California drivers who are convicted of high-risk traffic violations, like a DUI or reckless driving, must have an SR-22 form filed by their insurance company confirming that their car insurance meets California’s minimum requirements. SR-22 insurance policies are the same insurance product as standard car insurance policies, but committing a driving violation will make the insurance premiums more expensive. MoneyGeek found that the cheapest California car insurance company for SR-22 insurance, Mercury, costs an average of $948 per year.
California SR-22 Insurance: What It Is and How Much It Costs
Which California Insurance Companies Offer the Cheapest SR-22 Insurance?
SR-22 insurance is more expensive than a typical policy, primarily because of the severity of the violation. While the SR-22 form itself typically costs only a small fee, associated offenses like a DUI can have a significant impact on your auto insurance rates. Minimum coverage SR-22 insurance in California costs about $1,857 per year on average when an SR-22 form was filed due to a DUI. In contrast, a similar California auto insurance policy without an SR-22 form costs an average of only $643.
If you’re looking for cheap SR-22 insurance in California, you have options. The least expensive SR-22 auto insurance company in California is Mercury, with an average cost of $948 per year for a minimum coverage policy. On the other end of the spectrum, drivers with an auto insurance policy from MetLife pay an average of $4,221 per year for SR-22 coverage.
Cheapest Companies for SR-22 Insurance in California
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These costs are for a policy meeting California’s minimum car insurance requirements or a full-coverage policy covering $100,000 in bodily injury liability costs per person, $300,000 for injuries per accident and $100,000 in property damage costs. Average insurance costs can vary widely between different providers. If you have an SR-22 filing in California and want the lowest rates, it’s best to compare at least three different car insurance companies to ensure you get the best possible deal.
SR-22 insurance comes with a filling cost, usually a one-time fee of around $25.
You’ll no longer be eligible for any good driver discounts, making SR-22 insurance even more expensive.
Prices may vary depending on the severity of your violation, with serious offenses like a hit-and-run collision incurring even steeper rates.
What Is SR-22 Insurance in California? Who Needs It? How Do You Get It?
While often referred to as “SR-22 insurance,” SR-22 is not a type of insurance policy. Instead, this is a form filed by your insurer showing you meet your state’s minimum liability coverage requirements. Drivers who commit a serious traffic violation, such as a DUI or reckless driving, are usually required to file an SR-22 form, and insurance after a DUI can be very expensive. California requires auto insurance companies to file SR-22 forms electronically for you, but you should be sure to check with your specific provider about their policies.
Drivers who file an SR-22 need to prove they meet California’s minimum car insurance requirements. These requirements include:
- $15,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person
- $30,000 bodily injury liability coverage per accident
- $5,000 property damage liability coverage per accident
Who Needs SR-22 Insurance in California? And for How Long Do They Need It?
Violations that result in an SR-22 insurance requirement differ from state to state. In California and elsewhere, you will almost certainly need to file for SR-22 coverage if you commit one of the following severe violations:
- Reckless driving
- Driving without insurance coverage
- Driving with a suspended license
An SR-22 is not generally required for a minor violation. California drivers looking for insurance after a ticket or accident should shop around to find lower rates but won’t see the same high costs as those who need to obtain an SR-22.
How long you need SR-22 insurance in California depends on your conviction, but it is three years in most cases. If your license has been temporarily revoked due to a violation, the three-year period begins when your license is reinstated.
How Do You Get SR-22 Insurance in California?
Your insurance company will file an SR-22 form with the state upon your request. Because high-risk drivers are required to file SR-22 forms, an insurer may choose not to cover you. Even if you can secure insurance coverage, your rates will likely be much higher than they were before your driving violation. If you’re unable to find coverage from another insurer, you can opt for insurance through California’s Automobile Assigned Risk Plan.
Non-Owner SR-22 Insurance in California
Drivers in California with major traffic violations and a suspended license may have to file an SR-22 and purchase car insurance to get their license reinstated. This holds true even for those who don’t own a car.
Typical auto insurance can be costly for those who don’t own a car, which is why non-owner car insurance is the best option for these types of drivers. This allows them to show proof of liability insurance coverage to get their license reinstated and ensures their protection in the event of another accident. It’s also the best option for those who frequently borrow or rent cars.
The California state average for non-owner car insurance stands at $932 per year, but rates can vary across insurers. The state’s cheapest option is Farmers, with an average rate of $498 per year. USAA is the next most affordable non-owner car insurer, offering it at roughly $747 per year. Keep in mind, however, that their policies are only available for military families.
The Average Cost of Non-Owner SR-22 Car Insurance in California
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Non-owner car insurance rates were gathered based on a sample profile of a driver with a DUI seeking a policy in California with $100,000 in bodily injury liability per accident with a $50,000 limit per person along with $50,000 in property damage liability per accident.
FAQs About SR-22 Insurance in California
Drivers looking for SR-22 insurance in California often have questions about rates, the filing process and who to shop with. Here are the answers to some of these common questions.
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MoneyGeek analyzed car insurance premiums from 14 of the top insurance companies in California that were provided in partnership with Quadrant. Our analysis includes quotes from ZIP codes across California. Quotes were gathered for policies that meet the state’s minimum coverage requirements and for full-coverage policies with $100,000 in bodily injury liability insurance per person, $300,000 in bodily injury liability insurance per accident and $100,000 in property damage liability per accident. Rates are for the same driver with both a clean record and a DUI.
About the Author
- AIPSO. "California ARP." Accessed January 8, 2021.