South Carolina may require you to temporarily get an SR-22 if you have recently had your license suspended or have been convicted of a serious traffic offense, like a DUI. An SR-22 isn’t insurance, but rather a certificate confirming you comply with South Carolina’s minimum insurance laws after being labeled a high-risk driver. In essence, it’s a way to ensure you have coverage in case you become a repeat offender. If you have a less-than-perfect driving record in South Carolina, you may want to learn more about how many years you must maintain your SR-22 in South Carolina and what implications an SR-22 might have on your insurance costs during that duration.

What is SR-22 insurance in SC?

If your driver’s license gets suspended in South Carolina, you will likely need to pay to have an SR-22 filed on your behalf. An SR-22 is a special type of proof of insurance and not a type of insurance, itself. It certifies that you carry the minimum amount of car insurance required in South Carolina, which is represented as 25/50/25. That includes the following personal liability coverages:

  • $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person
  • $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident
  • $25,000 in property damage liability coverage per accident

However, a South Carolina SR-22 is only a requirement for high-risk drivers. This may include drivers who get their license suspended, receive a serious traffic violation, get caught driving without car insurance, get convicted of a DUI or cause an accident that results in fatalities or injuries.

The process of obtaining an SR-22 is relatively simple, but not all car insurance companies offer it. If your personal car insurance provider does not offer SR-22 filing, look for a carrier that specializes in non-standard insurance. You will be asked to fill out some paperwork and pay a filing fee. Finally, the insurance company will send the document to the South Carolina DMV.

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SR-22 South Carolina alternatives

While some other states offer alternatives to SR-22s after a serious accident or violation, South Carolina does not require any form other than an SR-22.

Non-owner SR-22

If you are borrowing someone else’s vehicle at the time of the violation, you could be required to purchase a certificate called a non-owner SR-22. As the name suggests, this form is only required if you lose your license and do not have your own car. The insurance requirements for non-owner SR-22 insurance are the same as standard SR-22s.

SR-22 South Carolina insurance costs

In South Carolina, it usually costs less than $50 to file an SR-22 certificate. The exact cost varies slightly based on the insurance company. If your license has been suspended, you will also have to pay a $100 license reinstatement fee.

Drivers who have an SR-22 on their record will also pay higher-than-average car insurance rates, especially those convicted of a drug- or alcohol-related offense. South Carolina drivers who get caught without insurance will also usually pay a high premium when they go to purchase a policy, even with liability-only coverage.

Fortunately, an SR-22 does not stay on your driving record forever. Depending on the infraction, you may be required to have an SR-22 for three to five years. Once the SR-22 is removed from your record, you no longer have to pay to have the certificate filed and your car insurance rate should return to normal.

Frequently asked questions

    • Drivers who are required to purchase South Carolina SR-22 insurance will have the certificate on their record for a minimum of three years. It is possible that you would need to have the certificate on your record for longer than three years depending on the type of violation and the number of offenses or repeat offenses you have committed.
    • To get SR-22 insurance proof in South Carolina, you will need to request a certificate from your car insurance company, or an insurer that offers SR-22s. You may need to fill out some basic paperwork and pay the filing fee. If you do not have insurance, you will need to buy a policy. The last step is for the insurance company to file the SR-22 form with the South Carolina DMV. You will receive a confirmation once the paperwork has been processed.
    • SR-22s in South Carolina are not expensive. You will pay a small filing fee, which is usually less than $50. Remember that SR-22 insurance is not actually a true form of insurance, so factors like your age, credit score, ZIP code, gender and the type of car you drive have no impact on the SR-22 cost. If you are required to have an SR-22, the violation that led to the requirement is likely to drive up your car insurance rates, sometimes significantly. The average cost of car insurance in South Carolina can vary significantly depending on several factors, so the best way to see how much you’ll pay is to request a quote.
    • Technically speaking, an SR-22 is not insurance. It is a certificate issued by your insurance company to the South Carolina DMV confirming you have coverage. That said, it generally costs less than $50 to file an SR-22, plus roughly $100 to reinstate your license if it was suspended in the process. While drivers typically enjoy below-average car insurance costs in South Carolina, it’s generally not the case if you have an SR-22 on your record. Needing an SR-22 means you’ve been convicted of a severe traffic offense, meaning insurers view you as high-risk and may charge higher premiums. In fact, some insurers don’t even offer coverage to drivers with an SR-22 due to the risk. So, although your choices may be a little more limited, getting quotes from multiple providers is crucial. This can help you find the provider that offers the least painful rate hike in response to your South Carolina SR-22 insurance requirements.
    • Failure to maintain insurance coverage during your SR-22 period may result in your license being suspended or revoked. Your SR-22 is overseen by both your insurance provider and the South Carolina DMV. Any lapse in coverage will immediately prompt communication between these two parties, ensuring they are informed immediately. Additionally, if your car insurance lapses, you may pay more for car insurance when you decide to purchase it again.