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If you are a high-risk driver in Florida, you might be required to carry an SR-22. While you may sometimes hear SR-22s referred to as “SR-22 insurance,” an SR-22 is a certificate that verifies you have the minimum amount of car insurance that is required in the state. Florida also uses a few SR-22 alternatives, including FR-44 and SR-21 forms, depending on the specific violation. Needing an SR-22 indicates higher risk and can negatively impact your car insurance premium. However, SR-22s are usually removed from your record after a few years.
What is an SR-22?
An SR-22 is a form that proves you have a car insurance policy that meets the minimum coverage requirements in Florida. Not every driver needs an SR-22. In most cases, you are only required to have this form if your driver’s license gets suspended or you’ve recently experienced one of these driving events:
- You have several traffic violations — such as speeding tickets — in the last six months
- You’ve been convicted of a DUI/DWI (an FR-44 is required, with liability limits of 100/300)
- Your license was suspended for failing to pay child support
- You caused an accident and didn’t have car insurance
Any of these types of situations could trigger the Florida DMV to request you submit an SR-22. If you find an insurer that offers SR-22 filing, submitting the form should be simple, but there are a few important aspects of the process to understand.
Florida also has two additional forms required under specific circumstances, the FR-44 and the SR-21, which are similar to the SR-22 requirement. An FR-44 is required in Florida and a few other states when alcohol is involved in the incident, or based on the severity of the infraction, while an SR-21 is required under narrower circumstances involving an accident or traffic ticket.
SR-22 insurance in Florida
It is a common assumption that “SR-22” is a type of insurance and often, references to “SR insurance” or “SR-22 insurance” are used by drivers seeking more information about the requirement. However, technically an SR-22 isn’t insurance although car insurance is tied to the SR-22. The SR-22 is a document — a “Certificate of Financial Responsibility” to be exact. The certificate is created by car insurance companies to assert that you have the minimum amount of insurance the State of Florida requires for all drivers.
Before your insurance company provides you with a Florida SR-22 certificate, you’ll need to have car insurance. By providing an SR-22 certificate, the insurance company is making a guarantee to Florida’s DMV that you have a valid auto insurance policy and you’re financially responsible for any damages you may cause in the event of an accident. Because of the risk associated with drivers who are mandated to provide an SR-22, some insurers may deny coverage or will not provide these forms.
Other insurance forms required in Florida
Florida is one of only a handful of states which have SR-22 requirements, in addition to alternative forms required under other circumstances. As a result, Florida drivers need to clearly understand this more complex regulatory environment.
|SR-22||An SR-22 is required in Florida for drivers who have committed a serious traffic violation, like reckless driving or driving without insurance.|
|FR-44||This form is required for Florida drivers who are ticketed for serious offenses related to driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. The FR-44 requirements include the need to buy car insurance with higher limits than those required by an SR-22.|
|SR-21||An SR-21 form is required in more narrow circumstances relating to automobile accidents and traffic violations.|
Cost of SR-22 insurance in Florida
The costs associated with an SR-22 extend beyond the fee for the actual certificate, which is typically between $15-$25.
If your license has been suspended or revoked, it means you have a number of serious traffic violations on your driving record. Car insurers will consider you a risky-to-insure driver who is more likely to cause an accident or be involved in expensive insurance claims that the car insurance company may end up financially responsible for. Therefore, you may qualify for coverage, but it will generally come at a higher price.
Not all car insurance companies provide SR-22 filings in Florida, possibly because of the increased risk the driver represents. As long as the traffic incident(s) that led to the need for an SR-22 remain on your record, you’ll need to maintain the (potentially more expensive) car insurance.
In Florida, you’ll usually need to keep your SR-22 certificate (and a corresponding insurance policy) in force for around three years, which reflects the time it will take for the violations to get removed from your driving record.
If you lapse on coverage at any time during the SR-22 requirement period, your insurance company that certified that you have the legal amount of coverage required is obligated to report you, as that is the intent of the SR-22 or FR-44 requirement. Failure to remain insured under an SR-22 certificate can lead to your driver’s license getting suspended or revoked.
Non-owner SR-22 insurance for Florida drivers
What happens if you’ve been asked to provide an SR-22 before the DMV will reinstate your driver’s license, but you don’t own a vehicle? You can still get car insurance by purchasing a non-owner car insurance policy. Non-owner car insurance covers you and not your car. This means you’ll be insured if you drive someone else’s vehicle. Once you purchase non-owner auto insurance, the insurer can issue a Florida SR-22 certificate so you can request to have your driver’s license reissued.
Frequently asked questions
To get an SR-22, you’ll need to follow a couple of steps. If you already have car insurance, contact your insurance company, ask for an SR-22 and pay the filing fee. The insurance company will issue you a copy and send the original directly to the state or DMV. If you don’t have insurance, you’ll need to purchase coverage from a company that offers SR-22 filing first before the insurance company drafts the SR-22.
SR-22 forms cost between $15-$25 on average, and you’re usually required to pay the fee annually for each year that the SR-22 remains on your record. If you need an SR-22, your car insurance rate will likely increase. Once the violation that caused it is dropped from your record and the SR-22 is removed, your premium should return to its normal amount.
Not every car insurance company in Florida issues SR-22 certificates. Among the companies that do, GEICO, USAA, American Family and The General provide SR-22 forms to Florida drivers. Major insurance companies and providers that specialize in non-standard auto insurance are the most likely to offer SR-22 certificates.
Insurance for an SR-22 in Florida must remain paid and up-to-date for three years. If you cancel your car insurance or can’t afford to pay it and the policy lapses, your insurance carrier will report you to the DMV and your SR-22 certificate would become invalid. Your driver’s license can also be suspended or revoked.