SR-22 Requirements in Illinois
If you’ve recently been convicted of a serious traffic offense in Illinois, you’ll need to look into SR-22 insurance. Finding cheap SR-22 insurance in Illinois can be challenging, but it is possible if you know where to look and what steps to take to get the best rate possible. In this article, we’ll look at what SR-22 insurance is, why you might be required to carry it in Illinois, and how to find the best policy available.
What Is SR-22 Insurance?
SR-22 is not actually a type of insurance, despite the common phrase “SR-22 insurance.” Rather, an SR-22 is a certificate mandated by the state that your insurance carrier must fill out. An SR-22 is ordered in the event of serious traffic offenses and is required for high-risk drivers.
When an insurance company fills out an SR-22 form, it serves as proof that you have insurance and will take financial responsibility for any accidents or damage caused on the road (along with the insurer, of course). It also gives the DMV an automatic notification if you either change vehicles or cancel/lapse/don’t pay for your insurance.
Is SR-22 Insurance More Expensive Than Regular Insurance?
Yes, SR-22 insurance in Illinois tends to cost around twice as much as regular insurance. This is despite the fact that it only offers minimal coverage — the reason being that it is exclusively for the highest-risk drivers.
Typically, an SR-22 is mandated by a court or the state for a severe traffic violation, as discussed below. It is a means to get drivers back on the road who may have had their licenses suspended or revoked. An SR-22 provides a path forward toward regaining driving privileges and building back a driving record.
So although you could pay around twice as much for very basic coverage, high-risk insurance with an SR-22 form is necessary to get back in the good graces of the state and the DMV.
The Reasons Illinois Might Require You to Have an SR-22
In Illinois, the state or court might order you to have an SR-22 in order to drive if you have committed a serious traffic offense. This form will allow you to legally return to the road and work toward regaining your license. Think of an SR-22 as an opportunity; it is a path forward that helps you regain your independence and begin returning your life to normal. The following are some reasons you might need an SR-22:
1. You Got a DUI or DWI
If you are caught driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI), the charge and conviction are quite serious. In order to get back on the road, you’ll almost certainly need an SR-22 after a certain suspension period. Getting a DUI can be a traumatic experience, with high fines, jail time, and effects on your personal relationships, finances, and your professional life.
The following are penalties for getting a DUI in Illinois:
|Fine||Prison Time||Crime Classification|
|1||Up to $2,500||0 to 365 days|
|2||Up to $2,500||At least 5 days, or 240 hours of community service|
|3||Up to $25,000||3 to 7 years||Class 2 felony|
|4||Up to $25,000||3 to 7 years||Class 2 felony|
|5||Up to $25,000||4 to 15 years||Class 1 felony|
|6||Up to $25,000||6 to 30 years||Class X felony|
Clearly, these penalties are harsh, and the state will require you to take certain steps to regain your driving privileges. An SR-22 will be part of that requirement.
2. Driving Without Insurance
Federal law requires all drivers to be insured, and in Illinois, if you get caught without insurance, you will owe up to a $1,000 fine plus court fees. You will also have your license suspended for as much as three months, and it will cost $100 to get it back.
For multiple offenses of driving without insurance in Illinois, fees can range from $1,000 to $4,500. Other penalties will be harsher for repeat offenses as well. You can expect a four-month license suspension, and you will need to have an SR-22 form filed annually for three years.
3. Driving Without Insurance and Getting Into an Accident
If you are an uninsured motorist and you get into an accident, the penalties become even more pronounced. For those who get into this situation and already have two or more charges of driving without insurance on record, you will receive the normal fines, license suspension, and registration suspension. You will also receive an additional $2,500 fine if another person was injured in the accident.
You also open yourself up to lawsuits from the other party’s insurer to help cover their losses. Without insurance, the entirety of this financial burden will fall on you. You can also expect jail time depending on the severity of the accident.
An SR-22 will be required when the time comes for you to get back out on the road. This will alert the state if you lapse on your insurance, allowing them to monitor whether you are maintaining continuous coverage.
4. Reckless or Negligent Driving Charges
In Illinois, reckless driving and negligent driving are serious charges. The first reckless driving charge will be a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to $2,500 in fines and/or one year in jail. If the reckless driving charge results in an accident or death, the driver could face serious jail time and penalties.
After more than one reckless driving charge, the court is likely to mandate an SR-22 for you to be able to drive again. Remember that maintaining steady insurance with an SR-22 is the only way to begin cleaning up your record following a serious charge like this.
5. A Suspended or Revoked License
If you have had your license suspended or revoked, you’ll want to work on restoring your driving privileges as soon as possible. To do so, your insurance company will need to fill out an SR-22 form and file it with the state. You should receive a letter from the Illinois DMV outlining what you need to do to have your license reinstated. You may need to take a defensive driving course and pass the test as a prerequisite to getting SR-22 insurance in Illinois.
In the event your license suspension was due to alcohol-related charges, the court will likely order you to attend a course on alcohol abuse. It may also be the case that you need to fulfill other requirements as well, and any paperwork you submit is likely to require a fee. Fees are generally higher for alcohol-related offenses.
When you’re looking for SR-22 insurance in Illinois, be honest with the insurance agent. They need to know the details about your driving history and criminal record in order to give you a useful quote on SR-22 insurance.
6. Driving With a Hardship License
A restricted driving permit, or hardship license, gives you limited access to driving a car if your license has been suspended, but you have essential tasks you must complete. This could include getting to school, work, the grocery store, and other day-to-day essentials. If you have passed the “hard suspension” phase of your sentence, you may be eligible to apply for a hardship license.
With a hardship license, you can travel to and from certain locations to take care of your necessities. Your hard suspension period, in which you will not be able to drive under any circumstances, is likely to last for around one month. After this period is over, you’ll be able to submit your application for a hardship license.
A hardship license will likely require an SR-22 form to assure the DMV that you are carrying up-to-date insurance meeting minimum coverage requirements.
Find Cheap SR-22 Auto Insurance Quotes
How to Find Cheap SR-22 Insurance in Illinois
You may have been convicted of one of the above charges and want to develop a strategy to get back on the road. An SR-22 will be a necessary part of that strategy. However, getting SR-22 insurance in Illinois can seem prohibitively expensive. That’s why it’s important to have a strategy for getting the lowest SR-22 insurance possible in order to get back into good standing with the DMV. The following are helpful steps you can take:
1. Take a Defensive Driving Class
It may be that a defensive driving class is already required as a prerequisite for getting your license reinstated. By enrolling in one, attending the classes, and passing the final test, you may find it easier to find affordable SR-22 insurance in Illinois. For example, you may have received a reckless driving charge. A defensive driving course is more than a token activity — you are likely to learn some surprising and useful safety tips to be a better driver. When you pass the exam, the court may see you as more likely to practice safe driving techniques on the road.
It tends to work the same way for insurance companies. When you take a defensive driving class, insurers — who are risking a loss by backing your driving financially — will see this as a sign you are working toward better driving habits. This means less risk and lower premiums.
We also recommend checking out different DUI schools and learning more about organizations like MADD and SafeRide America. Be clear about what is required of you, and take that next important step toward regaining your mobility.
2. Shop Around for Different SR-22 Insurance Providers
The best way to find cheap SR-22 insurance in Illinois is by searching online. You’ll find that prices between different insurers can vary substantially. Providers can also be flexible in their pricing depending on the details of your charges and the steps you’re taking to overcome them.
You will need to secure your SR-22 bond before your license is given back to you, and since the insurance company must fill this form out for you and send it to the DMV, you’ll need to find and sign up with an insurance company before you can regain your license. The SR-22 form guarantees the DMV that your coverage meets the minimum requirements mandated by the state. The form also establishes a clear line of communication so the DMV will know if there’s a lapse in your coverage (which could cause the whole process to restart).
You want to find a company that caters its insurance policy to those in need of an SR-22. Look for this attention to the customer’s needs when shopping.
3. Pay the Fees in a Lump Sum or Set Up a Payment Plan
You will find there are additional fees associated with this process, usually originating from the court or from the DMV. You will need to pay these fees to move forward. If you cannot afford them all at once, you should set up a payment plan to pay them back over time. Whatever you do, don’t ignore them — this can set you back significantly.
How Long Will I Need My SR-22?
According to the Driver Services Department of the Office of the Secretary of State, you will need to hold your SR-22 uninterrupted for a minimum of three years. If you cancel or lapse in your policy at any time during this process, your driver’s license will be immediately suspended.
Is Non-Owners SR-22 Insurance Cheaper in Illinois?
Yes, you can save money on SR-22 insurance by signing up for a non-owners policy. This is the cheapest option for those seeking coverage after a serious traffic violation. However, it is not available to everyone and comes with a certain set of restrictions.
The first restriction for non-owners SR-22 insurance is that you cannot own a car. Many defendants sell their vehicles after major traffic infractions since the car will be dead weight for the duration of their license suspension. In this case, you would need to have a friend or family member who is willing to loan you their car on occasion to take care of certain necessities.
The second restriction is that no one in your household can own a car either. The logic behind this is that non-owners SR-22 insurance relies on you not driving frequently, and if a car is too easily accessible, you may wind up being on the road too often. The lower price of this insurance is due to lower risk for the insurer — if you’re not on the road as much, you have a lower likelihood of being involved in an accident.
The third restriction is that you can’t have non-owners SR-22 insurance if the state has ordered you to use an ignition interlock device.
How to Find the Best SR-22 Insurance in Illinois
SR-22 Adviser is here to help you find cheap, reliable SR-22 insurance in Illinois. This means you can get back on the road and closer to putting this difficult period behind you. Visit our website to get a quote from our insurance partner and start the important process of shopping for the best deal available.