SR-22 in California: What You Need to Know

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  • What is it?
  • Who needs it?
  • How to get it
  • The cost?
  • Insurance implications
  • Cheap insurance
In California, an SR-22 form guarantees the DMV that you have the minimum coverage to drive following a serious wreck or DUI conviction.
It’s not an official insurance policy, but rather a guarantee that you meet DMV requirements to stay on the road if you’ve had your license suspended or revoked.
Filing an SR-22 sounds like a complicated process, but it doesn’t have to be. With your insurance provider and the help of car insurance comparison and broker app Jerry, you’ll be back on the road and driving safely in no time!
Read on to find out exactly how SR-22s work in the golden state.
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What is an SR-22 in California?

In California, an SR-22 is a certificate—often called a “California Insurance Proof Certificate”—that your insurer submits after you’ve had your license revoked to verify that you have the minimum insurance required to stay on the road. You’ll need it for 3 years following an incident.
SR-22s are usually filed after a significant traffic incident, such as:
  • A DUI
  • Major collision
  • Serious injury
  • Reckless driving
  • Getting into a wreck when you’re uninsured
  • Not reporting an accident that leads to more than $1,000 in bodily injury
At the very least, California requires that all drivers have liability insurance, which covers costs if you cause an accident or hurt someone else. You must guarantee coverage of up to $15,000 bodily injury liability per person, $30,000 bodily injury liability per accident, and $5,000 property damage liability per accident.
A wreck could easily cost well north of $5,000 though, so it’s usually a good idea to purchase additional coverage.
If your insurance company deems you too much a risk to drive, or if it’s simply too expensive, they may refuse to file an SR-22 for you.
Key Takeaway You’ll need an SR-22 for three years after having your license revoked or suspended in California.

Who needs it?

Drivers who have been convicted of fault in a significant accident and had their license revoked or suspended need to file an SR-22 to get back on the road.
There are a couple of other reasons that you might need an SR-22:
  • If you own the vehicle involved in the accident and don’t have insurance
  • If your car rolls away from its parking spot
In California, you will usually receive a court order to file an SR-22. If you don’t file one, your license will be suspended or revoked.

How to get it

Getting an SR-22 isn’t too complicated. California requires insurance companies to file SR-22s to the DMV directly, so all you have to do is inform your insurer that you need one. You’ll have to pay a small fee for the SR-22, plus any fines associated with the conviction, before you can get back on the road.
Be prepared—it might take a while. If the process is slow, wait it out and don’t get behind the wheel without insurance.
Note that some insurers won’t file an SR-22 if you’re deemed too big of a risk. In that case, you’ll have to wait for your policy to expire and then shop around for a new provider. A comparison shopping app and licensed broker like Jerry can help you find the best deal, even with a blemished driving record.

How much does it cost?

Filing an SR-22 with an insurance company alone won’t cost too much—usually about $25.
But there are other costs you’ll need to consider. Fines and fees associated with SR-22s can be as much as $300, depending on the specifics of the incident.
You should also expect a change in your insurance package. In California, you will certainly lose any good driver’s benefits you may have accrued. Expect a hefty impact on your insurance premiums, too.
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How an SR-22 impacts your insurance in California

After filing an SR-22, you will definitely pay higher insurance premiums than before. Exactly how much more you’ll pay depends on the severity of the incident. DUIs could see your insurance premiums hike significantly, while other accidents or reasons for suspension may not have as much of an impact.
You should also note that insurers might be less inclined to cover you in general. You won’t lose insurance altogether in the middle of a policy term, but when it comes time to renew, you may find it more difficult to get coverage.
Your best bet is to shop around using the Jerry app, which can find the best rates regardless of your driving history.
The good news is that if you drive without fault for three years, your SR-22 will be revoked and you can drive relatively normally again.

How to find cheap car insurance

SR-22s are a serious headache for your car insurance premiums, but they’re not a death sentence. You can still find a good insurance package at a price that suits you. To find the best deal, use Jerry.
As a licensed broker, Jerry does all the hard work of finding the cheapest quotes from the top insurance companies and finalizing your new car insurance. Jerry will even cancel your old policy for you.
And to ensure you always have the lowest rate, Jerry will send you new quotes every time your policy comes up for renewal—so you’re always getting the coverage you want at the best price. This level of service is why Jerry earned a 4.6/5 rating on the App Store and made it the top insurance app in the country.
“The app is so user friendly! With Jerry, I got to choose what I wanted, see multiple offers, and select the one that was best for me. You can also purchase home and renters insurance through the app. Agents are available over the phone, but being able to text was awesome! 10/10 would recommend.” —Satisfied Jerry customer
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