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Cheap Car Insurance in Berkeley, California

Locate cheap car insurance in Berkeley, a Northern California city on the east side of San Francisco Bay. Named for Irish theologian and poet George Berkeley, the city is home to the University of California, Berkeley, the oldest campus in the University of California system and the city’s top employer. Still considered one of the most liberal cities in the country, Berkeley and particularly its Telegraph Avenue were focal points for the hippie movement in the 1960s. In 2016, the city had an estimated population of 121,240. Of those, between 834 and 1,200 are estimated to be homeless.

Driving Conditions in Berkeley

Berkeley has one of the highest bicycle and walking commuting rates in the country, having modified its streets through barriers to create special pathways for cyclists known as Bicycle Boulevards. Drivers who are new to the area often find these diverters and barriers confusing, as not all of them are shown on maps of the city. The city also hosts at least two car-sharing services with web and phone-based reservation systems. Major thoroughfares include Shattuck Avenue running north to south and through downtown, and University Avenue from the marina on the west side to the university campus. Interstate 80 and 580 are known as the Eastshore Freeway, and it provides exits at Ashby Avenue, University Avenue and Gilman Street. The average commute time for Berkeley is just under 25 minutes, on par for the U.S. average, according to Census Bureau data. Only 33 percent of commuters drive alone, while more than 21 percent take public transit and 17 percent walk. The average household in the city owns only one car. Live traffic cams and maps can be found online.

Unique Laws in Berkeley

Berkeley city leaders in 2015 passed a series of laws addressing its homeless population, including limiting how much sidewalk space can be taken up with personal belongings between certain hours. The city did pledge to provide secure storage bins for the homeless.

California recently passed some unique laws, such as one requiring film producers to get permission from a board-certified pediatrician before filming a child under 1 month old. Also recent is SB 1140, which exempts clergy who object to same-sex marriages from having to perform them. New laws also prohibit picketing a funeral one hour before or one hour after the service.

Newcomers are often pleased to learn that California's liquor laws are not nearly as strict as other states, with sales allowed at nearly all hours, plus Sundays. They should also take note that California drivers who smoke with a minor 17 and under in the car can be fined up to $100, according to the California Health and Safety Code.

Berkeley Crime Statistics

Berkeley's crime rates are higher than national averages. Data compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 2016 states there were 602 violent crimes in Berkeley, two of which were murder or manslaughter. The local violent crime rate of 490 offenses per 100,000 residents is slightly above the average violent crime rate of 386 offenses per 100,000 in the U.S.

The property crime rate in Berkeley was 4,419 offenses per 100,000 residents, also above the U.S. average of 2,451 incidents per 100,000 residents. Within the city, 650 vehicles were stolen in 2016, FBI data shows, a rate of 530 incidents per 100,000 residents. The national average is 236 incidents per 100,000 people.

Berkeley Safety Requirements

California law requires children younger than 2 to be secured in a rear-facing safety seat, unless they weigh more than 40 pounds or at least 40 inches tall. All children under age 8 or shorter than 4 feet 9 inches tall must ride in a federally-approved restraint system.

As of 2017, drivers may not use a hand-held device while driving even to access GPS; GPS systems must be mounted within the car. Minors may not use cellphones while driving unless in an emergency.

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, the "Click It or Ticket" program ensures drivers they will receive a ticket if they or their passengers do not wear safety belts.

Berkeley Impaired Driving Laws

Drivers in California be charged with driving under the influence if they are found to have a blood alcohol content, or BAC, of .08 or higher, according to the state's Department of Motor Vehicles. For those driving vehicles requiring a commercial driver's license, the BAC threshold falls to .04 whether the driver holds a commercial driver's license or not. Any trace of alcohol – or a BAC is .01 – can result in charges for those under 21 or those on DUI probation. If arrested, a driver may immediately lose his license and be issued a temporary one for 30 days. No matter your background, contact us for cheap auto insurance rates in Berkeley.

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Car Insurance Berkeley, California Agents

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  • Cynthia Blumgart

    1950 Addison St Ste 105
    Berkeley, CA 94704

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    Cynthia and staff can handle your business efficiently. They offer service at the level you want - answer lots of questions, or just give you the product you ask for. I'd feel comfortable sending my friends and co-workers to her.

  • Gary Eason

    2150 Shattuck Ave Ste 125
    Berkeley, CA 94704

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    When we first met with Gary, it was to insure just our cars. Over the years we have added our home, our personal property, and most recently ourselves. When we sat down with him one evening, he was able to knowledgeably answer our many questions about life insurance, investments and college funding options. We were able to meet our needs without exceeding our budget or feeling like we were being "up-sold." There was no pressure, and we feel that Gary helped us meet the needs of our growing family. Whenever we call the office, the staff is friendly and informative. I have recommended Gary's office to many friends and will continue to do so. He genuinely believes in the products that he sells and care about his clients.

    I have been working with Gary on a claim at my home, a large tree fell in our backyard wrecking our pool, patio, fire pit, etc. I thought it would be awful but State Farm has been so great. I recieved a big check today and am breathing a huge sigh of relief. State Farm has been the best and I am so impressed with Gary's office!

  • Steve Bauer

    2980 College Ave Ste 1
    Berkeley, CA 94705

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    I've been insured with State Farm since I was 16 but mainly because that is where my parents were insured. I kept with State Farm when I moved to California 6 years ago. That is when I started a policy through Steve's office. They really go above and beyond to help you out with things you did not even know need helping. I've passed on his information to many friends over the year.

    Insurance is not normally something I do reveiws on but Steve's office has been taking care of things for me for a few years now and I am really happy with the results. Everyone is very friendly and upbeat in the office and they make it really easy to deal with one of the necessities of life…insurance. Not one of my favorite topics but Steve outlines my options so I get what I want and am able to pass on what I don't. Many of my friends are now also insured through Steve.

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Auto body shops Berkeley, California

Swapping your high heels for a pair of driving shoes can help you qualify for cheap car insurance by avoiding accidents and getting "safer driver" discounts.

It is easier to get cheap car insurance with a car that has high safety rating than one without one.

When you are looking for cheap car insurance, ask if the insurance company offers a policy where they forgive the first accident.

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