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.