What Is an SR-22? Insurance After a Mistake

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An SR-22 insurance form may be required if you have been convicted of a DUI or other serious offense. Here are the steps.

A serious traffic offense can result in you being required to have car insurance. An SR-22 form may be required by your auto insurance company to keep your driver’s licence or to get it back. There is no “SR-22 insurance” special policy.

An SR-22 filing is not something anyone enjoys doing. A clean driver will pay more for car insurance and have a smaller selection of options. However, shopping around to find the lowest rates is a good idea. Here are the facts.

What is an SR-22 and what does it do?

Even though it might be called “SR-22 insurance,” an SR-22 form isn’t actually an auto insurance policy — it’s an official document to prove you’ve bought the minimum liability insurance required in your state. The SR-22 form can also be called a certificate or financial responsibility.

An SR-22 is a document that insurance companies give to your state’s insurance department or motor vehicle department to assure them that you will have coverage for a set period. Your state will be notified by the insurance company if you fail to comply with their requirements. If this happens, your driver’s licence could be suspended or revoked.

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Who really needs an SR-22

An SR-22 permits you to reinstate or keep your driving privileges following a serious or repeated offense.

An SR-22 might be required if you:

  • You have been convicted for DUI, DWI, or other serious moving violations.
  • Accidents have been caused by driving without insurance
  • You have received too many traffic tickets in a very short period of time. For example, three to six speeding tickets in six months.
  • You did not pay the court-ordered child support.
  • Your driver’s licence has been suspended/revoked

For certain convictions in Florida and Virginia, you may be ordered to file a similar form called an FR-44, which requires a higher level of liability coverage than the state’s minimum.

Some states do not require an SR-22, FR-44. You can get one from your state’s department of motor vehicle or traffic court if you have a need.

How to obtain an SR-22

Although the process for obtaining an SR-22 form may vary from one state to another, here are the most common steps.

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Once you have been notified that you require an SR-22 you should contact your auto insurance company. You may have to search for an insurance company that offers this service.

To restore your driving privileges, you will need auto insurance if you don’t have it. The insurer might require that you pay the full premium upfront, either 6 or 12 months worth.

Once your coverage has been established, your insurance company will file an SR-22 form with the traffic authorities in your state.

What does an SR-22 cost?

It typically costs $25 to file an SR-22 with your state. However, this one-time fee is not the only expense that you might face. Insurance quotes can be more expensive if you have an SR-22.

What is the maximum? It depends on where you live, what offense resulted in the SR-22. The type of car insurance you choose will impact the price of your insurance quotes. It is important to compare rates from different insurers in order to get the best rate.

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It’s smart to shop around

Are you looking for a low-cost SR-22? Low rates offered by insurance companies before you have to comply with the SR-22 requirements may not be the best. Also, no one insurer is the cheapest. It matters where you live.

Consider a driver who has been convicted of a DUI in recent years. This violation could lead to an SR-22. NerdWallet’s 2020 rate study found that insurance rates for 40-year old drivers with a DUI were the cheapest at American Family. Our data shows that drivers 40 years old with a DUI would get better rates from Safeco than American Family, if they were residents of Idaho.

After a DUI conviction or other violation that leads to an SR-22, it is wise to shop around for the best auto insurance rate. NerdWallet’s car insurance comparison tool can help.

You might find that your current provider cancels your coverage or declines to renew your policy in light of your SR-22. High-risk drivers might be denied coverage by insurance companies. You can also turn to the high-risk pool of insurance in your state if you are denied coverage. To start, find your state in the directory of the Automobile Insurance Plan Service Office.

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SR-22 if you don’t have a car

To reinstate your driver’s licence, even if you don’t have a vehicle, an SR-22/FR-44 may still be required. If you purchase non-owner car insurance, some insurers will file them on your behalf.

Insurance will cover damage to a vehicle that you do not own, such as a borrowed or rented car.

You can also avoid coverage gaps by purchasing non-owner insurance. Insurers view drivers with gaps in coverage as a risk and may charge higher premiums. You’ll be eligible for lower rates if you don’t have a gap in coverage once your SR-22 is completed.

Your SR-22 is over

SR-22 requirements are required in most states for a minimum of three years. Your license will be suspended if your policy expires while you are covered by an SR-22.

The SR-22 does not automatically go off your insurance policy if your requirement is fulfilled. It is important to inform your insurance company that you have ceased using it.

It’s a great time to look again for the best insurance policy for your needs. After an accident, moving violation or other serious event, rates tend to remain high for up to five years. You may be able to find lower premiums if you shop around after the five-year mark.

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