What Is SR-22?

If you are looking for information about SR-22 insurance, chances are you have been required to obtain it through a court order or by your state's Department of Motor Vehicles.

While it is often referred to as "SR-22 insurance," that is a misnomer. In reality, it is a special certificate that must be filed and maintained to prove to the state that you are maintaining auto insurance. Unfortunately, however, it directly impacts your ability to obtain insurance and your rates, which tend to go up significantly when an SR-22 comes into play.

What Is An SR-22?

The "SR" in "SR-22" stands for Statement of Responsibility. In some states, this form is known as an FR-44. Although it is often described as auto insurance, SR-22 is not a type insurance at all. It is designed to verify to the DMV and other relevant parties that a driver possesses and is maintaining adequate car insurance coverage.

When Is An SR-22 Needed?

You may be ordered to file an SR-22 certificate under the following circumstances:

  • Your driver's license has been suspended or revoked and you need to reinstate it.
  • You were at fault in a car accident but weren't carrying insurance at the time.
  • You have had several driving offenses within a short period of time.
  • You have been convicted of DUI or DWI.

What Is An SR-22 For?

Drivers in almost all states are required by law to carry, at the very least, liability car insurance. This means you need to maintain insurance that will cover bodily injury and damages to other drivers and their property.

An SR-22 is a way for the state or the DMV to enforce this requirement. When you acquire insurance, the matter is normally kept between you and the insurance company. If you are ordered to file an SR-22, your car insurance company must file it directly with the DMV to verify that you do indeed have coverage. In other words, the DMV won't just take your word for it.

How Do You Get An SR-22?

If you have a car insurance company, one option is to contact them to see if they can file an SR-22 for you. Be aware, however, that if the company in question doesn't offer high-risk coverage, they may choose to drop your plan. If your insurance provider handles SR22 filings, they will likely move you into the high-risk category. This means that your premiums may increase.

Once you've found insurance that works with your SR-22, make sure that your provider files it promptly with the DMV. That way, the agency will know that you have insurance and are maintaining it.

How Long Do You Need An SR-22?

One positive note about SR-22 insurance is that you don't have to maintain it forever. It's typically required for a period of about three years. If you have any additional infractions or drop insurance in the meantime, the requirement may be extended.

How Much Does An SR-22 Cost?

It's normal to be concerned about how an SR-22 requirement may affect the cost of your insurance coverage. The form itself doesn't cost much. Most insurance companies charge $15 to $25 for the filing itself.

The biggest impact that you'll see from this requirement is an increase in your premiums. The impact on insurance premiums varies based on many factors, but you can expect yours to increase by anywhere from 15 to 45 percent.

How to Avoid the SR-22 Auto Insurance Requirement

It may sound simple, but the best way to avoid SR-22 insurance is by following the rules. You can do this by maintaining auto insurance consistently. You also need to take care to obey all traffic laws and to maintain a clean driving record. Although it should go without saying, you should not drink and drive because even a single DUI can trigger an SR-22 requirement.

If you are ordered to have SR-22 insurance, you should take care of it quickly and take the matter seriously. As long as you remain infraction-free and maintain coverage for the next three years, the requirement should be lifted. Once it is, you'll be able to buy normal coverage again, so your rates should go down before too long.