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You might need to get an SR-22 in South Carolina if your driver’s license gets suspended following a serious infraction, like a DUI. Although you may hear people talk about “SR-22 insurance” in South Carolina, an SR-22 isn’t actually a type of insurance, but rather a certificate that proves you carry the minimum amount of required car insurance in the state. An SR-22 stays on your record for several years, during which time your car insurance premium will be more expensive.
What is “SR-22 insurance?”
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.
SR-22 South Carolina alternatives
South Carolina only requires drivers to carry an SR-22 after a serious accident or violation that results in license suspension. However, other states use SR-22 alternatives to verify drivers’ proof of insurance coverage. The type of certificate required can depend on the type of violation, the financial responsibility requirements and the number of offenses.
Here are some common SR-22 alternatives you will find in other states:
|Form||States issued||Required insurance minimums|
|SR-22||Every state except Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New, Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania||State minimum insurance coverage|
|SR-19||California and Texas||State minimum uninsured motorist (UM) coverage|
|SR-21||Florida, Georgia and Indiana||State minimum insurance coverage|
|SR-22A||Georgia, Texas and Missouri||State minimum insurance coverage|
|FR-44||Florida and Virginia||State minimum coverage with higher liability insurance limits|
|SR-50||Indiana||State minimum insurance coverage|
- SR-19: California and Texas both use SR-19 forms. If a driver gets hit by an uninsured motorist and wants to file a claim with their insurance company, they have to file an SR-19 first.
- SR-21: SR-21 forms are used in Florida, Georgia and Indiana. If a driver gets into a serious accident or receives a traffic violation, the SR-21 form is used to verify their insurance coverage at the time of the incident.
- SR-22A: Georgia, Texas and Missouri use SR-22A forms, which are essentially the same as a standard SR-22. The SR-22A form is required in order for a driver to reinstate their driving privileges after a serious violation.
- FR-44: The only states that use FR-44 forms are Florida and Virginia. The FR-44 is similar to an SR-22, but an FR-44 requires drivers to carry more liability coverage than the state minimum.
- SR-50: SR-50 forms are used in Indiana only. The SR-50 form is used to verify a driver’s car insurance coverage if they get into an accident or receive any traffic violation that gets reported to the Indiana BMV. This form is not necessarily tied to license suspension.
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.
To find cheap SR-22 insurance in South Carolina, call a few insurance providers that offer SR-22s and ask about their filing fee. Choose the company that charges the cheapest filing fee, even if it is not your personal car insurance provider. You might also consider shopping around for new car insurance quotes during this time. If you can find a cheaper premium than you’re currently paying, you might be able to avoid a big rate increase.