California SR22 Insurance Filings & Quotes
Anyone who is a licensed driver and lives in the state of California must prove financial responsibility, i.e. have auto insurance to be able to drive any motorized vehicle within the state. Most drivers simply buy an auto insurance policy and carry a proof of insurance card inside their vehicle in case they are stopped by an officer or involved in an accident.
Certain drivers, however, must provide proof to the state of California that they have an auto insurance policy with an SR-22 rider and are maintaining said policy as proof of their financial responsibility so as to keep their driving privileges and the policy has to be kept current in order to prevent a driver’s license suspension.
What is California SR22 Insurance?
An SR22 is in reality a certificate or policy rider to your standard auto insurance policy, indicating evidence of financial responsibility to the California DMV. This SR-22 certificate is issued through an insurance agent when one is requested by the state, typically for all those drivers who’ve been convicted of certain driving related offenses.
Your insurance company must submit this certificate to the state DMV on your behalf, also it has to be kept current for the state mandated period, which according to the California Department of Motor is 3 years.
Reasons for needing an SR22 Certificate in California
Those who have been convicted of a vehicle-related crime are generally those that will be expected to carry SR22 insurance. These crimes include, but aren’t limited by:
- Driving drunk
- Reckless driving
- Driving without insurance or while under-insured
- Driving with a suspended license
- Accumulating excessive points against your driver’s license
Obtain the required coverage
If you are notified by the state of California DMV that you must submit an SR22 certificate, you need to first talk to your current insurance professional to see if your insurance provider will be able to issue the required SR-22 form to the DMV. Not every insurance provider is willing to do an SR22 filing, it comes down to a risk certain insurance companies are not willing to take.
Even if your current insurer will issue and file the SR22 form with the DMV, it will most likely result in a increase in your insurance premiums, as you are now considered a high-risk driver, somewhere between 2-3 times as much per year.
Because insurance agencies rate the factors that determine your premiums differently, it is a wise decision to get quotes from the 3 different companies. You will have to do this as quickly as possible, because you will have a deadline for getting the SR22 form filed with the California DMV
Failure to acquire or maintain your California SR22
According to the California DMV, failure of an individual required to have an SR22 filing for the state required three year period will result in the automatic suspension of the driver’s license.
You won’t be allowed to renew your license when it expires while suspended. If you are caught driving with a suspended license you’ll be subject to immediate arrest and potential criminal charges.
Relocating to Another State with Your Current Auto Insurance Policy
Relocating to another state is not going to relieve you from the need to carry an SR22 certificate with the DMV. Your new state may or may not require you to file, but California will still require that you continuously provide proof that you’re carrying no less than the California auto insurance minimum coverage needed by law, which is:
- $15,000 bodily injury per person per incident
- $30,000 bodily injury for all injured per incident
- $5,000 property damage per incident
The same holds true should you move from another state into California while under an SR22 filing requirement. You might not have to apply for a completely new SR22 certificate, but you’ll need to ensure that you will be maintaining the minimum insurance coverage needed by your old state and you also are filing the necessary paperwork with that state.
Being classified as a high-risk driver carries significant financial penalties, and failure to conform to those rules can result in the loss of driving privileges and even incarceration. It is crucial that you obtain an SR22 filing as soon as possible after receiving notification and that you continuously keeps your policy through the required time frame. Once that requirement has expired, you’ll be able to go back to normal insurance policy coverage at much lower premiums.