It’s estimated that over 13,000 people die from alcohol-impaired driving deaths each year. This alarming statistic helps explain why many states like California are so strict against this type of crime.
Often your license will be suspended or revoked following a DUI or reckless driving conviction. The good news is that there are ways to get back on the road following a DUI.
One way is with an SR22 form. Now you’re likely asking yourself, Do I need an SR22 to reinstate my license in California? And how do you go about getting one of these forms?
In this guide, we’ll provide you with all the information you need to know about this important insurance concept.
What Is SR22?
One of the first things people usually ask is, What is an SR22? Because SR22 is often discussed in conjunction with insurance, many people mistake it for a specific type of insurance. The reality is that SR22 is just a form.
Your insurance company must file this document with California’s Department of Motor Vehicles to prove to them that your policy meets the minimum liability coverage that’s required by the state.
Most people often associate an SR22 with a DUI conviction. However,, there are many other reasons why the state of California might require you to get an SR22. Some of the common ones include things like:
- Getting caught driving without an insurance policy
- Not paying what a judge says you owe after an accident
- Reckless driving
- Failing to report an accident that results in over $1,000 worth of damages
- More than three traffic violations on your driving record
- Drunk driving when you’re under the age of twenty-one
For a full list of reasons why your driver’s license might be suspended in the state of California, you can consult the California driving laws here.
Any of these convictions will result in the state labeling you as a high-risk driver. That means that you’re required to have an insurance policy that meets the minimum insurance requirements.
Do I Need an SR22 to Reinstate My License in California?
If your license has been suspended/revoked, you will need an SR22 form to reinstate your license in the state of California. What’s more, it’s also necessary if you’re driving with an IID (aka an ignition interlock device).
Since the state of California considers you a high-risk driver, SR22 is needed to prove that you meet the requirements for liability insurance.
What Are the Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements in California?
The requirements for minimum liability insurance in California come from the California Insurance Code§11580.1b. As the state’s DMV notes, your policy must contain:
- At least $5,000 for any potential damage to property
- At least $15,000 for the potential injury or death of one person
- At least $30,000 for the potential injury or death of more than one person
If the event that you’re in an accident would go to the people involved in the accident (not the policyholder).
Is It Illegal to Drive With a Suspended License?
Yes, it’s illegal to drive with a suspended license. If you’re caught by an officer, then they’ll arrest you and take you to jail.
If it’s your first conviction for driving with a suspended license, then you’ll be hit with a misdemeanor charge. However, if it happens multiple times it can quickly turn into a felony charge.
How Do You Get an SR22 in California?
Getting an SR22 in the state of California is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is find an insurance company that offers SR22 form filings. In many cases, your current insurance company likely offers it.
However, you will need to check to make sure. Inform your company that you require an SR22 endorsement. Then, they’ll add it to your existing policy and file it with the California state DMV.
If your current insurer doesn’t provide SR22 services, you will need to find one that does. We recommend going with a provider that instantly files your form with the DMV, like us here at MIS Insurance Services.
That way, you can get on the road immediately without worrying about whether or not they filed it.
How Much Does an SR22 Cost?
Many people often make the mistake of thinking that an SR22 will cost them a lot of money. However, the reality is that filing an SR22 form will usually only cost around $30.
That being said, the policies associated with SR22 minimum liability coverage can get quite expensive. Because you’re more likely to get in an accident, your insurance provider will likely charge more than a normal type of policy.
The specific amount will depend on which type of insurer provider you go with. So make sure you look for one that offers affordable types of rates for these drivers.
What Happens If You Move While You Have an SR22?
Your SR22 policy that you currently have is only valid in the state of California. That means that if you move, you will need to get a different SR22 form attached to your insurance in that specific state.
That being said, the laws surrounding SR22 forms are different in each state. For example, if you’re moving to places like Kentucky or Delaware, then you don’t need them.
However, you will still need a policy that contains liability coverage equal to or greater than your California policy. If you are moving to a new state that requires SR22 documents, make sure you set it up before you cancel your California policy.
That way, you don’t experience a lapse in coverage which can result in another license suspension.
What Is Non-Owner SR22 Insurance?
In most cases, your SR22 insurance will apply to the vehicle that you own. However, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes you might drive a family member’s car.
Or, you might drive a company-owned vehicle. In these cases, you will be required to get non-owner SR22 insurance. This type of policy will provide the same amount of liability coverage for a vehicle that you don’t own but the driver.
However, it’s important to note that non-owner SR22 insurance is a specialized type of policy. As such, you will likely need to search for an insurance company that offers it.
The good news is that non-owner SR22 insurance policies are usually a lot cheaper than regular ones. Why? Because the insurance provider typically assumes that you aren’t driving the vehicle as much as you would with a regular policy.
Just keep in mind that the only coverage you get with this policy goes toward liability. So if someone crashes a car into you, then the insurance coverage would not cover repairs on the vehicle.
How Long Do You Need to Have an SR22?
The specific length of time that you’ll be required to have an SR22 on your record will depend on your specific conviction. However, for the most part in California, you’ll need it for between three to five years.
The judge will let you know how long you need to have an SR22. It’s important to note that you will require uninterrupted coverage to get your SR22 removed.
The good news is that you don’t need to refile your SR22 form each year. This is true as long as you don’t cancel your insurance policy, or your insurance company doesn’t drop you.
So if you do cancel your policy, make sure to get a new one right away. That way, you don’t get your California license suspended again.
How to Find the Best SR22 Insurance in California
There are certain things you should look for in an insurance company that provides SR22 endorsements with their insurance policies. First, SR22 and other insurance concepts can get confusing.
As such, you want a provider that provides educational resources for understanding the different terms you’re likely to encounter. Next, you want to avoid insurance agents that only work with one type of provider.
These captive agents will only be able to provide you with one type of quote. And usually, it will be an expensive one. However, if you go with an agent that works for multiple insurers, then they can give you a more diverse range of options and discounts.
As such, you’ll likely end up paying less for your policy. Lastly, make sure that your SR22 insurance company doesn’t hit you with any hidden fees. Everything, from the SR22 filing costs to the terms of your policy, should be disclosed to you in an upfront manner.
Ready for SR22 Insurance? Contact MIS Insurance Services
We hope this guide helped you answer the question, Do I need an SR22 to reinstate my license? As you can see, an SR22 is necessary for getting your license back following a reckless driving conviction.
The good news is that there are a variety of companies out there to help you. Here at MIS Insurance Services, we know that every driver has different insurance needs.
That’s why we work with a variety of highly-rated carriers. Make sure to contact us today to find out how we can help you with your SR22 insurance needs.