SR-22 Insurance in California: What is It? How Much Does it Cost?

SR-22 Insurance in California: What is It? How Much Does it Cost?

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California drivers who are convicted of certain violations, such as a DUI or reckless driving, may be required to purchase SR-22 insurance in order to get their driving privileges reinstated. In such cases, your insurer will submit an SR-22 form to the DMV to confirm that your insurance policy meets California's minimum liability requirements. If you don't own a car but intend to continue driving, you would have to purchase a non-owner SR-22 policy, which just provides liability insurance coverage.

Although filing fees are quite low, drivers who need SR-22 insurance will find that their rates are more expensive due to the DUI or other violation that led to the SR-22 requirement in the first place.

How much does SR-22 cost in California?

SR-22 insurance in California will cost more than what you previously paid for auto insurance, but this is mainly due to the violation that caused you to need an SR-22 filing. For example, the average cost of SR-22 rates in California is $1,592 — rates can nearly triple after a DUI.

Whether or not your current insurer will file an SR-22 for you, one of the simplest ways to make sure you're getting the most affordable SR-22 coverage is to compare quotes from multiple companies. Many major insurers in California, including Progressive and Geico, will file SR-22 forms. Since every insurer evaluates your driving history according to its own standards, we recommend comparing at least three quotes to ensure you're getting the best rates.

This graph ranks SR-22 insurance quotes for 30-year-olds across varying insurers.

Find Cheap SR-22 Auto Insurance Quotes

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For instance, if you receive a DUI in Los Angeles and need an SR-22, you may get better rates with Progressive. On the other hand, a driver in San Diego with multiple speeding violations may get a better SR-22 insurance quote from Geico. Rates are determined by a wide variety of factors, such as location, age, driving history and vehicle.

Company
Annual average premium
Annual average premium with SR-22 and DUI
Percent increase
Mercury$508$84165.55%
Geico$369$992168.83%
United$526$1,126114.07%
CSAA$438$1,505243.61%
Farmers$741$1,512104.05%
Interinsurance$471$1,621244.16%
Allstate$713$2,398236.33%
State Farm$732$2,741274.45%

Although California law prohibits companies from canceling your car insurance policy or increasing your rates in the middle of the policy term, that protection expires when the policy comes up for renewal. At that point, having an SR-22 requirement may lead to nonrenewal or higher rates.

California law also prohibits insurance companies from providing a good driver discount to anyone with a DUI conviction for 10 years following the violation. Even if your insurer renews your policy, the loss of the good driver discount may lead to a higher premium.

The cost of getting your license reinstated is about $125 in California, and most insurers charge a one-time SR-22 form filing fee of $25 to $50. In addition, if you were previously receiving a good driver discount, your discount will be removed and your rates would automatically increase following a DUI without taking into consideration any additional rate increases.

For example, a driver with no-DUI history paying $100 per month for car insurance may receive a 20% good driver discount and only pay $80 per month. After getting a DUI, the driver will be back to paying at least $100 per month, which is 25% more than the prior discount rate.

There are a few alternatives to paying for SR-22 insurance. For instance, you could post a $35,000 cash deposit or security bond with the DMV in order to demonstrate proof of financial responsibility. However, the high upfront cost of these options means they aren't used frequently.

What is SR-22 insurance in California?

In California, purchasing SR-22 insurance involves two steps: buying a car insurance policy that meets the state's liability insurance requirements and then having the insurer file an SR-22 form with the DMV on your behalf. An SR-22 form is often required if you have a record of high-risk driving violations and your license has been suspended.

SR-22 insurance demonstrates proof of financial responsibility, as the insurer files it directly with the DMV, and it discloses that your car insurance liability limits include at least:

  • $15,000 of bodily injury coverage per person injured in an accident
  • $30,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident
  • $5,000 of property damage coverage per accident

To get your driving privileges reinstated or to obtain a restricted license, you'll need to buy SR-22 insurance and pay any necessary fines. Once the California DMV has received your SR-22 form from the insurer, you'll receive a copy and confirmation, which you should keep in your vehicle in case you're pulled over. Note that the SR-22 insurance policy needs to list all cars you own or regularly drive.

How long do you need to have an SR-22?

The length of time you'll need to maintain SR-22 insurance in California depends on your conviction, which should state how long you're expected to maintain the SR-22 filing. Most violations only require three years, but more serious infractions such as reckless driving can land you a 10-year requirement.

Maintaining continuous coverage is important. Any lapses in your SR-22 car insurance will cause your driving privileges to be suspended again, as your insurer would file an SR-26 form with the DMV notifying them of the lapse.

If you move out of California during your mandatory filing period, you'll need to locate an insurer that does business in both states and is willing to file the form for you in the state. In addition, even if the state you've moved to has lower liability insurance requirements, you'll need to purchase auto insurance that meets California's minimum limits.

Car insurance after a DUI in California

SR-22 insurance is often referred to as DUI insurance, as you'll likely be required to file an SR-22 in order to reinstate your driving privileges if 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.

During the 10 years following a DUI, you won't be eligible for a good driver discount 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 removed 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.

Difference between the SR1P and SR-22 in California

If you drive a vehicle with fewer than four wheels, such as a motorcycle or moped, you may need to file an SR1P form in California, instead of an SR-22 and proof of liability insurance. SR1Ps are usually required if you've had your license suspended after driving without insurance or after being convicted of risky driving behavior.

Non-owner SR-22 insurance in California

If you're convicted of a DUI or other violation and have your license suspended, you will need to maintain liability insurance and file an SR-22 form for the stated amount of time in order to reinstate your driving privileges. Even if you don't own a vehicle, this requirement is in place. The only other option is to give up your right to drive and, even then, you'll need to file an SR-22 in California if you want to begin driving later.

In California, there are three forms of financial responsibility: an owner's policy certificate, a broad coverage policy certificate and an operator's policy certificate, also called a non-owner SR-22 policy. A non-owner SR-22 policy typically isn't available if there's a car you consistently drive but don't own, such as a parent's or roommate's vehicle. But it provides coverage if you occasionally drive other people's cars with their permission.

For those that don't own a car, non-owner SR-22 insurance is a policy that provides the state-required liability insurance but is tied to you as the driver, no matter which vehicle you use.

One of the benefits of non-owner SR-22 insurance is that quotes are typically cheaper than for an owner's policy, since you'll only receive liability coverage and the insurer assumes you drive less frequently. Since your insurance rates will already be higher after the moving or traffic violation that caused you to need the California SR-22, non-owner insurance is a simple way to reduce your costs but maintain your license if you don't regularly drive.

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