Jessica Fox Last Updated On: June 27, 2023

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What Is SR-22 Insurance In California And Do You Need It?

SR-22 Insurance California

Things happen. If you are convicted of a DUI, or you’re involved in a car accident without car insurance, then you may find yourself in a bind when your insurance rates go through the roof. The good news is that you don’t have to stick with your current provider; you can fill out the SR-22 Insurance form available to California residents.

Once you’ve applied for SR-22 Insurance, your provider will submit it to the DMV to verify you meet minimum liability coverage — then, it’s time to shop around for coverage!

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What Is SR-22 Insurance And How Do I Get It?

SR-22 Insurance isn’t exactly insurance; it’s actually a form that the DMV requires to ensure the policyholder meets the state liability minimums. Getting you back into the driver’s seat is a two-step process involving:
  • Purchasing car insurance that meets the California liability minimums, and
  • Your insurer then, on your behalf, submitting your SR-22 form to the DMV.
Additionally, you will have to pay any associated fines — if applicable. If you fail to do this, you run the risk of having your vehicle registration or driver’s license suspended. If you’re denied coverage, California has a high-risk insurance pool that you’ll likely qualify for, called the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan.

What Are The State Liability Minimums?

In order to meet state minimums, your auto insurance liability coverage must include:
  • $15,000 for bodily injury per person in the event of an accident
  • $30,000 for bodily injury per accident
  • $5,000 for property damage in the event of an accident

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Who Needs SR-22 Insurance?

If you’re convicted of any of these severe motor vehicle infractions, you will need to get SR-22 Insurance:
  • Reckless driving
  • DUI
  • If sued, not paying the court-ordered damages
  • 3 or more violations
  • If you’re under 21 and caught drinking and driving
  • Not reporting an accident causing property damage of over $1,000, bodily harm or death
  • Being uninsured and causing a car accident

How Much Does SR-22 Insurance Cost?

As you would imagine, getting car insurance after committing a serious driving offense comes at a price. First, submitting the SR-22 will cost you about $25. Next, because you’ve added an offense to your record, you will also see your rates increase by as much as double what you previously paid. To reduce the sting, it pays to shop around as every California insurer’s premiums after having an infraction are different, so be sure to get a handful of quotes before settling on a provider.

Finally, driving infractions affect your good driving record and disallow you to regain “good driver status” for 10 years following your conviction. Further, your good driver rates will be revoked, which means your rates will cost even more.

Is There An Alternative To SR-22?

To prove your financial responsibility and to avoid getting an SR-22, drivers have the option of leaving a security deposit or bond for $35,000 at the DMV.

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Auto Insurance After SR-22

The most important thing to remember if you have SR-22 coverage is that you make your payments because failure to do so will suspend your license and cause you to file an SR-26 form notifying the DMV of your missed payment.

Sadly, you will have to maintain your SR-22 for a minimum of 3 years for most offenses like DUIs and up to 10 years for reckless driving. Your SR-22 will also follow you if you move out of state. You will need to find an insurance company willing to communicate with the one you left in California. You must also maintain California liability minimums, even if your new state has cheaper rates until your SR-22 is up.

SR1P And Non-Owners SR-22 Insurance

SR1P is for drivers of vehicles with less than 4 wheels, like a motorcycle, that commits a driving infraction. In contrast, a non-owners SR-22 form is for drivers that have committed a traffic offense, like reckless driving but do not own a vehicle. Non-owners SR-22 allows you to continue to drive legally.

SR-22 Insurance In California

If you’ve committed a traffic offense that led to your insurance company requiring you to have an SR-22 form filed at the DMV in the state of California, it won’t last forever, and you don’t have to pay sky-high premiums. So the best advice we can give you is to shop around, maintain your SR-22 coverage by keeping up with your payments and be safe whenever you get behind the wheel so you can get back to cheap premiums and money-saving “good driver” discounts!

Jessica Fox Jessica Fox has been a freelance writer for five years, with a specialty in health, wellness, and insurance. During this time, she’s written for some of the biggest B2B and B2C brands from around the world. Jessica is also the mother of two young daughters and loves coffee, writing, and working out.

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