If you received a court order or letter from the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security instructing you to file an SR-22, you might not know what that means or how to follow those instructions.
There is a lot of confusion around SR22s. Some people believe it’s a special type of insurance and will search for such things as, “SR22 insurance Tennessee,” “Tennessee sr22 insurance,” or “cheap sr22 insurance Tennessee” for information.
However, a Tennessee SR22 is not a type of insurance, and you do not need a new type of insurance if you already have a policy. In fact, an SR22 is not even unique. There are many forms like it across the U.S., and each has its own cost.
What is “SR-22 insurance?”
An SR-22 in Tennessee is proof of insurance. It is not insurance by itself. It is often required after such offenses as:
- Driving without insurance (DWI)
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
- Too many at-fault accidents within one year
- Too many speed violations within one year
In Tennessee, an SR-22 can be demanded by either Tennessee’s Department of Safety or by a court. Regardless of who makes it a requirement, it is your insurance provider that will fulfill the obligation on your behalf by sending an SR-22 to the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security. There is no form for you to fill out. Your only obligation is to tell your insurance provider that you need an SR-22 sent.
SR-22 Tennessee alternatives
Tennessee does not have any alternatives to an SR-22. However, if you’re coming from another state, you may still have obligations implemented against you that you still need to fulfill. Some of them are similar to an SR-22 while others are not.
|Form||States issued||Required insurance minimums|
|SR-22||All states except: Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oklahoma||Standard liability; click here for a full list of each state’s minimum insurance requirements.|
|SR-19||California, Texas||Standard liability|
|SR-21||Florida, Georgia, Indiana||Standard liability|
|SR-22A||Georgia, Texas, Missouri||Standard liability, but 6 months of insurance must be prepaid.|
|FR-44||Florida, Virginia||Double liability|
- SR-19: Texas and California both currently use SR-19s, but the functions in each state are different. In Texas, it’s payment agreement between an at-fault driver without insurance and the injured party. It is a legally binding document kept on file with the DMV. In California, it’s confirmation that an at-fault driver does not have insurance. This form is needed for the injured party to receive uninsured motorist coverage.
- SR-21: A form verifying that you had insurance before an accident where there was bodily injury, death, or physical property damage totalling more than $1,000.
- SR-22A: Often required after repeat DWI offenses. Similar to an SR-22, but it requires six months worth of payments at a time instead of a standard monthly payment.
- FR-44: Like an SR-22, FR-44s show financial responsibility, but unlike SR-22s they often demand the driver have double liability coverage.
- SR-50: Used in Indiana, an SR-50 shows financial responsibility and is requested after a driver has had too many moving violations within the same year, an accident report has been filed with the DMV or the driver has been convicted of a DWI after a moving violation.
It’s possible to fulfill your SR22 requirement by getting non-owner insurance. This is a good option if you don’t own a car but have been ordered to get insurance to keep your license. Typically, a non-owner policy is cheaper than a regular policy because you’re not actually insuring a car.
If you frequently rent or borrow someone else’s car, and you’ve been ordered to get an SR-22 certificate, a non-owner policy will potentially enable you to both keep your license and save money on car insurance.
SR-22A in Tennessee
Though Tennessee does not administer SR-22As, it’s possible you could still have the requirement after you’ve moved to Tennessee from another state.
An SR-22A has a lot of similarities to a regular SR-22. Both the SR-22A and SR-22 show current and future financial responsibility, and both are required after committing a driving offense, such as a DWI or DUI.
An SR-22A differs from a regular SR-22 in that it is most often used for repeat offenders. If you’ve been caught driving without insurance multiple times and have failed to comply with a previous court judgment, a judge may effectively give you a second chance with an SR-22A instead of revoking your license. The drawback, however, is that you must prepay six months worth of insurance at a time for three years.
SR-22 Tennessee insurance costs
Your insurance provider may charge you a higher rate for having an SR-22 requirement. The good news is that if your driving record is relatively clean, the cost difference shouldn’t be that much. Progressive, for example, states that the national average for an SR-22 increase is only 5%. Of course, if you have long lapses in coverage, or have also been recently convicted of a DUI, the increase may be significantly more. (Read: Average Cost of Car Insurance in 2021)
There are also filing fees involved. Your provider may charge you a one-time filing fee to send certification to the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security. Costs vary with each provider, but expect this fee to be between $15 and $35.
How long do I need an SR-22 in Tennessee?
It depends on your offense. It’s possible you might have an SR-22 requirement for up to five years. However, after you’ve had it for three years you may call theTennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security and ask to have it removed.
How do I get SR-22 insurance in Tennessee?
If you already have a provider, you simply need to speak with a representative and tell them you need an SR-22 sent to the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security.
If you don’t have a provider, you first need to find an insurance company that is willing to insure drivers who need an SR-22. Most national providers do this without issue. You may have problems with smaller companies, so before you fill out an application with a local provider you should first confirm that it offers SR-22 certificates.
How much does SR-22 insurance cost in Tennessee?
Remember: SR-22s are not insurance but are instead certificates of insurance. The only cost you need to be concerned about is the filing fee your insurance provider will charge you to send an SR22 to the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security. These range between $15 and $35.
Of course, having an SR-22 requirement means your driving history has recently obtained a few negative entries. If you were recently convicted of a DUI, for example, the cost of a policy may rise significantly. (Read: The Best Car Insurance Companies for 2021)
What happens if my insurance provider cancels my policy?
Unless you are able to obtain a new insurance provider, both your license and vehicle registration will be revoked.
If I move out of state, will I still have an SR-22 requirement?
Yes, the SR-22 requirement remains in effect for 3-5 years, depending on the sentence. If you fail to maintain minimum insurance, your license and vehicle registration will be revoked no matter where you live.