Five Facts To Clear Things Up and Get You Driving Again
Coming back from a suspended license? An SR22 form puts you back on the road.
If you’re coming back from a suspended drivers license, chances are you’ve heard about the SR-22 form required by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to show proof of insurance and get your driver’s license back. Yet between the dry language found on the California DMV web site and the often confusing online advice from insurance companies eager for your business, it’s hard to get simple answers about the SR-22, which is sometimes called the California Insurance Proof Certificate and/or Certificate of Financial Responsibility. Whatever you decide to call it, the SR-22 doesn’t need to be all that complicated or confusing – here are five facts to to help you make smart decisions and get yourself driving again while navigating the DMV dance.
1) The SR22 is proof of insurance designed to help you reinstate your driver’s license.
If you’ve had your license suspended for a serious traffic-related offense such as a DUI or an uninsured car accident, the DMV requires that you file an SR22 form (provided by an insurance agency) to prove that you have car insurance meeting your state’s minimum coverage requirements. This law protects Californians by guaranteeing that high-risk drivers are carrying the minimum car insurance, because in addition to requiring that the form is filed before they’ll re-issue your license, the insurance company must inform the DMV if your insurance has lapsed and the SR-22 form is cancelled.
2) The SR-22 is not a more expensive form of insurance, but is certification of insurance needed by drivers who may be classified as higher risk, which could mean higher insurance premiums.
It’s a common misconception that SR22 is insurance itself, but it is actually simply verification of insurance. The reason it can be associated with higher cost insurance is that typically, a driver who has had their license suspended for whatever reason, and who needs the SR-22 form to help them re-instate that license, will be a higher risk driver with higher premiums that they may have paid before their license was suspended. Some insurance companies would rather not insure someone who requires an SR-22 form, while other companies and/or agencies specialize in helping “high-risk” drivers. That is why someone coming back from a suspended license often needs to shop with a variety of insurance firms to assure they are getting proper coverage.
3) If you’ve had your license suspended for a DUI, reckless driving, too many traffic violations or an uninsured accident, you’ll need an SR22 to get your license back.
Anyone who has had their license suspended needs an SR22 to reinstate their license. These suspensions can result from a number of situations where people either broke the law or didn’t take care of business – drunk driving violations; too many minor traffic violations in a given year; unpaid parking or moving violations, an uninsured accident and/or not complying with other DMV laws and regulations.
4) An SR-22 is not expensive and its not forever.
The cost of filing an SR-22 form is not high, typically around $25. Again, the reason it can be associated with higher costs is that it is proof of insurance for a driver who is reinstating a suspended driver’s license, so may be paying higher insurance premiums than previously. And the the SR-22 is not forever. Depending upon the reason your license was suspended, you may need to have an SR-22 form on file with the DMV for anywhere from three to five years. If you’d like to check out a sample sr22 certificate, then check out our Anatomy of an SR22 Insurance Filing post.
5) There are just a few simple steps to filing an SR-22 form.
If you’re looking to get your driver’s license back and in need of an SR22 filing, here are the simple steps you need to take. Learn how we can help you with your SR22 insurance.
Step 1 – Assess your new car insurance needs.
It’s always good to start with someone whom you have an existing business relationship with. Contact your former car insurance company to understand how your recent suspended driver’s license will impact your insurance premiums. Will the car company continue to insure you? How will this impact your rate? If you work with an independent agent and the previous company under this agent won’t insure you, the agent may be able to help you shop for a competitive rate from another company who will provide the SR-22 service. If you didn’t have a particularly strong existing relationship with a company or agent, talk to your friends or family for recommendations, or leverage the internet for research on reputable companies.
Step 2 – Obtain an SR-22 form from your insurance company of choice.
Once you’ve decided on an insurance company to provide the needed coverage, the insurance company and/or agent will provide the SR-22 form.
Step 3 – Bring the SR-22 form to the DMV.
While your insurance agency will provide you with the necessary SR-22 file, you will need to bring that file to the DMV in order for them to verify your insurance and reinstate your driver’s license.
Admittedly, no one is ready to credit an SR-22 with putting more fun into the car insurance experience, but as a critical component in reinstating a person’s license and keeping drivers financially responsible, it deserves to be understood. Have more questions, be sure to check out our SR22 FAQs page.
Patrick McKenna, founder and owner of McKenna Insurance Services, has spent 24 years in the insurance industry, both as a claims adjuster for Mercury Insurance Group and as an insurance agent in Bonita, California. Born into a family of insurance agents in the San Diego area, Patrick has deep knowledge of personal insurance services and is passionate about helping people better understand the industry landscape to make the best possible decisions.