The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles may send you a notice of the requirement to file SR-22 insurance if you’ve been deemed an at-risk driver. At-risk drivers have their driver’s license suspended after being convicted of severe traffic violations, such as reckless driving or DUI. SR-22 SC insurance isn’t a type of insurance coverage. Instead, SR-22 proves to the state of South Carolina that you have adequate insurance coverage to meet the minimum required and allows you to have your driver’s license reinstated.
The safety responsibility, or SR form, is also known as a Certificate of Financial Responsibility. Your automobile insurance company must file SR-insurance to verify that you carry at least the minimum coverage required by South Carolina law. The state will then issue you an SR-22 certificate for proof of coverage.
What Is SR-22 Insurance in South Carolina?
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You’ll either receive a paper or digital certificate once your SR-22 SC insurance application is approved to carry with you along with your proof of insurance. The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles requires that at-risk drivers have SR-22 insurance for up to three years. If you fail to renew or cancel your SR-22 insurance before the three years are up, your insurance agent has a legal obligation to report you to the state.
Who Is Considered an At-Risk Driver in South Carolina?
While there are a few traffic violations that all but guarantee that you’ll need to have SR-22 insurance, there are several other ways to be considered an at-risk driver. You’re more likely to be required to have SR-22 insurance in South Carolina if these are found in your driving record:
- Driving without insurance
- Reckless driving
- Driving with a suspended license
Other possible situations that may require you to have SR-22 insurance include:
- Multiple minor traffic infractions such as speeding or failure to stop at a red light
- Causing an accident without having the minimum insurance requirements for South Carolina
- Failure to pay your child support
- Nonpayment of compensation for damages in an at-fault accident
- Excessive toll evasion
- Non-renewal or cancellation of previous SR-22 insurance
How Do You Get SR-22 Insurance in South Carolina?
Applying and purchasing SR-22 insurance in South Carolina is very similar to the process for standard automobile insurance. You can even ask your current automobile insurance provider if they offer SR-22 insurance. Not all insurance companies provide this service, so you may need to change agents if you’re required to have SR-22 insurance, and they don’t offer it. Your current provider may have also canceled your automobile insurance if they know of your license suspension, so you’ll want to find out if you still have automobile insurance to add SR-22 insurance.
Once you have decided to add SR-22 insurance to your current automobile insurance policy or have found a different insurance provider to get SR-22 insurance through, the process is pretty straightforward. There are four steps to procuring SR-22 insurance:
Complete an Application for SR-22 or Request to Add SR-22 to Your Policy
When looking at insurance coverage options through your current provider or new provider, you should be able to select SR-22 insurance as an option to add to your policy. You can complete this application process in person, by phone, or online in most cases. Once you have completed the application, submit it to your insurance agent.
Pay the Applicable Fees
Once your insurance agent is ready to submit your application for SR-22 insurance, you’ll need to pay any fees associated with its filing. Typically these fees are a flat charge between $15 and $50.
File the SR-22 Insurance Application With the State
Your insurance agent will have to submit the SR-22 insurance on your behalf as the state doesn’t allow you to submit this application for yourself. Your agent will submit this to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles, and the process can take up to 30 days.
Receive Confirmation of Approval
The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles will review and then send you confirmation of approval. This confirmation means that your driving privileges have been reinstated, and you are free to drive again as long as you maintain your SR-22 insurance for the full three years.
Be sure not to let your SR-22 insurance coverage lapse by renewing 45 days before expiration. If your SR-22 insurance lapses, your agent is required to report you to the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles by law, resulting in the immediate suspension of your driver’s license.
How Much Is SR-22 Insurance in South Carolina?
The filing fee is just the beginning of your expenses for SR-22 insurance in South Carolina. Because you have been labeled an at-risk driver by South Carolina, you’re a higher risk to insurance companies. You’re likely to notice a significant increase in your automobile insurance premiums after adding SR-22 insurance. This increase can be anywhere from 26% to 268%, depending on the insurance company. You may find it challenging to find cost-effective insurance coverage.
The average cost of a 30-year-old driver with a clean record insured by Allstate in South Carolina is about $495 per year. Compare that to the same driver with a DUI and SR-22 who will pay $804 per year, and you quickly see where the expense of SR-22 insurance is.
What Is Non-Owner SR-22 Insurance?
South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles can require you to carry SR-22 insurance even if you don’t own a vehicle. If you borrow the neighbor’s or a friend’s vehicle, non-owner SR-22 insurance will cover your liability. Non-owner SR-22 insurance will not cover you if you drive a vehicle owned by someone who lives with you in your household, such as a roommate or spouse. It also won’t cover a vehicle you borrow to drive regularly, vehicles used for work or business purposes, or commercial vehicles.
What Is the Minimum Automobile Insurance Coverage Required in South Carolina?
Each state has its own minimum liability insurance requirements. Currently, South Carolina’s minimum automobile insurance coverage is as follows:
- Bodily injury liability of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
- Property damage liability of $25,000 per accident
Liability coverage will not cover any damage done to your vehicle, only the vehicles and property of others involved in the accident.
SR-22 insurance requirements can make finding affordable automobile insurance difficult but not impossible. You may need to shop around with several insurance providers or learn to live with a tight budget.
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.