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What You Need to Know About SR-22 and Car Insurance

If you’ve recently been convicted of a DUI, you’re likely being confronted with an endless list of new and unfamiliar requirements to get your license back. Among these, there’s often an important insurance document known as an SR-22.

What is an SR-22?

In short, SR-22 refers to a form filed with your state to prove that you have adequate car insurance coverage. The “SR” stands for “Safety Responsibility.”

Do I Need an SR-22 and Regular Car Insurance?

Yes. Though you may hear about “SR-22 insurance,” keep in mind that SR-22 refers only to the form that needs to be filed with the state. However, you will need to inform your car insurance company as soon as you’re required to file an SR-22 so that they can file the form with the state and add the SR-22 endorsement to your policy.

If your current car insurance company doesn’t provide SR-22s—not all of them do—then you will need to shop for a new policy with a new car insurance company.

How Do I Know if I Need an SR-22?

If you need an SR-22, it will be ordered by the court at a hearing or by your state through a letter from your state DMV. Otherwise, you do not need an SR-22, and the cards provided by your insurance can serve as adequate proof of car insurance.

Usually, you will be ordered to file an SR-22 if the following applies to you:

  • DUI or DWI conviction
  • Caught driving uninsured or underinsured
  • Caught driving with an expired license, or no license at all
  • Multiple at-fault accidents
  • Repeat traffic offenses within a short amount of time (for example, speeding tickets)
  • Excessive points on your license

How Do I File an SR-22?

An SR-22 can only be filed by a car insurance company. Before the car insurer files the SR-22 for you, they will need to make sure that your insurance coverage meets the minimum coverage requirements.

Once your car insurer files the SR-22 with the state, the state DMV will reinstate your license if you’ve met all the other requirements for reinstatement (for example, fines and community service).

Does My Car Insurer Need to Know that I Need an
SR-22 Certificate?

Yes. In fact, only your car insurer can file the SR-22 for you, even if your current car insurance policy meets the minimum coverage requirements. In many cases, your car insurer is also required by law to notify your state DMV if your insurance lapses while you still have to carry an SR-22 certificate.

If you’re ordered to file an SR-22, it’s best to be upfront with your current insurer about your situation so that you can comply with your legal obligations as quickly as possible.

Does an SR-22 Certificate Require Different Insurance Coverage Requirements?

Usually not. An SR-22 certificate shows that you have the same state minimum coverage that applies to everyone else. But in two states—Florida and Virginia—you may be required to file an FR-44 form instead. In these cases, you will need to show proof that your insurance policy meets higher coverage limits.

Do I Need an SR-22 Certificate for My Collision Insurance?

No. An SR-22 certificate is only needed to prove minimum liability coverage required by law. However, you may be required to maintain collision insurance for other reasons, such as if you’re leasing a car.

If you need to switch your car insurer because your current one doesn’t offer SR-22 filings, remember to get quotes for other insurance policies too. Most insurance companies offer better prices when you purchase multiple policies through them.

How Much Does It Cost to File an SR-22 Form?

In most cases, the cost of an SR-22 form is about $25, with some states charging additional fees.

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Will My Insurance Premium Go Up if I Need to File an SR-22?

Because of the circumstances involved with requiring an SR-22—whether it’s a DUI conviction or too many at-fault accidents—it’s likely that your current car insurer will significantly raise your insurance premium because you’ll be considered a risky driver. It’s not uncommon for insurance rates to increase by $1,000 – $10,000, and a premium that was once a great deal may suddenly become unaffordable. That’s why it’s a good idea to shop around for new insurance policies if you just received an order to file an SR-22. As you compare prices, make sure that all auto insurance quotes are considering the SR-22 filing requirements.

Also, keep in mind that your policy premium is still affected by other factors such as your age, where you live, how often you drive, and whether you pay the premium upfront or in installments.

What Happens if My Insurance Lapses While I Need to Carry an SR-22 Certificate?

In most cases, the insurance company is required by law to notify the state DMV when your insurance lapses while needing to carry an SR-22 certificate. Your license will then most likely be suspended until you have an active policy again. You may also face additional penalties, such as loss of vehicle registration.

Do I Need to File an SR-22 if I Don’t Own a Car?

If a court or the state DMV has ordered you to file an SR-22, you’ll need to comply to avoid having your license suspended and facing other serious consequences.

If you don’t own a car, then it’s possible to take out a non-owner car insurance policy, which covers you when you’re borrowing or renting a car. Once your non-owner insurance is active, the insurance company can then file the SR-22 form with the state.

One benefit of non-owner car insurance is that it’s typically cheaper than regular car insurance. However, if you own or lease a car or live with someone who owns or leases a car, you must take out a regular car insurance policy.

Visit our guides and tips to learn more about how to secure a non-owner car insurance policy today.

What Happens if I’m Required to File an SR-22 Outside of My State of Residence?

If, for example, you’re convicted of a DUI while visiting or driving through another state, then you will need to file the SR-22 in the state where you were convicted of the offense. This means that you will need to prove adequate insurance coverage according to that state’s minimum requirements—even if your home state has lower minimum coverage limits!

In addition, your car insurance company will need to be able to business both in your state of residence and in the state where you need to file the SR-22.

If this situation applies to you, our insurance partner can provide you with a customized car insurance quote to meet your specific needs.

What Happens if I Move to Another State?

Your obligation to carry an SR-22 certificate doesn’t disappear when you move out of the state. You will still need to file the SR-22 with the first state to prove adequate insurance coverage according to the first state’s minimum requirements—even if your new state has lower minimum coverage limits.

Once you’ve carried the SR-22 certificate for the required amount of time, your policy can then be adjusted to meet your new state’s minimum requirements.

How Long Do I Need an SR-22 Certificate?

In most cases, you will need to carry an SR-22 certificate for about three years, but each state has its own requirements. Your state’s DMV can provide more detailed information.

It’s essential that you know exactly how long you need to carry the SR-22 certificate. For example, if you need to carry an SR-22 certificate for three years but forget to renew your insurance after two years and ten months, your car insurer will be required to report the lapse to the state DMV, who will then suspend your license. To get your license back, you may be required to carry an SR-22 certificate for an additional three years!

What Happens When I No Longer Need an SR-22 Certificate?

Once you’re absolutely sure that you no longer need to file an SR-22—again, it’s highly recommended that you contact your state DMV to be certain—, get in touch with your car insurance company. They can then remove the SR-22 endorsement from your policy. You may even see your premium go down!

Don’t Wait. File Your SR-22 Now and Get Back on the Road

If you just received an order to file an SR-22, now is the time to start shopping for a new car insurance policy. Get in touch with one of our partners for a quick, no-obligation insurance policy quote.

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