Having to file an SR-22 can be a frustrating experience, especially when it raises the cost of your insurance plan. Finding the cheapest SR-22 insurance in California can help you counteract the costs of these plans. Follow this guide to familiarize yourself with what SR-22 insurance is and the different things you can do to lower the cost as much as possible.
What Is SR-22 Insurance?
SR-22 insurance isn’t actually a type of insurance. An SR-22 is a form that an insurance company files on your behalf that states you have at least the minimum amount of insurance required to operate a vehicle in that state — in this case, California.
A state or a court is generally the agency that requires you to file an SR-22, and it’s often in response to a violation of some sort. Common situations that end up with an SR-22 requirement include:
- Receiving a DUI or DWI
- Driving without or with insufficient insurance
- Driving recklessly
- Continuing to drive when you have a suspended license
- Failing to report an accident
- Failing to pay damages from an accident
- Failing to pay child support
Whatever the reason you’re being required to get SR-22 insurance, you have plenty of options to choose from. Though needing a company to file an SR-22 often leads to higher insurance rates, you can still do some things to find the cheapest SR-22 insurance in California.
When you’re ordered to file an SR-22, you’ll also have a set period of time in which you’re supposed to maintain the SR-22 insurance. Most states will require you to have an SR-22 for three years, and in California, you’ll typically need an SR-22 for three to five years on average.
If the SR-22 insurance lapses during the time you’re required to have it, you could lose your driving privileges. You’ll have to get the SR-22 filed again to make yourself a legal driver again, but the clock could reset on the length of time you need your SR-22.
Minimum Insurance in California
California requires each of its drivers to have a minimum of liability insurance to legally operate a vehicle in the state. That liability insurance must have:
- $15,000 of coverage for bodily injury per person
- $30,000 of coverage for bodily injury per accident
- $5,000 of coverage for property damage
Liability coverage only covers damages experienced by other drivers and property owners involved in a collision with you. If you’re shopping for SR-22 insurance, be sure that the plan you sign up for has at least the coverage minimum limits for the state of California. If you want to increase your coverage through collision or comprehensive insurance, you may do so, but these additional policies may significantly raise the price of your insurance.
Cheapest SR-22 Insurance in California
SR-22 insurance policies are generally more expensive than the same policy for a similar driver who isn’t being required to file an SR-22. This is because many insurance companies view drivers who need the SR-22 form as being “high risk,” and therefore more expensive to insure. Your insurance prices may rise as a result.
According to ValuePenguin, the cheapest SR-22 insurance in California comes from:
- Mercury: $841
- GEICO: $992
- United: $1,126
- CSAA: $1,505
- Farmers: $1,512
- Interinsurance: $1,621
- Allstate: $2,398
- State Farm: $2,741
These rates are annual rates for minimum coverage for a 30-year-old male driver who needs an SR-22 filed by the insurance company. The average cost of a year’s worth of SR-22 insurance in California is $1,592. Whether you’re below or above that average depends on several factors, including the nature of any driving violations, your overall driving history, and your vehicle’s age, make, and model.
Something else to note about getting SR-22 insurance is that insurance companies will charge you for filing an SR-22 form. This price varies from company to company, but it’s generally anywhere from $25 to $50.
How to Make SR-22 Insurance in California Cheaper
Though SR-22 insurance can get pretty expensive pretty fast, there are a few methods you can use to reduce the cost of your SR-22 insurance.
The most effective way to get the cheapest SR-22 insurance is to shop around to make sure you’re getting the best price. You should be able to get quotes for any plan you’re considering before you decide to sign up for it. Be sure to get quotes from multiple companies to compare costs. If you’re looking for the absolute cheapest insurance, find a plan that covers only the minimum California insurance requirements.
See if You’re Eligible for Non-owner SR-22 Insurance
Signing up for non-owner SR-22 insurance is a very effective way of making your insurance cheaper, but it’s only available to people who meet specific criteria. You have to not own a car and not live with anyone who has one. You can be required to get SR-22 insurance even if you don’t own a vehicle. This is the situation that non-owner SR-22 insurance is meant to cover.
Revisit Every Year
You may not have to pay the same price for SR-22 insurance in California every year you’re required to have it. Make it an annual tradition to revisit your insurance to see if you can get a better rate from another insurance company or even from your current one.
As time passes after a traffic violation, your status as a high-risk driver can diminish. You and your vehicle also get older. These are all factors that can reduce the cost of your insurance. Therefore, it doesn’t hurt to check with companies to see if you can get a better deal. Just be sure your SR-22 doesn’t lapse so that you don’t violate any conditions.
Finding the cheapest SR-22 insurance in California may take a little footwork, as not every driver’s situation is the same. However, with a little time, effort, and research, you can find some of the cheapest rates on SR-22 insurance in California for you.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.