Are you an uninsured driver in California in trouble after getting involved in a car wreck or get flagged for a DUI? It is required of you to prove to the law that you possess car insurance with the SR-22 form.
While it is commonly referred to as SR-22 insurance, it is essential to note that it isn't an insurance policy. It merely stands as a guarantee from your insurer that you have the necessary coverage. In California, drivers can lose their license if they do not possess an SR-22 form after committing a violation.
In this article, we will explore all the essential surrounding SR-22 insurance policy in the great state of California.
Drivers may be required to purchase an SR-22 policy to reinstate driving privileges withheld due to committing a vehicular offense. This policy from your insurer notifies the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) that you own the minimum required liability insurance available for drivers in California.
This process is augmented by filing a financial responsibility certificate with the DMV. In cases where you need but cannot get SR-22 insurance, your car registration will likely be suspended and your driver's license revoked.
The most common reasons why drivers in California need an SR-22 policy are:
It is common knowledge that SR-22 insurance is quite expensive compared to the standard auto insurance rates, and this is due to the infringement that required you to file for SR-22 insurance in the first place. In California, the typical cost of SR-22 insurance stands at $1,723 and can triple after a DUI offense.
Regardless of whether your Auto insurance company files an SR-22 on your behalf or not, a straightforward way to ensure you get the most cost-friendly SR-22 coverage is to compare quotes from multiple car insurers.
The majority of the auto insurers in California (GEICO, Allstate, and co) provide SR-22 forms. Their methods for calculating rates are different, however. Generally, these auto insurance companies evaluate your driving history before deciding to offer discounts.
You must compare at least three reliable quotes before settling on the one that benefits you the most. A good example is Los Angeles, where Progressive offers better rates than their competitors, even with a DUI on your record. However, in places like San Diego, GEICO provides the best rate for drivers with multiple misdemeanors on their record.
The rate can be determined by various factors, including vehicle type, location, driver's age, and driving history.
California law forbids auto insurance companies from increasing your rates or scrapping your auto insurance during the policy's duration. Note that insurers can refuse to renew your policy when your term expires due to your conduct during the previous term.
Insurance companies are also prohibited by law from offering low-rate discounts to drivers with a DUI conviction spanning ten years on their record.
Reinstating your license in California costs $125, and the majority of the insurance companies charge between $25 to $40 to file an SR-22 certificate. If you have previously been a good driver discount recipient, you will not be eligible for a second time, which will automatically cause your rates to rise when you get a DUI conviction.
Drivers with no prior history of a DUI conviction who pay the standard rates may be eligible for a 20% discount. Once you have a conviction on your record, the discount will be withdrawn, and you will be back to paying the standard rate.
In California, there as re alternatives to purchasing the SR-22 insurance. You can either post a $35,000 cash deposit with the DMV or obtain a security bond to show proof of financial responsibility. These alternatives are rarely exercised due to their high upfront cost.
Are You Already Insured?
Drivers with an existing insurance policy generally find it easier to file for an SR-22 policy. Call your insurer, and request that they file an SR-22 with the DMV. If your insurance company declines this request, we suggest you immediately find a new insurer.
Are You Currently Uninsured?
Drivers that don't own insurance can expect to be billed higher than the average rate when filing for SR-22 due to a high-risk driving profile. While some insurers are willing to sell you a policy regardless of your record, applying for an SR-22 may disqualify you from certain insurers. Ask about short term car insurance California options if this is a temporary need.
For Non-Owner Drivers Drivers without a personal vehicle might find it harder to purchase an SR-22 since proof of insurance is required to own a certificate. In such cases, your best bet is to purchase a non-owners insurance policy before trying to obtain the SR-22 certificate.
Non-owners car insurance policy is significantly less costly than the average car insurance policy as it doesn’t offer coverage for physical damage that affects your car.
The duration depends on the type of conviction. Usually, the court sets a stipulated amount of time for which you're expected to maintain SR-22 insurance. California's average duration is three years, but significant violations can require you to own the policy for up to 10 years.
It would be best if you didn't suffer any lapses in time during the duration stipulated for your coverage. Lapses will lead to a suspension of your driving privileges. If this happens, your insurer is required to file an SR-26 form to inform the DMV of the time-lapse.
If you relocate from California during the stipulated filing period, you ate required to seek out an insurer with authority to conduct business in both states and is willing to file the form on your behalf.
Also, note that moving to a state with lower liability insurance regulations do not exempt you from buying insurance that fulfills California minimum limits.
For motorists that drive a vehicle with less than four wheels, such as a tricycle in California, you may need to get the equivalent of an SR-22. The SR1P form is required if you have a suspended license, prior driving convictions, or have been found guilty of driving without insurance.