Cheap SR-22 Insurance in California (2024)

If you’re considered a high-risk driver in California, you might need an SR-22 insurance form. The form is inexpensive, but the fact that you need the form might increase your insurance costs.

Taylor Milam-Samuel
Taylor Milam-Samuel
  • 8+ years writing for major outlets, including MarketWatch and Business Insider

  • Master’s in Education

Taylor Mlam-Samuel is a personal finance writer and credentialed educator. When she’s not helping readers better save and spend money, she can be found teaching.

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Chris Schafer
Edited byChris Schafer
Chris Schafer
Chris SchaferSenior Editor
  • 15+ years in content creation

  • 7+ years in business and financial services content

Chris is a seasoned writer/editor with past experience across myriad industries, including insurance, SAS, finance, Medicare, logistics, marketing/advertising, and many more.

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Updated February 1, 2024 at 11:00 AM PST

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An SR-22 is a form that your insurance company must fill out for you if you qualify as a high-risk driver. This is usually due to a DUI or other incident. It’s not an insurance policy, but it can signify that your premium will be more expensive.

Quick Facts
  • The California Department of Motor Vehicles requires an SR-22 form as proof of insurance after convictions for reckless driving and driving without insurance.

  • The fee for filing an SR-22 form is minimal, around $25, but your car insurance premiums could increase due to your high-risk status.

  • You usually need to file an SR-22 form for at least three years. Then, after you meet the requirements, you can contact your insurer to end the filing.

What is SR-22 insurance in California, and when do you need it?

An SR-22 is a form that serves as proof of coverage for high-risk drivers. The DMV requires SR-22s to ensure that high-risk drivers have adequate insurance coverage.

You might need an SR-22 form due to the following situations in California:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI)

  • Driving without insurance

  • Reckless driving

  • Driving with a suspended license

If you’re required to have the form and don’t get it, you could lose your license or driving privileges.

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How can you get an SR-22 in California?

If you need an SR-22 form in California, the court or California DMV will notify you. The form is often necessary due to a driving conviction. Depending on the type, you might also deal with additional obstacles, like license suspension.

To get an SR-22 form, you need coverage from an insurance company. You should confirm your insurer is well-versed on the form, what it means, and how to file it. After you set up a policy, you usually need to request that your insurer submit the form on your behalf.

Some insurers have a specific department that handles this paperwork, which can streamline the experience. Once your insurer is ready, it will submit the form to the DMV as proof of insurance coverage.

How long is an SR-22 required in California?

The timeline for how long you need to maintain an SR-22 in California depends on the type of violation or conviction. If you need the form due to a DUI, you usually need it for three years. But you might need it for four years for an accident or property damage without insurance.

The timeline depends on various factors, including your personal circumstances, so check with the DMV about the specifics of your situation.

How much is SR-22 insurance in California?

It usually costs about $20 to file an SR-22 form in California. The cost can depend on your company, though. Most insurers add the cost of the filing to your insurance premium, so you don’t usually have to pay a separate bill.

Olivier Wagner, a CPA with a background in insurance and the founder of 1040 Abroad, explains, “A rise in insurance costs is possible for drivers who have been found guilty of a traffic infraction. Because of their heightened risk and propensity for [incidents], insurance companies perceive drivers with convictions as being more dangerous.”

It’s a good idea to talk with a potential insurer about the cost to file an SR-22 and about the specifics of the process. Even though the price can vary, an SR-22 filing shouldn’t be a monthly fee or a significant expense.

Cheapest companies for SR-22 insurance in California

If you’re shopping for auto insurance and must file an SR-22, the insurance price can be a significant consideration.

Here are some low-cost insurance companies you might want to consider, along with their average monthly rates for full coverage and liability-only car insurance.

The below rates are estimated rates current as of: Thursday, February 1 at 11:00 AM PST
Insurance CompanyLiability OnlyFull Coverage
Clearcover82167
Mile Auto82151
Mercury104192
Anchor111229
USAA123257
Infinity128205
Safeco129211
Dairyland142334
National General148292
GEICO163342
Allstate168354
Farmers173365
State Farm189395
Travelers197414
Bristol West214467
21st Century215452
Nationwide266556
Chubb335704
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

Cheapest insurance companies in California with SR-22 by city

The price of car insurance for drivers who need to file an SR-22 can vary drastically from insurer to insurer. But your location can affect the cost of your auto insurance premium too.[1]

This table can give you an idea of the monthly cost of SR-22 insurance in your city.

CityInsurance CompanyAverage Monthly Quote
FresnoBristol West$160
FresnoNational General$161
BakersfieldNational General$168
San DiegoAnchor$169
San DiegoNational General$175
Los AngelesAnchor$181
SacramentoNational General$229
San DiegoBristol West$287
BakersfieldBristol West$294
SacramentoMercury$297
Los AngelesWorkmen’s$298
Los AngelesKemper$302
PalmdaleBristol West$311
San JoseMercury$312
Los AngelesMercury$315
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.
  • Insurify uses an in-house, proprietary method to rate and review the best car insurance companies. The Insurify Quality (IQ) Score uses more than 15 crucial criteria, including average premiums, customer satisfaction, discounts, third-party ratings, and more, to calculate a final score for a company.

    Criteria are weighted by importance to the consumer — factors such as customer reviews and affordability influence the score more than availability and third-party ratings. With the IQ Score, Insurify is able to provide quantitative ratings for drivers to better compare car insurance companies and make informed decisions to meet their coverage needs.

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How SR-22 insurance affects driving record and future rates in California

Once you have to file an SR-22 insurance form, you typically need to keep one on file for three or four years. But that doesn’t mean that the driving conviction will disappear from your record once you no longer need to submit the form.

Depending on the type of conviction, it can stay on your record for upwards of seven years. This is important because your driving record affects the price of your insurance premiums, and the presence of the incident on your record means you might deal with increased costs long after you’re done filing an SR-22.

Fortunately, you can take some steps to improve your driving record and lower your insurance rates while still under an SR-22 requirement:

  • Ask your insurer about discounts. You won’t qualify for a California good driver discount while you need an SR-22, but other discounts might help lower your rate. Make sure to ask your insurance company about what’s available. For example, you might be able to bundle your auto and home insurance policies to receive a discount.[2]

  • Maintain a clean driving record. You can’t change the past, but you can focus on maintaining a clean current and future driving record. Make sure that you stay up to date on your monthly insurance payments and obey all traffic laws.

  • Keep the SR-22 form on file. The timeline for how long you need to file the SR-22 form varies. But make sure you do as instructed. Stay in contact with your insurance company, and check that the form is up to date and filed as it should be.

California SR-22 insurance FAQs

The SR-22 form and process in California can be confusing. Here’s some additional information that might help as you navigate it.

  • How long do you have to hold an SR-22 in California?

    The timeline varies depending on your circumstances and the driving conviction type. But you must generally file an SR-22 form for three or four years in California.

  • How do you get rid of an SR-22 in California?

    You can’t do anything to eliminate an SR-22 form in California except wait for the allocated time to pass and file it each year as instructed. Once you’ve completed the process, notify your insurance company and ask it to remove the SR-22 status from your policy.

  • What happens to your SR-22 in California if you move?

    Contact the California DMV and your insurer if you move. You’ll receive instructions about the steps you need to take. You’ll typically need to file an SR-22 in your new state.

  • Do you need an SR-22 in California if you don’t have a car?

    If you don’t own a car, you need a named nonowner coverage endorsement with an SR-22. The policy meets the requirement for an SR-22. Plus, it provides insurance coverage for you whenever you drive.

Sources

  1. Insurance Information Institute. "What determines the price of an auto insurance policy?." Accessed April 20, 2023
  2. Insurance Information Institute. "Nine ways to lower your auto insurance costs." Accessed April 20, 2023
Taylor Milam-Samuel
Taylor Milam-Samuel

Taylor Milam-Samuel is a writer and credentialed educator who is fascinated by how people earn, save, and spend their money. When she's not researching financial terms and conditions, she can be found in the classroom teaching.

Chris Schafer
Edited byChris SchaferSenior Editor
Chris Schafer
Chris SchaferSenior Editor
  • 15+ years in content creation

  • 7+ years in business and financial services content

Chris is a seasoned writer/editor with past experience across myriad industries, including insurance, SAS, finance, Medicare, logistics, marketing/advertising, and many more.

Featured in

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