Some drivers are considered a higher risk than others, whether it’s due to their driving record or other circumstances. Because of this risk, the state of Virginia might require them to have SR-22 insurance. While this added proof of insurance is not extra auto insurance, it often increases rates. If you’ve received a notice from the state or a court that you need SR-22 insurance in Virginia, here’s what you need to know to make sure you comply with state law.
What Is SR-22 Insurance in Virginia?
An SR-22 is a certificate that proves a driver has car insurance that meets the state of Virginia’s legal requirements. Although it’s often called SR-22 insurance, it is not an insurance policy. An SR-22 is just documentation that high-risk drivers must file with the state to prove they’re complying with at least the minimum required insurance coverage.
What Are the Minimum Insurance Requirements for an SR-22 In Virginia?
Like many other states, Virginia law requires drivers to carry a certain amount of insurance in order to own and drive a vehicle. The minimums required are:
- $30,000 per person of bodily injury liability and $60,000 of bodily injury liability per accident
- $20,000 of property damage liability per accident
- $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident of uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage
- $20,000 per accident of uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage
It is illegal in Virginia to drive a car without either this minimum coverage or paying the $500 Uninsured Motor Vehicle (UMV) fee. If you receive notice from the state that you need to file an SR-22, you need to make sure you have the minimum coverage. You can do this by contacting your insurance company — or, if you didn’t have coverage before, shop around for a company that will provide the coverage and file the SR-22.
Who Needs SR-22 Insurance in Virginia?
According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), an SR-22 Financial Responsibility Certification is required if you violate certain traffic laws or if you have one or more of these convictions:
- Uninsured vehicle suspension
- Failure to provide proof of insurance when asked by police
- Falsifying proof of insurance
- Outstanding financial judgments
- Reckless driving
- Property damage
- Multiple speeding tickets
Drivers who have their license suspended for the following reasons will also have to file an SR-22 certification:
- Voluntary or involuntary manslaughter as a result of operating a vehicle
- Perjury to the DMV when registering a motor vehicle
- Making a false statement on your driver’s license application
- Committing a felony under Virginia motor vehicle laws or committing a felony using a motor vehicle
- Failure to stop after an accident that causes injury or death to another person
- Second offense for driving a passenger vehicle for transportation for rent or hire without a license
Does an SR-22 Cost Money?
The insurance company will usually charge a fee to file the SR-22 documentation with the state. It ranges from $20 to $50 depending on the company, but this is only the initial cost associated with an SR-22. Most insurance companies will raise your rates once you notify them of the SR-22 requirement because you are considered a higher risk.
If you have a suspended license dependent on the SR-22 filing, the DMV may require you to pay additional fees or fines to get your license reinstated.
The average increase in the state of Virginia for an SR-22 depends on the severity of your violation. Take the time to shop around if you need to find the best rates. Conviction of serious traffic violations disqualifies drivers from good driver discounts, making even the minimum insurance significantly more expensive.
How Do I File an SR-22 in Virginia?
Insurance providers will file the SR-22 forms on your behalf, but only certain auto insurance companies have the authority to complete and file the certification. Your first step when you receive the notice is to contact your provider. They will let you know if they can file the forms for you or if you’ll need to look for a different insurance company.
Most large insurance companies such as State Farm, Progressive, Mercury, GEICO, and USAA will cover the SR-22 requirement.
Once your provider files the SR-22 on your behalf, you’ll receive a confirmation from them and the DMV that you can drive again. Make sure you don’t drive until you have the required insurance and you know the SR-22 is intact.
How Long Does SR-22 Insurance Last?
In most cases, the state of Virginia requires drivers to maintain the SR-22 for three years. It can be longer depending on the severity of your conviction, so make sure to read the notice carefully.
It’s also important to pay your premiums on time, every time. This keeps your insurance policy active, ensuring you don’t have a lapse in coverage during the time you’re required to have the SR-22. If you allow your coverage to lapse, the state will revoke the SR-22, and they will send an SR-26 document that indicates that you don’t have coverage to the DMV. The insurance company will notify you if your coverage lapses, but they are also required by law to notify the state, and you will lose your license.
Do I Have To File an SR-22 if I Don’t Own a Vehicle?
Even if you don’t own a car, you will need to file the SR-22. You will need to provide proof that you have the minimum insurance if you drive someone else’s car. If you have a suspended license, you’ll also need to prove you have the minimum insurance before you can get your license back.
Some insurance companies offer non-owner SR-22 insurance for drivers who don’t have a car but regularly rent or borrow one. This is an excellent option for drivers who need to save on their premiums. GEICO offers this non-owner insurance for under $300 a year, and State Farm has similar rates.
If you’ve been convicted of a traffic violation that requires you to have SR-22 insurance in Virginia, your first step is to contact your insurance company. From there, you’ll need to verify you have the minimum required insurance and then maintain it for at least the next three years.
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.