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Last updated: July 7, 2023

Guide to SR-22s in California

Insurance costs can rise by over 90 percent in California if you need an SR-22.

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If you live in California and your driver’s license or registration has been suspended, to reinstate it, you’ll be required to file an SR-22 with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). An SR-22 is proof that you have the state’s minimum liability insurance required.

Unfortunately, an SR-22 indicates that you’re a high-risk driver, so you’ll pay much higher insurance premiums for the exact same coverage. It will also be harder to find coverage in the first place. Here’s everything you need to know about getting car insurance with an SR-22 in California.

SR-22 Insurance in California

If you’re getting SR-22 insurance in California, expect to pay about 93 percent more than you would as a low-risk driver, although this increase ranges from 6 to 155 percent depending on the insurance provider. On average, SR-22 car insurance in California costs $1,304 annually. See below for specific companies’ averages.

Average annual cost of car insurance by company With clean driving history With SR-22 Percentage difference
AAA $455 $1,046 130%
Allstate $713 $1,676 135%
Bristol West $917 $1,019 11%
Farmers $741 $1,302 76%
GEICO $369 $931 152%
Grange Insurance Association $442 $645 46%
Infinity $612 $977 60%
Mercury $542 $905 67%
National General $687 $725 6%
State Farm $732 $1,870 155%
United Automobile Insurance Company (UAIC) $526 $1,126 114%

Your insurance provider will file an SR-22 for you and send it to the DMV once your license or registration is reinstated. Then the state will know you have the minimum amount of insurance it requires, so you’ll be able to drive legally again.

Non-Owner SR-22 Insurance

But what if you don’t own a car? Unfortunately, you’ll still have to prove you have the minimum car insurance in California. However, to save money, you should get non-owner insurance.

Non-owner car insurance is coverage for someone who drives another person’s vehicle. It includes only liability coverage, which is what the state requires, making it much cheaper than regular, full-coverage policies. On average, non-owner car insurance with an SR-22 in California costs $959.

California SR-22s

In California, an SR-22 is also known as a California Proof of Insurance Certificate — which is proof of financial responsibility.1 While it’s not insurance itself, it’s a certificate that says you have the state’s required coverage.

When You’ll Need One

You’ll need an SR-22 if your license or registration was suspended, which could have happened due to any of the following convictions.

  • Unpaid judgment for a car accident
  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Unreported accident that resulted in death, property damage of over $1,000, or bodily injury
  • Too many points on your driving record
  • Driving without insurance or being involved in an accident without insurance
  • Reckless driving
  • Not paying child support2

How to Get an SR-22

Here’s how to get an SR-22 filed, according to Los Angeles County’s Department of Consumer & Business Affairs.

  1. Ask your insurance company to file an SR-22 for you.
  2. Your agent will send the SR-22 to the DMV.
  3. You’ll pay a fee to the DMV via the following mailing address:
    • Office of the Director
    • Department of Motor Vehicles
    • 2415 1st Ave., Mail Station F101
    • Sacramento, CA 95818-2606
  4. Once the DMV receives your fee and the SR-22, it will reissue your license and reinstate your driving privileges.4


You’ll have to pay your insurance company about $25 to file your SR-22, although it can range from $15 to $40. This is a one-time fee, however, and is separate from the DMV charge.

How Long to Maintain

You’ll maintain your SR-22 for three years, typically. However, with more serious violations, such as reckless driving, you may need to uphold your SR-22 for 10 years.


In California, a reckless driving conviction can result in five to 90 days in county jail, a fine between $145 and $1,000, or both, along with a license or registration suspension.4

Does It Cover Any Car You Drive?

Car insurance follows the car, not the driver, so your SR-22 policy won’t cover any car you drive; just your own (unless, of course, it’s non-owner insurance).

How to Get Cheap Car Insurance With an SR-22

It’s hard to find cheap car insurance in California, even with a clean driving record, but finding it with an SR-22 is even harder. Here are our best money-saving tips.

  1. Choose a provider that caters to high-risk drivers: Look at companies that offer insurance for high-risk drivers specifically. You could pay less with a high-risk insurer than with a more general company like State Farm.
  2. Get pay-per-mile insurance: If you drive minimally, save money by using pay-per-mile insurance. You’ll pay a base rate and then a small per-mile fee for the miles you drive. That said, as of the most recent data available, California had the fifth-highest average commute time in the country in 2021 — 28 minutes. For 40 percent of the population, their commutes were 30 minutes or more. However, if you’re one of the 23 percent with a commute less than 15 minutes long or if you work from home, pay-per-mile insurance could save you money.5
  3. Buy minimum coverage: Getting liability coverage only will result in lower premiums, but keep in mind that it only applies to the injuries and property damages of people outside your car, not you or your passengers.
  4. Drive safely: To prevent your insurance rates from rising even higher, drive safely. You can even unlock more discounts if you use a usage-based program like Allstate Drivewise, which tracks your braking, phone use while driving, and other behaviors through the Drivewise mobile app and awards discounts for safe driving.
  5. Join the California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan (CAARP): If you’re unable to find insurance you can afford, you can use CAARP as a last resort. This is a state program that will connect you with a provider that will cover you despite your high-risk level.6 You can apply online, through the mail, via email, or over the phone.7

Minimum Required Coverage in California

California’s minimum insurance requirements are as follows.

  • Bodily injury per person: $15,000
  • Bodily injury per accident: $30,000
  • Property damage per accident: $5,000


Together, bodily injury and property damage coverage comprise liability coverage. However, to pay for your and your passengers’ injuries and property damages, you’ll need collision and comprehensive coverage, plus medical payments coverage.


Car insurance in California is expensive, especially with an SR-22. But with some careful research, you can likely find a provider you can afford, and if you can’t, there’s always the state program for high-risk drivers.

Just remember that although minimum coverage is the cheapest option, it could cost you more out of pocket if you cause an accident or have losses above the at-fault party’s limits. In this case, we recommend full coverage car insurance.


  1. INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS. State of California DMV. (2023).

  2. WHAT IS SR22 Insurance AND WHAT DOES IT COVER? MIS Insurance Services. (2022).

  3. Suspending a Driver License to Force Payment. Los Angeles County. Consumer & Business Affairs. (2023).

  4. ARTICLE 1. Driving Offenses [23100 – 23135]. California Legislative Information. (1959).

  5. S0801COMMUTING CHARACTERISTICS BY SEX. United States Census. (2021).$0400000

  6. California Automobile Assigned Risk Plan. AiPSA. (2023).

  7. Automobile Insurance Information Guide. California Department of Insurance. (2018, Feb).