Taking the Mystery Out of SR-22s

An SR-22 is not an insurance policy; it’s simply a financial responsibility form proving that you have insurance coverage. The SR-22 is filed with your state by your insurance company and certifies that you carry the minimum liability coverage on your car insurance policy. If you do not own a motor vehicle, you must purchase “non-owners” liability coverage. If you’re not currently insured, this could cause your driving privileges to be revoked.

An SR-22 requirement can be issued by the state or a judge and is usually required for three consecutive years. There are a variety of reasons that an SR-22 may be required, including:

  • DUI or DWI offenses
  • Being found at-fault in an accident while driving uninsured
  • Driving with a suspended or revoked license
  • Several traffic infractions in a short period of time
  • Other major moving violations such as reckless driving

If you cancel an insurance policy, your carrier will immediately notify the state that you are no longer covered and your SR-22 form will be withdrawn. If you plan to cancel your policy because you are changing insurance companies, make sure you have the new policy with an SR-22 in place before you cancel. Be aware, even a one day lapse in coverage can cause your three year time period to start all over again.

After probation ends – SR-26 filing

If an SR-22 expires or is canceled, the carrier is required to issue an SR-26 form, which confirms the cancellation of the policy. If this form is filed before your policy term and probationary period are over — implying you may be driving without meeting your financial obligation— the state may revoke your driving privileges.

The differences between an FR-44 and an SR-22

Used only in Virginia and Florida, the FR-44 is similar to the SR-22, and provides proof of financial responsibility. Unlike the SR-22, which only requires that drivers meet the minimum amount of required car insurance, the FR-44 requires that liability coverage limits are substantially greater than state minimums.

Convictions of violations involving driving with a suspended license or DUI (with or without injury) may result in requiring an FR-44:

FR-44 coverage- higher limits, higher costs

The financial costs to drivers required to carry an FR-44 can be substantial. Florida drivers who must file an FR-44 are required to carry a minimum of $50,000 for property damage coverage and $100,000/$300,000 for bodily injury coverage. Compare this to drivers without an FR-44 requirement – they’re required to carry only $10,000 of bodily injury and property damage coverage. You can be sure the higher limits will result in higher premiums. Once the probationary term has been successfully completed, an FR-46 form will be filed by the insurer. The FR-46 accomplishes the same purpose as the SR-26.

Have you had to file an SR-22 before? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below!