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What Is the Difference Between SR-22 and Regular Insurance?

You’ve probably heard of SR-22 insurance, but you may not know exactly what it is. Perhaps the state requires you to carry this type of insurance, or your friends have talked about it before.

Regardless, it’s important to know the difference between SR-22 and regular insurance coverage. What is an SR-22, why do you need it, and how much does it cost? How does it compare to other insurance coverage?

Here’s what you need to know about the difference between SR-22 and regular insurance.

What Is an SR-22?

So, what is an SR-22, exactly?

SR-22 is the name of the form that your insurance company completes and files with the state on your behalf. It guarantees that your insurance meets or exceeds the minimum requirements of state law.

For instance, perhaps your state requires that you carry minimum bodily injury coverage of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident, along with $15,000 of property damage liability. The SR-22 guarantees that you carry at least that amount of coverage, if not more.

However, this guarantee also comes with an obligation to let the state know if your insurance ever lapses. So you can’t simply start your policy to get the SR-22 filed and then let it cancel.

An SR-22 can be filed on an insurance policy you already hold, so you don’t necessarily have to start over with a new policy or new insurance company. However, your insurance rates will likely go up if you need an SR-22.

Why Would You Need an SR-22?

States have a variety of reasons for requiring this type of guarantee. Generally, it’s the result of a major violation such as reckless driving, getting a DUI, or another serious charge. Sometimes, however, a state will require an SR-22 if you’ve accumulated too many points on your license.

These severe charges or points usually lead to a license suspension, and after the suspension period ends, getting an SR-22 is a condition of getting your license back. If you get a provisional permit during your suspension, you’ll need an SR-22 for that as well.

You’ll have a deadline for getting the SR-22 filed, and you don’t want to wait until the last minute. It can take several business days for the insurance company to review your information and send the form to the state.

Once you have an SR-22, you’ll need to keep your insurance — and the guarantee — active for a period of time. This is usually three years. During that time, if your insurance cancels, you can expect penalties from the state. You might have to pay additional fines, or your license may be suspended again.

What Is the Difference Between SR-22 Insurance and Regular Coverage?

When you have an SR-22, you can have the same coverages you would have on a typical insurance policy. You’ll need to choose your liability limits, and if you need comprehensive and collision coverage, that’s available as well. You may also have access to emergency road service, rental reimbursement, and other additional coverages.

The biggest difference between SR-22 insurance and regular insurance is the risk rating. Generally, a policy with an SR-22 will be in a high-risk category. Some regular insurance is also high risk, but typical coverage may also be rated as a standard risk or a preferred policy.

High-risk policies cost more than other types of insurance, so you may need to make adjustments to ensure you can afford your policy. We’ll talk about how you can save money on your SR-22 insurance in a moment.

How Much Does an SR-22 Cost?

Cost is one of the primary concerns people have when they need to get an SR-22. The good news is that an SR-22 doesn’t cost much on its own. Usually, there’s a one-time SR-22 filing fee of around $25. You don’t have to pay that more than once unless your policy lapses and has to be reinstated.

An SR-22 insurance policy does cost more than regular insurance. This is partly because of the higher risk category that we mentioned earlier. High-risk insurance costs more than other coverage.

In addition, you’ll have surcharges on your policy for the tickets, getting a DUI, or other incidents that caused you to need an SR-22. The surcharge will depend on your insurer, and an incident usually affects your policy for three years. After three years, the extra charge falls off on your next renewal.

If you haven’t had any additional tickets or accidents in that time, you should see your insurance rate decrease. However, some serious charges — especially a DUI — can affect your risk rating for up to 10 years. As a result, even after the surcharges are gone, you may still have high-risk insurance.

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Choosing Your SR-22 Insurance

Because SR-22 insurance is similar to a regular policy, you have many of the same choices to make. Let’s look at some of the coverages you’ll see on your policy.

Liability Coverage

Liability coverage helps pay for injuries to others and damage to their property. This coverage is required by the state for your SR-22 to be issued.

You’ll need at least the state minimum requirements, but you may want to look at how much it would be to have higher coverage. The reason is that if you do more damage than your insurance covers, you personally have to pay for the rest of it. That can put your future, retirement savings, home, and more at risk.

Higher limits will have a higher premium, but it’s important to have enough liability coverage to protect yourself in case of an accident.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

If another person hits you and doesn’t have insurance, you can go after them personally. However, if they aren’t carrying insurance, they may not have any assets to cover your damages.

That’s where uninsured motorist coverage comes into play. If an uninsured driver hits you, this coverage helps pay for your injuries and property damage.

Collision Coverage

If you cause an accident, how do you get your own vehicle fixed? Collision coverage helps with that. The state does not require collision, but if you have a loan on your car, the bank will probably require it.

If you pay off your car, you can remove this coverage without affecting your SR-22. Also, you can choose whatever deductible makes the most sense for your budget. Remember that your deductible is the amount you have to pay for collision repairs, and your insurance pays the remainder.

Comprehensive Coverage

Comprehensive and collision coverage together create what many people call “full coverage.” Comprehensive pays to repair your vehicle for incidents that are not collisions. This includes hail, fire, vandalism, theft, and hitting a moving animal.

Comprehensive coverage is not required by the state but is usually required by the bank if you have a car loan. You can choose your deductible, just as you can with collision.

One way to save money on SR-22 insurance is to choose an older vehicle that doesn’t need collision and comprehensive coverage. If you can stick with just liability coverage, you’ll save significantly.

Additional Coverage

If you can afford it, you might consider purchasing emergency road service. This can help you get a tow truck if you break down on the road or need lockout service.

If you have comprehensive or collision coverage, you might want rental reimbursement as well. This helps pay for a rental car while your car is being repaired during a claim.

Be sure to get quotes for these coverage options and make the right choice based on your budget. Many times you’re looking to save if you have SR-22 insurance, so you might not decide these are worthwhile.


Can you save money on SR-22 insurance? Yes, you can!

Start by seeing if you can bundle your home and auto insurance with your insurance company. You may be able to get a multi-policy discount. If you have more than one car, get a quote for putting them both together on the same insurance policy — you can get a multi-car discount too.

Next, take a look at your memberships. Check with your insurer to see if you can get a discount based on your affiliations with organizations or schools. If you’re a student, you can also look into a good student discount.

Finally, you will probably benefit from taking a defensive driving class. The court-required DWI classes won’t count, but a voluntary defensive driving course will. You may be able to take it online!

Talk to your insurer about any other discounts that might be available.

Get Great Insurance Coverage Even With an SR-22

Having an SR-22 certificate on your insurance can be frustrating, but ultimately it helps you get back on the road. That means you can start rebuilding your safe driving history and move toward better insurance rates.

At SR-22 Adviser, we’re here to help you understand SR-22 insurance. If you have any questions or want to learn more, check out our glossary or contact our partner independent insurance agent at 877-822-2049!

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