Image via Flickr by Mohammed Ali
Being without a vehicle for whatever reason can be tough, especially for people who need to get to and from work or school, pick up kids from school, and run errands. Most individuals who find themselves needing an SR-22 are often in a hurry to get back on the road to fulfill their daily obligations. For individuals who have never needed to, filing for SR-22 insurance can be confusing. Learn what SR-22 insurance is, when drivers are required to get it, how much it might cost, and the information and documents you need to get it.
What Is SR-22 Insurance?
Image via Flickr by Mohammed Ali
SR-22 insurance is not actually insurance, but proof of financial responsibility filed on the holder’s behalf. The piece of paper or digital document is submitted to the state by an insurance company. It is normally required to restore a license after a moving violation or DUI. Drivers required to hold an SR-22 must also carry a copy of the document in their vehicle proving they carry the minimum financial responsibility requirements indicated by the state where their automobile is registered.
When Is SR-22 Insurance Required?
Drivers that have a history of serious offenses on their driving record may be required to obtain an SR-22. The form, typically ordered by a judge, is attached to the insurance policy. Each individual’s experience is different, but some offenses that can result in a driver needing to obtain an SR-22 include:
- Being at fault in a serious car accident
- Receiving a ticket for driving without insurance
- Having a suspended or revoked license
- Being convicted of a DUI or DWI
If someone is charged with one or more of these offenses, a judge may order the driver to obtain an SR-22. The regulations and protocols for requiring an SR-22 vary from state to state. Generally, an SR-22 is a temporary necessity, only lasting for one to a few years.
How Much Does an SR-22 Policy Cost?
An SR-22 policy carries with it two costs for filing. Initially, those required to carry SR-22 insurance must pay a filing fee. Most insurance companies require a filing fee anywhere from $15 to $35 dollars. This fee is due upon activation of the insurance and must also be paid for renewal. The other fee required is the insurance premium. Premiums for SR-22 are typically higher than the premiums for other insurance. Insurers often view drivers who need an SR-22 as riskier to insure. Drivers who have been identified as high-risk can expect to pay more based on that risk.
Although many believe that SR-22 insurance is only for people who have been convicted of DUI, being required to get SR-22 insurance can result from a common driving violation, such as failure to show financial obligation. An SR-22 can increase insurance premiums anywhere from $348 to $1,218 annually. Here is a breakdown provided by Zebra on how much premiums may increase depending on the violation.
|Accident or Violation||Average Annual Premium||Average Increase with SR-22|
|Speeding 21-25 MPH Over Posted Speed Limit||$1,775||$348|
|At-Fault Accident with Damages over $2,000||$2,115||$687|
|Driving with a Suspended License||$2,367||$940|
|Hit-and-Run (Leaving the scene of an accident)||$2,645||$1,218|
How Do You Get SR-22 Insurance?
The process to obtain an SR-22 is fairly simple and can be quick. If a driver already had regular auto collision coverage, the insurance company that insures the vehicle can file on the driver’s behalf if they provide SR-22 insurance. If the current insurer is unwilling to, the driver should seek an insurance provider who can meet their needs and expedite the process. Typically, the insurer must file directly for the driver. When contacting an agent to request they file for an SR-22, individuals should be ready to provide some or all of the following information and documents:
- Date of birth
- Social security number
- Driver license number
- State of residence
- The reason an SR-22 is required (the offense)
- The date the license was suspended (if there is a suspension)
- When the SR-22 will no longer be required
FAQs About SR-22 Insurance
Here are the answers to a few frequently asked questions about SR-22s.
Q: Are there any states that don’t require SR-22s?
A: Most states will require an SR-22 for serious driving offenses. Kentucky, Delaware, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, North Caroline, New Mexico, and New York don’t currently require SR-22s.
Q: How long does it take to process an SR-22?
A: The time period between filing for an SR-22 and when it is processed can vary. Each state follows different timelines. The period a driver waits for processing may depend on the time of year, the amount of personnel available to help with the processing, and the workload at the time the SR-22 is processed. While drivers wait for the process to be completed, it may be a good idea to perform some routine maintenance on the vehicle to ensure optimal performance, especially if it has been sitting for a while. An oil change and fluid check will protect the engine and inner mechanisms.
Q: Will someone who doesn’t own a vehicle still need an SR-22?
A: Some individuals who don’t own a vehicle may still be required to obtain SR-22 insurance, especially if the individual does have a driver’s license. In this situation, purchasing a non-owners insurance policy with an attached SR-22 is advisable. A non-owner’s policy follows the owner while a typical car insurance policy remains with the vehicle. The non-owner’s policy will allow an individual to legally drive any vehicle. Because not all insurance companies offer this option, it may be necessary to check different companies.
Q: How long will I be required to keep an SR-22?
A: The minimum requirements for the period of time a driver needs to keep a valid SR-22 form varies by situation and state. It should typically remain on file for at least three years after the offense that necessitated it took place. During this time, regular maintenance of a vehicle is crucial to keep it working properly and minimize the possibility of an accident due to machine failure. To help diagnose any issues, use a car scan tool such as FIXD and be proactive in car care.
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.