Having your license suspended or being arrested for a DUI can be incredibly stressful and expensive. If you are already dealing with this frustration it may seem even worse if you receive a letter from your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles that you are required to obtain an SR-22 document. If this is a first offense it is likely that you are unfamiliar with the term and you are probably wondering “what is SR-22 insurance” and “why do I need it”?
What is an SR-22
An SR-22is often referred to in a number of ways such as a Certificate of Financial Responsibility, an SR-22 form, SR-22 insurance, an SR-22 bond, etc. It is a document that is on file with your state that certifies that you have purchased the minimum liability auto insurance required in the state. An SR-22 is issued by an auto insurance company – and they will automatically notify your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles that you are in compliance with demonstrating financial responsibility.
Why Do I Need SR-22 Insurance?
While SR-22 insurance is most commonly associated with DUI or DWI offenses, there are a number of other instances when an SR-22 is required. These instances include:
- Repeat traffic offenses
- Multiple at-fault accidents or violations
- License suspension or revocation
- Driving without proper insurance coverage
- Reckless driving
How Do I Get an SR-22?
If you already have an insurance policy you can contact your insurance company to learn more about adding the SR-22 to your existing policy if it is possible. If you are in the market for a new policy it is important to note that not every company offers SR-22 insurance.
Once added, your insurance company will file the SR-22 form with your state. Your insurance company may be able to file it electronically instead of by mail to expedite the process.
How Much Does an SR-22 Cost?
The filing fee for SR-22 insurance is typically $15-$25 in most states. This is a one-time fee as long as your policy does not lapse. While the SR-22 does not cost more than the filing fee, drivers who require SR-22 insurance usually pay more for insurance because they are considered high-risk drivers.
It is important to note that different companies charge different rates for individuals who require an SR-22. Insurance quotes from various companies can be compared to ensure you are getting the best rates with the ideal coverage to meet your needs.
How Long Do I Need SR-22 Insurance?
Although the SR-22 requirements vary from state to state, generally a driver who is required to maintain an SR-22 on file needs to do so for three continuous years. If there is an interruption of this liability coverage, the insurance company that issued the SR-22 is required by law to inform the DMV that you are no longer in compliance.
What Happens if I Don’t Maintain My SR-22 Insurance?
If you are required to hold an SR-22 for a three year period and you cancel your insurance during that term or fail to make a payment and let your policy lapse it could put you at risk for a variety of negative outcomes. Some of these repercussions include:
- The suspension of your license.
- The suspension of your vehicle registration.
- More money out of your pocket. If you do not have continuous insurance coverage you will have to pay fees to reinstate your insurance and registration. It also could mean that you will pay higher premiums when you purchase a new insurance policy.
If you wind up in the unfortunate situation of having to obtain an SR-22 you do not want to make matters worse by ignoring the required terms and costing yourself more money. Be sure to follow the guidelines and practice safe driving while you are holding an SR-22 and your driving record and insurance premiums will improve before you know it.
Your imperfect driving record doesn’t mean you can’t get affordable auto insurance coverage. Freeway Insurance can get you cheap car insurance and help you file an SR-22. Get a free auto insurance quote online or over the phone at (800) 777-5620.