What is an SR22 and when does it need to be filed in California?

There are many penalties involved with being in an accident if you are uninsured or are pulled over and found not the have insurance. The same penalties apply to those that are convicted of DUI as well as going over the state limit of points for violations. Any one of these situation can lead to your driver’s license being suspended in the state of California, which then requires you to file an SR22. If you lose your license for a traffic-related violation such as driving under the influence or not having insurance and being involved in an accident, you must file an SR22 proof of insurance form with the California Department of Motor Vehicles. In order to reinstate your license after a suspension, this must be filed first before you can get your driver’s license back. You are also required to carry special insurance related to the SR22, even if you already have a regular insurance policy. SR22 insurance is proof of financial responsibility insurance that must be maintained over and above any insurance policy you may already have in place. In most cases, once your driver’s license is suspended, your regular insurance company will cancel you, requiring you to get insurance through a high-risk provider.

The SR22 form must remain on file with the DMV for three years, and you must keep the corresponding insurance policy for three years as well. If you alter, cancel or do anything for your insurance company to cancel you, you will not only get your license suspended for a longer period, and depending on the situation, you may be subject to criminal charges. If your insurance company simply cancels your policy, you are required to obtain another SR22 from a different company. There are three types of SR22 policies available depending on your personal situation. The first is a broad coverage policy, which not only covers the driver and the vehicle they own, but any other vehicle that the driver operates. The second type of policy is an owner’s policy. This type of SR22 only covers cars that are owned and operated by the insured. The last type of policy is an operator’s policy. This is for drivers that do not own a vehicle, but it covers any vehicle that the insured operates. You must maintain up to date information as long as you are required to have the policy as well. If you move, change your name, or change any other information you need to inform the DMV immediately. If you move out of the state of California, you also want to check into the rules regarding and SR22 for that state to make sure that you maintain legal driving privileges.

If you cannot or do not want to file an SR22 there are other alternatives available through the DMV. You have the option of depositing $35,000 in cash with the DMV to cover you in the event that you are in an accident that causes injury, death or property damage. You can also locate a company that writes surety bonds, and deposit $35,000 with them and file a copy of the bond with the DMV.

Driving without insurance or unsafe driving can become very costly. California requires everyone with a driver’s license to have mandatory liability insurance, and not following these laws can lead to large fines, and even suspension or permanent revocation of your driver’s license. If you do however, lose your license, maintaining an SR22 for the three years it is required can get you back on the road to being a safe driver.