Following being convicted of a serious traffic offense, it’s safe to say that finances become a bit strained from administrative fees, legal fees, and fines. With SR-22 insurance costing significantly more than regular insurance, it represents yet another hurdle — that’s why it’s important to ask: How can I find cheap cheap SR-22 insurance near me?
How Much More Expensive Is SR-22 Insurance Than Regular Insurance?
In general, you’ll pay about twice as much for SR-22 insurance compared with regular insurance. This is despite the fact that SR-22 insurance only provides minimal coverage. The reason for this higher price is that an SR-22 is required for the highest-risk drivers on the road — and for insurers, that means higher prices.
In some states, SR-22 insurance is much higher than in others. Michigan is an example of a state with extremely high insurance rates, while Maine tends to have the lowest. You’ll also find that SR-22 insurance can cost several thousand dollars more than regular insurance in some states, while in others, it may only cost several hundred dollars more. This will depend on where you live and what type of offenses are on your record.
What Affects an SR-22 Insurance Rate?
In general, the cost of your SR-22 insurance will vary by how risky the insurer determines you to be as a policyholder. Having a serious traffic offense on your record is a big determining factor in this regard, and having multiple offenses is even more so.
Luckily, an SR-22 is there to help you get back on your feet. It assures the state that you have the required minimum coverage, allowing you to begin driving again — and if you can avoid further violations, start the process of regaining your driving privileges.
Here are some of the offenses that might cause you to need SR-22 insurance. These will likely affect your rates in different ways.
1. A DUI or DWI Charge
Getting a DUI is a particularly serious charge and only grows more serious with repeated offenses. Part of the reason is that it can involve jail time, missing work or school, and a mandatory driver’s license suspension period that can last more than a year in certain states.
The good news is that an SR-22 can help you regain some of the independence you have lost. With SR-22 insurance, you can get back on the road and start rebuilding your driving record.
2. You Were Recklessly Driving
Reckless driving and negligent driving are other categories of offenses that often result in SR-22 insurance. Reckless driving is a broad offense and can include excessive speeding, disregarding stop signs or traffic lights, or aggressive lane changing and weaving through traffic.
If you are convicted of reckless driving, the court will likely order you to carry an SR-22 form when you want to return to the road. If you maintain steady car insurance without lapses and avoid other moving violations, you demonstrate better driving behavior to the state.
3. In the Event You Have No Insurance
Federal law mandates that all drivers on the road have at least a certain minimum insurance coverage decided upon by individual state governments. When drivers do not carry insurance, it can result in big trouble when accidents occur — at any moment, an uninsured driver could cause extremely expensive damages and injuries. This is why driving without insurance is considered a serious offense.
If you get into an accident without insurance, this crime escalates significantly. An accident without insurance can result in tens of thousands of dollars of damage and medical bills that then potentially go unpaid because the guilty party cannot afford them. This can lead to crippling lawsuits and even repossession of assets like their home for the at-fault driver.
If you get convicted of driving without insurance multiple times, you may lose your license. Either way, you’ll need an SR-22 to get back on the road.
4. A Judge Revoked Your License
You may have had your license suspended or revoked following a DUI charge, driving without insurance, or other violations. Whatever the reason, you’ll likely want to return to your normal life as quickly as possible.
Doing so within the confines of the law will mean your insurance company has to file an SR-22 form. You may also need to attend alcohol classes if your suspension or revocation was due to alcohol-related charges. The state could also impose other requirements and order you to pay a number of fines and paperwork fees, which tend to be higher for alcohol-related charges.
5. A Required Hardship License
A restricted driving permit, or hardship license, may be granted if a defendant has absolute necessities they cannot attend to without their car. These could include driving to and from school, commuting to work, or taking children to and from school.
With a hardship license, you are only allowed to travel between your home and a particular set of locations, such as your job, your school, etc.
You will still need to wait until your hard suspension period is over, if there is one — this is a period in which you are not allowed to drive for any reason. This period often lasts around one month, during which you will have to arrange for rides or use public transportation. You can apply for this license as soon as the period is over. Your insurer will need to file an SR-22 with the state.
Find Cheap SR-22 Auto Insurance Quotes
How to Find Cheap SR-22 Insurance Near You
Ultimately, the insurance rate is up to the insurer. Fortunately, many different companies are offering SR-22 insurance. By shopping around and taking certain steps, you may be able to find cheaper insurance that works within your budget.
1. Complete a Defensive Driving Course
It may be that the state already requires you to complete a defensive driving class as part of your penalties. Even if the court does not require it, taking this type, of course, can help you when shopping for SR-22 or DUI insurance. It provides evidence that you are working to improve your driving habits. If you have a suspended license, a defensive driving course may help reduce your insurance premiums cost once you start shopping around for policies.
2. Shop Around for the Lowest SR-22 Insurance Cost
Among the most important factors in reducing your SR-22 insurance cost is shopping around online for different policies. You will find that different providers use different algorithms for calculating policy costs. As the consumer, this means you’ll be able to land the best deal by trying many different companies.
Your license cannot be reinstated until you have an SR-22 form filled out and filed with the state, and the insurance company handles this part of the process entirely. This form establishes communication between the insurer and the state, allowing the state to be alerted if you lapse on your insurance. It also serves as an assurance that you have the minimum coverage required by law.
3. Pay All of Your Fees
Fees and fines imposed by the court and the DMV are likely to be expensive, particularly for more serious charges. However, putting them off will only make your problems worse. To move on and regain your driving privileges, you need to have a plan to pay them. While it’s best to pay them all at once if possible, you can also set up a payment plan to pay them back over time.
How Long Will an SR-22 Be Required?
In general, you can expect an SR-22 to be required for three years. This may be longer depending on the seriousness of the offense you’ve been convicted of. Repeated offenses also translate to longer SR-22 requirements. In some cases, the amount of time an SR-22 is required doubles for every subsequent offense — for instance, a second offense might see a five-year SR-22 period, ten years for a third offense, and so on.
Will a Non-Owners SR-22 Insurance Policy Save Me Money?
Yes. Non-owners SR-22 insurance is the cheapest type of high-risk insurance policy available to defendants in these situations. However, know that your options will be limited with this type of policy. For instance, you cannot own a car or live in a household with someone who does.
You also cannot have a non-owner SR-22 policy if the state has mandated you to use an ignition interlock device. The best scenario for non-owners SR-22 insurance is to have a friend or family member who’s willing to lend you their car on occasion.