You might have heard the term SR-22, but what is SR-22 insurance? It’s actually not insurance at all; it’s a document that tells your state that you carry the minimum required liability insurance. States sometimes require an SR-22 after a serious motor vehicle violation or a series of violations.
What Is SR-22 Insurance?
An SR-22 is a document or certificate you file with your state’s division of motor vehicles. It provides proof that you meet the minimum coverages required by law in your state. It is also referred to as a Certificate of Financial Responsibility.
Who Needs to Have an SR-22?
The state or a court usually orders an SR-22. While each state has its own requirements for what violations lead to an SR-22, there are some common reasons you might need to file one, including some that are not related to driving. If you need an SR-22, you will receive a notice from your DMV or a judge.
The most common violations include:
- DUI, or driving under the influence, and DWI, driving while intoxicated
- Repeated traffic offenses, such as multiple speeding tickets in a short period of time
- Severe traffic violations, such as reckless driving
- Driving with a revoked or suspended license
- An at-fault accident without having insurance
- Causing too many at-fault accidents
- Refusing to pay court-ordered child support
How Long Does an SR-22 Last?
The length of the SR-22 depends on the state and why it was required. In most cases, drivers required to have an SR-22 should keep these general guidelines in mind:
- In most states, you’ll have to carry the SR-22 for three years. This means you have to have continuous insurance coverage for three years or longer.
- If you don’t comply with the terms of the SR-22, you could lose your license.
- If you allow your insurance coverage to lapse during the three years, your insurance company is required by law to notify the state. The state will then suspend your license until you reinstate your insurance.
- Once you meet the SR-22 obligations for the required amount of time, you can remove the SR-22 status.
It’s also important to note that the SR-22 doesn’t automatically fall off your license. You’ll need to contact your insurance company to let them know that the state no longer requires it.
Is an SR-22 Required If I Don’t Own a Car?
You may still be required to have an SR-22 even if you don’t own a car. This proof of coverage allows you to keep your license, so you can drive someone else’s car or rent a car. Some companies offer a nonowner SR-22 policy. This endorsement will cover you whenever you get behind the wheel. If you have lost your license due to traffic violations, you will need it in order to reinstate your license.
Does It Cost Money to Have an SR-22?
It doesn’t cost money to have an SR-22 because it is not insurance. But, when you have an SR-22 on your license, you’ll most likely pay higher insurance premiums. Your driving record and infractions drive up your insurance rates, not the actual SR-22. Many states also charge a fee for filing the SR-22 forms.
Not every insurance company will provide an SR-22. Most large insurers such as Allstate, State Farm, Geico, and Progressive offer SR-22 insurance forms. If you already have insurance through a smaller company, you might have to find different coverage through one of these larger insurers.
Some companies specialize in providing coverage for higher-risk drivers. These include Dairyland, Direct Auto, 21st Century, Kemper, and National General.
How Long Does It Take to Get an SR-22?
Once you notify your insurance company that you need an SR-22, they can file it immediately. Some states have electronic filing, while others need to use a paper system. If you live in a state that offers electronic filing, you can get it the same day. If you have to file paper forms, it could take several days.
You’ll need to provide information to your insurance company if they offer to file the SR-22 on your behalf. If they send you the paperwork, you’ll need the information to complete the forms. Some information you should have ready includes:
- Your full name
- Your complete mailing address
- Your insurance policy number
- Your driver’s license number
- Date of birth
- Your Social Security number
- The make, model, and year of your vehicle
If your existing insurance company will file the SR-22, they should have most of this information. If you have to change insurers, you’ll have to provide it to them. You will also want to make sure you already carry the minimum insurance required by your state before filing the SR-22, so there are no delays.
How Do I Get an SR-22 If I Don’t Have Insurance?
If you don’t already have the minimum required insurance, you’ll need to contact one of the insurance companies that provides insurance to high-risk drivers. It’s important to shop around and get quotes from several companies to find the best price. The reason for the SR-22 will factor into what companies will charge, and each one has its own formula for calculating premiums. For example, one insurance company might bump up insurance rates by thousands of dollars for a DUI, but another one might just increase it by a small amount.
What’s the Difference Between an SR-22 and Proof of Insurance?
An SR-22 is technically proof of insurance, but it’s different from just the standard proof. It provides documentation to your state that you have the minimum required amount of insurance required by the state.
An FR-44 is another state-required form that works the same as an SR-22. This form is used in Virginia and Florida, and it provides the same information.
If you’ve received notice from your state and are now asking what is SR-22 insurance, it might seem confusing. But, it’s straightforward once you have the facts. Remember that it’s not insurance; it is a state-required form that proves you have the required insurance. If you receive notice that you need to file an SR-22, make sure to take care of it right away.
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.