Do I Need SR22 Insurance?

In a perfect world, you would never need to carry an SR22 from your insurance provider, but we get it, accidents happen. There are certain violations that can cause the state to require you to carry an SR22 and finding an insurance company that understands the process is important.

You’re likely looking for any possible way to avoid the dreaded paperwork and fees associated with the SR22 insurance process. In order to get back on the road, you need to understand exactly what an SR22 insurance form is, the associated costs, how long you need to be covered, and how you can apply for one.  

With our help, you can get your driving privileges reinstated sooner than you think. Although your insurance rates may rise for a certain time period, there are ways you can lower your insurance premiums depending on your specific case. A clean record is the fastest way to stay insured and lower your rates in the future.

The Definition of SR22 Insurance

Technically, SR22 is not a type of insurance, but rather, an additional document necessary for government filings after a serious traffic-related offense. An SR22 insurance addendum proves that your insurance policy meets your state’s minimum insurance requirements for a specified amount of time. There are three different types of SR22 insurance options, depending on the ownership status:

  1. An owner policy covers all the vehicles you own and proves that you own an insured vehicle. If the reason you need SR22 insurance certification is because you don’t have insurance, you’ll need to get car insurance before filing an SR22 insurance form.

  2. A non-owner policy can be more affordable than the traditional owner policy. If you don’t own a car, but still drive other vehicles, this policy will satisfy minimum state SR22 insurance requirements.

  3. An owner-operator policy covers all the vehicles you own and don’t own if you’re driving them. This type of policy is the most comprehensive of the bunch. It may be the best option if you drive company vehicles or cars that are not in your name.

Who Needs SR22 Insurance?

SR22 insurance forms often have a negative stigma associated with them. Many people may mistakenly believe that only drivers with DWI/DUI convictions need an SR22 insurance form. The truth is that SR22 insurance can be required for many different reasons depending on which state you live in

Typically, a judge will inform you that you need an SR22 insurance form or similar form of documentation. These are some of the most common reasons for getting an SR22 insurance policy.

  • A DUI or DWI conviction can involve more than a fine and court fees. Your license could get suspended. You’re also likely to pay higher insurance premiums since you’ll be considered a “high-risk driver.” In extreme cases, your insurance company may even choose to drop your coverage altogether, all of which goes on your record.

  • Serious moving violation consequences vary by state. Reckless driving like speeding over the limit can come with thousands of dollars in fines and jail time in some states. Rising insurance premiums would be the least of your worries.

  • Driving without insurance or a license can trigger fines, an arrest, and points on your driving record. You can even get your vehicle impounded.

  • An at-fault accident while driving without insurance shoulders all the cost of damages on you. Insurance coverage typically pays for some portion of the damage, but if you don’t have insurance, you’ll need to cover all property and medical expenses alone. In addition, you may also face fines, license suspension, and jail time.

  • Driving with a revoked or suspended license can result in fines and jail time, with increased consequences for repeat offenders.

  • Repeat traffic offenses may result in a ticket, fine, and points on your license. If you get enough points, you may end up losing your license.

  • Receiving many tickets in a short time period inevitably results in insurance premiums going up, license suspension, and jail time. Your state may label you as a “repeat offender.”

SR22 Insurance Rates and Premiums

Unlike the fees and fines associated with traffic-related offenses, an SR22 insurance form requires a nominal fee of about $25. Your insurance company may charge this amount to fill out the form for you. The SR22 insurance form fee is relatively small compared with the possible increase in insurance premiums and additional associated costs. Just remember, some states or insurers will require you to pay the rate in full if you require an SR22 insurance form.

The Average Rising of Rates Due to SR22 Insurance

The SR22 insurance form itself does not cause an increase in your insurance rates. Instead, the higher premiums are adjusted by your insurance provider due to the infraction. Because SR22 insurance companies assume the risk when they cover your vehicle, they will consider your driving record and credit report to determine your insurance rates. 

Tips to Lower SR22 Insurance Rates with the Insurance Company

There are a few ways that you can lower SR22 insurance rates with your insurance company. You can choose a policy with a high deductible, but keep in mind that you will have to cover the high costs if you get in an accident. You can also choose to insure a low-risk vehicle without aftermarket modifications. Although driving a motorcycle has some risks, driving one could be cheaper to cover under motorcycle insurance. Here are a few other ways to reduce SR22 insurance rates with insurance companies.

  • Ask for a discount. Some insurance companies may provide you with a percentage off your SR22 rate if you fall under a certain age bracket, have good grades, or own a certain type of vehicle.

  • Pay up front. A few companies may offer a lower annual rate if you pay in one lump sum compared to monthly payments.

  • Maintain a good credit score. Insurance companies consider credit scores when determining your SR22 insurance rate. Make sure to check your score to ensure there are no inconsistencies that may affect your coverage.

For How Long Do You Need SR22 Insurance?

In states that require you to get an SR22 insurance certification after a qualifying traffic violation, you will need uninterrupted coverage for a period of time between one and five years depending on your specific state and your traffic offenses. If there’s any lapse in coverage, your insurance company is legally required to notify the DMV. The update can add on penalties or get your license suspended. Additionally, you may have to start your SR22 insurance coverage again from the beginning.

Different State Requirements for SR22 Insurance

The length of coverage differs by state. Some states vary the coverage requirements according to the type of offense. To complicate things even more, state regulations differ on when your coverage time period starts. States could start the clock on the date of conviction, the date of the violation, the suspension date, or the date you get your driving privileges back.

Most states require a minimum SR22 insurance filing period of three years, although there are some exceptions. 

  • In Tennessee, an SR22 can be required for five years from the date of suspension. It is possible for the SR22 to be cancelled if it is filed for a total of three years within the five year period, as long as it is not required for any other suspension.

  • In Georgia and Illinois, you’re required to file an SR22 and maintain coverage for three years but the length of time may vary depending on the violation.

Some states like Florida and Virginia require a different form called FR44 that shouldn’t be confused with an SR22. An FR44 is required when you are trying to regain your driving privileges after a DUI or DWI conviction. Both documents are proofs of financial responsibility with insurance companies. States like Delaware and Maryland require the FR19 form in addition to the SR22 insurance policy. An FR19 certifies that you have had insurance during a previous time period. The following states don’t require SR22 insurance coverage, but instead, have their own insurance requirements:

  • Kentucky
  • Minnesota
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania

Moving with SR22 Insurance

Moving when you’re required to have SR22 insurance coverage is fine as long as you adhere to your specific state’s laws. Some states won’t require any further actions if you move, while others may inform you that you’ll need a different SR22 insurance policy based on your current state’s laws. Most of the time you’ll still be required to maintain coverage in the state where the violation was committed. That may mean that you’ll need to get out-of-state coverage from a nationwide auto insurance company.

If you move to a state that doesn’t require an SR22, then you can still provide the requesting state with proof of insurance. Work with the state to get approval on providing a certified document instead of an SR22 insurance policy. This alternate document should prove that your policy meets or exceeds the requesting state’s requirements. 

Can You Avoid SR22 Insurance?

There is no way to avoid an SR22 unless you live in a state that doesn’t require one. SR22s will follow you wherever you go if you commit a qualifying offense. The best way to avoid needing an SR22 insurance policy is to simply follow the rules of the road. Being a low-risk driver ensures that your insurance premiums don’t increase. Some insurers will even offer a discount if you proactively take a defensive driving class. Here are a few ways to avoid getting an SR22.

  • Avoid multiple offenses in a short period of time. Multiple points on your record can add up to require an SR22 insurance form by the DMV. Points can be obtained from speeding violations, leaving the scene of an accident, or running a stop sign.

  • On top of avoiding violations, you should also stay on top of paying your tickets to avoid needing SR22 insurance.

  • Finally, you should maintain the minimum or higher levels of auto insurance in your car at all times.

How to Apply for an SR22

You’ll know you need SR22 insurance coverage if you’re contacted by the court or state. The official notification will include the reason you need to get an SR22, insurance requirements, and the length of time the state is requiring you to carry an SR22.

It’s important to choose a company that can file an SR22 insurance form for you. You can seek a non-owner policy from a different company if your insurer doesn’t offer an SR22, but still want to keep your primary policy. Your SR22 insurance coverage would require the same limits of liability as your main policy.

Keep in mind, SR22 insurance certificates can take up to 30 days to receive. After paying for the certificate, an SR22 will be submitted to the Secretary of the State for the state that requires it. The entire approval process can take up to 30 days to complete. That means you won’t be able to regain your driving privileges until the SR22 insurance filing process is finalized in the system.

If you’re required to get an SR22, it’s important that you know your specific state’s laws. Every state will have a different way of handling SR22 insurance. Knowing the state laws ensure you remain compliant and prevents license suspensions. To get the best high-risk car insurance quote, speak with one of our licensed insurance agents for all of your SR22 needs. We can help you stay insured so you can get back to paying normal rates in no time.

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