Confused by SR-22 insurance? Then take a seat, cuz' you're about to get schooled.
Chances are that unless you've been required to carry it, you've never even heard of SR-22 insurance before. And the fact is that if you practice safe driving and don't let your insurance policy lapse, you will never need it. But, if you are one of many who find themselves under a legal obligation to complete a Financial Responsibility Filing (more commonly known as an SR-22) this article will tell you everything you need to know about what it is that you're being asked to do, how to fulfill your obligation, and what to expect when you've satisfied your requirements.
What is SR-22 Insurance?
SR-22 insurance is typically required if you've taken any actions that would cause the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to label you a "high-risk" driver. Actions like:
- Being caught driving without insurance;
- Receiving a DUI or DWI or any serious moving violation;
- Having your license revoked or suspended;
- Being cited for repeat traffic offenses or were issued too many tickets in a short time period.
SR-22 is a filing that is added to your current insurance policy. Basically, it is a certificate that your insurance provider files with the DMV that verifies that you are in fact carrying the state-mandated insurance coverage. The insurance company is then held legally responsible to notify the DMV if your policy is canceled, terminated, or lapses. If this were to happen, your license would be suspended.
If you are currently uninsured, you will be required to obtain an auto insurance policy and an SR-22 certificate.
How Do I Obtain SR-22 Insurance?
Go to your auto insurance provider to obtain an SR-22 filing. (Don't have an insurance provider? We can help! Get a free quote here.) They will add the certificate to your policy and file it with the appropriate DMV. If you need to show proof of your filing in order to have you license reinstated, you can do that with with a copy of either the SR-22 insurance binder or an application for the binder (either of which need to be dated within the last 30 days).
How Much Will SR-22 Insurance Cost?
The filing itself is rather inexpensive. You should prepare to pay an SR-22 filing fee of between $20 to $30 to your insurance provider. It should be noted that depending on the severity of the offense, insurance companies may now flag you as a high-risk driver, in which case you may experience a rate increase. Don't worry! When you have fulfilled your obligation, your high-risk status will drop off, allowing you to be reconsidered for "normal" auto insurance rates.
How Long Do I Need to Carry SR-22 Insurance?
You must keep your SR-22 certificate continuously in-tact for the entire duration of time prescribed by the DMV. The DMV (in the state that you received your judgement) will tell you how long you are required to carry SR-22 insurance. Generally, this time period is 3 years from the day that your revocation is lifted. Bear in mind that the carrying requirements are greater for each subsequent violation related to DWI and Refusal convictions.
When you have satisfied your legal requirement and are cleared to remove the SR-22 filing from your policy, simply call your insurance provider and ask for it to be removed. Voila! More than likely, whatever caused your needing SR-22 will drop from your driving record at this point too, considering that it also generally takes 3 years for driving records to clear.
I Was Required to Get SR-22 Insurance In Another State but Now I've Moved; Does This Still Apply to Me?
Yes. The judgment to carry SR-22 insurance follows you across state lines and the requirements of the offending state prevail. Therefore, your new liability limits for the state in which you now live must at least meet the minimum that the former state required.
And that's it! SR-22 isn't a big deal, it's just a means for the DMV to assure that you are complying with the regulations that have been placed on you as a driver. No matter what reason you have to carry SR-22 insurance, just remember that it is a simple, inexpensive, and temporary (except under very specific circumstances) add-on to your auto policy.
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