Have you heard of SR-22 Insurance? If not, you’re not alone. In fact, most people are unfamiliar with it, unless they’ve had a run in with the legal system. So, what is it? Do you need one? If you do, where can you buy one? Let’s find out.
What is SR-22?
To put it simply, SR-2 isn’t technically insurance at all. Instead, it’s a certificate of financial responsibility filed with your state that verifies you’re carrying at least the minimum car insurance mandated by your state. Essentially, your insurance company is promising your state that you’re covered and responsible for paying for any accidents. If you don’t, the insurance company will let the state know.
Because SR-22 certification is an addition to your auto insurance, your insurance premium will be higher until your driving record clears up and improves. Eventually, you will no longer have to pay the higher insurance premiums associated with SR-22 certificates.
So that covers what SR-22 insurance is, but how do you get it? Why is it required for some drivers and not for others? How much do SR-22 certificates cost? Let’s find out.
Why You May Need an SR-22
There are a variety of reasons why you may be required to obtain an SR-22 certification. Depending on where you live, the following circumstances and convictions may require an SR-22 certification:
- DWI, DUI, or other alcohol-related conviction
- Reckless driving
- Negligent driving
- Driving without insurance
If you recently lost your license or registration and wish to have it reinstated as soon as possible, obtaining an SR-certificate may speed up the process so you can get back on the road. Unsure whether you need the certification? Worry not. In most cases, your state will let you know if you’re required to get it and why. Learn more here if you wonder whether you can still get your car insurance with a suspended license.
How to Obtain an SR-22?
So, you’ve just been informed you need to get an SR-22, but how? Fortunately, obtaining this certificate is as simple as communicating with your auto insurance company. In fact, your insurance company is the only place you can get an SR-22. In most cases, SR-22 certificates are added on to existing insurance policies and filed with your state.
It’s important to note, however, that not every insurance company will file an SR-22 certificate on your behalf. When this happens, you will have to shop around until you find one that will. In addition, depending on the severity of your driving infraction, you may have a hard time keeping your existing insurance policy or finding a new one. That’s why it’s important to do your research and compare rates, even if you’re currently insured.
In our analysis in 5 biggest states: California, Texas, Florida, New York, and Georgia, the following 4 insurance companies tend to offer one of the cheapest SR-22 insurance. And as usual in car insurance shopping experience, the cheapest quote for you might not come from the same company that offers the cheapest quotes for somebody else. You might want to shop around and compare your car insurance quotes from different companies.
- State Farm
- USAA (offer coverage for military members, veterans, and their family only)
SR-22 Requirements by State
All states require SR-22 certification except for the following:
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
In other states, you will be required to file a similar certification namely the SR-22A in Georgia, Missouri, and Texas, the FR-44 in Florida and Virginia, and the SR-50 in Indiana.
If you have an SR-22 in one state and move to another state, you will still be required to maintain your SR-22 coverage in the state you moved away from until the time period is up.
Learn more about the details: requirements and cost of SR-22 insurance requirements of the following states: California, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Arizona, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.
What’s the Cost?
It’s not the SR-22 certification that’s expensive. In fact, obtaining the certificate typically costs about $25 and is a one-time fee. Some car insurance companies even provide SR-22 certificate and file with your state on your behalf completely free of charge. The real costs come from increased insurance premiums linked to whatever infraction you committed. This doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile to shop around, though. Depending on your infraction, you may find that rates vary significantly from one insurance company to another.
How Long Do You Have to Keep an SR-22?
Once you have an SR-22, how long do you have to keep it? Fortunately, not forever. In most cases, SR-22’s are only required for one to five years, depending on the severity of your infraction and the state you reside in. When your time is up, your insurance company will inform the state. It’s important to note that canceling your insurance before the end of your SR-22 requirement is a serious offense and may result in your license and/or registration being suspended.
Once you’ve done your time, your life can go back to normal and your insurance rates will begin to go down. That’s about it. SR-22 certificates won’t haunt your driving record forever. They’re easy to obtain and the rules are as simple as maintaining the minimum amount of auto insurance mandated by your state. If you’re in need of an SR-22, just reach out to your insurance company. And don’t forget to shop around to ensure you get the best rates possible.