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Every state sets its own laws and minimum insurance coverage requirements for vehicles operated on public roads. In North Carolina, car insurance is mandatory for any vehicle with a state registration. If you have driving violations or a less-than-ideal driving record, you may also be required to carry an SR-22.
An SR-22 is essentially proof that you are maintaining the required state minimum coverage on your insurance policy for a specified time. North Carolina is one of few states that does not require an SR-22 form following a severe driving violation. Most states do have some form of financial responsibility attached to a poor driving record. The certificate type varies by state so if you move out of NC, you might be obligated to acquire an SR-22, SR-21 or an FR-44 in your new state. This overview explores when an SR-22 might be required and how a bad driving record can impact your auto insurance premium.
What is “SR-22 insurance?”
Although an SR-22 is not actually insurance, it does coincide with your auto insurance policy. An SR-22 is a certificate proving you are carrying the minimum insurance requirements for a specified time, which will vary by state. Typically, SR-22 certificates are required after a driver receives a serious driving violation like a DUI.
Although SR-22 forms are not required in North Carolina, drivers who are trying to obtain a license after a serious driving violation may be required to provide proof of financial responsibility, or proof of minimum required insurance coverage, to the DMV in order to register their vehicle. In some cases, proof of financial responsibility may even be required to reinstate a driver’s license following a serious driving conviction.
To obtain the proper proof of financial responsibility to satisfy the NC DMV’s conditions, you will need to purchase an insurance policy and carry the required minimum limits of liability. In North Carolina, drivers are required to carry $30,000 in bodily injury liability per person up to $60,000 bodily injury liability per accident (for 2 or more people) and $25,000 in property damage.
North Carolina SR-22 alternatives
It is important for high-risk drivers to understand that every state has different requirements following a major driving violation. However, almost all states require some form of financial responsibility certificate or proof of insurance for any high-risk driver seeking to get back on the road. Depending on what state you live in, even if you are temporarily located elsewhere, such as North Carolina, you may need to obtain one of the following forms from your insurance company.
|Form||States issued||Required insurance minimums|
|SR-22||All states except Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania||Drivers will be required to maintain the minimum bodily injury and property damage liability limits. Limits vary per state.|
|FR-19||Maryland||Drivers must carry $30,000 bodily injury liability per person, $60,000 per accident and $15,000 property damage.|
|SR-22A||Georgia, Texas and Missouri||Drivers will be required to maintain the minimum bodily injury and property damage liability limits. Limits vary per state.|
|FR-44||Virginia and Florida||In Virginia, drivers must carry $50,000 bodily injury liability per person, $100,000 per accident and $40,000 property damage.
Drivers in Florida must carry $100,000 bodily injury liability per person, $300,000 per accident and $50,000 property damage.
|SR-50||Indiana||Drivers must carry $25,000 bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 per accident and $25,000 property damage.|
- FR-19: If Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administration requests proof of insurance, an FR-19 is issued.
- SR-22A: An SR-22A form is used in Georgia, Texas and Missouri. An SR-22A is like an SR-22 in that it is required by the state’s motor vehicle department to confirm proof of financial responsibility for high-risk drivers, especially drivers who are repeat offenders.
- FR-44: Virginia and Florida both utilize FR-44 forms. An FR-44 form is also like an SR-22 in that it is required for high-risk drivers. However, for certain serious driving violations, it may require higher liability limits than the minimum state requirement.
- SR-50: Indiana has its own form of an SR-22 titled an SR-50 which provides proof of financial responsibility for high-risk drivers.
High-risk drivers may opt to not purchase a vehicle at all after a serious moving violation. However, some states will still require a high-risk driver to furnish proof of financial responsibility even if they do not own a car, since that driver could easily borrow or drive another person’s vehicle. Anyone needing an SR-22 who does not own a vehicle would need to purchase a non-owners insurance policy carrying the state required limits of liability.
DL-123 in North Carolina
While SR-22 forms are not utilized in North Carolina, high-risk drivers still must provide proof of insurance to the NC DMV. North Carolina uses standard form DL-123 to provide proof of insurance. DL-123 forms are sent by your insurance company and may be required for anyone getting an NC license for the first time or getting a license reinstated.
SR-22 North Carolina insurance costs
North Carolina operates under a Safe Driver Incentive Plan (SDIP). SDIP points are added against your driving record following certain moving violations. A DWI is one of the most serious violations you could get adding a full 12 SDIP points onto your driving record. SDIP points stay on your driving record for three years.
In North Carolina, most high-risk drivers, like those who have received a DWI, are assigned to the NC reinsurance facility which is essentially a high-risk insurance pool. Although some insurance companies may still choose to provide standard coverage to you as a high-risk driver, most companies will place you in this facility rating. High-risk drivers can typically expect very large premiums, regardless of whether they are part of the NC reinsurance facility. In fact, Drivers with DWIs or other similar convictions could see their car insurance premiums increase up to 340%, according to the North Carolina department of insurance. Additionally, severe driving violations can result in loss of driving privileges.
Frequently asked questions
How long do I need an SR-22 in North Carolina?
SR-22 forms are not required in the state of North Carolina. However, North Carolina does operate under a Safe Driver Incentive Plan which assigns SDIP points against your driving record for serious moving violations. SDIP points stay on your record for a period of three years and if you are considered a high-risk driver, your insurance premium will be impacted for three years from your conviction date, not your incident date. (A conviction date is the date your charge is processed through the NC court system).
How do I get SR-22 insurance in North Carolina?
An SR-22 is not a type of insurance but is rather a form certifying that you are carrying your state’s required minimum insurance coverages. However, North Carolina does not utilize SR-22 forms. If you are a newly licensed driver in North Carolina, are attempting to reinstate your license, or simply are being asked to furnish proof of insurance, you will need to call your insurance carrier and ask them to issue a DL-123 (or proof of insurance) form to the NC DMV.
How much does SR-22 insurance cost in North Carolina?
SR-22 forms do not directly impact your insurance premium but since they are required for high-risk drivers who have major moving violations on their record, drivers needing an SR-22 will typically face higher insurance premiums. In North Carolina, SR-22 forms are not required but drivers can expect to pay an increase between 30% to 340% to their insurance premium depending on the severity of their moving violation and the amount of SDIP points added to their record.
Are there penalties for not carrying insurance in North Carolina?
Yes, North Carolina law explicitly states that the minimum liability requirements of $30,000/$60,000/$25,000 must be carried on all registered vehicles. In fact, insurance companies are legally obligated to report any insurance lapses or cancellations to the NC DMV. If the DMV has received notice that your policy has terminated, you will need to furnish proof of insurance within 10 days from your notice date. Failure to do so can result in civil penalties/fees and revocation of a vehicle’s plates.
What other states do not require an SR-22?
North Carolina is not the only state that does not require or utilize an SR-22 form. SR-22 forms are also not required in Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. However, each of these states may require an alternate form to prove minimum insurance requirements or financial responsibility.