Ditch It or Keep It: What Do You Exactly Need When You Live in California?

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Although the number of people moving out of California than relocating has been increasing, the Golden State remains one of the country’s most populous places. It isn’t surprising as many still want to chase the thousands of job opportunities, beautiful beaches, and diverse populations it offers.

But moving can be a pain. Not only can it take days, but it can also be expensive. Knowing what to bring with you to the state—and what to leave—can make the process faster, more affordable, and more convenient.

1. Fire and Homeowners’ Insurance

Answer: Keep or buy it

Homeowners’ and fire insurance policies are not mandatory, but they are beneficial, especially if you’re living in the Golden State. Fire insurance coverage, for example, can be ideal if your home is within high-risk areas—that is, prone to wildfires.

From 2011 to 2020, the state experienced over 60,000 wildfires a year, according to the Federation of American Scientists. These incidents destroyed at least 7.5 million acres of land annually.

In 2018, the Camp Fire killed over 80 people, most during the first few hours, after a PG&E transmission line caught fire. Two years after, while the COVID-19 pandemic hit California, another huge wildfire burned about 4 million acres and damaged 10,000 homes and buildings. About 30 people died.

In California, a homeowners’ insurance policy may already include fire coverage. If you belong to a high-risk group, though, such as living in the danger zone, the insurance company may deny your fire insurance.

You can get one under the Fair Access Insurance Requirement (FAIR) plan of California, a shared-market program. You can then buy homeowners’ insurance from another insurer.

2. Vehicle

Answer: Ditch it

California still has one of the highest vehicle registrations in the United States. In 2018, about 14.8 million were either commercially (such as taxis) or privately owned. But over the years, many Californians have learned to ditch their cars and learned to commute.

For one, the state has a comprehensive public transport system. In San Francisco, for example, commuters can take the rapid transit trains in San Francisco Bay that ferry passengers within the city and the surrounding areas. Further, nearly all residents live within a half mile from some form of public transit.

Greyhound buses cover most of California and bring passengers from the state to other regions. There are dozens of bike lanes, and many cities have decent walkability scores.

Of course, you’re free to keep your vehicle. This point stresses that moving around California is no longer difficult and that you can already make a car optional.


3. Pets

Answer: bring them!

If you’re a fur parent, then you may find California one of the best states for you. Many cities are pet-friendly.

If you’re living in Merced County, you can keep up to four cats and dogs as long as their ages are over 4 months. You may add a few more if you want to apply for a special permit. Many apartments, even in busiest areas like San Francisco, allow homeowners to keep big dogs.

There are several dog parks, some of which are off-leash. In Southern California, four beaches, such as Ocean Beach and Coronado, allow pups to run around without a leash.

If you plan to travel, you can board your cats and dogs in pet hotels. Finding a pet sitter will also be easier as many Californians are willing to earn some extra cash.

4. Furniture

Answer: Ditch them

In the United States, the average size of homes increased from over 1,500 square feet in the 1970s to over 2,500 square feet in 2015. Within this period, square footage expanded by around 15%.

California’s houses are around the same sizes as well, and they have also been increasing. However, the growth is much slower than in other states. They may also be much smaller compared to properties in states like Utah.

If you own furniture pieces, huge ones, it may be cost-effective to sell them and buy what you need when you reach California. Although the cost of living here is high, you can find plenty of places that sell affordable home pieces.

For instance, California has at least 8 IKEA stores, while Southern California is home to over 80 Goodwill shops. You can also get what you need by scouring Craigslist and eBay.

Moving to California or elsewhere requires careful planning, but it doesn’t mean you need to bring everything. It’s got you covered.

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