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California SR-22 Insurance

Drivers who are convicted of a major traffic offense in California are most likely going to have to file an SR-22 with their car insurance company. But what does that mean exactly?

If this is your first offense, handling the legal consequences and your insurance provider may be overwhelming, which is understandable. You want to ensure everything is sorted out correctly to avoid further fines and penalties.

The guide below can assist you in learning what SR22 insurance is and how to go about fulfilling the requirements as a driver in California.

What is SR-22 Insurance in California?

SR22 insurance isn’t a type of insurance; it instead serves as proof of financial responsibility. Commonly known as California Insurance Proof Certificate, SR-22 insurance proves that you carry at least the mandatory minimum amount of insurance to the state.

The form is filed through your insurance company and passed along to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). It is a necessary insurance document if you wish to reinstate your driving privileges. An SR-22 can be filed in three ways: through a motorcycle policy, car insurance policy, or non-owners car insurance policy.

Who Needs SR-22 Insurance in California?

Not every driver needs to file an SR-22 in California. They are only required after you are convicted of a major traffic violation that results in you losing your license.

You will be notified by the state of California when you need to fulfill an SR-22 filing requirement.

An SR-22 is typically required in California after committing one or more of the following violations:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Three or more minor driving violations
  • Driving without insurance
  • Reckless driving
  • Having multiple traffic violations

California Minimum Insurance Liability Requirements

SR22 insurance works to prove to the state of California that you meet the minimum amount of car insurance coverage required for all drivers.

When purchasing an insurance policy, you can (and should) increase your coverage limits, but the SR-22 form is meant to prove you at least meet the mandatory minimum amount of insurance.

In California, all drivers must have the following amount of liability insurance:

  • $15,000 for injury per person
  • $30,000 for injury per accident
  • $5,000 for property damage

Your insurance provider also offers you uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage.

However, you can opt-out of purchasing these insurance coverages so long as you state your refusal in writing. At the very least, you need to meet the liability coverage requirements in California.

Everything else is optional, but it is highly recommended that you purchase full coverage for yourself and your vehicle. Liability insurance only covers the other party in a collision. It’s also important to increase your coverage limits as anything not paid for by your insurance provider will have to come out of your pocket.

How Long Will You Need SR-22 Insurance in California?

The amount of time you will need to maintain your SR-22 insurance in California varies based on the traffic violation you were convicted of.

On average, most violations in California require you to maintain SR-22 insurance for three years. However, more serious violations such as a DUI or reckless driving can result in you being required to maintain an SR-22 for as long as 10 years.

A court will outline the specifics of your requirement. It should also be noted that when your license is revoked or suspended for a period of time, the SR-22 insurance requirement begins after that.

You should not let your insurance coverage lapse during your SR-22 insurance requirement period. If you do so, your insurance company will have to notify the California DMV. This could lead to another license suspension or revocation, which will not look the best on your driving record. You will also have to go through the SR-22 filing process again.

Trying to get insurance after a lapse in coverage can be challenging, especially when you need SR-22 car insurance.

If you move out of California during your SR-22 insurance period, you will need to find an insurance company that does business in both California and the state you are planning to move to.

Naturally, the insurance company must also provide SR-22 filing services along with offering coverage to you as a high-risk driver. Finding such an insurance provider can be tricky, but it is very important during this time to find coverage.

Failure to maintain your SR-22 insurance even out of state runs you the risk of losing your license. When you go to purchase car insurance in your new state, because you are still under California’s SR-22 insurance requirements, you will need to continue to meet California’s mandatory insurance minimums.

This is the case regardless of what your new state’s insurance laws are. Once your required filing period is over, you will get free reign of your car insurance decisions.

How Much Does SR-22 Insurance Cost in California?

In California, the average cost of SR-22 insurance coverage is around $1,600 per year. But insurance rates can depend a lot on your conviction. Being convicted of a DUI can raise your rates drastically, with some policies being nearly triple what the average SR-22 insurance coverage costs per year.

SR-22 insurance also comes with filing fees that you will have to pay. Many insurance companies charge a filing fee of anywhere from $25-$50. There will also be fees and fines associated with your traffic violation.

California laws can influence your car insurance premiums as well. In California, insurance companies cannot increase your insurance rates or cancel your insurance policy in the middle of its term.

However, once your policy has expired, it’s up to them to decide the next steps. This is also when you will see your car insurance premiums increase after a traffic violation, assuming your insurance company chooses to renew your policy.

If your insurance company cancels your policy, you will need to get new insurance immediately. A lapse in coverage is never ideal, especially if you already have a major traffic violation on your record. Insurance providers may be less willing to offer you coverage, given your questionable history.

California car insurance laws also prohibit insurance companies from offering good driver policy discounts to anyone with a DUI for 10 years following the conviction.

However, there are other car insurance discounts you can still get in California if you have a DUI, like multi-policy or bundling discounts. But losing a good driver policy discount can be detrimental to your insurance rates as it can be the most impactful insurance discount a company offers.

Reaching out to your insurance agent for help to get coverage and save money can be incredibly useful.

Non-Owner SR-22 Insurance in California

Filing an SR-22 is needed in order to get your driver’s license reinstated after a period of suspension or revocation. If you do not currently have car insurance, you will need to purchase coverage, even if you do not currently own a vehicle.

If you do not own a vehicle but have an SR-22 car insurance requirement to fill, you will need to get a non-owner car insurance policy. Anyone with a valid license in California has to get insurance.

A non-owner policy can provide you with the liability coverage required in California and will ensure you are protected should you end up in another traffic incident. It is also a cheaper kind of coverage when you compare it to traditional car insurance. But do not consider this type of insurance just because it is deemed relatively affordable coverage.

You can only get a non-owner policy if you do not own a vehicle, nor do you have regular access to one.

For example, if you are a college student living at home and have access to your parent’s vehicle, you will not qualify for a non-owner insurance policy. This kind of policy would be ideal to get if you frequently rent cars.

Everyone needs the appropriate insurance when behind the wheel. Purchasing non-owner insurance will count as coverage to successfully fulfill your SR-22 insurance requirement in California.

DUI Convictions in California

A DUI conviction is one of the most serious traffic offenses. Even if it is your first offense, you will have increased car insurance rates along with fulfilling an SR-22 insurance requirement to reactivate your license after a DUI.

Car insurance is not the only area you have to worry about following a DUI conviction. There are some serious legal penalties you are sure to be hit with. Including what is outlined in the chart below, you will also have to pay a $125 registration fee and a $15 license reprinting fee after a DUI.

1st Offense
2nd Offense
3rd Offense
Jail Time
24 hours
4 days-30 days
4 months-7 months
License Suspension
6 months
2 years
3 years

Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device (BAIID) Requirements For California

An Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is required to be installed in your car after your second DUI conviction. An IID is a mechanism installed in your car that prevents your car from starting if it detects alcohol on your breath. The car will also not start if you refuse to complete the breath test.

Some California counties may require an IID after your first DUI conviction, making it always best to inspect your county's procedures. Installing an IID is at every court's discretion.

Get a Free SR-22 Insurance Quote in California

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Insurance Navy™ is here to help drivers get an SR-22 certificate and the insurance coverage they need. We understand that things can happen to good people, so we know that having the appropriate team on your side to assist you in correcting any driving mistakes is critical. The easiest approach to address an SR-22 Insurance requirement is to contact us as soon as possible for a quote. A driver should always have coverage on their car to avoid any additional obstacles. Contact our customer service staff or visit any Insurance Navy™ location throughout California.

Also, you can get a free quote for SR-22 insurance coverage online right now and begin the process to get Insurance Navy™ coverage.

More about SR-22 Insurance from the California Department of Motor Vehicles

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