If you had your license suspended, you might need to purchase SR-22 insurance to get it reinstated. An SR-22 is a document that gets attached to your car insurance policy to confirm you carry the minimum amount of insurance required in your state. In some places, SR-22s are mandated for high-risk drivers, specifically those charged with a DUI/DWI.
Needing an SR-22 is never a good thing. It usually means you’ve broken the law, or have a history of at-fault accidents. However, all drivers should understand how SR-22 insurance works. In this article, we’ll detail SR-22 insurance, who needs it, where you can get it and how much it will cost you.
What is SR-22 insurance?
Despite what the name may suggest, SR-22 insurance isn’t a type of car insurance policy. An SR-22 is a document that’s added to your car insurance policy and states that you hold the minimum required amount of car insurance in your state. It’s also referred to as a certificate of financial responsibility.
If you commit a serious traffic offense, your state’s department of motor vehicles will notify you that you need to purchase SR-22 insurance. This can be done through an auto insurance provider. After a few years, the violation will fall off your driving record, and the SR-22 will be removed from your insurance policy.
Why would you need an SR-22?
Typically, adding an SR-22 component to your existing insurance isn’t done voluntarily. Instead, the state usually requires this documentation after you’ve had a serious driving incident in order to prove that you’re keeping your insurance in good standing at all times.
Some reasons why you may be required to have SR-22 Insurance include:
- If you’ve been charged with a DUI or DWI
- If you’ve been charged with reckless or negligent driving
- If you’ve been charged with multiple traffic offenses in a short time period
- If you’ve been caught driving without insurance
- If you were involved in an accident while driving without insurance
- If you were pulled over while not carrying your car insurance in your registered vehicle
- It’s sometimes required in order to obtain a probationary license
- It’s sometimes required in order to reinstate your license after a suspension
If you’re faced with an SR-22 insurance requirement, the good news is that it won’t last forever. Most states require you to carry it for three years, provided that adequate insurance is continuously maintained during that time. If there are lapses in coverage, the clock may start all over again on the requirement, or worse, your license could be revoked.
How do you get an SR-22?
Adding on SR-22 insurance should be fairly simple. In most cases, it’s a matter of calling up your insurance agent to inform them of the change or going online to add it on to your existing policy directly. From there, your car insurance company will take care of the rest. Though you’ll pay a fee for the additional service, your provider is responsible for filing the necessary paperwork with the state.
If your company does not give you the option to file an SR-22 form–you’ll want to verify that it isn’t called something else in your state–your best bet would be to find an insurance agent who specializes in working with high-risk drivers. He or she will be able to give you a better idea of your updated coverage options.
Keep in mind that even if you don’t have access to a car of your own at the moment, you may still be required to meet the SR-22 requirements. In that instance, you’ll want to get a non-owner SR-22 policy. It will cover you against any liability claims if you happen to get behind the wheel on occasion, and it will keep you up-to-date on your insurance requirement, but the SR-22 form will not cover any vehicles.
Companies that will file an SR-22
Getting an SR-22 isn’t as easy as purchasing regular car insurance. It’s risky for insurance companies to cover drivers who have a history of serious traffic violations. Because of that, not every insurance provider offers SR-22s. Here are some of the companies that do:
How much does an SR-22 cost?
Getting an SR-22 form filed on your behalf, in itself, won’t break the bank. Most of the time, adding this component onto your insurance policy is only a matter of paying a small fee. Though the exact fee will vary from state to state, you can expect to spend around $25 to fulfill this requirement.
Will an SR-22 increase your rates?
Ultimately, your insurance premium will increase if you have to get an SR-22. But it’s your infraction, the event that caused you to need SR-22 insurance in the first place, that will raise your premium. Sometimes your rate can change dramatically. For example, Finder estimates that your car insurance can increase by as much as $1,248 per year after a DUI. However, the amount will likely be less for a minor charge, such as driving without insurance.
The best thing that you can do to secure an affordable rate is to shop around. Just like shopping for your liability coverage, rates can vary widely between companies. You’ll want to collect a few different quotes and compare them before deciding which one fits you best.
What are the different state laws around SR-22s?
While most states use an SR-22 filing as assurance that you’re covered, not all of them follow this method. Eight states, including Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania do not. However, most still mandate you to meet specific minimum liability coverage amounts and some, like Minnesota, still require you to file proof of insurance with the state.
Additionally, if you get in trouble behind the wheel in Florida or Virginia, you’ll likely be required to have the insurance company file an FR-44 form with the state instead of an SR-22 form. For the most part, this form works very similarly to the SR-22, except it requires you to carry higher-than-normal insurance minimums in Virginia.
It’s important to note that, if you move out-of-state while under this restriction, you’ll still be subject to the SR-22 requirements of the state where your driving incident occurred. You’ll still have to maintain your SR-22 filing for as long as is mandated, even if your new state does not require such coverage. In this case, it’s best to work with a national insurance carrier that offers out-of-state SR-22 options.
Frequently asked questions
How much does an SR-22 cost?
On average, the cost of an SR-22 is about $25. However, the actual price varies based on the state and the insurance company that is providing your SR-22.
How long do I need to have an SR-22?
If you have to get an SR-22, it won’t be on your record forever. Typically, you’ll be required to carry it for three years, assuming that you don’t have any lapses in your insurance coverage.
Does my state require SR-22 insurance?
Currently, there are only eight states that do not follow the SR-22 system. Those states include Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. Also note that Florida and Virginia require high-risk drivers to carry FR-44 insurance, which is similar to an SR-22.