What Is SR22 Insurance? Do I Need It?
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- What is it?
- Who needs it?
- What’s covered?
- Where to find
- How to get
- Not necessary
- How long?
- Are all cars covered?
- Cheap insurance
If your license has been suspended, you’ve gotten in more than one at-fault accident, or if you’ve racked up more than your fair share of speeding tickets, your state may require you to get SR22 insurance. An SR22 certificate is a document that you or your insurance company files with the state.
Should SR22 insurance be on your radar?
Here’s everything you need to know.
What is SR22 insurance?
Although SR22 insurance is referred to as insurance, it’s actually not a form of insurance. An SR22, aka a “certificate of financial responsibility,” is a document that proves you have the minimum amount of auto liability coverage required by law.
In other words, by filing an SR22 form, your insurer is guaranteeing to the state that you are maintaining coverage and that you will be financially responsible for any automotive accidents where you are deemed at-fault. The insurer is also required to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) or the Automobile Liability Insurance Reporting (ALIR) system if you fail to maintain the required amount of coverage.
An SR22 requirement lasts anywhere from one to five years. Failure to have an SR22 certificate on file when mandated by the state could result in having your license suspended and losing your vehicle registration. An SR22 may not be a form of insurance, but having a driving infraction that leads to an SR22 requirement will definitely impact your insurance costs and negatively affect your ability to get cheap car insurance. According to Insurance.com, drivers with an SR22 pay roughly 89% more for their car insurance policies.
Who needs SR22 insurance?
If you are facing an SR22 requirement, it’s probably because of an infraction on your driving record. Here are some of the common circumstances that result in an SR22 requirement:
Driving without a license: If you’re caught driving without a license the penalties can vary depending on your state. In some states, you’ll be required to get an SR22 certificate.
DUI or other major alcohol conviction: In addition to potential fines, jail time, and losing your license, getting a DUI also requires you to get an SR22 certificate.
Driving without the required insurance: If you are not carrying the adequate amount of insurance, the state may give you an SR22 requirement to ensure that you maintain coverage and that you will be financially responsible for any at-fault accidents.
Multiple at-fault accidents: When it comes to SR22 requirements, your past is seen as predictive of your future. If you’ve had multiple accidents in a short period of time (or one big accident), you could face an SR22 requirement.
Multiple driving violations: Each time you have an accident, points are added to your record. If you get too many points, you could end up losing your license. After your license suspension is up, you may have to obtain an SR22 because you are deemed a high-risk driver.
Multiple speeding tickets: Drivers who are repeatedly caught speeding are considered high-risk and therefore may require an SR22 to guarantee they can be held financially responsible for any at-fault accidents.
Failure to pay child support: If you are not upholding your mandatory child support payments, it can result in the suspension of your license. In this scenario, you might need to apply for a hardship license which usually carries the requirement of filing an SR22 certificate.
Frequently renting or borrowing cars: If you rent or borrow a car often, you might have to get an SR22 certificate. A non-owner SR22 policy allows you to keep your insurance coverage when you find yourself in between cars.
What does SR22 insurance cover?
An SR22 certificate does not provide any insurance coverage on its own. The mandatory liability insurance coverage obtained in conjunction with an SR22, however, provides the minimum amount of protection according to state law.
Liability insurance pays for expenses related to the other driver’s property and injuries if you’re at-fault in an accident.
And just like a standard insurance policy, insurance gained with an SR22 certificate provides a maximum amount of coverage according to your policy limits.
Other types of insurance that are required in some states include:
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage protects you if the other driver in an accident is either not insured or not insured enough.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP): PIP insurance covers your medical bills if you’re injured in an accident. Required PIP amounts vary by state, and this type of insurance is required in “no-fault states”.
In all cases, insurance purchased in conjunction with an SR22 certificate carries more expensive premiums than a standard car insurance policy.
Who offers SR22 insurance?
Usually, you can approach your current insurance company and have them file an SR22 for you. If your company drops your policy or you are currently uninsured, there are many insurers that can help you acquire an SR22 and a sufficient insurance policy, including:
There are also car insurance companies that specialize in providing coverage for high-risk drivers, including:
How to get SR22 insurance
You can obtain an SR22 through a car insurance provider after purchasing a suitable policy. If you want to add it to your current policy, get in contact with your insurance company to see if they’ll file it for you. The insurer could potentially drop your policy or they could substantially raise your premiums. Either way, it’s a good idea to shop around for the best rate. It might make sense to switch to a competitor that offers a lower rate, even if your insurance company agrees to file your SR22.
If you need help finding a licensed agent or broker in your area, you can visit the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Website for help.
Here are some other things to keep in mind if you have an SR22 requirement:
30-Day period: Once your insurance company files the paperwork, it takes roughly 30 days for the certificate to come back from your Secretary of State. During this period, you cannot drive because your license will still be suspended.
Carry it with you: Once you’ve received your SR22 certificate, make sure to carry it in your car at all times. It will prove that you’re in compliance with the law if you’re pulled over.
Coverage lapses: Your insurance company will notify the DMV if your insurance coverage lapses. If you allow your insurance coverage to lapse, your license is liable to be suspended again.
If you decide to file the SR22 form on your own, you’ll need to provide the following information:
- Your full name
- Mailing address
- Car insurance policy number
- Court case number
- Driver’s license number
- Social Security Number (SSN)
- Vehicle make, model, and year
- Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
- The state you’re filing in
- Name of the car insurance company
- The car insurance company’s NAIC number
What states don’t require SR22 insurance?
Some states don’t require drivers to file for an SR22 certificate. If you have an SR22 and move to a new state that doesn’t require SR22s, you’re still required to maintain the SR22 certificate in your old state until the originally mandated time frame is up. The states that currently don’t require an SR22 certificate include:
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
In all cases, you should follow all the laws of your state when following and maintaining an SR22 certificate.
How much does SR22 insurance cost?
The cost of an SR22 certificate is relatively inexpensive. Most states charge a one-time filing fee ranging between $15 and $30. But the cost of the certificate is not the expense you need to worry about. If you have an SR22 requirement, you will most likely have to pay inflated insurance premiums. The cost of your insurance will depend on a few factors, including your state, age, and other infractions on your record.
Here is a state-by-state breakdown of how much the average increase is by state.
Keep in mind, the actual price of an SR22 insurance policy is very specific to the person purchasing the coverage and has the potential to be significantly higher or lower based on many factors.
|District of Columbia||$2,945||56%|
On average, your insurance cost could increase between $206 and $387 a month.
Just because your options are limited and more expensive when you have an SR22 requirement, doesn’t mean they’re non-existent. You should try to get one quote from at least three different insurance companies when looking for cheap SR22 insurance.
How long do you need to carry SR22 insurance?
How long you’ll have to keep an SR22 certificate on file depends on your state. The average amount of time is three years. Here is a state-by-state breakdown of the durations of SR22 certificates:
|Alabama||3 to 5 years (depends on violation)|
|Alaska||3 to 5 years (depends on violation)|
|Arkansas||3 to 5 years (depends on violation)|
|District of Columbia||3 years|
|Florida||3 years (requires an FR-44 instead)|
|Idaho||1 to 3 years (depends on violation)|
|Indiana||3 to 5 years (depends on violation)|
|Kansas||1 to 3 years (depends on violation)|
|Missouri||2 to 3 years (depends on violation)|
|New Hampshire||3 years|
|New Jersey||Not Required|
|New Mexico||Not Required|
|New York||Not Required|
|North Carolina||Not Required|
|North Dakota||1 year|
|Ohio||3 to 5 years (depends on violation)|
|Rhode Island||Not Required|
|South Carolina||3 years|
|South Dakota||3 years|
|Tennessee||3 to 5 years (depends on violation)|
|Virginia||3 years (requires an FR-44 instead)|
|West Virginia||3 years|
What to do if you move to a different state
Although your SR22 is filed with your state DMV, that does not mean you can drop your SR22 insurance if you decide to move to another state.
If you do not fulfill your SR22 obligations by maintaining your insurance payments, the company that carries your policy will file an SR26 with the DMV. This process will not only result in your license being suspended in your previous state of residence, the DMV will also notify every other state.
That means, if you move to a new state, you will not be issued a driver’s license or have the ability to register a vehicle. You will also be unable to obtain car insurance before you are compliant with your SR22 obligation. There could be harsh penalties for letting your SR22 car insurance lapse, including extending the time you have to maintain SR22 insurance, fines, or even jail time.
That being said, you can stay ahead of these issues if you remain compliant with your SR22 while moving to another state.
To avoid penalties, follow these steps when moving to another state with an active SR22 filing:
- Contact your insurance company to let them know you are moving
- Choose an insurer that can provide you with a policy that means the requirements of your SR22 and that is licensed in your new state and your old state (so they can perform a cross-state SR22 filing)
- Your old SR22 and your new SR22 need to overlap for at least 4 days before you can cancel the old SR22
Does SR22 insurance cover every car you drive?
Whether or not your SR22 covers multiple vehicles or any car you drive depends on the type of SR22 certificate you acquire.
There are three kinds of SR22 certificates:
Owner: allows a driver to operate the vehicles listed on the SR22 certificate.
Non-owner: allows a driver that doesn’t have a car to operate vehicles owned by other people.
Operator-owner: allows a driver to operate all vehicles, owned or not. This is the most common type of SR22 certificate and will ensure that you’re covered regardless of the vehicle you drive, including company vehicles.
If you have an SR22 requirement, you may face harsher penalties for minor infractions. That being said, make sure you do your research to ensure that you are always remaining compliant with your state’s rules and regulations.
If you have any questions about your SR22 or your minimum insurance mandate, contact your insurance agent. They can ensure your package is compliant with your SR22 certificate and help you find the best rates.
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