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SR-22 Insurance FAQ
Like most government forms, it indicates the label of a form known as a “Certificate of Financial Responsibility.”
SR can also mean “Safety Responsibility.”
This form informs the court or your state’s motor vehicle agency that you have acquired the minimum level of required insurance after a major incident.
An insurance company will file the form on your behalf and submit it to the DMV or court in question.
You can begin the process of acquiring a restricted license after your state’s DMV receives the form.
The form will also start a period in which your insurance company will provide non-payment information to the state agency.
In most cases, drivers who have been identified as posing a certain level of risk on the road. Courts and state governments issue orders to these high-risk drivers. These orders require that drivers provide proof of minimum coverage required by law. You may receive a letter from your state government or attend a hearing where the judge mandates you file an SR-22 form.
Usually, drivers require this insurance for the following reasons:
- Failing to comply with a court order, such as child support
- Committing many traffic violations or causing several accidents in a short period of time
- Acquiring too many speeding tickets over a period of time
- Committing serious offenses, such as driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI)
- Failing to drive without insurance coverage or with insurance that fails to meet state requirements
This insurance will usually result in a premium increase anywhere from 30% to potentially as high as 400%, depending on several factors, including:
- Whether this incident was your first offense
- The seriousness of the event, such as was there a crash? Injuries? Deaths?
- Your previous driving record
- The typical auto insurance underwriting factors like age, driving experience, vehicle type, and location
After reacquiring a restricted license and filing the form, you should have the ability to drive again in a limited capacity and with proper insurance coverage.
You will first request this insurance via your insurance company. The company will then file a form with your state’s motor vehicle agency on your behalf.
Since states mandate insurance coverage, the rules will vary depending on where you live. There are no standard SR-22 rules at the federal level, making this system somewhat patchwork. Some states do not require it.
Insurance companies make money by pooling premiums and paying them out with a margin that allows them to remain in business.
Once you demonstrate you have unsafe driving habits, insurance companies will take compensation for the additional risk they take on in providing you with insurance coverage.
This compensation comes in the form of higher premiums for the duration of the order. Even after the requirement dissolves, your insurance company may continue to charge elevated premiums.
Many insurers do not wish to provide insurance for high-risk drivers. If this happens to you, you can shop around to find an insurer that will handle your needs. Since DUI insurance can be expensive, you may want to shop around anyway.
You may encounter a situation in which the premiums associated with your increased coverage outpace your ability to make payments.
If this problem occurs, shop around for a more affordable premium. Consider also reaching out to family and friends for assistance.
You may also choose to drop non-essential insurance coverage, such as rental car reimbursement, although this approach carries risks.
Choosing non-owner insurance will drop costs, but may only be used if you no longer own a vehicle.
Not every insurance company will offer an this coverage option. We can help you determine which coverage options make sense for your situation.
Also note that “SR-22 insurance” only means that your insurance company will communicate with the state about your payment history. It does not exist as a separate branch of coverage.
Your state government’s automotive regulatory agency, such as the DMV, mandates that you continue to make timely payments. Your insurance company is required to report any lapse in coverage to the state.
If you fail to make a payment to maintain your insurance coverage, you may face serious legal consequences, including having your license suspended and starting your SR-22 time over.
You may face serious criminal and legal penalties if you do not acquire appropriate insurance coverage. You should not ignore any court orders or state mandates.
Each state will have its own process. Some states may have longer periods than others, while some will also offer reduced times if you maintain a clean driving record.
If you incurred a major violation while visiting or working in another state, you may need to file in the state where the offense occurred.
Your insurance agent can work with you to file with the appropriate state.
Unfortunately, the rules governing your SR-22 coverage remain in effect even if you move to another state.
If you do plan to move to another state, you will continue to pay for insurance coverage that meets the insurance mandate in your original state.
This rule applies even if the state you move to has lower, or no, requirements for SR-22 coverage. States that do not require SR-22 include:
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- West Virginia
State governments regularly update their laws around SR-22. Check your state government’s DMV website for more information about up-to-date regulations.
If your existing auto insurance provider does not have SR-22 coverage, you will need to find a new insurance plan.
SR-22 itself does not cancel your coverage.
In this case, you would need a “Named Non-Owner Coverage Endorsement.”
This type of policy exists as a form of non-owner car insurance and provides a guarantee to the state that you will carry insurance when driving a non-owned vehicle.
An order does not remain in effect forever. In most states, the requirement will remain active for a period of three years.
However, if you demonstrate repeated unsafe driving habits, such as DUIs or DWIs, you may face harsher consequences in addition to a longer period.
The only way to remove an SR-22 requirement involves waiting for the period to end. Some states may also allow you to surrender your driver’s license to escape the requirement.
You should inform your insurance company when your period ends. It is up to you to monitor your time.
You may also see an adjustment to your monthly premium payments after the period ends. This adjustment depends on your specific insurance policy and the underwriter’s discretion.
Some states differentiate between offenses. In some states, you may incur an SR-22 for failing to hold state-mandated minimum insurance coverage. FR-44 may designate DUI-related offenses.
Since you have acquired a court-ordered requirement or have been involved in unsafe driving situations, you may want to consider changing your insurance coverages. Your insurance company may also require you to change or increase your coverage.
Your agent can work with you to decide which coverages and how much coverage make sense for your unique situation.