What's an SR22? Life After a DUI

Fran Majidi
September 20, 2019

A DUI is nothing short of a very expensive nightmare. Insurance after a DUI makes the nightmare linger even longer. If you recently got a DUI or a repeat offense DUI, your first questions should be, “Is DUI a felony” or “Is DUI a misdemeanor?” The answer depends on how many times you've gotten a DUI and if there have been any fatal injuries. Next, you’ll have to enroll in mandatory DUI classes and pay some stiff fines. You’ll also need to figure out how to get your criminal record in order with or without a DUI attorney. Next, you should worry about the DUI insurance cost, which isn’t pretty.

Cheap car insurance with a DUI is relative, so even if you get the lowest rate out there, you are paying more than you did before the DUI on your driving record. Insurance rates after a DUI may be high overall but you’ll be offered vastly different insurance quotes if you shop several carriers at the same time. If you need an SR-22 filing for a DUI, visit here to get multiple free car insurance quotes. Below, we have some FAQs that may be helpful as you get your life together after a DUI.

Why Do I Need an SR22?

DUI is not the only reason people file an SR-22. Other reasons include serious moving-violations convictions, several traffic offenses in a short period of time and driving without car insurance. You almost always need an SR-222 to reinstate a driver’s license after a suspension, regardless of the reason it was suspended. An SR-22 filing is usually ordered by the courts.

What Is an SR-22?

Some people think an SR22 filing is insurance but it’s really not. An SR-22 is a form that your insurance company files with the state. It is a statement of financial responsibility verifying that you are carrying the state mandated amount of car insurance and it also affirms the insurance company’s responsibility to alert the state if you do not maintain that coverage.

Some people wrongly assume that a DUI lawyer files the SR-22 on your behalf. That’s not the case. You simply need to tell your insurance company or agent that you need to file one.

How Long After a DUI Do I Need an SR-22 Filing?

Keep in mind that an SR-22 filing is temporary, and you won’t be paying a high insurance rate forever. On average, an SR-22 status must be maintained for around three years after a DUI-related license suspension. In some states it’s only for one year, in others it’s five. You only file an SR-22 once and it renews automatically each year that it’s required.

After you file an SR-22 it becomes apparent to your insurance company that you’ve had a DUI. Not all insurance companies will penalize you the same amount, and you may not even see a significant rate increase after a DUI until it comes time to renew. But first things first, contact your company to see if they will do the SR-22 filing. If not, you’ll have to shop for the best car insurance for a DUI by visiting here. Some insurance agents specialize in high-risk drivers and SR22 filings, so having an agent comparison shop rates with those carriers may save you lots of money.

Non-Owner SR22: Is There a Cheaper Alternative to an SR22?

The most cost-effective way of making it through the mandated time you’re required to carry an SR22 filing is to get a non-owners SR22 car insurance policy. The difference between a regular SR22 and a non-owner SR-22 is that with the latter you are not able to own a car during the policy term and you cannot be living in a household where a car is accessible to you. You’ll definitely pay the least this way and should consider it if you can use someone else’s car or use public transportation. With a non-owner SR22 insurance policy, you will be covered against liability claims on any car you drive. If you had an ignition interlock device requirement, a non-owners SR-22 is not an option.

DUI Insurance Cost: How Much Does an SR-22 Cost?

This is where people get confused. An SR-22 filing is not expensive and only costs roughly $25 as a one-time charge. What’s expensive are your insurance rates after a DUI. DUI auto insurance is what gets people in the pocket; the SR-22 is simply a guarantee that you will not drive without insurance. In most cases, you’re required to file for three years, even if you don’t own a car (see non-owner SR-22 above).

Car insurance rates for someone with a DUI on their record varies by hundreds, sometimes thousands. It’s very important for you to shop around as soon as your insurance company reveals new DUI insurance rates, with and without collision and comprehensive. Again, note that the rate change may take effect until renewal. Depending on which car insurance company you choose, your rates can vary anywhere between 45% to 200%! The best car insurance for DUI is often with carriers that specialize in DUI auto insurance.

Sometimes, an insurance company will require that you pay your car insurance policy in full, not in monthly premiums, when you file an SR-22. This is why it’s important for you to work with the right agent who will compare carriers to find you the best car insurance for DUI.

How Long Does a DUI Stay on Your Insurance?

In California, your DUI remains on your record for ten years. The length of time a DUI stays on your record is different in each state, but it’s usually somewhere between three and five years.

Car insurance for DUI offenders in most states stays relatively high during the time they are required to file an SR-22.

How Long Is an SR-22 Required?

On average, an SR-22 is required for three years, but the length varies from state to state and can range between one and five years. If you cancel your car insurance policy (or non-owner SR-22) or have it revoked for failure to pay, your insurance company will report this to the state and you will be penalized.

In the following states, a different version of the SR-22 is used, but make note that the filing requirements are the same: Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.

If you have an SR-22 and are moving to another state, you have to fulfill the requirements of the SR-22 laws of the state where you got the DUI. If you got a DUI in a state that doesn’t have SR-22 filing and need to move to another state, you’ll need to get an SR-22, so get multiple auto insurance quotes and speak with an agent now.

How Do Insurance Companies Find Out About DUI

Because you’ll need to file an SR-22 or its equivalent, there’s really no hiding a DUI. Your current insurer will know that you’ve been insured so they’ll assume it was a DUI. If you apply for new insurance, most insurance companies run a criminal background check and will find out. It’s always best to be forthcoming about a DUI on a driving record because your rate will actually benefit from the honesty. Again, shopping around with a trusted agent will ensure that you’re paying the lowest rate for car insurance.

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