Navigating the complexities of SR-22 insurance in North Carolina can be daunting, especially for those unfamiliar with the requirements and implications. SR-22 insurance in NC is required when you are involved in a traffic incident that may make you a high-risk driver, such as a DUI, an at-fault accident or driving without insurance. Understanding the specifics of SR-22 insurance is crucial, as it will prove you have sufficient insurance coverage to continue driving in the state. For instance, it is important to note that while most states call this certificate SR-22, North Carolina calls it a DL-123. Bankrate can help explain what SR-22 insurance North Carolina is, including how to obtain it, the associated costs and how it impacts your driving record and insurance premiums.

What is SR-22 insurance?

An SR-22 is not actually a type of insurance. It is a form that is generated in conjunction 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 (called a DWI in North Carolina).

SR-22 insurance in North Carolina is called a DL-123 certificate. 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 by means of a DL-123 form. 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 two or more people) and $25,000 in property damage.

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DL-123 in North Carolina

While SR-22 forms are not utilized in North Carolina, certain drivers — including teens, someone applying for their license for the first time in North Carolina and those convicted with a DUI or DWI — 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 car insurance company and may be required for anyone getting an NC license for the first time or getting a license reinstated.

Who needs DL-123 insurance in North Carolina?

Not all drivers are required to carry DL-123 insurance in North Carolina. If you are an average driver who has been on the road for a while and does not have serious infractions, you may not need to have this type of North Carolina SR-22 insurance. If you fit in one of the following categories, however, you are likely to require a DL-123 certificate:

  • You are a new driver applying for your license for the first time.
  • You have had your license suspended or revoked and are applying to have it reinstated.
  • You are moving to North Carolina and applying for your North Carolina license for the first time.
  • You are complying with a court order to demonstrate that you have coverage for your vehicle.

If you have lived in North Carolina for a while and are applying to renew your license, you should not need DL-123 insurance unless you fit in one of the previously mentioned categories. If you are required to file a DL-123, you will need your insurer to file one on your behalf with the DMV.

Non-owner SR-22

High-risk drivers may opt to not purchase a vehicle at all after a serious moving violation. However, some states will still require high-risk drivers 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 a DL-123 who does not own a vehicle would need to purchase a non-owners insurance policy carrying the state-required limits of liability. In North Carolina, if you have a non-owners policy, your insurer will submit a DL-123 to the DMV on your behalf.

How much does DL-123 insurance cost in North Carolina?

While a DL-123 itself won’t impact insurance costs, the cause of needing one can. 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, potentially adding 12 SDIP points onto your driving record — the highest number of points possible. 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 North Carolina 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 high premiums, regardless of whether they are part of the reinsurance facility. In fact, drivers with DWIs or other similar convictions could see their car insurance premiums increase by 298 percent on average, according to average rates from Quadrant Information Services. Additionally, severe driving violations can result in loss of driving privileges.

Frequently asked questions

    • 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.
    • You do not need SR-22 insurance in North Carolina, no matter what your circumstances. Instead, the state utilizes a form called the DL-123, which is roughly the same thing as SR-22 insurance. If your situation requires that you have DL-123 insurance, you will be able to request this form from your insurer. The carrier will generate the necessary form and submit it directly to the North Carolina DMV. You should not have to take any steps beyond requesting the document from your insurance company.
    • 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.
    • Yes, you can get car insurance if your license is suspended in North Carolina, but it may be more challenging and expensive. Insurance companies typically view drivers with a suspended license as high-risk, leading to higher premiums. You might need to file an SR-22 form (DL-123 in North Carolina) to prove you have the required coverage. Although you can purchase a policy while your license is suspended, it is essential to inform the insurance company of your situation to ensure you are meeting all legal requirements. Additionally, having insurance during your suspension period can help you avoid further penalties and make it easier to reinstate your license once you meet the state’s conditions for reinstatement.
    • DL-123 insurance forms are unique to North Carolina, but other states have similar forms that are issued for drivers requiring them. The most common of these is the SR-22, which is required in many states for drivers who have had their license suspended. Generally, these forms are submitted to the state’s DMV to prove that the individual named does have the required minimum amount of auto insurance to be on the road legally. Although SR-22s are the most common type, Virginia and Florida issue a similar form called the FR-44, while Maryland’s version is called the FR-19 and Indiana has the SR-50. Each state’s certificate has rules and restrictions that are unique to that location.