These findings essentially indicate that San Jose ranks as the best city in the country for prosperity and GMP. The only black mark on the city’s report card from Brookings is that it ranks low on the percentage of jobs at young firms. But that can be misleading since it may not include the big tech companies in this category.
What’s the Median Household Income?
As one of the wealthiest cities in the country, San Jose has a median household income of $113,036, which ranks well above the national average of $61,937.
There are a number of factors that account for this figure, such as the nearly eight percent growth the city experienced year-over-year, as well as the booming tech industry that provides a number of high-paying jobs.
If you’re curious to learn what percentage of your income goes towards auto insurance premiums in San Jose, take a moment to use our intuitive calculator tool below.
What Does the Homeownership in San Jose Look Like?
With a higher cost of living, you might wonder just how many people actually own property in San Jose. As it turns out, homeowners make up 55.3 percent of the city’s population, giving property owners the slight majority over renters.
The ratio between owners and renters is important when it comes to how car insurance is priced. Homeowners are considered to be more financially responsible in the eyes of providers, so they generally get cheaper rates.
In theory, having more owners than renters in a concentrated area can help reduce the average cost of car insurance.
Those majority of homeowners in San Jose have a median property value of $968,500, which is significantly greater than the U.S. national average of $229,700. Median property values have continued to increase over the past few years. It will be interesting to see just how high they’ll climb in the future.
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How is Education in San Jose?
San Jose’s educational system is broken down into 14 different school districts, the largest being the San Jose Unified School District. In addition to the public education system, the city also has more than 60 parochial and private schools that serve as an alternative for San Jose’s primary and secondary students.
When it comes to undergraduate colleges, the three biggest institutions in the city are San Jose State University, San Jose City College, and Evergreen Valley College.
Students who attend any of these schools have a higher chance of graduating since these institutions award the most degrees out of all undergraduate schools in the Capital of Silicon Valley.
Most students who attended college in San Jose in 2017 got their degrees in General Business Administration and Management, General Psychology, and Speech Communication and Rhetoric. Women had a higher graduation rate than men, with 6,977 degrees awarded to female students and 5,468 degrees awarded to male students.
What is the Wage by Race & Ethnicity in Common Jobs?
There is much more to San Jose’s job market than tech companies. As a large city, there are plenty of jobs in the city that are performed by a diverse group of people. The wages that are earned in common jobs vary by race and ethnicity.
Take a look at the following table that shows a breakdown of what each ethnic group earns by job type and what percentage of their income goes towards car insurance premiums.
|Ethnicity||Other Managers||Premiums as Percentage of Income||Elementary & Middle School Teachers||Premiums as Percentage of Income||Drivers & Sales Workers||Premiums as Percentage of Income||Retail Salespersons||Premiums as Percentage of Income||Cashiers||Premiums as Percentage of Income|
|Two or More Races||$108,808||4.57%||$56,183||8.86%||$43,389||11.47%||$23,599||21.08%||$16,011||31.07%|
As you might’ve noticed from the data, those who work the lower-paying jobs have to fork over a greater percentage of their paycheck towards auto insurance. In fact, cashiers who are two or more races allocate 58.53 percent of their wages to car insurance. This is a substantial difference from the 5.29 percent of their income that Asian managers pay.
What is the Wage by Gender in Common Jobs?
The difference in pay is not exclusive to race and ethnicity in San Jose. Gender also plays a role in the earning potential of the city’s most common jobs, and there is a distinct difference between what females earn on an annual basis and what their male counterparts earn.
The average male earns a salary of $78,575 in San Jose, while the median annual pay for a female is $62,298.
Therefore, full-time male employees earn 1.26 percent more than full-time female employees in the Capital of Silicon Valley.
For more detailed information on the differences in wages between males and females, take a look at the following table.
|Gender||Other Managers||Premiums as Percentage of Income||Elementary and Middle School Teachers||Premiums as Percentage of Income||Retail Salespersons||Premiums as Percentage of Income||Drivers & Sales Workers||Premiums as Percentage of Income||Cashiers||Premiums as Percentage of Income|
One theme that is clear from this data is that males pay a lower percentage of their annual income towards car insurance compared to females. However, teachers of both genders pay almost an identical percentage rate.
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What is the Poverty by Age and Gender?
Poverty exists everywhere, even in flourishing cities like the Capital of Silicon Valley. Those who live in poverty in San Jose are defined as anyone not earning enough money to cover the cost of essential resources needed to live an adequate lifestyle.
A total of 10 percent of the city’s population has confirmed poverty status, which accounts for about 102,000 people. This is less than the national average of 13.1 percent.
Females aged 18–24 make up the largest demographic living in poverty with a total of 21,621 people, followed by females aged 25–34 and males aged 18–24.
While these figures might seem alarming, it’s important to note that the United States Census Bureau is responsible for setting the income thresholds that determine if a person is impoverished. That threshold is subject to change over time, and some of these San Jose residents who are a part of this group may still be students, given their young ages.
What is the Poverty by Race & Ethnicity?
Since we’ve already covered gender and age groups, you might be wondering what races and ethnicities make up the impoverished population in San Jose.
Statistics reported by Data USA confirm that Hispanics are the most impoverished ethnicity in the city with a total of 46,009 people living in poverty. This ethnic group is followed by whites at 34,777 and Asians at 30,291.
What is the Employment by Occupations?
Those who move to San Jose might choose to do so because of the booming tech industry and the promise of a healthy job market. Once you break down the employment by occupations in the city, it looks like this:
- Management Occupations – 61,640 people; 11.3 percent of the workforce
- Office and Administrative Support Occupations – 53,794 people; 9.87 percent of the workforce
- Computer and Mathematical Occupations – 45,344 people; 8.32 percent of the workforce
Comparatively speaking, these three fields make up a significant part of the workforce in most big cities. Since they cover a wide range of fields, there are a high number of college graduates that flock to these types of jobs all over the country.
One field of employment that is very unique to the Capital of Silicon Valley is the tech industry, of course, and the computer and mathematical jobs that go along with it. These employment opportunities are found in San Jose 2.51 times more than other American cities.
How is Driving in San Jose?
We have already covered a lot of detailed information about the city of San Jose and what you need to know about car insurance if you live there. But maybe you’re wondering what a typical drive through the city might look like. Whether you know these streets like the back of your hand or this is your first time, everybody can enjoy a virtual cruise through the heart of Silicon Valley.
Now that you know what to expect when cruising around in San Jose, this next section will go over everything related to driving in the city, and we won’t limit what we cover to strictly Downtown San Jose like in the video. Keep reading to learn about major streets and highways, popular destinations, most-seen car models, traffic, weather, road conditions, and alternative forms of transportation in the Capital of Silicon Valley.
What Are the Major Roads in San Jose?
California has a great car culture, and one way you can get involved is by taking your ride onto the major roads of San Jose.
To help you along the way, the following section will inform you of San Jose’s most often traveled highways, popular road trip destinations, conditions of the city’s streets, and helpful information on red-light cameras.
What Are the Major Highways in San Jose?
If you ever wondered what an aerial view of San Jose’s major highway system looks like, take a gander at the following map, a great resource that pools geodata from a number of reputable sources.
The entire state of California has 12 active interstate routes that cover a total of 2,457 miles. As you can see from the visual above, the dark pink roads that represent the interstate highways crisscross right through the heart of Downtown San Jose, acting as a major transportation hub in the bare area of Northern California.
In total, the three most-traveled highways in San Jose are I-280, I-680, and I-880. If you’re worried about toll roads in San Jose, there is only one FasTrak tollway in the area taken at the state route 237 express lanes in Santa Clara Valley.
What Are the Popular Road Trips/Sites?
Tourists and locals alike can’t seem to get enough of San Jose’s great weather and all of the amazing points of interest the city has to offer. Check out this video for a quick look at some of San Jose’s most popular destinations.
There are so many interesting places to visit in the Capital of Silicon Valley. Some of the ones that most people make an effort to see include:
- Winchester Mystery House – The former home of Sara Winchester, heiress to the Winchester fortune, is now a popular tourist attraction that draws people in with a number of mysterious aesthetics like false stairs and misleading doors throughout an impressive 160 rooms.
- Tech Museum of Innovation – Paying homage to the booming tech industry in San Jose, the Tech Museum of Innovation offers a number of educational exhibits for youngsters.
- San Jose Museum of Art – A great number of influential artwork from the 20th century can be found in the San Jose Museum of Art. Located downtown, it’s a convenient and affordable attraction.
- SAP Center – Home of the NHL Sharks, the SAP Center is a multipurpose stadium that hosts a number of the city’s largest events.
- Santana Row – With a number of dining and shopping options, Santana Row is San Jose’s entertainment district and it never fails to impress.
While these five are all great suggestions, they’re only the tip of the iceberg (not that you would ever find one here given the warm weather). The only way to truly experience San Jose is by getting out there on the city streets and exploring it for yourself, which brings us to our next section.
What Are the Road Conditions in San Jose?
With a bustling car culture and so much traffic passing through San Jose each day, the city’s roads can take a beating. Take a look at the following table to see what the road conditions are like in the Capital of Silicon Valley.
|Vehicle Operating Costs (VOC)||$983|
The first number that really sticks out is that 64 percent of the roads are considered to be in poor condition. This is far greater than the nine percent that are in a good state.
Take a look at the following report from the local team at KPIX CBS on what’s taking so long to fix things like potholes. Perhaps this can offer a reasonable explanation as to why vehicle operating costs are so high in the city.
As we wait for the city’s road conditions to improve, it’s a good idea to consider getting a quality car insurance policy that covers things like damage from potholes.
Does San Jose Use Speeding or Red-Light Cameras?
To put it simply, San Jose does not have any red-light cameras within the city limits. You’ll be hard-pressed to find any red-light cameras within Santa Clara County in general.
The city government has considered implementing them in the past, as you can see in the following video, so the situation may change in the future. For now, you can rest assured that there are no cameras designed to catch speeders and red-light runners in San Jose.
What Type of Vehicles Are in San Jose?
With a warm climate and a large population of over one million people, you can find a huge variety of vehicle models driving around San Jose.
This next section will cover interesting data related to the city’s most popular vehicles, the number of cars each household owns, speed traps for certain models, and vehicle theft. Keep reading to learn all about what models you can expect to see on the road and how to protect your own.
What Are the Most Popular Vehicles Owned?
Based on data reported by Cartelligent, the most popular vehicles owned in Santa Clara County are the Honda Odyssey and the BMW i3.
It’s rather uncommon for a minivan like the Odyssey to rank so high on a city’s list, but it really shouldn’t come as a big surprise to see that the BMW i3 is popular in San Jose.
This luxury electric vehicle is equipped with loads of technology and is environmentally conscious, which is a value shared by a lot of people who live in the city.
Overall, you’ll see a fairly even mix of pickups, cars, and SUVs on the roads of San Jose. You might also happen to notice a lot of hybrids and EVs, like the BMW i3.
How Many Cars Per household?
The average number of cars owned per household in San Jose is two, which is consistent with the national average. These households make up 37.2 percent of the city’s entire market.
Following two-car households are three-car households, which make up 23.8 percent of the San Jose market, then one-car households at 14.6 percent. Lastly, four-car households account for 12 percent of the market and five-car households are at 10.1 percent.
Are There Many Households Without a Car?
With a high number of residents making a decent living, you might expect that almost everyone owns a car in San Jose, but that’s not entirely true. A small number of the city’s residents are without a car — about 2.16 percent of all households in 2018.
Below you can see how the figures for households that don’t own a car fluctuated over a two-year period.
|Year||Households Without Vehicles||Vehicles per Household|
Considering the portion of households without a vehicle went down to 2.16 percent in 2018, it appears that car ownership has been on the rise in San Jose.
Are There Speed Traps in San Jose?
Compared to the rest of California, San Jose does not have a lot of speed traps. In fact, the city didn’t even make SpeedTrap.org’s list of California cities that are notorious for catching speeders.
Nonetheless, it’s possible for the city to introduce speed traps in the future. There have been similar ideas tossed around by city legislature in the past, even though nothing has come to fruition.
What About Vehicle Theft in San Jose?
Too often, criminals see cars as easy targets. That’s why vehicle theft is a problem everywhere, including San Jose. Take a look at the following local news coverage from KRON 4 that shows how vehicle theft has impacted city residents in the past.
Vehicle theft is no joke. And while car thieves often think they can get away with it under the cover of quiet and darkness, it can sometimes even take a fatal turn. Take a look at this local news video about a tragic encounter that occurred after a suspect was caught trying to steal a car.
The FBI reported that there were a total of 7,704 reported cases of vehicle theft in San Jose in its most recent report. Comparatively, this makes the city 15 percent safer than the rest of the country. Take a look at the following table for more information on violent and property crime in the Capital of Silicon Valley.
|Crimes||Total Cases||Per 1,000 Residents|
If your plan is to avoid crimes like vehicle theft in San Jose, you may be interested to know which areas of the city are considered to be the safest. According to Neighborhood Scout, the following 10 areas see the least amount of violent and property crime in the Capital of Silicon Valley.
- Aborn Road / Quimby Road
- English Town
- Silver Creek Road / Country Club Parkway
- Almaden Expressway / Via Valiente
- Quimby Road / Chaboya Road
- Johnson Avenue / West Walbrook Drive
- Miller Avenue / Rainbow Drive
- Prospect Road / South Blaney Avenue
- Elwood Road / Trinidad Drive
If you’re unfamiliar with the city, it’s a great idea to do a little more research by going to Google Maps to orient yourself with these borders. This will give you a clear understanding of the geographical areas that see less crime in the city of San Jose.
How is Traffic in San Jose?
You hear about how bad California’s traffic is all the time. But the reality is that it’s a big state, the third-largest in the country, and traffic varies from city to city in the Golden State. If you want details about what kind of traffic you can expect in San Jose specifically, keep reading to learn more.
Is There Any Traffic Congestion?
When it comes to traffic congestion in San Jose, data from INRIX suggests that the Bay Area ranks at number 65 in comparison to other major cities in the world. Take a look at the following table to see how much San Jose’s traffic congestion costs each driver in time and money.
|San Jose Traffic Congestion||Details|
|Hours Lost in Congestion||116|
|Cost of Congestion Per Driver||$1,624|
|Inner City Travel Time (Minutes)||6|
|Inner City Last Mile Speed (MPH)||10|
While there’s been a five percent improvement in traffic year-over-year, people in San Jose still lose 116 hours of time and $1,624 to traffic congestion annually. It’s a bit maddening, but traffic is an unfortunate reality all over the world.
If you want to do your best to avoid congestion, a report from TomTom recommends avoiding travel on Thursdays, since that’s the day of the week with the heaviest traffic, on average. More information on this can be found in the next table.
|TomTom Traffic Index Summary||Details|
|Total Congestion||33% (up 1%)|
|Extra Travel Time||41 minutes per day|
|Morning Peak||60% congestion|
|Evening Peak||77% congestion|
These figures suggest that traffic overall is pretty rough, especially during rush hour in the evenings.
How About Transportation?
On average, people in San Jose spend 29.7 minutes commuting to work, which is exactly four minutes more than the country’s average commute time of 25.7 minutes.
One factor that adds to the commute times for San Jose residents is the heavy traffic we just talked about.
Most commuters in San Jose choose to drive alone, making up 76.3 percent of all workers. Following this group are those who carpool at 11.6 percent and those who work from home at 3.98 percent.
What Are the Busiest Highways?
One way to help the flow of traffic in San Jose is to introduce more lanes for vehicles to travel on. I-280 in San Jose has 12 and earned a spot on FHWA’s list of urban highways with the most lanes.
More often than not, you’ll see a lot of cars making their way in either direction of I-280, which is considered the busiest highway in the city.
How Safe are San Jose Streets and Roads?
While the streets and roads of San Jose are mostly safe, there has been a steady increase in traffic fatalities over the past few years. Take a look at the table below that shows the total number of fatalities in Santa Clara County from 2014 to 2018, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
For details on the types of crashes that occurred in Santa Clara County, the NHTSA also found the following figures.
|Crash Type||Fatalities 2014||Fatalities 2015||Fatalities 2016||Fatalities 2017||Fatalities 2018|
|Involving a Single Vehicle Crash||1,861||1,987||2,273||2,234||2,034|
|Involving Passenger Car Occupant Death||1,631||1,849||2,030||2,093||1,923|
|Involving a Roadway Departure||1,374||1,530||1,754||1,669||1,557|
|Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver (BAC .08+)||876||902||1,114||1,147||1,069|
|Involving an Intersection (or Intersection Related)||811||881||1,024||1,038||919|
|Involving Pedestrian Death||709||819||933||940||893|
|Involving Pedalcyclist Death||129||136||155||145||155|
As you can see from the data, most crash types have fluctuated up and down over the past five years. Of all crash types, pedalcyclist fatalities have consistently remained the lowest.
What About the Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report?
Allstate releases an annual report that shines a light on what it’s like to drive in the country’s 200 largest cities. This is called the Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report and the cities are ranked based on the general safety of their roads.
According to the 2019 report, San Jose ranks as the 170th safest city in the U.S. for driving.
Further details from the report revealed that the average San Jose resident has 7.3 years between claims. The national average is 10.57 years between claims. Data regarding hard-braking events were not made available in the most recent report.
How About Ridesharing?
Rideshare companies have transformed the way that people get around San Jose, especially when you consider that Uber and Lyft got their respective starts right here in Silicon Valley (technically San Francisco).
If you’re interested to know what a typical ride will cost you in the city, we’ve gotten estimates from RideGuru for a trip from the Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport to the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose:
- Lyft – $14
- Uber – $14
- Taxi – $22
Keep in mind that price differences are based on a few variables, like the time and length of the trip, as well as driver demand for each particular rideshare company. Nonetheless, this should give you a fairly accurate idea of what you can expect to pay.
Are There Any E-star Repair Shops?
Even the greatest drivers can get into an accident because what other drivers do is out of your control. When that happens, you’ll probably be looking for a good repair shop that is geographically close to the crash scene, especially if severe damage has been done to your vehicle.
To get the best quality of work and customer service, we recommend finding your nearest E-star repair shop. You can do this by typing your address into their convenient E-star repair shop finder tool.
We’ve made things even easier for you by collecting the addresses of the E-star shops in San Jose and the greater Santa Clara County and putting them in this handy table.
|Shop Name||Address||Contact Info|
|Aaron's Body Shop||27751 Industrial Boulevard|
Hayward, CA 94545
|email: [email protected]
P: (510) 786-9788
|Arseen Auto Body||1655 Little Orchard Street|
San Jose, CA 95125
|email: [email protected]
P: (408) 295-6171
|Pan American Collision Certified||555 Burke Street|
San Jose, CA 95112
|email: [email protected]
P: (408) 289-8745
|Service King South San Jose||1985 Kyle Park Court|
San Jose, CA 95125
|email: [email protected]
P: (408) 297-9030
What is the Weather Like in San Jose?
People who live in San Jose enjoy a very comfortable climate. The summers are very long with temperatures hovering in the high 70s to low 80s. Winters are usually short, wet, and partly cloudy but temperatures never seem to dip below freezing.
Take a look at the following table that contains more information from U.S. Climate Data regarding the weather in the Capital of Silicon Valley.
|San Jose Weather||Statistics|
|Annual High Temperature||72.6°F|
|Annual Low Temperature||50.5°F|
|Average Annual Precipitation – Rainfall||15.09 inches|
|Days per Year With Precipitation - Rainfall||-|
|Annual Hours of Sunshine||-|
|Average Annual Snowfall||-|
There is typically no snowfall to be found in San Jose, which is why there is no statistical data available to measure. It truly is a sunny city with minimal precipitation.
Is Public Transit Available in San Jose?
The Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) has three light rails and roughly 70 buses that cater to the city of San Jose. While public transportation is not often talked about, it’s still an effective form of transportation to get you around the city at an affordable rate.
For more information on how to use public transit in the Capital of Silicon Valley, take a look at the VTA online trip planner. This is a great resource if you’re interested in saving money when getting around the city.
Are Other Alternate Transportation Options Available in San Jose?
San Jose is home to a number of alternative forms of transportation. Scooter companies like Lime and Bird operate here and all you have to do is download the app to pay and get going. To see how you can get involved with scooter rentals in the city, take a look at the following video.
Is Parking Easy in San Jose?
The city of San Jose has a number of parking regulations that everyone must abide by in order to avoid ticketing or towing. The following list of parking laws and regulations come directly from the city government’s website:
- Meter Violation (SJMC 11.40.090) – The majority of metered parking is one or two hours. However, some meters are short term (12 or 30 minutes), and others offer long-term parking (four hours and up). Carefully read posted signs at meters.
- No Parking for Street Cleaning or Construction (SJMC 11.36.190) – Certain streets have permanent or temporary signs posted for Street Cleaning/Sweeping, or for construction projects. Take note of the dates and times of posted parking restrictions.
- Fire Hydrant (CVC 22514) – State law prohibits parking within 15 feet of a fire hydrant, whether the adjacent curb is marked red or not. Park at least one car length away from fire hydrants.
- Parking on or Blocking Sidewalk (CVC 22500 f) – Vehicles may not block, park on or across a sidewalk or walkway intended for pedestrian travel.
- Resident Parking Permit (SJMC 11.48.300) – Some neighborhoods are restricted for resident parking only. Signs are posted indicating when and where a Residential Parking Permit is required to park.
- Out of Space (SJMC 11.40.350/metered; SJMC 11.16.120/non-metered) – When parking spaces are delineated by pavement markings, vehicles must park within the designated markings.
- Parking in Intersection (CVC 22500A) – State law prohibits parking within an intersection. Be careful not to park along a street corner, or block a crosswalk, whether painted or not.
- No Parking Certain Times (SJMC 11.36.260) – Some streets prohibit parking at certain times, such as No Parking 10 p.m.–6 a.m.. Be careful to read all posted signs.
- Parking Excess of Time Limit (SJMC 11.36.250) – Many business districts and school zones have parking time limits to support turnover of the curbside parking spaces, based upon the specific needs of the area businesses or school. Time zones may vary, so be careful to read all posted signs.
- Use of Streets for Storage (SJMC 11.36.220) – Vehicles may not be parked on the street for more than 72 hours without movement.
- Parked On Parkway (SJMC 11.36.060) – A vehicle may not park in an area between the curb and sidewalk, whether paved or unpaved. This area is commonly referred to as a park strip.
How is the Air Quality in San Jose?
Nobody wants to breathe in air that isn’t healthy. That’s why the Environmental Protection Agency releases an annual report that measures maximum AQI (Air Quality Index) values and provides further information for different groups of people who might be susceptible to illness on poor air quality days.
Here’s what the EPA found for the air quality in San Jose for a three-year stretch between 2016 and 2018.
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara||2016||2017||2018|
|Days With AQI||366||365||365|
|Days Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups||6||9||7|
Overall, the air quality in San Jose has been above average with only a handful of days with unhealthy air.
Are There Many Military/Veterans in San Jose?
When most people think of a big military hub in California, San Diego usually comes to mind. While that’s accurate due to their huge naval base, the city of San Jose is still home to a number of active military personnel and veterans.
Most of these veterans native to San Jose served in the Vietnam War with a total of 8,831, which is 2.4 times greater than the number of vets of any other conflict. Still, San Jose has 3,675 vets who served in the First Gulf War and another 3,431 who served in the Second Gulf War.
California has a total of 32 military bases. The closest two in proximity to San Jose are Camp Parks and ISC Alameda.
If you’re an active member of the military or a veteran living in San Jose, there are a number of perks that you can take advantage of for serving your country. For example, you can get great deals on things like premium credit cards and even insurance policies.
At the very beginning of this article, you might have noticed that USAA offers the most affordable auto insurance coverage in the city with an average premium of $2,652.57. Since this isn’t available in every state, it might be a wise move to look into this provider to see if you qualify.
Are There Any Unique City Laws?
Every city is a little different, and each has its own unique laws. Here are some of the more unusual laws on the books in San Jose:
- It’s illegal to have more than two cats or dogs in the city.
- Cars cannot surpass a speed of 60 MPH if there is no driver behind the wheel.
- It’s illegal to hunt game from a moving vehicle; the only exception to this law is if the game is a whale.
- It’s illegal to ride a bicycle through a public swimming pool.
- It’s illegal for animals to mate within 1,500 feet of a school, saloon or place of worship.
Another interesting recent piece of legislation involves food trucks. Believe it or not, LA isn’t the only city in California that has grown fond of mobile eateries; residents of San Jose are big fans as well.
The County of Santa Clara is responsible for the distribution of mobile food permits in San Jose; you’ll just need to tell them where you’re planning to operate when you apply for one.
In addition to food trucks, tiny homes have become a bit of a fad in San Jose. If you want to build a tiny home on your own property, it’s not going to be subject to the standard building codes of California, making it a relatively painless process as long as you follow the safety standards outlined by the American National Standards Institute.
Tiny homes in San Jose also offer a potential solution to the homelessness problem. Check out this footage reported by KPIX CBS that goes into detail about the first tiny home community in the city.
What Are the San Jose Car Insurance FAQs?
You may still have a few lingering inquiries about car insurance and the city itself. That’s why this last section will provide you with answers to some of the most commonly asked questions people have about the Capital of Silicon Valley.
Is it Expensive to Live in San Jose?
San Jose has one of the highest costs of living in the country. Compared to the rest of the U.S., goods and services are about 27 percent more expensive here and the median price of a home is just over $1 million. While it’s relatively expensive to live in San Jose, the city has a booming economy and an excellent job market.
How Far is Downtown San Jose From the Airport?
Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) is conveniently located in the heart of the city. In fact, getting a lift from the airport to downtown San Jose will take you less than 10 minutes with no traffic.
While this is great, some travelers may find themselves in a spot where they don’t have a flight that leaves from San Jose’s airport. If this is the case, you might need to take a trip up US-101 to catch a flight out of the San Francisco International Airport (SFO), which is 33 miles away from SJC.
What’s a Good Salary to Live Comfortably in San Jose?
The Silicon Valley Business Journal released an article that suggests a household should earn at least $204,000 a year in order to be in the top income quintile. That’s actually lower than the neighboring city of San Francisco, where a household has to earn $231,000 a year to be considered wealthy.
While everybody has a different idea of what it means to live comfortably, a general rule of thumb is that you’ll need to be making six figures to truly enjoy a nice lifestyle in the Capital of Silicon Valley.
Are There any Bad Parts of San Jose That are Considered to Be Dangerous?
Every big city has some areas that aren’t as nice as the others, and there are certain parts of the city that offer different types of danger. Generally speaking, San Jose’s neighborhoods are relatively safe with a few small exceptions. But one thing you need to be mindful of is that San Jose can be dangerous for pedestrians walking on the street.
The city consistently ranks high compared to the rest of the country for pedestrian fatalities. Therefore, you should always make sure to check for traffic and be aware of your surroundings when walking around, especially in downtown San Jose.
How Happy are Employees who Live in the San Jose Area?
With tech companies like Google, Facebook, and eBay all located in Silicon Valley, there’s a number of great employers located in the area. In fact, Glassdoor consistently ranks the San Jose area as one of the happiest places to work in the entire country. It’s safe to say that the people who work and live in San Jose do what they love and love what they do.
Now that you’ve learned the ins and outs of what it’s like to live and drive in the Capital of Silicon Valley, is there anything about car insurance in San Jose that you wish to learn even more about?
If not, get instant quotes from providers by entering your ZIP code below.