Image via Pixabay by SplitShire
There are a few requirements that all drivers must meet if they want to legally drive on the roads in Illinois. For example, you need to have a valid driver’s license and an active vehicle registration. One other important requirement is having the right auto insurance. While all vehicles need some kind of auto insurance, some drivers need a special kind of insurance known as SR-22 insurance. If you think you might need this type of insurance, or if you just want to know more about it, we answer some of the most common questions related to SR-22 below.
What Is SR-22 Insurance?
Technically, SR-22 isn’t insurance at all. Instead, it’s a certificate of financial responsibility that states you have a certain level of auto insurance coverage. When you sign up for auto insurance, you pick a level of liability coverage, which is the amount of money your insurance company will pay if you cause an accident. SR-22 is a form that you file with the state of Illinois that says you have a certain amount of liability coverage within your auto insurance policy.
For example, you may have a car insurance policy with $20,000 in liability coverage. If the state of Illinois requires that you have a policy with $100,000 worth of liability coverage, you would then need to change your insurance plan to the required coverage level and submit an SR-22 form to verify this information. If your current insurance plan already meets the requirements set by the state of Illinois, you still submit an SR-22 form for verification.
Reasons You Might Need SR-22 Insurance
Not everyone needs to submit an SR-22 form to the state. Illinois requires drivers to submit this form if they believe that a driver is more prone to causing an accident based on their past driving history. A few reasons you might need SR-22 insurance include:
Driving Without Insurance
The state of Illinois requires that all drivers have auto insurance. If the police catch you driving your vehicle without auto insurance, you can face significant financial penalties. In addition, the state may also require that you submit an SR-22 form to ensure that your insurance meets certain requirements. This is more likely to happen if you caused an accident while driving without insurance, if you were pulled over for another traffic violation while not having insurance, or if you are a repeat offender of not having auto insurance.
License Plates Being Expired
It’s important for the vehicle you’re driving to match its active license plates as this is how local authorities verify the ownership of the vehicle. If you drive with expired license plates, you could face penalties, which can lead to an increase in insurance requirements. If local authorities catch you with expired plates, you may be required to submit an SR-22 form.
DUI / DWI Convictions
Driving under the influence is a serious infraction. It not only puts yourself in danger but other people on the road as well. When you drive under the influence, you are much more likely to cause a serious accident. This is why, when you’re charged with either a DUI or DWI, you may also be asked to submit an SR-22 form.
Multiple Traffic Offenses
Multiple traffic offenses suggest to the state of Illinois that you are a less-than-responsible driver. If they start to see that you are a repeat offender, they may require that you get SR-22 insurance to help protect other drivers on the road. Possible traffic offenses include reckless driving, speeding, or failure to stop at a stop sign. The more traffic violations you accumulate, the more likely it is that you’ll be required to provide proof of minimum liability insurance.
A High Number of Points on a Driving Record
When you commit serious traffic offenses, you may receive points on your driving record. Some possible reasons for getting points on your license include possessing an open alcohol container, failure to keep in the proper lane, and speeding. Having points on your license can increase your insurance premiums. It might also take a few years of safe driving to remove.
The number of points you receive can vary depending on the seriousness of the infraction. For instance, you can get anywhere from five to 50 points depending on how fast you were driving. If you receive too many points on your license, you may be required to get SR-22 insurance until you demonstrate safer driving habits.
What Are the Impacts of SR-22 Insurance?
Having to get SR-22 insurance may affect your finances significantly. For starters, there is typically a fee associated with filing an SR-22 form that you’ll need to pay to the state. In addition, you may need to increase your insurance coverage, which comes with an additional cost. Finally, even if you already met the minimum liability coverage with your current insurance plan, being asked to file an SR-22 form may also lead to an increase in your insurance premiums.
How To Get SR-22 Insurance in Chicago
If you need to get SR-22 insurance in Chicago, you can speak with your current insurance provider. Not all providers offer SR-22 insurance. If yours doesn’t, you’ll need to find a provider who does. When signing up for a plan, or increasing your coverage, the insurance provider will likely ask you if you need a “Certificate of Financial Responsibility.” By answering “Yes” to this question, the insurance provider will ensure you have adequate coverage and submit the SR-22 form on your behalf to the state of Illinois.
How To Avoid Needing SR-22 Insurance in Chicago
The easiest way to avoid needing SR-22 insurance in Chicago is by driving safely. Always obey all of the traffic signs around you and make sure you are in a good condition to drive before you get behind the wheel.
We hope this guide was able to answer your questions related to SR-22 insurance in Chicago. Typically, SR-22 insurance is a temporary arrangement until you can prove you are a safe driver. If you need this insurance, speak with your insurance provider and they can help you get started.
At FIXD, our mission is to make car ownership as simple, easy, and affordable as possible. Our research team utilizes the latest automotive data and insights to create tools and resources that help drivers get peace of mind and save money over the life of their car.