When Do I Need SR-22 Insurance?
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An SR-22 is a form certifying that you have the minimum amount of car insurance required by your state. You may be ordered to obtain an SR-22 when you commit a serious traffic violation or multiple minor violations within a short period of time.
Keep reading to learn when you need SR-22 insurance and how it could affect your auto insurance rates.
What Is an SR-22?
Also known as a certificate of financial responsibility, an SR-22 is a form that your insurance company can send to your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to prove that you are meeting your state’s car insurance requirements. Although it is often referred to as SR-22 insurance, it does not actually provide coverage itself. Instead, an SR-22 is merely a document that shows that you have auto insurance.
There are three main types of SR-22s, which are based on the status of the vehicles you drive.
Covers you if you get into an accident while driving a vehicle that you own and that is insured under your name
Covers you if you get into an accident while driving a vehicle that you don’t own
Covers you if you get into an accident regardless of whether you own the vehicle
When Is an SR-22 Required?
You are only required to get an SR-22 if you have been ordered to do so by a judge or your state’s DMV. Specifically, filling out an SR-22 is generally a requirement if you want to get your license reinstated after it has been suspended or revoked because you committed a traffic violation or failed to perform some other court-mandated duty.
Specific actions that could result in you needing to file an SR-22 include:
- Getting convicted of a DUI or DWI
- Driving without car insurance or a license
- Being in multiple at-fault car accidents
- Committing multiple minor traffic violations within the span of a few months
- Racking up too many drivers license points
- Receiving a hardship license that grants you restricted driving privileges
- Failing to pay court-ordered child support
- Failing to appear in court and/or pay court fees
In general, your state government will want to see an SR-22 form if you are a high-risk driver who is likely to be responsible for an accident that could endanger someone else. An insurance company is not required to submit an SR-22 form on your behalf and many companies may turn you down if they deem you too risky to insure. As a result, you may have to buy a policy from an insurance provider that specializes in non-standard insurance if you are ordered to submit an SR-22.
Which States Require SR-22s?
The District of Columbia requires high-risk drivers to have SR-22 insurance, as do the following states:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Note that, although Virginia and New Hampshire don’t ordinarily require car insurance, they have minimum requirements for those who do purchase car insurance, including high-risk drivers who are ordered to purchase SR-22 insurance.
Meanwhile, you do not need an SR-22 if you are a driver in Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma or Pennsylvania. However, these states still generally require you to show proof of insurance by some other method to get your license reinstated.
What if I Move to a Different State?
If you file an SR-22 form in any state, you must maintain that state’s minimum coverage requirements for the entire time your SR-22 is on file, even if you move to a state without SR-22 requirements.
For example, if you file an SR-22 in Texas, you will need a policy that provides at least $30,000 in bodily injury liability coverage for one person injured in an accident, $60,000 to split among all the people injured in an accident and $25,000 in property damage liability coverage (also known as a 30/60/25 policy). However, you will still have to maintain that amount of coverage if you move to Pennsylvania even though it sets its liability insurance requirements at a much lower 15/30/5.
What Is the Difference Between an SR-22 and an FR-44?
An FR-44 is a form documenting proof of insurance that is used exclusively in Virginia and Florida for drivers who are convicted of a DUI, DWI or similar offense, while SR-22s are reserved for other major traffic violations in those states. FR-44 insurance also requires a more expensive policy with higher coverage limits than SR-22 insurance.
Virginians with an FR-44 must purchase an auto insurance policy with 60/120/40 liability coverage limits, which is twice as much as the required limits for a standard car insurance policy in that state. Meanwhile, Floridians with an FR-44 need a policy with either 100/300/50 limits or a combined single limit of $350,000 for every event covered by liability insurance.
How Much Does SR-22 Insurance Cost?
Filing an SR-22 generally costs about $25, with the exact cost depending on your state. Your insurance company may expect you to pay this fee upfront or it may be incorporated into your regular insurance payments.
While the SR-22 filing fee is not particularly expensive, maintaining insurance coverage as a high-risk driver may be. Drivers who have caused multiple accidents and filed multiple insurance claims in the past will generally pay higher car insurance premiums because insurance carriers consider them more likely to file another claim in the future.
As a result, it can be helpful to shop around to find the insurance company that will provide you with the best rate if you need non-standard insurance. You should tell potential insurers upfront that you need an SR-22 since not all of them will necessarily be willing to file one for you.
How Long Do You Need To Have an SR-22?
An SR-22 will generally remain on file for three years, although SR-22 requirements differ based on the state you live in. For example, an SR-22 is only required for six months in Indiana but may last up to five years in Tennessee.
After the end of your SR-22 filing period, your insurance company can file an SR-26 to inform your state’s DMV that you no longer have an SR-22 auto insurance policy. Your auto insurance rates may go down at that point, although it is not guaranteed.