Phoenix is often called Arizona’s urban heart. It is the state’s capital and its most populous city, a center of commerce and the hub of the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan Area, also known as The Valley of the Sun. Phoenix covers more than 519 square miles and has a population of over 1.5 million, making it the sixth largest city in the U.S. Blessed with more than 300 days of sunshine, dozens of championship golf courses, trendy resorts and a multitude of outdoor activities ranging from boating to hiking, horseback riding and skiing, Phoenix is a world-class destination with a thriving economy. It boasts top-quality universities, great shopping, professional sports franchises including the NFL Cardinals, MLB Diamondbacks and NBA Phoenix Suns, excellent medical facilities and major employers. Add in a lower-than-average cost of living compared to many other major metro areas and it’s no wonder many visitors come to Phoenix and decide to stay. If you plan to be one of them, our City Guide will provide insights about living conditions and the business climate, along with resources about essential Phoenix insurance.
The first settlers are thought to have been the Hohokam, who lived here as early at 700 A.D. and created over 100 miles of irrigation canals that would later form the foundation for several modern canal and aqueduct systems. Over the centuries, many tribes including Navaho and Apache have populated the area and contributed to its history and culture.
Ranchers and farmers began coming to the area after Jack Swilling used the old Hohokam canals to irrigate the dry land, making it optimal for farming. A small community grew up a few miles from what is now modern-day Phoenix. The town of Phoenix was officially recognized in 1868. In 1874, President Grant issued a land patent for the present site of Phoenix. Back then, downtown lots sold for between $7 and $11. The Arizona Territorial Legislature passed the of incorporation for Phoenix in 1881. Arizona became the 48th state in 1912, and Phoenix was named its capital.
Phoenix Weather and Climate
They don’t call it the Valley of the Sun for nothing. The area has sunshine over 90% of the year. December, typically the coolest month, ranges from about 46 to 67 degrees F. July, the hottest month, averages around 106. It’s dry heat, very dry. The average annual rainfall is about 7 inches, but the summer monsoon season can bring heavy rainfall in a short time. In July 2013, for instance, a sudden thunderstorm flooded streets and stranded motorists. Flood insurance is not typically covered by standard homeowners insurance, but with sudden flashfloods always a possibility, it’s a good idea to look into separate flood insurance if you live in a vulnerable area of Phoenix.
Dry weather in Phoenix and Arizona also puts homeowners at risk of wildfires. Over 3,000 fires burn 270,000 acres of land in Arizona each year, according to the Arizona State Land Department. Fortunately, standard homeowner and renter insurance policies do cover losses due to fire. Just be certain you carry enough coverage to replace losses at today’s prices. You can get competitive quotes on line for Phoenix homeowners insurance Phoenix renters insurance here.
Driving and Phoenix Car Insurance
A light rail line connects Central Phoenix with Tempe and Mesa, convenient for some commutes, but to get around an area this large, you’re going to need a car. Phoenix, and the rest of Arizona, have some specific requirements for owning and operating a vehicle. The first is that you’ll need Arizona car insurance as soon as you’ve established residency. Minimum coverage requirements are $15,000/$30,000 bodily injury liability and $10,0000 property damage liability. NeighborhoodScouts.com shows there were 721,053 cars stolen in Phoenix in 2013, so you may also want to consider comprehensive coverage. And with the number of uninsured and underinsured drivers in Arizona estimated at 22% , you might want to add that coverage as well. You can get quotes online for Phoenix car insurance here.
If your vehicle is more than five years old, you’ll also need to pass an emissions inspection before you can register it. Bring your title or current proof of registration to the testing station, as the test cannot be performed without it. You’ll find a list of locations for Phoenix testing stations here.
You can register your vehicle at any of several Phoenix MVDs. Be sure to bring your proof of Arizona car insurance, emissions test results, social security car or some other form of signature ID, your can’s title, current registration, current driver’s license and your out-of-state plates. In addition, you will need a completed Title and Registration application form 96-0236, which you can download from the AZ MVD website. You are not required to register your vehicle in Arizona if you’re an out-of-state military resident stationed in Arizona, but you may be required to comply with emission laws depending on where you live. Check with your company commander.
Regardless of where you live, federal law now requires most U.S. citizens to carry a qualified health insurance plan that complies with ObamaCare (Affordable Care Act) requirements and mandated benefits. Arizona law mandates additional benefits. Find free competitive quotes online for Phoenix health insurance for individuals, families and small businesses.
Should you need a doctor or medical care, Phoenix has a number of excellent medical facilities. These include Saint Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center, Saint Luke’s Medical Center, Banner Good Samaritan Hospital, Mayo Clinic, and John C. Lincoln North Mountain Hospital.
When people refer to Phoenix, they are actually talking about 23 cities and towns that make up the greater Phoenix area. Property in downtown Phoenix will set you back a bit more than $11 a lot, but housing in general is a relative bargain. Today the downtown area is a collection of unique neighborhoods. The Valley’s original “Main Street” area is Central Avenue, where you’ll find high-rises rubbing elbows with historical buildings, trendy restaurants and cultural attractions. Directly adjacent to the downtown core is Evans-Churchill, a mix of historic single-family homes and mid-rise infill. Garfield, just east of downtown, is undergoing a revitalization of its historic homes along with new condo construction. Other urban Phoenix options include historic tree-lined Encanto-Palmcroft, Grant Park, Willo, Greater Coronado, and the Warehouse District. If the suburbs are more your style, you’ll have your choice of outlying communities such as Surprise, Peoria and Glendale to the north, Buckeye and Avondale to the west, Gilbert and Chandler to the southeast, and Mesa and Scottsdale to the east. As with any major city, prices will cover a range from modest to the mega-millions. Trulia.com reports the median Phoenix home value for the first quarter of 2014 as $159,000. Rentals can range from $550 for a 1-bedroom in Alhambra to $1,175 for a 2-bedroom townhome in Desert View and $10,000 for a 4-bedroom single family home in Camelback East.
Property crime rates in Phoenix index slightly higher than those for Arizona, and about 10 points higher than the national median, according to NeighborhoodScout.com. If you’re researching the relative safety of various Phoenix neighborhoods, the Police Department publishes a list of monthly hot spots.
Whether you buy or rent, getting Phoenix homeowners insurance or renters coverage is a must-do. You can compare Phoenix insurance policies and prices for homeowners and renters free online. There are basically two types of Phoenix homeowners coverage offered: all-risk (sometimes called open-peril or comprehensive) and named perils. You’ll also need to choose between actual value and replacement cost, and your deductible. Renters insurance will cover the loss of your personal property. Your agent can explain the differences, but before you decide, it might help to understand the potential risks that are unique to Phoenix.
If you live in Phoenix, Arizona, you’re in one of the country’s healthiest states. Arizona ranks tenth among the 50 states and Washington, D.C. for life expectancy. Anyone born in Arizona today can expect to live an average of 79.6 years according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. If you’re a 65-year-old Arizona, the Centers for Disease Control gives you another 20.2 years on average. But before you start feeling too secure, the WorldLifeExpectancy.com wants you to know that accidents are the third leading cause of death for all Arizona residents, just behind heart disease and cancer. Given the ever-present possibility of an accidental death, you might want to put life insurance on your list of things to consider when you move to Phoenix. There are four good reasons why:
To pay for funeral and other final expenses.
To replace your income if you’re leaving behind a spouse.
To help cover your children’s needs.
To help your survivors pay off debts and estate taxes.
If you purchase whole life, your insurance can also be a means of setting aside money for retirement, college and other needs. You can learn more about the difference between term life insurance and whole life insurance, and shop for competitive life insurance quotes here.
Greater Phoenix is a $181 billion marketplace and a hub for aerospace, high-tech, bioscience, advanced business services and sustainable technology industries. Honeywell Aerospace, Avnet and Republic Services are headquartered in Phoenix, and companies such as American Express, USAA, Charles Schwab and Mayo Clinic have major operations here. Good jobs and a friendly business climate have helped Greater Phoenix outpace U.S. population growth for nearly two decades. If you’re planning to start a business in Phoenix, protect it with the right small business insurance policy. You can learn about Phoenix business taxes and licensing requirements here. You can get competitive quotes online for Phoenix small business insurance here.