The first thing you have to realize when getting a notice that you need an SR-22 form filed when buying car insurance is – it’s what you do next that counts. You’re just paying the price for having been pulled over and found guilty of any of several possible traffic violations associated with such a filing.
These violations include:
- Drinking and driving (DUI)
- Reckless driving
- Careless driving
- Involved in a car accident without car insurance
- Getting caught driving without car insurance one or more times
- Driving on a suspended license
What Exactly is an SR-22 Filing?
You really want to avoid having to file an SR-22 at any cost. However, if you require one, the easiest way to describe it is – it’s a way for the state to ensure you keep your auto insurance active, especially if not having insurance coverage was what originally got you in the predicament you’re in.
There’s no wiggle room with an SR-22 filing. Should any major changes occur, including late payments or policy cancellation, your auto insurance carrier is bound by law to notify the state immediately, thereby aggravating your current situation even further.
Good News – Bad News
The good news about an SR-22 filing requirement is that it’s not forever. It’s rather painless and not all that hard to add onto a new auto insurance policy, if your current carrier opted to part ways with you. Should you be lucky enough to have an existing auto insurance policy, it’s even easier. Furthermore, the actual filing of the SR-22 is fairly inexpensive and won’t bust your wallet.
Now, for the bad news. The fact that you had to file the SR-22 means you’re more than likely going to be considered a high risk driver by any and all insurance carriers due to your infraction and, as a high risk driver, you’re looking at significantly higher car insurance rates.
While the extra expense may take a bit out of your monthly budget, make paying your auto insurance a priority. The alternative of letting it lapse with an SR-22 attached isn’t worth the added penalties you could face.
How Long Will the SR-22 Be Required?
How long you’ll be stuck having to carry the SR-22 filing will depend on the severity of the violation that required it in the first place. Of course, keeping your auto insurance in force will play a major role in the length of time you’ll need the filing. Typically, a period of three to five years is the norm with a DUI requiring the longest time penalty.
If you wish to know the exact amount of time you’ll need it, you can check directly with your local Department of Motor Vehicles.
Be sure to notify your insurance carrier promptly as soon as you no longer require the filing. It’s in your best interest since it could mean lowering your high rates to some that are more affordable or switching insurer to get the cheapest auto insurance rates.
Once you’re clear of the SR-22, do your best to keep your driving record clean so you can take advantage of the many discounts available.