At some point in their lives, drivers in Ohio might find themselves in a situation where the state requires them to have SR22 insurance. If you receive a notice requiring it and are unsure what it means, you might need to do some research to make sure you meet the state requirements to drive legally. Take a look at some details about SR22 insurance in Ohio and how the process works.
What Is SR22 Insurance?
In the State of Ohio, an SR22 is a certificate that states that you carry the minimum liability auto insurance required by the state. It is known as a financial responsibility bond, and while many refer to it as SR22 insurance, it is not an insurance policy. It’s documentation that your insurance company files with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) that guarantees that you carry the minimum insurance coverage required by Ohio law to cover damages if you are at fault in an accident.
Who Needs SR22 Insurance in Ohio?
Image via Flickr by John Loo
Ohio drivers who have certain violations on their record may be required to file an SR22 form. Some of the following infractions often require one:
- A suspended license
- A revoked license
- Driving without a valid Ohio license
- An at-fault accident while driving without insurance
- Failing to carry the required minimum liability insurance
- Repeat speeding tickets
- Severe driving violations
- Driving under the influence (DUI)
If the state requires you to have an SR22, you will receive a notification either from the court or the State of Ohio. If you receive this notification, make sure to take immediate action so you are not driving illegally.
How Do I Get SR22 Insurance in Ohio?
Once you receive notification from the state or the court that you need to file an SR22, you should contact your insurance company. They will file the documentation with the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles on your behalf. It is important to note that it may take up to three days for the BMV to have a record of your SR22 filing.
If you need to have the SR22 immediately in order to reinstate your license, you can go directly to a BMV office with your completed SR22 form and any other requirements. Once you have filed the SR22 form and paid any required fees, the state will restore your driving privileges.
How Long Does an SR22 Filing Last?
In the state of Ohio, first-offense drivers are required to have an SR22 form filed and must have proper SR22 coverage for three years. If they have a second or third offense within a five-year period, they will need to keep SR22 insurance for five years. The amount of time required to carry an SR22 also depends on the severity of the violation. If you lose your license due to a DUI for five years, you’ll have to have SR22 coverage for five years after your license is reinstated.
If you fail to keep your minimum insurance active due to not paying premiums or loss of coverage for other reasons, the SR22 filing period resets from the beginning. This means that you will need to start the three or five-year period all over again.
If your auto insurance is canceled while you have an SR22, your insurance company is legally required to notify the State of Ohio. Such action could result in a suspension of your license. If your auto insurance company must cancel your policy due to unpaid premiums, it will give the state advance notice and file an SR26 form to indicate that you no longer have required coverage.
Does It Cost Money To File an SR22?
There is usually a small fee for filing the SR22 form with the BMV. The one-time charge is about $20. Once you have an SR22, your insurance company will most likely raise your insurance rates. While the SR22 itself does not cost any money, if you have violated motor vehicle laws that led to the requirement, it makes you a riskier driver. Auto insurance companies charge higher premiums to drivers who are considered a higher risk.
The rates charged vary between insurance companies, so shopping around might save you some money even if you already have coverage.
Some of the companies that offer the most competitive rates in Ohio include:
- State Farm
Some companies in Ohio also offer an instant SR22 bond. This bond provides the minimum required car insurance in Ohio and covers you as a driver for the following:
- $25,000 for bodily injury for any one person
- $50,000 bodily injury per accident when two or more people are injured
- $25,000 in property damage liability coverage for an at-fault accident
The bond does not cover the car, whether you own it or someone else does. An SR22 bond also does not cover medical bills for you or anyone else in the vehicle you are driving if you get into an accident. If the damages are greater than the state limit of $75,000, you are responsible for the difference. If you do not have auto insurance, this bond can be the quickest way to get the coverage you need.
Do I Need SR22 Insurance in Ohio if I Don’t Own a Car?
You should still file the SR22 with the state even if you do not own a car. Many insurance companies offer non-owner insurance. This is less expensive than insurance if you own a car, and it covers you if you borrow or rent a vehicle during the time that you are required to have the SR22.
Getting a notice that you need SR22 insurance can be a little scary and confusing. The first thing you want to do is contact your insurance company if you already have coverage, or start shopping around for the coverage you need if you do not already have it. Once you have the form filed, it is important to keep your driving record clean so you will be back on your way to cheaper insurance rates.
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