What Is an SR22?

If you have multiple traffic violations or have been charged with a DUI, you are likely considered a high-risk driver. If this is the case, you may be required to file an SR-22. Also known as a Certificate of Financial Responsibility, it is required by drivers within certain states or when ordered by the court. It is proof that the driver has purchased the minimum required car insurance coverage in the state as required by law (depending on your state, you may be required to get an FR-44 instead).

SR-22 insurance is not car insurance but rather a certificate attached to your car policy that verifies your car coverage meets the state's requirements for financial responsibility. Your insurer will notify your state’s DMV that you are adequately insured — this is often done same-day electronically. Your insurer also agrees to notify the state if your policy is canceled for any reason. You must drive carefully and responsibly and pay your premiums on time to avoid further infractions or a suspension of your license.

Do I Need an SR-22?

An SR-22 is either state-ordered or court-ordered. If it's state-ordered, you should expect a letter from your state's Department of Motor Vehicles. If it's court-ordered, the judge will give you further information at your hearing. While not all drivers need an SR-22, it is common if you were found driving without a license or insurance. Other reasons why you might need an SR-22 include:

  • Driving without car insurance
  • DUI conviction
  • Multiple traffic violations or accidents
  • Repeat offenses in a short period (for example, multiple speeding tickets in six months)
  • Hardship license (temporary driving issuance that allows you to drive to and from work because your license has been suspended or revoked)
  • Failure to pay court-ordered child support

What Is the Difference Between an FR-44 and an SR-22?

An SR-22 shows that drivers have state-mandated minimum insurance coverage while an FR44 shows that drivers have more than the minimum coverage.

SR-22 is also known as a Certificate of Financial Responsibility.

Almost all states have SR22 requirements except for the following:

  • Delaware
  • Kentucky
  • Minnesota
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • Florida

States with SR-22 guidelines require filing when drivers have been convicted of a DUI or DWI, had their license suspended or repeatedly failed to maintain insurance coverage. Drivers with serious driving violations may also need an SR-22.

Only two states have FR-44 guidelines:

  • Virginia
  • Florida

FR-44s are issued for serious violations and are a necessary step to reinstating your license. Generally, you must maintain an FR-44 for three years and an SR-22 for three to five years. Allowing your insurance to lapse during this time means that it is no longer valid and you cannot operate a motor vehicle.

Form

SR22

FR-44

States where it is applicable

All but DE, KY, MN, NM, NY, NC, OK and PA

Florida and Virginia

Applicable Offenses

  • DUI conviction
  • Driving with a suspended license
  • Serious driving violations
  • Excessive tickets
  • Failure to maintain minimal car insurance coverage in the past (have prior citations)
  • Driving with a forfeited license
  • DUI

Liability Insurance Requirement

State-mandated minimum liability insurance

Virginia: Double the state minimum coverage requirements

Florida: $100k for bodily injury per person and $50k for property damage

Length of Time

3-5 years

3 years

How Do People Get an SR-22?

SR-22 insurance proves that you have that minimum state-required car insurance, so you will need to have auto insurance first.

If you already have car insurance, your insurance provider can file an SR-22 with your state. Not all insurers provide this service so you may need to switch carriers.

An SR-22 is either state-ordered or court-ordered.

If you don’t already have car insurance or your current insurance provider doesn’t offer this service, then you’ll need to get a new policy. Always let insurers know upfront that you need an SR-22 to save some time. If they accept SR-22 drivers, they will then file the SR-22 on your behalf and charge you a fee.

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Are You Able To Get an SR22 for a State You Don’t Live In?

SR-22 insurance does not automatically transfer between states. If you currently have an SR-22 in one state but decide to move to another state, you must still complete your former state’s initial time frame and requirements, even though you do not live there anymore. Furthermore, you must also ensure that any new car insurance policy meets your former state's minimum required liability limits. Even if your new state doesn’t have an SR-22 program, you can still complete your original requirements to get a new license, plates and even insurance there.

If you received a violation (like a DUI) while visiting another state, your insurer can add SR-22 out-of-state insurance to your current car insurance policy and file it in the state where the violation occurred.

An SR-22 shows that drivers have state-mandated minimum insurance coverage while an FR44 shows that drivers have more than the minimum coverage.

If you move to another state and fail to complete your SR-22 requirements, the DMV will suspend your driver’s license. You will not be able to get another license in the new state with a suspended license and canceled SR-22 insurance. Even if you don’t have a car, you will need to get a non-owner insurance policy in the new state and file a cross-state certificate in your previous state.

How Much Does an SR22 Cost?

While it may vary by state and insurer, an SR-22 typically costs $25 to file. Some states and insurers may require that you pay this fee upfront. Other insurers may include the SR-22 filing fee in your cost for each policy term, and you’ll need to pay the filing fee with each policy term that the SR-22 insurance is required.

The real cost may be reflected in your insurance premiums. Since SR-22 drivers are viewed as high risk, your rates will likely increase. However, this will depend on your location, driving record, car make and model, insurance history and more.

How Long Do You Need To Have an SR-22?

Typically, an SR-22 is required for three to five years in most states,  but the length varies based on the offense and the state. In some cases, it can last five years or longer. To find out how long your state law mandates SR-22 compliance, visit the website of your state's department of motor vehicles or the department of insurance.

If you cancel your auto insurance policy before the SR-22 requirement has ended, your insurance carrier is legally obliged to let your state DMV know. This will likely result in your driver’s license being suspended or revoked.

Once your SR-22 timeframe is over, be sure to notify your insurer. You may even be able to shop around for cheaper auto insurance premiums since at least three years have passed since your last major traffic violation.

How Do You Know When an SR-22 Is Done?

Typically, you have to file an SR-22 for three years. Drivers who need an SR-22 are typically notified by the court as a court order. If you haven’t been notified, you can also contact your local DMV office to find out the exact length of time you'll need to carry an SR-22. Once this period is over, you can contact them again and ask if you still need an SR-22. If you do not, you can then call your car insurer and request that they remove your SR-22 filing with the state.

Your insurance policy won’t automatically drop an SR-22 once it’s no longer necessary. You will have to request this removal yourself. You should never cancel your SR-22 filing without speaking with the DMV first. If you cancel without approval you could face license suspension, hefty fines and vehicle registration suspension. You may even have to start the SR-22 process all over again.

FAQs

Do I need to file for an SR-22 if I don’t own a car?

If you are required to file for an SR-22 as ordered by a court or your state, you will need to purchase car insurance. If you do not own a car, then you can purchase a non-owners insurance policy, which offers basic car insurance coverage that is not tied to a particular car.

What types of SR-22s are there?

There are three types of SR-22s:

  1. Owner: This insurance is required for anyone who owns and drives a car and holds insurance for it.
  2. Non-owner: This insurance is for people who don’t own a car but are still required to carry SR-22 insurance.
  3. Owner-operator: This covers cars that are owned by the driver and that other people drive.

Can I Cancel My SR-22 If My Driver’s License Gets Rets Reinstated?

Most states have a timeframe of three to five years for an SR22 after your license is suspended, even if it gets reinstated. You must keep your SR-22 as long as your state’s DMV or court requires it.

Key Takeaways

  • SR-22 and FR-44 are certificates of financial responsibility that prove drivers carry a certain amount of car insurance.
  • Getting an SR-22 will almost certainly increase car insurance premiums since you are considered a high-risk driver.
  • While it may vary from state to state, drivers can expect to have an SR-22 for a minimum of three years.

We Can Help With SR-22

If you need an SR-22 added to your insurance policy or you still need to purchase your state's mandatory auto liability coverage, SmartFinancial has the answers. Using artificial intelligence and its proprietary algorithms, SmartFinancial compares hundreds of auto insurance policies to find you the lowest-cost coverage that meets your budget and insurance needs. Just enter your zip code below or call 855-214-2291 to speak one-on-one with a licensed SmartFinancial insurance agent. You'll get real-time auto insurance quotes in just minutes — and it's free!

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