It is a legal document submitted by an insurance company to the California DMV stating that you have insurance. This insurance form is used by the DMV to track insurance on your license, not your car. Normally the DMV tracks your insurance through your car registration. It is a California State Law that all cars registered in California carry a minimum amount of liability insurance to pay the other guy if you hit them and you are at fault. The ID card in your glovebox shows the insurance information and the vehicle identification number and description of your car. The insurance follows the car.
However with an SR22 the DMV is tracking insurance against your driver license. The SR22 is usually required by the DMV if your license is suspended for something serious like a Drunk Driving (DUI) or an Accident Without Insurance or Negligent Operator or other major DMV offense.
It means that your license is or soon will be suspended and you cannot get your license back until you get the SR22. There may be other requirements to reinstate your license, too, like completing Alcohol Awareness classes or paying fines. The person needing the SR22 buys insurance from a company that will issue the SR22 (not all companies will).
The SR22 form is a legal document from the insurance company to the DMV, swearing that you have insurance and promising the DMV that if you let your insurance cancel, the insurance company will then send a notice (form SR26 ) to the DMV telling them that your insurance is canceled so that the DMV can, then, re-suspend your license. See? It's all very bureaucratically complex and employs lots of paper-pushers who make money off the system. Perfect.
The short answer to "Do I Need One?" is "If you don't know what it is, you probably don't."
Then again, if you have recently been notified that you need one by the DMV but didn't understand the notice, then you can assume your are in some hotwater with the DMV and your license is probably suspended or soon will be.
Normally the requirement to maintain the SR22 lasts three years. If at any time you let the insurance lapse, the insurance company will notify the DMV that you no longer have insurance and the DMV will suspend your license until you get the insurance and SR22 once again.
Where do I get SR22 insurance? Insurance Brokers supply the vast majority of SR22s. Agents of preferred companies don't usually want or are not able to offer this type of insurance. Examples of preferred companies would be State Farm, Allstate, GEICO, AAA Auto Club, USAA, Hartford, Travelers, Nationwide, etc. There are quite a few companies that simply will not accept anyone who does not meet the California definition of a Good Driver, and even if they make some exceptions, will not take serious violations that have resulted in the need for an SR22, like DUI, vehicular manslaughter, speed over 100mph.
Your California Insurance Broker should have multiple companies that will be happy to insure you and give you an SR22.
Call now for more information or a free quote. You can also use the link below to submit your information for a quote electronically.
Stephen B. Groton
Agent and Broker
Let Stephen B. Groton, California Insurance help you choose a policy that will fit your individual needs. Protecting your assets, whether personal, business, or both, is our goal. A well-chosen policy can lessen the impact of some of life’s most common, yet unforeseen perils. We’re here to help when you are considering SR22 coverage.