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Those who have been arrested for or charged with DUI often ask about SR-22 insurance and whether or not they have to obtain it. SR-22 is a form provided by auto insurance providers that is then filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles. This form verifies that a driver is in compliance with California’s car insurance coverage requirements. While all drivers are required to carry auto insurance, those who have their license suspended may be required to file the additional SR22 in order to show that they have actually met this requirement.
Upon being arrested for a DUI offense, a driver will face an automatic license suspension unless he or she requests an administrative hearing to contest the suspension. If the suspension is imposed, the driver will have to obtain an SR22 before his or her driving privileges are reinstated. Generally, a driver who is required to maintain SR22 coverage must keep the SR22 on file with the state for a period of three years. Any driver hoping to get a restricted license is required to get SR22 insurance as a prerequisite to this. In addition, the driver would have to enroll in the three-month AB541 alcohol education class and pay a reinstatement fee.
Most car insurance companies offer SR22 coverage and drivers can purchase this from their current insurer. However, drivers should be aware that purchasing SR22 coverage from one’s current insurance provider will automatically alert the company to the fact that a serious incident has occurred, and the company may ultimately increase the policyholder’s rates in the future or refuse to renew the policy. An insurance company is not allowed to increase a customer’s rate or cancel a policy in the middle of a policy term and must wait for the policy to expire. Drivers who are required to carry SR22 coverage are considered “high risk” drivers and should expect to see their policy rates raise significantly. In addition, they would lose any “good driver” discount that may have previously applied.
California is one of a number of states that require SR22 coverage for those whose licenses are suspended as the result of a DUI incident. However, every state has different requirements regarding mandatory insurance coverage. Anyone who is moving out of California would be required to purchase SR22 coverage in their new state. Once this is done, the California DMV will release its SR22 requirement. For those who move to a state that does not require an SR22 filing, the California DMV will only release its SR22 requirement once the driver has shown that he or she has obtained insurance that is at least equal to California’s coverage requirements.
A driver is required to obtain SR22 coverage for all vehicles that are registered to them or that they drive frequently. Those who no longer plan on driving after a DUI do not need SR22 coverage. Those who plan on driving but do not own a car can obtain a non-owner’s SR22 liability policy. This would cover drivers who occasionally use other people’s vehicles.
Good to know this is not actually a type of insurance, but rather a form you file out to say you are in compliance with state insurance laws. I am moving to southern California next month, so this is great information for me to know about before I get there. As of right now I don't have any DUI charges on my record, so I don't need to worry about this at this moment. www.greatnortherninsuranceagency.com/sr-22