What Is an SR-22?

No one is perfect when it comes to driving. Traffic jams and impatient drivers are unavoidable, and sometimes even the most cautious drivers get in accidents. However, if you've received too many traffic violations or cause an accident without insurance, traffic court could limit your driving privileges. Court judges can suspend or revoke your license, give you a larger fine, or order you to get better insurance coverage.

What Is an SR-22?

While you receive SR-22 coverage through an insurance company and some refer to it as an insurance policy, an SR-22 is not insurance. Instead, it’s a Certificate of Financial Responsibility verifying you meet your state’s minimum car insurance requirements, and it allows you to keep your driving privileges after repeated or serious traffic violations.

In some states, the SR-22 insurance is known as the FR-44. The main difference between the two is an FR-44 might necessitate getting more insurance the state’s minimum coverage requirements.

Who Needs SR-22 Coverage?

Unless the court requires you to get an SR-22, you don’t have to worry about it. You may need to get an SR-22 certificate if you commit one of the following driving violations.

  • Being convicted of a DUI
  • Getting into an at-fault accident without insurance
  • Receiving too many traffic violations within a few months
  • Having your license revoked or suspended
  • Causing an accident that results in serious injury

How Long Are You Required to Have an SR-22?

The majority of the US requires continuous SR-22 coverage for three years. If you cancel or lapse on your coverage, your insurance provider will contact the DMV, who will suspend your license. Three years is also how long it takes to clear your driving record.

If you receive another violation, get cited for drunk driving, or encounter any other instance which would require you to file an SR-22, you will likely need to maintain your coverage for longer than three years.

If you’re worried about what getting an SR-22 means for you, keep in mind it won’t be on your record forever. While it can feel like a long time, three years is only a short period during your driving career.

How Do You Get an SR-22?

After you’ve been ordered to get an SR-22, you’ll need to contact an insurance provider. Insurance providers registered with the state are the only way you can get an SR-22, but not all insurance providers carry SR-22 coverage.

Once you have an SR-22, you have to keep it in your car at all times, and if you move from one state to another while you have an SR-22, you’ll need to stick to the requirements from your former state and maintain the coverage for a full three years.

How Much Does an SR-22 Cost?

Most insurance companies charge around $25 for filing for an SR-22, and you need to have a car insurance policy in addition to the SR-22. Most insurance companies see an SR-22 as increased liability and will consequently raise your rates. The exact amount your policy rate will rise depends on the providers in your region.

Some companies may refuse to cover you, depending on the type of violation leading to you needing an SR-22. If that’s the case, consider shopping around for an insurance provider that caters to high-risk drivers. For example, the General Automobile Insurance Services, also known as The General, accepts most cars and drivers. It specializes in providing insurance to drivers with negative driving histories.

If you need to file for SR-22 coverage, make sure you contact a licensed insurance agent to see how it will affect you. Get an individualized quote online or call if you have any specific questions.