Problem drivers in Illinois are often required to purchase SR-22 insurance. Despite the name, an SR-22 is not an actual insurance policy and it does not replace traditional car insurance.
Rather, an SR-22 certificate proves that the driver carries the minimum amount of liability insurance coverage required in the state. It is a special form of proof of insurance that is reserved for drivers with a serious violation on their driving record.
SR-22 insurance in Illinois
Illinois drivers who have been convicted of certain traffic offenses are required to purchase an SR-22 to prove they carry liability insurance. If a driver gets their license suspended, they will need to get an SR-22 in order to get the license reinstated. Here are some situations in which a driver would have to purchase an SR-22 in Illinois:
- Getting charged with a DUI or DWI
- Getting charged with reckless or negligent driving
- Having multiple traffic violations in a short time period
- Having multiple at-fault accidents in a short period of time
- Causing a serious accident with injuries or fatalities
- Getting caught driving without insurance (three or more offenses)
- Failure to pay court-ordered child support
In the state of Illinois, drivers will have an SR-22 on their record for three years, regardless of the offense or violation. SR-22 insurance is issued in three different forms:
- Operator’s Certificate: Covers the driver when operating a borrowed vehicle.
- Owner’s Certificate: Covers each vehicle that a driver owns. The SR-22 must be issued for all vehicles registered under the driver’s name.
- Operators-Owners Certificate: Covers all the vehicles that are owned by the driver, and also covers them while operating a borrowed vehicle.
Illinois law states that instead of purchasing an SR-22, drivers also have the option to deposit $70,000 in cash or securities with the Illinois State Treasurer, file a real estate bond approved by a court of record or file a surety bond with the DMV. Out-of-state drivers are allowed to waive their proof of financial responsibility requirements by signing an Affidavit.
In Illinois, drivers who have an SR-22 on their record are responsible for renewing their certificate each year. Per the Illinois Secretary of State, drivers must renew their SR-22 insurance at least 45 days before the expiration date, otherwise they might face further insurance-related suspensions.
If the driver’s SR-22 is canceled or lapses due to renewal failure, they could face additional consequences and pay higher penalty fees. If the driver’s insurance company does not receive a formal request to renew the SR-22 at least 15 days before the expiration date, they are legally required to notify the Secretary of State’s office.
Cost of SR-22s in Illinois
SR-22 insurance in Illinois is not expensive, and the filing cost is affordable. However, drivers who have an SR-22 on their record will face additional expenses. For instance, drivers who get their license suspended are required to pay a license reinstatement fee, which ranges from $70-$500 per suspension based on the severity of the violation.
For example, a driver who gets convicted of a DUI is required to pay $250 to get their license reinstated after a suspension. For two or more offenses, the fine increases to $500. For a traffic-related suspension, the reinstatement fee is $70 for each suspension.
Drivers who have an SR-22 will also face more expensive car insurance rates. High-risk drivers are more likely to file insurance claims, so insurance companies charge higher premiums to account for the added risk. Drivers’ insurance rates will stay high until the SR-22 is removed from their record after three years.
Non-owner SR-22s for Illinois drivers
There are certain situations where an Illinois driver might be required to purchase an SR-22 without owning their own vehicle. For example, imagine that your friend borrows your vehicle to run a quick errand, but they get pulled over for not having insurance. In this case, the driver would need to purchase non-owner insurance.
In Illinois, drivers can get an SR-22 Operator’s Certificate, which is essentially a form of non-owner insurance. Typically, non-owner insurance only includes bodily injury and property damage liability coverage. It might also include uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection (PIP), depending on the state.
Drivers should note that non-owner insurance follows the driver, not the vehicle they are operating. This type of insurance does not include collision insurance, comprehensive insurance or any other coverage for the vehicle itself. Any vehicle damages would be paid out-of-pocket in the event of an at-fault accident.
Frequently asked questions
What is the difference between an SR-22 and an FR-44?
SR-22s and FR-44s share some similarities, but there are also some key differences. SR-22 certificates are issued in most states, whereas FR-44 certificates are primarily issued in Virginia and Florida. With an SR-22, drivers only have to carry the state’s minimum required liability coverage. With an FR-44, drivers are usually required to carry at least $100,000 in liability coverage, regardless of the state-mandated limits.
How long do I need to have an SR-22?
In the state of Illinois, high-risk drivers are required to have an SR-22 on their driving record for three years, regardless of the type of offense or the driver’s prior history. After three years, the SR-22 is removed from the driver’s record.
Does my state require SR-22 insurance?
Most states require drivers to get SR-22 insurance if they have a serious traffic violation on their record. However, some states do not have SR-22 laws. Drivers can check with their state’s Department of Insurance or the Secretary of State’s website to see if their state mandates SR-22 insurance.