When a driver’s license is revoked or suspended, they have to do a few things in order to get driving privileges back. One of those things is usually filing an SR-22 form with the state proving they have the minimum required coverage. Thus, there technically is no such thing as “SR-22 insurance”. So what is an SR-22?
What is an SR-22?
An SR-22 certificate is a document required for “high risk” drivers. It’s a form your insurance has to file with the Department of Motor Vehicles offices to prove you have the minimum car insurance coverage required by the state. As long as you hold an SR-22 form, the insurance company will keep the state updated on any changes in your policy, including cancellation. Obtaining an SR-22 can help get your license reinstated and get you back on the road after you have a run in with the law.
When an SR-22 is Required
An SR-22 isn’t required for everyone. If you’ve had a driving violation, an SR-22 filing will be required before driving privileges are reinstated. Common reasons an SR-22 is required include:
- DUI or DWI conviction
- Driving without insurance or a valid license
- Reckless or negligent driving
- At-fault accidents
- Multiple traffic offenses in a short time period
- Getting in a car accident without insurance
- Driving without enough insurance
Your state might also require an SR-22 for other reasons such as not paying court-ordered child support. If you don’t have any traffic violations, however, you will not need to worry about an SR-22 form.
If an SR-22 is required, you will find out one of two ways. If it is court-ordered, you will be told by the judge during your hearing. If it is state-ordered, you will be notified by mail from the DMV.
Is an SR-22 Insurance?
There is a common misconception that an SR-22 is an insurance policy. It is not. There is an additional cost to the certificate, but it is technically an additional plan with your insurance company rather than a separate policy. The SR-22 verifies that you hold the minimum auto insurance required by your state and the insurance company notifies the state of this coverage.
How to get an SR-22
If you already have auto insurance, getting an SR-22 is as simple as calling them. They can add the SR-22 certificate to your current policy and file the document with the state for you. Simply notifying them of your need for an SR-22 is all that you should have to do.
If you need to buy an insurance policy in order to get your document, things might get a little more difficult. Some insurance companies will refuse to cover high-risk drivers. It is best to notify the provider of your need before getting started so you don’t waste your time getting more information or a quote. Once you select a policy, your work is done and the insurance provider will take care of filing the SR-22 with the state.
In some cases, you may no longer have a car while the SR-22 is required. You will still need insurance coverage to meet the requirements of the state. Look for a non-driver insurance policy to meet the requirements of you SR-22. Essentially, non-driver insurance is liability insurance coverage for when you do operate a vehicle. This might also be a more financially sound option to get through the time period you’ll need an SR-22.
SR-22 Certificate Cost
A filing fee, typically $25, is charged at the time of getting your SR-22 set up. This is all the document will cost you. State filing fees can vary by state. If there is a lapse in coverage, due to provider change or any other reason, you will have to pay the filing fee again.
People usually think the cost of an SR-22 is high, but it is typically the cost of your insurance that is high. Due to the high-risk nature of the driver, insurance providers typically charge more to cover you. How much your policy increases depends on the infraction that causes you to need an SR-22. If your infraction is from a DUI, you are likely to pay much more in a premium than you would from multiple traffic infractions.
How Long Do SR-22s Last?
The length of time you will be required to hold the SR-22 varies by state. Typically it is required for three years. It’s important to know how long your SR-22 is required because any lapse in insurance will result in your license being suspended until coverage is reinstated and your required time could start over. To find out the exact length of time, contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles.
When you no longer need the certificate, it may or may not fall off immediately. It is best to notify your insurance provider when you no longer need the form. Policy rates will most likely recover when the violations fall off.
Contact your insurance agent to receive more information on SR-22 requirements specific to you. Get a car insurance quote today and get one step closer to getting back on the road.