What is SR22 Insurance? Do I Need It?
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- What is it?
- Who needs it?
- What’s covered?
- Where to find it
- How to get
- Not necessary
- 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 SR-22 insurance. An SR-22 certificate is a document that you or your insurance company files with the state.
So, here’s everything you need to know about SR-22s, with help from car insurance comparison and broker app Jerry.
What is SR-22 insurance?
Although SR-22 insurance is referred to as insurance, it’s actually not a form of insurance. An SR-22, 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 SR-22 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 SR-22 requirement lasts anywhere from one to five years. Failure to have an SR-22 certificate on file when mandated by the state could result in having your license suspended and losing your vehicle registration. An SR-22 may not be a form of insurance, but having a driving infraction that leads to an SR-22 requirement will definitely impact your insurance costs and negatively affect your ability to get cheap car insurance. According to Insurance.com, drivers with an SR-22 pay roughly 89% more for their car insurance policies.
Who needs SR-22 insurance?
If you are facing an SR-22 requirement, it’s probably because of an infraction on your driving record. Here are some of the common circumstances that result in an SR-22 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 SR-22 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 SR-22 certificate.
Driving without the required insurance
If you are not carrying the adequate amount of insurance, the state may give you an SR-22 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 SR-22 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 SR-22 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 SR-22 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 SR-22 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 SR-22 certificate.
Frequently renting or borrowing cars
If you rent or borrow a car often, you might have to get an SR-22 certificate. A non-owner SR-22 policy allows you to keep your insurance coverage when you find yourself in between cars.
What does SR-22 insurance cover?
An SR-22 certificate does not provide any insurance coverage on its own. The mandatory liability insurance coverage obtained in conjunction with an SR-22, 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 SR-22 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 SR-22 certificate carries more expensive premiums than a standard car insurance policy.
Who offers SR-22 insurance?
Usually, you can approach your current insurance company and have them file an SR-22 for you. If your company drops your policy or you are currently uninsured, there are many insurers that can help you acquire an SR-22 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 SR-22 insurance
You can obtain an SR-22 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 SR-22.
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 SR-22 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 SR-22 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 SR-22 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 SR-22 insurance?
Some states don’t require drivers to file for an SR-22 certificate. If you have an SR-22 and move to a new state that doesn’t require SR-22s, you’re still required to maintain the SR-22 certificate in your old state until the originally mandated time frame is up. The states that currently don’t require an SR-22 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 SR-22 insurance cost?
The cost of an SR-22 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 SR-22 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 SR-22 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 SR-22 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 SR-22 insurance.
How long do you need to carry SR-22 insurance?
How long you’ll have to keep an SR-22 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 SR-22 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 SR-22 is filed with your state DMV, that does not mean you can drop your SR-22 insurance if you decide to move to another state.
If you do not fulfill your SR-22 obligations by maintaining your insurance payments, the company that carries your policy will file an SR-22 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 SR-22 obligation. There could be harsh penalties for letting your SR-22 car insurance lapse, including extending the time you have to maintain SR-22 insurance, fines, or even jail time.
That being said, you can stay ahead of these issues if you remain compliant with your SR-22 while moving to another state.
To avoid penalties, follow these steps when moving to another state with an active SR-22 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 SR-22 and that is licensed in your new state and your old state (so they can perform a cross-state SR-22 filing)
- Your old SR-22 and your new SR-22 need to overlap for at least 4 days before you can cancel the old SR-22
Does SR-22 insurance cover every car you drive?
Whether or not your SR-22 covers multiple vehicles or any car you drive depends on the type of SR-22 certificate you acquire.
There are three kinds of SR-22 certificates:
Owner: allows a driver to operate the vehicles listed on the SR-22 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 SR-22 certificate and will ensure that you’re covered regardless of the vehicle you drive, including company vehicles.
If you have an SR-22 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 SR-22 or your minimum insurance mandate, contact your insurance agent. They can ensure your package is compliant with your SR-22 certificate and help you find the best rates.
Find cheap car insurance
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