All About SR22
While most people aspire to obtain their drivers license at age 16, it is important to remember that driving is a privilege, and not a right. Therefore, if certain rules and regulations are not followed, drivers are oftentimes required to abide by the rules and pay the price.
For example, for those who have been convicted of certain traffic violations such as a DUI or failure to carry auto insurance, it is likely that their state may require them to have SR22 coverage, also known as a Certificate of Financial Responsibility.
A state’s Department of Motor Vehicles will oftentimes require an SR22 certificate from a driver in order to reinstate his or her driving privileges after the conviction of a traffic related offense or following an uninsured auto accident. An SR22 certificate may even be required if the individual no longer owns a vehicle should they wish to avoid suspension or revocation of their driver’s license.
What is an SR22 Certificate?
SR22 Certificates of Financial Responsibility are not actual insurance policies. Rather, an SR22 is actually a form that is submitted by auto insurance carriers that proves to a driver’s state that he or she is maintaining the state-mandated amount of auto insurance liability coverage on his or her car insurance policy.
Although the terms and requirements will typically vary from state to state, most states require the following when it comes to SR22 coverage:
- Drivers are generally required to carry an SR22 proving that they have had continuous insurance coverage for approximately three years;
- If a driver’s policy is to lapse or expire during this three year time period, his or her insurance company is required to notify the state;
- Failure of the driver to comply with the terms of his or her SR22 may result in the suspension of their drivers license;
- Once the driver fulfills the time requirement, the SR22 status will be lifted.
How SR22 Car Insurance Works
SR22 coverage can come in three different types. First, an operator’s certificate will cover a driver in any vehicle. This option is typically the best for those drivers who do not own a vehicle themselves.
Alternatively, an owner’s certificate will verify coverage only in the driver’s own vehicle. The third option is the owner-operator certificate. This SR22 coverage choice covers the driver in all vehicles.
Who Needs SR22 Coverage?
Those who meet one or more of the following characteristics may be required to obtain SR22 coverage:
- One who has been convicted of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI);
- One who has been convicted of driving while intoxicated (DUI);
- One who has been driving with a suspended or revoked license;
- One who has had several similar traffic violations within a short period of time;
- One who is not able to provide proof of having auto insurance.
In addition, an individual may also be required to obtain SR22 coverage if he or she has been stopped multiple times for traffic violations such as speeding, or if they have been involved in numerous auto accidents.
SR22 Coverage for Non-Vehicle Owners
Even those who do not currently own a vehicle may still need to obtain SR22 coverage. Non-owner policies are intended for drivers who need to meet financial responsibility requirements (SR22), but do not currently own – or even have regular access to – a vehicle.
A non-owner policy may be required by an individual who has had their drivers license suspended. His or her state may require that proof of financial responsibility be shown before the license can be reinstated.
Obtaining a non-owner policy can also make is easier for an individual who plans to purchase a vehicle in the future. By having a non-owner SR22, the license reinstatement process can be expedited, and the newly purchased vehicle can then be simply added to the individual’s existing auto insurance policy.
How to Obtain SR22 Coverage
The filing requirements for an SR22 certificate can vary a great deal from state to state. Typically, however, in order to obtain SR22 coverage, an individual should first acquire auto insurance from an insurer that is authorized by his or her state to write financial responsibility insurance policies. The policy must provide an amount of coverage that is at least sufficient enough to meet the state’s minimum liability coverage requirements.
Once the SR22 policy premium has been paid for and the plan is in place, the insured must then direct the insurance company to send the SR22 directly to the Department of State. The cost to file is generally between $15 and $25, and is almost always below $50. Once the form has been filed, there is no need for the driver to carry a copy of the form.
After the SR22 is on file, the state can then issue a letter to the driver, as well as a copy of the SR22 form. This form can work as proof of the SR22 coverage in the case that the driver is stopped by police and needs to show proof of such coverage.
The information about the driver that is listed on the SR22 form will include the following:
- Driver’s name
- Driver’s address
- License number
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
- Auto insurance policy number
- Make, model, and year of vehicle
- Beginning and ending dates of auto insurance coverage
It is required that an authorized representative from the driver’s auto insurance company sign and date the SR22 form. Once the form has been signed, it should be submitted to the driver’s Department of Motor Vehicles office.
How Long is an SR22 Required to Remain on File?
The length of time that an SR22 is required will vary from state to state, as well as from person to person. It will also depend in large part on the specific offense that the driver has committed. In most cases, however, drivers should expect an SR22 to remain on file for between one and five years, with two or three years being the average overall.
It is important to note that an SR22 requires that drivers maintain their state-mandated amount of auto liability coverage for the entire term. Therefore, it is mandatory that at minimum, a driver’s auto liability coverage remain in place throughout the entire time that his or her SR22 is on file. Otherwise, if the state is notified that the driver’s auto insurance has been cancelled, the driver’s license could be suspended – or even revoked.
In addition, if a driver currently carries an SR22 in one state but he or she moves to another state, they must fulfill the SR22 filing period for their former state – even though they no longer reside there. The auto insurance policy that the individual purchases for their new state must also have liability limits that meet the minimums that are required by law in his or her former state.
As long as a driver’s auto insurance policy remains active, his or her SR22 should also remain valid. If at any time the driver’s auto insurance policy is cancelled while he or she is still required to carry an SR22, their insurer will be required to notify the proper state authorities. Doing so could essentially cause the driver to lose their driving privileges.
SR22 Premium Rates
Because SR22 is considered to be high risk coverage, not all insurers carry this type of coverage. It is important to understand that drivers who require this coverage will pay for their auto insurance coverage, with the SR22 as an additional policy endorsement. Therefore, the price for SR22 will actually be in addition to the auto insurance policy premium.
As with other types of coverage, there is no set premium rate for SR22. The cost will be dependent upon the driving risk for each driver. Other factors affecting the SR22 quote can include the state, the driver’s age, gender, and marital status, the vehicle being insured, and the insurer through which the coverage is being purchased.
Due to the convenience of the Internet, those who are in need of SR22 coverage can obtain quotes and comparisons quickly and easily online. Oftentimes, online SR22 insurers will also allow website visitors to ask questions via email, toll-free telephone calls, or live online chat. This can help to answer immediate concerns and keep the quote and application process moving so that coverage can be obtained more efficiently.
States that Don’t Require SR22 Insurance Filing
There are some states that do not require the filing of SR22 certificates. At this time, these states include:
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
However, it is important to note that if a driver was issued an SR22 while he or she was in another state, then they will be required to continue those guidelines in the state where they received it.
As an example, if an individual received an SR22 while in Missouri, but then they moved to Kentucky, they would need to follow the SR22 requirements in Missouri until they have completed the full amount of time required by the state of Missouri. In this case, they would still obtain auto insurance for Kentucky, however, they would need to continue filing in Missouri.