What is an SR22 and how does it work?
If you are considered a high-risk driver —that is someone who has been convicted of multiple moving violations or a DUI — you may need to file an SR-22. An SR-22 is an official document — not an insurance policy — that must be filed with your state by an auto insurance company if you have a suspended or revoked license, serious moving violations, or as a result of not paying child support. Also known as a certificate of financial responsibility, an SR-22 serves as proof that you have obtained the minimum liability coverage required in your state.
In Virginia, for example, the minimum liability coverage would be $30,000 per person or $60,000 per accident for bodily injury and $20,000 per accident for property damage. The issuance of an SR-22 by an insurance company will ensure your driving privileges or reinstate them.
Those who are required to file an SR-22 are typically notified through their state division of motor vehicles or by court order. Not all states in the U.S. require an SR-22.
Why is an SR-22 required?
While the laws and rules surrounding SR-22s vary from state to state, many of the reasons in which you’ll need one are generally the same. Here are some of the common reasons why an SR-22 is required.
- A conviction of DUI (Driving Under the Influence) or DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) or another serious moving violation
- Multiple traffic violations within a short period of time
- Conviction of driving without insurance, or being in an accident without proper insurance
- Not carrying car insurance on a registered vehicle
- Unpaid child support
SR-22s are also necessary to reinstate a revoked or suspended license.
What is an FR-44?
An FR-44 is similar to an SR-22, however it requires higher liability limits for an auto policy than the state minimum and is only a required in Florida and Virginia. In the case of Virginia, the limits for an FR-44 would be $60,000 per person or $120,000 per accident for bodily injury, and $40,000 per accident for property damage — double the amount required for an SR-22 in that state.
FR-44s are required for more serious offenses, such as driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI). Florida and Virginia also use the SR-22, but for less severe infractions.
Who needs to get an SR-22?
Though whether you need to get an SR-22 depends on your state and the violation or offense that’s been committed, you may be required to get one to show financial responsibility for any of the following reasons:
- DUI or DWI conviction
- Driver’s license suspension or revocation
- Repeat offenses, such as speeding, in a relatively short amount of time
- Unpaid court-ordered child support
- An at-fault accident while not insured
- Driving with no insurance or being under-insured
- Driving without a valid license
- Other serious offenses, such as a hit and run and reckless driving
How do I obtain an SR-22?
SR-22s can be obtained through your car insurance company, provided they offer it. If they do not, or if you are currently without insurance, you’ll need to shop around for an auto insurance company that do offer SR-22s and compare quotes for a car insurance policy with an SR-22 endorsement.
Once your car insurance policy is in force and at your initial request, the car insurance company will file SR-22 documentation with your state automatically. Car insurance companies that market to high-risk drivers typically offer SR-22s. Some of the nation’s largest car insurance companies also offer SR-22s.
If you find that you are denied car insurance coverage to fulfill your SR-22 requirement, your state may be able to help you. Many states have partnered with insurance companies to offer high-risk drivers in their state insurance options, though the coverage offered in this way may be higher. Insurance providers can also be found through the Automobile Insurance Plan Service Office (AIPSO).
Major car insurance companies that offer SR-22s:
- Farmers Insurance
- State Farm
How much does an SR-22 cost?
Though states vary, for example the cost to file an SR-22 is typically $25(IN) or $75(VA) and you may have to pay a filing fee at each new policy term that you still require an SR-22. Extra fees from your state are also a possibility. These fees are small, but your insurance premium may also be impacted.
Will my car insurance rate go up?
Because drivers who require an SR-22 are considered high-risk drivers, you should expect to see a higher premium compared to drivers that don’t require an SR-22. The rate will also depend on a number of other factors, such as where you live, your vehicle, the violation behind the SR-22 requirement, and the insurance provider. Comparing rates from a variety of insurers that provide SR-22s is the best way to prepare for any increase in rates as a result of this requirement by the state.
What if I need an SR-22 but I don’t have a car?
If you don’t own a vehicle, you can still obtain an SR-22 through a non-owner car insurance policy, which provides coverage for cars you borrow or rent. An SR-22 provided through a non-owner insurance policy may be necessary to get your driver’s license re-instated if it’s been suspended.
How long do I need to carry an SR 22?
For most states, an SR-22 is required for three years. You must maintain continuous coverage during the term of your SR-22 because if there is a lapse in coverage or policy cancellation, your state will automatically be notified, and possible consequences include a reset of the SR-22 or suspension of your license.
You should know the exact length of time you’ll be required to maintain an SR-22. Refer to your state division of motor vehicles or court order to get this information.
Once the SR 22 period is up, what’s next?
Once the term of your SR-22 is over, you’ll need to notify your insurance company so they can remove it from the policy; the SR-22 endorsement on your policy will not expire on its own. Once this requirement is lifted from your auto insurance policy, it is possible you’ll see a decrease in your car insurance rate, though it’s not guaranteed. Car insurance rates typically go down three to five years after an accident or moving violation, so there is the possibility for a much lower rate in the years following an SR-22 requirement by the state.
Article last updated on June 29th, 2023 at 3:23 pm