What is an SR-22?
Often mistakenly called SR-22 insurance, an SR-22 is actually a government form that you are required to file with your state’s department of motor vehicles if you have been flagged as a high-risk driver and want to continue to drive. It is not insurance.
An SR-22 is also referred to by other names, Certificate of Financial Responsibility, SR-22 Form, or SR-22 Bond. By filing an SR-22, you indicate to the DMV that you have obtained legal insurance coverage from an insurance provider that insures high-risk drivers. If you fail to pay your premiums, your provider will immediately stop your coverage and will notify the DMV of your insurance status. Following that notification, the DMV will then be required to suspend your license for failure to have proper insurance.
Reasons an SR-22 May be Required
The following are many of the reasons you may need to file an SR-22. If your license is suspended or restricted, chances are certain you’ll need to file.
- Driving without a license
- Driving without mandatory insurance
- Multiple traffic offenses in short time periods
- DUIs, DWIs, or other serious moving violations
- License suspended or revoked
- Violations in maintaining the mandatory insurance coverage required in your state
- Failing to pay court-ordered child support
Because many of these reasons are serious, like DUI offenses, drivers will typically be required to have an SR-22 on file for three years. In that time, you will be required to renew your SR-22 periodically (inquire with your state DMV for renewal periods). Failure to do so could result in legal action, difficulty renewing insurance, fees, and penalties.
How Much is an SR-22?
Filing an SR-22 form is not cost-prohibitive, ranging from $15-$50. However, having to file an SR-22 means that you’ve been deemed a high-risk driver. High-risk drivers will have higher insurance premiums than average-risk drivers. As well, your insurance company may require you to pay for the whole policy in advance rather than in monthly or quarterly installments. Paying in advance is good as it will prevent you from missing a payment and ultimately protect you from losing your driving privileges.
At this point, you’re likely going to pay higher car insurance premiums, so it is highly advisable to shop around and find the best price you can find given your SR-22 status. Many insurance companies specialize in insuring high-risk drivers. If your current insurance company cannot cover you, continue to shop around until you’ve obtained at least three quotes to compare. Continue to maintain a good record, and when your policy is up for renewal, shop around again to ensure you’re paying the least amount you can.
How do I get my SR-22 Removed?
Unfortunately, DMVs are too busy to monitor when your SR-22 is no longer needed, and so it won’t automatically disappear after three years. Contact your insurance provider to have your SR-22 removed when you’re reaching that time. After removing your SR-22, try shopping around for cheaper insurance quotes. Your premiums may not immediately go down, but if it does, then that is the best time to start saving.
Which States Don’t Use SR-22 Forms?
Not all states require you to file an SR-22 form in order to reinstate your insurance, though you will be required to have minimum insurance to drive. If you are forced to file an SR-22 in a state that requires it and plan on moving to one that does not, you must continue to file your SR-22. Failure to file could result in the loss of your license in the state of your violation.
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
What is an FR-44 Form?
Florida and Virginia use a separate form for DUI violations and non-DUI violations similar to the SR-22 form. The FR-44 form is required for alcohol and other substance-related DUI violations, while the SR-22 form is used for other infractions like driving without insurance.
Virginia and Florida handle minimum liability coverage differently for drivers with DUI convictions. Below are the minimum state coverage requirements for those filing SR-22 and FR-44 forms. The latter requires much higher coverage, which will cost more in premiums. This increased limit requirement illustrates the seriousness that those states place on DUI violations.
|Standard and SR-22 insurance minimum liability coverage||FR-44 insurance minimum liability coverage|
What is Non-Owner Operator Insurance with SR-22?
Like the misnomer SR-22 insurance, non-owner operator SR-22 is not insurance. If you are required to verify your financial responsibility through an SR-22 and do not own a car, you will need to find an insurer who can cover you as a non-owner operator and file an SR-22 on your behalf.
In this situation, state agencies have mandated you to have insurance because your situation indicates or they’ve concluded you are high-risk and that there is a high possibility you will be behind the wheel of someone’s car again. This non-owner operator insurance is secondary insurance to the primary insurance an owner should have for whichever vehicle you drive. If you are in an accident, then the primary insurance will pay first, and any remaining unpaid damages or injuries will come from your non-owner insurance.
You will also be required to inform your insurance provider if you purchase a car so that they can immediately switch you to owner-operator insurance or just regular car insurance. If you violate this, then you could lose coverage under your non-owner operator policy.
To get non-owner operator insurance, you’ll need to satisfy the following conditions:
- Have a valid driver’s license
- Do not own a vehicle
- Insurers may also require that your household does not have a vehicle or that you do not have regular access to one
The SR-22 is a Second Chance
Yes, it is an inconvenience to be hampered with an SR-22. But, it indicates some hefty violations that can result in severe damages and injuries. Even simply driving without insurance is reckless. Considering the SR-22, a second chance to allow you to continue driving is the most positive way to move forward. Keep this in mind as you maintain a clean record for the time you must have an SR-22.
Have an SR-22? Get a Custom Car Insurance Quote Today!
Freeway Insurance is here to help you with the challenging moments life throws at you. We can help you to get back on the road with affordable and quality coverage. Get started with a quote online, visit us at an office near you, or call us at (800) 777-5620, and one of our agents will guide you through the process.