SR-22 car insurance is a requirement in California for drivers with uninsured accidents or driving while intoxicated. These are among the most common reasons for a license suspension and SR-22. There can be other situations that will also require you to have SR-22 car insurance. Please read on to find out more.

sr22 car insuranceTop 8 Reasons for SR-22 Car Insurance

  1. Uninsured accident. If your involved in a accident while your insurance has cancelled or lapsed expect a license suspension and a SR-22 requirement.
  2. Driving Under the Influence (D.U.I. or D.W.I.) does not just mean alcohol it can be for prescription or over the counter drugs or cannabis use.
  3. Reckless Driving or Wet Reckless. Often a reckless driving is a plea down from a D.U.I. or the offender was under .08% blood alcohol.
  4. Refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test.
  5. Hit and Run accident.
  6. Failure to pay child support. If your are suspended by the court for failing to pay child support California D.M.V. can require you carry a SR-22 filing.
  7. Too many minor violations in the following time frame. 4 minors in 1 year, 6 minors in 2 years, 8 minors in 3 years
  8. No tolerance laws for minors with alcohol. There is no acceptable blood alcohol level for drivers under 21 years of age.

You can find more information about SR-22 requirements at the California D.M.V.

Getting Insurance After A D.U.I.

SR-22 insurance can be referred to as DUI insurance, as you will be required to file an SR-22 filing to reinstate your drivers license when convicted of a DUI in California. Though you don’t need to notify your insurer of a DUI charge, and it likely won’t impact your auto insurance, a DUI conviction will. Your insurer will either learn of the conviction when you ask them to file an SR-22 or when you try to renew your policy, as DUIs stay on your DMV record for 10 years, and insurers check this before reissuing coverage.

For ten years following a DUI, you will not be eligible for the good driver discount. This discount is 20% in California. After this period has expired, the DUI will be removed from your driving record and you will be eligible for the discount again. You may be able to get the conviction expunged from your record earlier, but so long as you stay with the same insurer, the company will know about the DUI and continue to use it when determining your SR-22 insurance rates. However, so long as there are no further incidents on your driving record, the DUI will have a decreasing impact on your car insurance premiums over the course of five to 10 years.

Will A SR-22 Help Me Obtain A Restricted Drivers License?

The short answer is yes. When convicted of a DUI, you are placed on probation. This means you must fulfill court-ordered obligations such as

  • Attending and successfully completing a California DUI school
  • Purchasing a Sr-22 car insurance policy and keeping the policy in force for 3 years
  • Pay all court cost and fines
  • Installing a interlock ignition device on your vehicle

What Is A SR-22?

A SR-22 is a Financial Responsibility Certificate issued by an insurance company to the California D.M.V. The SR-22 notifies D.M.V that the driver has purchased at least the minimum liability limits of

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

The SR-22 obligates the insurance company to notify D.M.V. if the policy lapses or cancels. When a cancellation occurs a SR-26 is sent informing D.M.V. that the policy has ended. If the 3 year SR-22 requirement has not been fulfilled D.M.V. will re suspend the drivers license until a new SR-22 is issued.

How To Obtain SR-22 Car Insurance.

If you are currently insured call your agent or insurance company and request they add the SR-22 Certificate to your existing policy. Be aware that this will raise a red flag with your carrier and your rates may increase or a non renewal may be issued. If the insurance company your with does not do SR-22 filings you will need to find new insurance. The best practice when shopping on the internet is to stay away from lead services by clicking on the about us tab to find out who you are dealing with. Lead services will sell your information to anyone willing to buy it. Creating an unending amount of spam and phone calls for weeks or months. A insurance broker who deals with these types of policies is a great place to start. You can get rates here from a broker that sells multiple SR-22 insurance companies. 

What Is The Cost Of California SR-22 Car Insurance?

There is no set price for this type of insurance. Each insurance company will use the following criteria to determine rates.

  • Age of the driver
  • Years licensed
  • Number and type of violations for last 3 years
  • The number of chargeable accidents and whether bodily injury liability was paid
  • Garaging address of vehicle
  • Usage of vehicle and miles driven
  • Type of vehicle and the coverage’s desired

Although the companies use similar criteria for quoting they have different underwriting to determine the insurance premium for each risk. This is why you will want to check rate’s with multiple companies to make sure you are receiving a fair price. For example some insurance companies will weight an accident as riskier than a D.U.I. to insure. All insurance companies have their own formulas to determine the premium cost against the risk and still make a profit.  There are alternatives to paying for SR-22 insurance, you can post a $35,000 cash deposit or security bond with the DMV, which also demonstrates proof of financial responsibility. These options are not used very often because they require a significant amount of money upfront.

What If I Do Not Own a Vehicle But Need SR-22 Car Insurance?

You can purchase a Named Non Owner Policy with a SR-22 certificate that will satisfy the California D.M.V. These type of policies have limitations and are not right for everyone. One of the main limitations is you will not be insured on any vehicle  you or a spouse own among others. The cost of these policies however are about half of what a owner operator policy would be. You can find out more information here about Named Non Owner policies and get a quote.

Do I need The SR-22  Insurance If I Move Out Of State?

Yes you will need to keep the SR-22 insurance even if you move. If you cancel the SR-22 policy California will suspend your drivers license again. Then when you go to get your license in your new state they will not issue you a license because your California license is suspended. So make sure to keep the California policy going until you purchase new insurance in the state you move to. When you purchase the new insurance advise the company that you need a California SR-22 Certificate added to the policy so you fulfill the 3 year SR-22 requirement.


About the author

Scott Elford has worked in the Property and Casualty Insurance Industry since 1988. In 1995 Scott started Pacific Sun Insurance Service as the industry changed thru the years Scott created to help people who had lost their driving privilege get it back with easy online sr22 insurance quotes and same day sr22 filings. With 34 years insurance experience and holding 7 different insurance licenses you can rest assured that Scott and the fine folks at Pacific Sun will take care of any sr22 needs you may have.

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