What is an SR-22 and Why Do I Need It?
It’s common knowledge that driving a car in the U.S. requires you to have car insurance. It helps protect you, your fellow passengers, and other property in your driving path against financial losses in case of an accident - whether it’s your fault or not.
In the event of certain violations of the law, you may need an additional form called an SR-22. It isn’t required of everyone, but you should absolutely take it seriously when the State requires you need one. Here’s why your SR-22 form can be so important to your safety and others.
What is an SR-22?
Your SR-22 form shows that you have the minimal insurance coverage required by law. You may also hear it called a “certificate of financial responsibility”, “financial responsibility filing”, or simply “certificate of insurance”.
It is proof that you currently have the minimal amount of insurance for your status based on a specific legal requirement.
But I’ve Never Heard of the SR-22 Form
The SR-22 form comes in response to a specific additional legal requirement.
You could legally be required to get an SR-22 form when you are found driving without a valid license, with no or too little insurance, after a DUI/DWI conviction, or chronic at-fault accidents, violations or offenses.
There are other unique situations which may necessitate an SR-22 certificate such as restricted home-to-work licenses to unpaid child support cases.
The good news is that if you need an SR-22 form, your respective court, law agency, or government will make it crystal clear. It will not be a surprise.
How Do I Get the SR-22 Form?
Often your vehicle insurance carrier can confirm you have the proper minimum insurance coverage and will start the process by providing proof to your state’s governmental agency. There is a fee associated with filing the SR-22 with your state as well as for each policy term being submitted. Each insurance company and each state sets their own individual pricing.
You’ll want to contact your insurance carrier as soon as possible to confirm that they can start and complete the SR-22 form process for you. If your current auto carrier cannot, then you’ll want to start a new policy with an insurer who can. Contacting an agent is the best path forward.
Once the SR-22 form is active, it is your responsibility to keep your minimal insurance active and up-to-date. Your carrier is required to inform the State if you fall below the standard and revoke the SR-22 form, which could result in the suspension or cancellation of your driver's license.
How Long is an SR-22 Form Required?
The average time is three to five years, though this varies based on state. The reason why an SR-22 form is required also matters. For instance, an unresolved child support conflict may require more time than being caught underinsured.
Any court-ordered SR-22 should be responded to as soon as possible. Not only will this get you on the road faster, but it will also lessen the time the SR-22 stays active on your record. If you do get an SR-22, be sure to ask the court and/or your insurance carrier how long you must keep it. You also want to reach out to your carrier to remove it when the time is up.
How Do I Avoid Needing an SR-22?
Aside from the noted situations, the best way to avoid needing an SR-22 form is to drive carefully with the right amount of insurance. Some states do not require physical damage coverage, or other specialty coverages to meet the minimal requirement. Needing an SR-22 puts you in the higher risk category, so your overall insurance cost could increase. Therefore, an SR-22 requirement is not a situation you want.
Talk with an Expert First
If you are having challenges getting behind the wheel again, then it is worth the time to better understand the SR-22 form. Reach out to your agent today to learn more about SR-22 requirements and available options for you in your state.
Terms and Conditions: This material is for general informational purposes only. Products, services, and discounts referenced herein are not available in all states or in all underwriting companies. All statements are subject to the terms, exclusions and conditions of the applicable policy. In all instances, current policy contract language prevails. Coverage is subject to individual policyholders meeting our underwriting qualifications and state availability. Other terms, conditions and exclusions may apply.
These descriptions are meant to assist you in determining your auto insurance needs. These are not complete descriptions and do not constitute an insurance contract or coverage for specific losses. For a complete description, please consult your policy contract or contact your insurance agent.