Saving Money on SR-22 Insurance Rates
It’s no secret that SR-22 insurance is far more expensive than regular insurance. That’s why it’s important to understand what you’re working with exactly and the factors at play to determine your rate. By shopping around with different providers, you have a much better shot at finding cheap SR-22 insurance in your state.
How Long Will an SR-22 Be Required?
Most states require an SR-22 to be on your record for three years. This could last longer depending on how serious the offense you’ve been convicted of is. Subsequent offenses could translate to a longer SR-22 period as well. 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, a third offense a 10-year period, and so on.
How Do Offenses on My Record Affect My SR-22 Insurance Rate?
The higher your riskiness as perceived by the insurer, the higher your SR-22 insurance premiums will be since insurers are banking on your premiums, paying at least what you will cost them. If you are being penalized for a serious traffic offense or even for multiple offenses, this can be a big red flag to insurers.
An SR-22 is not in itself an insurance policy. Rather, it’s simply a form the state requires your insurer to fill out and share with them, assuring them you have at least the required minimum coverage. It will also alert them in real-time if you lapse on your insurance, cancel your policy, or fail to pay your premiums.
Below are some of the most common offenses that cause drivers to need SR-22 insurance. Each of these can have a different effect on the cost of your premiums:
1. Driving Without Insurance Coverage
If you get convicted of driving without insurance multiple times, you may lose your license. You will need an SR-22 to get back on the road after this offense.
It is illegal under federal law to drive without a certain minimum amount of insurance. Individual state governments set their own minimum coverage limits. Driving without insurance can lead to extreme financial burdens for individuals and the economy as a whole, as at any moment, an uninsured driver could cause extremely expensive damages and injuries.
The charges escalate if you happen to get into an accident while driving without insurance. If you are not carrying insurance, an accident with tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage and medical bills could potentially lead to lawsuits. This is usually the course of action when the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, as the insured party’s policy provider will want to recoup their costs. For the at-fault driver, this can result in expensive lawsuits and even repossession of assets like their home.
2. Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
A DUI is one of the most serious crimes a driver can commit, and though the penalties for a first offense are relatively severe, they only grow more so with repeated offenses. A DUI typically involves mandatory jail time, expensive fines, license suspension, community service, and an alcohol-related course. The mandatory driver’s license suspension period can last more than a year in certain states.
With SR-22 insurance (often called DUI insurance), you have the chance to get back behind the wheel and demonstrate good behavior in order to work toward normality again. SR-22 insurance is a crucial step for those dealing with a DUI on their record.
3. Reckless Driving on the Road
SR-22 insurance is usually required for reckless and negligent driving charges. This broad category of offenses includes violations such as excessive speeding, passing through stop signs or traffic lights without stopping, or aggressively changing lanes and weaving through traffic.
If the court finds you guilty of reckless driving, you will likely be ordered to carry an SR-22 form with you. This is an absolutely necessary step to follow when you want to return to the road. You must maintain unbroken car insurance coverage during the SR-22 period. Any lapses in coverage could reset the entire process. By keeping coverage and avoiding new moving violations, you are demonstrating better driving behavior to the state.
4. A Restricted License
You may be able to get a restricted driving permit, otherwise known as a hardship license, to get to and from absolutely essential locations like school, work, and your children’s activities. This permit allows you to only travel between your home and a prespecified set of locations such as your job, your school, etc.
If your penalty period includes a mandatory “hard suspension” — that is, a period in which you are not allowed to drive for any reason — you’ll have to wait until the end of this period to apply. A hard suspension usually lasts around one month. Your insurer will need to file an SR-22 with the state for you to have a hardship license.
5. License Revocation or Suspension
If you’ve had a DUI, have been caught driving without insurance, or had any other serious violation, it’s possible that your license may have been suspended or revoked. A suspended license is a major headache, and you will want to take whatever steps you can to get it reinstated.
In order to do so, your insurance company has to file an SR-22 form. A DUI-related charge may necessitate attending alcohol classes. 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.
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How Much Does SR-22 Insurance Cost?
Although SR-22 insurance generally only provides the bare minimum amount of coverage, you are still likely to pay roughly twice as much for it as you would for regular insurance. The reason is that insurers take on a good deal of extra risk for high-risk policies, and since an SR-22 is only required for the highest-risk drivers on the road, this translates to higher insurance premiums.
Some states have dramatically higher SR-22 insurance rates than others. For example, Michigan’s average SR-22 insurance is several times higher than that of Maine. In addition, the relative difference between SR-22 insurance and regular insurance can vary significantly. In some states, SR-22 insurance is only a couple hundred dollars more expensive; in others, it’s several thousand dollars more. The number and types of offenses on your record will also play a huge role in this.
Tips for Finding Cheap SR-22 Insurance
The following steps can help you find cheaper SR-22 insurance to better suit your budget:
1. Take a Defensive Driving Course
You may already be required to complete a defensive driving course as part of your state-mandated penalties. This is more than just a necessary step — it can also serve you well when it comes time to shop for SR-22 insurance. To an insurance company, a high-risk driver who has completed a defensive driving course may be a slightly less risky customer to take on.
If your license has been suspended, mention that you have taken a defensive driving course when shopping for your SR-22 insurance.
2. Find the Lowest SR-22 Insurance Cost by Shopping Around
You should compare insurance quotes among several different providers to land on the lowest rate. Many insurance companies use their own in-house algorithms for determining risk. This means you may turn out to be perceived as less risky for certain insurers who may be able to offer you a better rate.
Note that your SR-22 will need to be filed with the state before you can have your license reinstated — and this is a process that’s entirely handled by your insurer. Give yourself some time to find the right company. The SR-22 will set up communication with the state, giving them the assurance that you are insured. It will also notify them if you lapse on your insurance.
3. Pay Your Fees on Time
Fees for a serious traffic offense can be considerable, but putting them off will only make your problems worse. It’s best to pay off your fines as soon as you can, though you will have the option of setting up a payment plan to pay them back over time if necessary. Whatever you do, don’t ignore them!
Will a Non-Owners SR-22 Insurance Policy Save Me Money?
Yes, a non-owners SR-22 insurance policy is the cheapest option for high-risk drivers. However, you should be aware of the eligibility criteria for a non-owner SR-22 insurance policy, limiting who it makes sense for. For example, as a policyholder, you cannot own a car. You also are not allowed to live in a household with another person who owns one.
Another stipulation is that if the state has mandated you to use an ignition interlock device, you cannot qualify for this type of insurance. The ideal scenario for non-owners SR-22 insurance is for a friend or family member to be willing to lend you their car every so often.
Find Cheap SR-22 Insurance With SR-22 Adviser
No matter what your traffic offense may have been, let SR-22 Adviser help you find cheap, reliable SR-22 insurance to move past it. We help you get back on the road and move closer to begin putting this difficult period behind you. Visit our website to get a quote and start the important process of shopping for the best deal available.