What Is an SR-22? Top 6 Things You Should Know

SR-22 image

The SR-22. Most people probably have a hazy idea of what it is. Maybe you’ve had a friend who needed one or you understand vaguely that it has to do with car insurance. But really, what is an SR-22? Is it something you get from the DMV or your car insurance company? Does everyone have to have one? Is it bigger than a breadbox?

It seems that, aside from a general sense of foreboding, most people don’t know much about SR-22s. And that’s fine. As long as you practice safe driving and don’t let your insurance lapse, you’ll never need one. But just in case, here are a few SR-22 insurance basics to help keep you in the know.

What’s an SR-22?

An SR-22 — also known as SR-22 insurance or Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR) — isn’t a type of car insurance, but verification that you’re maintaining car insurance liability coverage. An SR-22 form is a state-mandated certificate filed by your car insurance carrier with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Who needs an SR-22?

An SR-22 is required when someone who was in an accident or convicted of a traffic offense couldn’t show financial responsibility. For example, you’d need an SR-22 if you were caught driving without car insurance.

You might also need an SR-22 if you had any of the following:

  • A DUI or DWI or any serious moving violation
  • An at-fault accident while driving without insurance
  • Repeat traffic offenses or too many tickets in a short time period
  • A revoked or suspended license

What does an SR-22 cost?

Though it varies by state, car insurance companies will typically charge a nominal fee of $15 to $25 for filing an SR-22 form.

If you need an SR-22, however, you’ll first need to purchase a car insurance policy. Your car insurance rate will be determined based on all the factors that normally go into rating a policy. However, keep in mind that car insurance companies generally consider drivers who need an SR-22 riskier to insure, so your car insurance rates will likely reflect the risk.

We recommend shopping around, but remember, the cheapest SR-22 insurance quotes may not be the best. You should always consider the company’s service, financial responsibility, and reliability when making an insurance purchase of any kind.

How do I get an SR-22?

To obtain an SR-22, you’ll need to go through your car insurance provider. Only an insurance company that is filed with the state can issue SR-22s.

Additionally, if you have an SR-22 in one state but move to another, you’ll need to fulfill the SR-22 requirements for your former state, and your new liability limits will need to meet the minimums required by law in your former state.

Learn more about filing an SR-22 here.

How long does an SR-22 have to be maintained?

Most states require drivers to carry SR-22 insurance for 3 years. In that time, continuous coverage must be maintained. If there is an insurance lapse or cancellation, your car insurance company is legally obligated to notify the DMV and your license will be suspended.

How can I avoid an SR-22 requirement?

You can avoid the complication and expense involved with an SR-22 filing by simply maintaining your car insurance and practicing safe driving.

Here are a few useful reminders:

  • Don’t drink and drive. DUIs and DWIs are the most common reasons for needing to file an SR-22 certificate.
  • Drive safe. Not only can too many moving violations result in an SR-22, they can significantly increase your car insurance premiums.
  • Don’t drive without insurance. If you don’t have car insurance and you’re pulled over, you’ll be required to prove financial responsibility by way of an SR-22.

Bottom line: Drive carefully and stay insured and you’ll never need to know any more than this about the SR-22 (which, by the way, is smaller than a breadbox).

And if 6 facts about SR-22s just aren’t enough, find out what SR-22 actually stands for.

Related post

You have questions about SR-22s. We have answers.

110 Responses to “What Is an SR-22? Top 6 Things You Should Know”

  1. Titika
    August 30, 2014 #

    I had SR 22 non owner an I bought a car before changing my insurance policy I had accident, now I received letter from collection agent they want me to pay $18.000 or suspending my driver license. What should I do?

  2. Pepper
    September 3, 2014 #

    My Daughter has a SR22 and has insurance on her vehicle. She doesn't live with us but can she drive our car and be covered in case of an accident? We live in California.

  3. Ty Pineda
    Ty Pineda
    September 15, 2014 #

    Last summer I was driving my moms car. She has full coverage. I did not have a car. I only had permit. I hit a car in front of me and fled the scene. My permit was suspended for 6 months. I served the 6 months and went to the DMV to get my license. They said it was suspended and I had to pay a $150 reinstatement fee and obtain SR22 before I can go take my road test. I'm not sure what to do. PLEASE HELP!!

    • Ty Pineda
      Ty Pineda
      September 15, 2014 #

      I do not have a car but I need my license because I am in the military and I will need it for when I go away for basic training.

    • clackp
      January 2, 2015 #

      please dont drive !!!! take the bus it is so much cheaper

    • clackp
      January 2, 2015 #

      yes you need a non owner policy it is spendy too

  4. Pat
    September 18, 2014 #

    My daughter incurred a DUI while driving thru ND a number of years ago. Even though she never lived in that state, North Dakota is requiring a SR-22. Her insurance company in North Carolina says they cannot do this. What's the deal and how can it be resolved

  5. jamie
    September 19, 2014 #

    Ok I got pulled over for having an expired drivers license and got caught with no insurance as well. I went to court and I got fined and I have another court date that I have to attend if I dont have the fine paided by a certain time. However I was looking through my glove box and found the previous owners insurance on the car and it was still active at the time of the ticket can I take this to court and see if they dismiss the ticket? Because I got mail stating there going to try to suspend my license if I dont get sr22 by december. Any advice. Oh and the previous owner gave me the insurance card.

    • Rachael Heller
      Rachael Heller
      September 24, 2014 #

      Hi Jamie,

      That's a great question. Are you an Esurance customer? You can give us a call at 1-800-Esurance (1-800-378-7262) to speak with one of our representatives today to get that cleared up. If not, we recommend contacting your insurance provider directly. Regulations vary based on state and situation. Thanks for reading!

  6. Ashley
    September 30, 2014 #

    I got a DWI in 2009 and I never received an SR-22. I'm not complaining, but how is this possible?

  7. Lance Smith
    Lance Smith
    October 4, 2014 #

    I just applied for a driving job and found out my
    license was suspended for failure to obtain an SR-22. I don't own a vehicle. I only drive work trucks.

  8. Manolo EL Chingon Hernandez
    Manolo EL Chingon Hernandez
    October 9, 2014 #

    I'm. A sr 22 driver I sold my car do I still need to keep having insurance?? How do I keep from having to turn my driver license in?

  9. Brandy
    October 29, 2014 #

    I just removed a car off my policy. I had two vehicles listed and removed one. Do I have to show proof the car no longer belongs to me or my mom to be sure my license does not get suspended? She took out a title loan and lost her car so I removed it from my policy. Do I have to show proof? I have progressive and I do not want my license to be suspended! I still have my car insured with them. Not sure what to do

    • Jennifer Wood
      Jennifer Wood
      November 6, 2014 #

      Hi Brandy,
      I'd recommend giving your insurance company a call in order to make sure you've taken the right steps. These things can be tricky and it's always better to be safe than sorry!

      Thanks for reading!

  10. oneluvchica1
    November 10, 2014 #

    I haven't had a license for about 7 years.I got my license at a very young age after teaching myself to drive where I did receive tickets that I couldn't pay there after losing my license.I received a letter in the mail that I could go get my license but I would have to get an SR22. Then I got another letter a few days later stating that my license had been resuspended. I don't know what to do to get my license back. I have 4 young children now and haven't been able to drive for the last 5 years bc I'm so lost with the law and rules about getting my license now.Who can I call to help me with a situation like this?

    • Jennifer Wood
      Jennifer Wood
      November 10, 2014 #

      For a specific question like this, I'd recommending going to your local Department of Motor Vehicles and speaking with an expert. You can also feel free to call our insurance experts at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262). They're standing by 24/7 to help get you the information you need.
      Thanks for reading.

  11. Kenny Florence
    Kenny Florence
    November 12, 2014 #

    I have 2 DUI'S which I'm still in the process of doing my classes & community service hours..I get my lisence back in 2017(revoked ) & I just bought another truck 4 days ago nd now secretary of state sent me a letter in the mail stateing unless proof of financial responsibility is filed & accepted by SOS all registrations n license plates must be immediately sent back to SOS else I get a misdemeanor offense n a $2500 fine??? Or jail?? Is this indicating I need SR22?? The truck is in my name I just have.my brother with a valid license drive me around..idk what to do ?? Helpppp

    • Jennifer Wood
      Jennifer Wood
      November 13, 2014 #

      Hi Kenny,
      I'd recommending contacting the Secretary of State, explaining the situation, and asking for specific directions. From there you'll want to work with your insurance company.

      Good luck!

  12. michelle
    November 15, 2014 #

    If I have two cars do I need two sr22

  13. Dru
    November 21, 2014 #

    No question, just a comment. Thank you for this straightforward explanation of SR22! The situations that cause a person to need an SR 22 are complicated enough without having to sift through a bunch of misleading ads and poor information. So again thank you for the easy to understand information.

  14. Cindy
    December 8, 2014 #

    My son was involved in an accident. The lady that hit him apparently did not pay her premium, but she has an sr22 bond. Will this pay for my son's vehicle? It is totaled and he only had liability on it.

    • Jennifer Wood
      Jennifer Wood
      December 8, 2014 #

      Hi Cindy,
      I'm sorry about your son's accident! My recommendation would be to work with both insurance companies in order to figure out what is covered. If you still have questions and would like to speak to one of our insurance experts, feel free to give us a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262).

      Thanks for reading and good luck.

  15. Bradley poppell
    Bradley poppell
    December 29, 2014 #

    Does a SR22 INSURANCE cover any car you drive even if the car your driving doesn't have insurance on it

  16. belen
    February 15, 2015 #

    First DUI . I gave up my rights on a affidavits of 6 months of no driving. I paid my fine with msb. What's next do I have to get a sr22 to drive again.

    • Rachael Heller
      Rachael Heller
      February 23, 2015 #

      Hi Belen,

      That's a great question. Are you an Esurance customer? You can give us a call at 1-800-Esurance (1-800-378-7262) to speak with one of our representatives today to get that cleared up. If not, we recommend contacting your insurance provider directly. Regulations vary based on state and situation. Thanks for reading!

  17. Tye
    March 10, 2015 #

    I just received a ticket for failure to insure a motorcycle that I have been working on. It wasn't running until the night I got into an accident and received the ticket. Is there anything I can do to not have to file an sr22?

    • Rachael Heller
      Rachael Heller
      April 8, 2015 #

      Hi Tye,

      For a specific question like this, I'd recommending going to your local Department of Motor Vehicles and speaking with an expert. You can also feel free to call our insurance experts at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262).

      Thanks for reading!

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