Filing for SR22 insurance in California - what you need to know
SR-22 in California

Filing for SR-22 insurance in California

We value our editorial independence, basing our comparison results, content and reviews on objective analysis without bias. But we may receive compensation when you click links on our site. Learn more about how we make money.

If you’ve gotten in trouble behind the wheel in California, you could be ordered by the court to file for an SR-22.

While commonly referred to as SR-22 insurance, an SR-22 isn’t insurance at all. It’s a document your insurance company files with the state to prove you’re covered by the minimum car insurance required to legally drive.

Here’s a look at how you can get and maintain an SR-22 in the Golden State.

Find the cheapest rates

Compare the best car insurance companies near you.

Your information is secure.

Compare car insurance providers

Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection
Liberty Mutual
Included free
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
Car insurance through Liberty Mutual will give coverage options for almost any situation.
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
Esurance offers a modern online and mobile experience that helps you take your insurance on the go.
Included free
Yes, cars under 2 years old
Enjoy having your own dedicated agent to help you get the best discounts and coverage.

Compare up to 4 providers

Do I need SR-22 insurance in California?

Your state DMV will let you know if you need to file an SR-22. In California, you may need to file for an SR-22 if:

  • The state restricts or revokes your license.
  • You’re convicted of a DUI or DWI.
  • You’ve racked up a lot of points or unpaid tickets on your driving record.
  • You’re responsible for an accident and fail to pay for damages.
  • You don’t pay your court-mandated child support.

What if I don’t have a car or license?

You’ll still need to file for an SR-22 to legally get behind the wheel in California. If you lose your license because you’re caught driving without insurance, the court could order you to carry non-owner insurance to reinstate your license.

California can require one of three types of SR-22 forms:

  • Operator’s Policy Certificate. For drivers that don’t own a vehicle.
  • Owner’s Policy Certificate. For drivers who intend to drive their own cars.
  • Broad Policy Certificate. Coverage for all cars you might drive, whether you own them or not.

What if I’m from another state?

If you have an SR-22 from another state, you must maintain it while driving in California. Your SR-22 is likely sufficient in California, but it’s best to verify coverage with the DMV and your insurer.

How much does an SR-22 cost in California?

Once you’ve purchased or renewed a policy, most providers will file an SR-22 for a fee of $20 to $50. But it’s not the fee that’s most expensive when you’re required to file for an SR-22 — you’ll also typically see higher premiums than you’re used to.

SR-22s are often required after a driving conviction, such as driving without insurance or a DUI. After such a conviction, you’re considered a “high-risk” driver by the state and most providers.

Talk to your provider about how much you can expect your rates to increase. And make sure you understand your role in maintaining your insurance and your SR-22. A lapse or nonrenewal could set you back a lot of money and time.

You might also need to pay up front for your policy. Providers might expect you to pay the annual premium up front to protect them from future risks of nonpayment.
SR-22 in California pic 2

Find the cheapest rates

Compare the best car insurance companies near you.

Your information is secure.

How do I file an SR-22 in California?

If you’re unable to drive because the state’s suspended or revoked your license, a California court could order you to file for an SR-22 through the DMV.

If you’re already insured, call your provider to make sure that your policy includes at least:

  • $15,000 for injury or death to one person.
  • $30,000 for injury or death to more than one person.
  • $5,000 for damage to property.

You could see this coverage listed as 15/30/5 in insurance documents.

If you don’t currently carry an insurance policy, find an insurance company that’s licensed in California and willing to file an SR-22 on your behalf.

You won’t be able to legally drive in the state until your SR-22 is filed and processed.

Find out how to get an SR-22 with top car insurance providers

How long will I need an SR-22?

In California, most court-ordered SR-22s result in a coverage requirement of up to three years. However, more serious convictions can result in carrying SR-22 insurance for up to 10 years.

What happens if I let my SR-22 lapse?

If you don’t buy or renew your car insurance, your provider will file an SR-26 with the California DMV, resulting in the suspension of your license until you file for an SR-22. If you want to cancel your policy and find a new provider, you have 45 days to submit proof of coverage to the DMV.

If you allow your coverage to lapse, you’ll reset the clock on your SR-22 coverage. Say you’re required to file for an SR-22 for three years and you forget to renew your policy after two years. In this case, you effectively reset the clock back to a three-year requirement. Don’t allow negligence to negate the money and time you’ve put into your responsibility.

What happens when I don’t need SR-22 coverage anymore?

Once you no longer need an SR-22, or if the SR-22 period expires, your auto insurance company files a SR-26 form to end the coverage. Your insurer can do this automatically with an electronic form to the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA).

The impact of an SR-22 on future car insurance rates

After driving without insurance or a DUI and getting an SR-22 , you’re considered a high-risk driver by the state and most providers. Once labeled high-risk, you’ll likely pay more than low risk drivers until you can prove you’re a safer driver.

Bottom line

You may be required to take out one of three types of SR-22 insurance in California if you’ve faced a DUI or other serious driving convictions. Making insurance payments on time and meeting filing deadlines can help you avoid resetting the clock on your mandate.

Though you may still be considered a high-risk driver for some time after the SR-22 mandate ends, it’s possible to find insurance. Be sure to compare providers to find the one that best suits you.

Helpful DMV resources

Find the cheapest rates

Compare the best car insurance companies near you.

Your information is secure.

Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our and .

2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    karlaJuly 11, 2018

    do i need to refile an sr22 each year to the dmv or if Im set up for automatic payments with my insurance will they immediately deduct it

    • finder Customer Care
      JoshuaJuly 18, 2018Staff

      Hi Karla,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      In California, most court-ordered SR-22s result in a coverage requirement of up to three years. If you need SR-22 for more than a year, then you must renew it before it expires. Insurers may give you an option for automatic payments. Please discuss your option with them to know more.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!


Go to site