California’s roads are among the most highly-traveled in the nation. Frequent road congestion and long commutes mean that California motorists spend a lot of time behind the wheel – far in excess of motorists in other states. California’s insurance regulations are complex and varied, and one of the specific requirements for certain motorists is that of the SR-22. In this guide, we’ll provide details on the SR-22 and what you need to know to operate your vehicle safely and with the appropriate insurance coverage in California.
What is an SR-22?
Short for Safety Responsibility, the SR-22 is a mandated California Insurance Proof Certificate that is filed to show proof of insurance. It is also known as a Certificate of Financial Responsibility.
Not all drivers need an SR-22 to operate vehicles legally. This specific provision of the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) code is only necessary after a major driving violation occurs, and is needed to reinstate one’s driver’s license in the state if it has been suspended. Driving violations that may necessitate an SR-22 include:
- Reckless driving.
- Being involved in an accident while not covered by insurance, no matter if you are at fault or not.
- Driving under the influence (DUI) conviction.
- Three or more points/three or more tickets on your driving record within one calendar year.
In certain circumstances, a motorist may be eligible for a restricted license, allowing him or her to drive to and from work, school, and specific destinations like traffic school. To get a restricted license, the license holder must obtain insurance and an SR-22 filed with the state DMV.
How Long Do I Need an SR-22?
If you have been involved in a major traffic violation, obtaining an SR-22 is a critical part of regaining your right to drive in California. In general, an SR-22 filing is required for up to three years unless specified by a court or by the California DMV. A motorist must maintain continuous coverage on the SR-22 filing for all three years if required. It is important to note that if the coverage lapses, such as if an insurance policy is canceled or you are involved in another major violation, you may lose your driving privileges. In order to maintain continuous coverage under the SR-22, it is a good idea to set up automatic insurance premium payments or to pay the full premium at the start of the policy term.
Who Else Can Get an SR-22?
Under current regulations, owning a car is not necessary to have an SR-22. Motorcycle owners involved in major traffic violations may also obtain an SR-22 filing; this is typically part of a motorcycle insurance policy for those who need the Certificate. If you do not currently own a vehicle, it is possible to purchase a non-owners insurance policy with an SR-22 filing to keep your driver’s license valid in the state of California.
The California DMV is a great source for more information on SR-22 filings and requirements. Contact them today for details.
Insurance firms throughout the state are able to help motorists with SR-22 insurance. Affordable policies include the SR-22 certificate, which is filed electronically with the California DMV. A physical copy is also provided to the motorist on the same day that the policy is applied for.
To learn more about SR-22s and insurance requirements or to get started on a quote, call your California insurance agency today. Insurance professionals can help you get the coverage you need and the requirements mandated by the state. Protect your driving privileges even if your license has been suspended with an SR-22 filing.