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The term “California SR22″ refers to California DMV form number SR22 (or SR-22).
It is a legal document submitted by an insurance company to the 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.
SAMPLE SR 22 FORM