SR-22 California from Start to Finish
If you are told that you need to have a California SR-22 filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles, you are being asked to get car insurance and to get the company with whom you have car insurance to file your policy with the DMV. This is likely because you have been recently had a DUI accident, had your driver’s license suspended for too many tickets, or you have failed to provide proof of insurance along with some other violation. The following information will help you uncover what you should do if you know you are required to have CA SR-22 insurance.
Contact your Car Insurance Provider
SR-22 quotes can be obtained through your current insurance provider. If you do not have one, don’t worry, many major and minor auto insurance companies offer an SR 22 quote. It is unfortunate, but discussing your need for an SR-22 will inform the company that something major has occurred with your driving record; however, contacting an insurance company for a quote is a needed first step if you want to know the costs. You can likely expect your car insurance rate to increase as you will be considered a “high risk” driver. There is a chance that your company may refuse to offer you insurance coverage. In those cases, you will need to continue shopping around for SR22 quotes from other companies.
Pay the Fees Involved with the California SR-22 Filing
While the costs can vary from insurance company to insurance company, you can expect to spend upwards to $800 for an SR22 insurance policy in total. The average SR22 driver will see about a 30% increase in their insurance costs, especially if that driver was convicted of a DUI. Your driving record and other personal factors play a role in determining this cost. Some insurance providers also charge a filing fee that can range between $25 & $50. Once they have filed the SR-22 form with the DMV, you will be notified that your driver’s license has been reinstated provided that you don’t have other restrictions charged against by the DMV that you must also attend to getting resolved. Until the SR-22 form is filed, received, and acknowledged by the DMV, you are not permitted to operate a motor vehicle in California.
Keep your SR-22 policy current with the DMV
Once your car insurance policy is filed with the DMV, they can track your insurance coverage at any time from the information provided to them by your car insurance company when they file your SR22 insurance in California. You need to keep your California SR-22 insurance active for 3 years if ordered to have an SR-22 filed by your car insurance company. If you drop, cancel, or miss payments for your car insurance at any time during those 3 years, you can have your driver’s license suspended. If you get pulled over without your insurance you can face much stiffer penalties. If your driving record and/or the offense you were pulled over for are serious enough, you could spend some time in jail or have your license revoked.
Get a new SR-22 insurance if you move
Only a few states do not mandate that you file an SR 22, but the states that do differ in their requirements. Thus, you can anticipate that your CA SR-22 insurance will only be valid in this state. If you relocate to a different state, you will need to obtain an SR-22 (or the equivalent) in your new state. Be sure to get your new policy in place before you cancel your SR22 insurance in California so you can avoid there being any lapses to cause you further issue.
What if I don’t Own a Car
If you do not own a car, then instead of getting a normal SR22 insurance policy, you will instead be required to file a non owner SR22 car insurance. Non owner insurance is not only for SR22s, but is also often used for business people who regularly drive a company car, or others who don’t own a car and drive cars of people who don’t have insurance.
Your non owner SR22 policy will be more pricey than a similar owner-operator policy, but you will have to file fewer claims so long as you’re driving cars which are already insured. In an accident, the car’s insurance kicks in first, and yours second. If you buy your own car, then you will have to drop your non-owner SR22 policy and exchange it for an owner-operator policy.