Many of us have never heard of SR-22 auto insurance, but this insurance is important for those who need it to keep or re-instate their driving privileges.
An SR-22 is not actually a separate type of insurance, but refers to a document supplied by your insurance company. When a driver has violated some driving law, the government will require you to get an SR-22. The requirements for this status are usually for three to five years.
The SR-22 form will be required of you by a judge, or you may get a letter from the Department of Homeland Security. It will have to be reported to your insurance company so that you can meet the requirements for this special coverage.
After you report to your insurance company that you need an SR-22, they will be responsible for sending this document to the state. Before they do this, you will need to either get coverage (if you did not have any) or pay extra premiums on an already existing policy. (An SR-22 is not a separate policy.) It will also be necessary to pay a one-time filing fee, which will be around $25.
The SR-22 certificate verifies that you now have the required insurance, which is usually the minimum coverage for that state. Some states have different requirements: for instance, Florida demands that a driver get double coverage for liability.
When an SR-22 May Be Issued
The SR-22 document is needed by drivers who have violated certain laws. Some of these violations have fines or potential jail time attached to them.
Some reasons you might be issued an SR-22 include the following:
- You were responsible for causing an accident while driving without insurance
- You have been convicted of a DUI or DWI, or a similar violation
- You were driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license
- You received several tickets in a short period
In addition to the above violations, you may also be issued a demand for an SR-22 coverage for not paying child support, or refusing to take a breathalyzer test when stopped by law enforcement.
The SR-22 may have a different designation in various states. Florida, for instance, has an equivalent document called an FR-44.
How an SR-22 Will Affect Your Insurance
The first thing you will need to know after being told you need an SR-22 is that your driver’s license may be suspended if you do not obtain this insurance.
In addition, your present auto insurance company may cancel your policy, or refuse to issue you a new one. Moreover, according to Insurance.com, you can expect there to be a jump in your insurance costs — about 89 percent in 2022. However, the increase will vary by state from approximately 31 percent ($484) increase for Maryland, to as high as 375 percent ($4,393) in North Carolina. The increased rates are not technically the result of the SR-22: they result from the infractions that necessitate it. The nature of the violation or violations will affect your cost; so will the insurance company you choose.
How Long an SR-22 Will Affect You
An SR-22 requirement lasts for three years in most places, but some states will require it for five years. You will be required to carry the insurance for the full time that it is required, or lose your driving privileges. If you stop paying for the coverage, the insurer will notify the state.
SR-22 insurance will not automatically be taken off of your insurance. It will be necessary to contact your insurance company or your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to ask to have it removed.
Where to Buy SR-22 Insurance
The procedure for getting SR-22 insurance may be slightly different in each state, but most of the time, here is how you will get the coverage. You may have to do some searching around because not every insurance company will provide SR-22 coverage. Since you are now considered a high-risk driver, only companies that specialize in high-risk insurance will cover you. Nerdwallet lists several of these companies:
- 21st Century
- The General
- State Farm
- And more
How to Save Money on SR-22 Insurance
Costs of SR-22 insurance vary widely between companies, states, and cities. However, you will be paying much higher insurance rates for a while. Because the costs are so high, you will want to try to save as much money as you can when paying for this kind of coverage. Car and Driver lists Farmer’s and Progressive Insurance as two companies that typically provide less expensive SR22 coverage.
There are several other ways to get lower rates:
- Raise your deductible amount. This places a greater financial burden on you when you make a claim.
- Pay your annual bill at the start of your policy.
- Choose usage-based insurance, which may save you money if you drive only occasionally.
- Get a multi-policy discount by purchasing all your insurance policies from the same company.
If you don’t own a vehicle, but have been ordered to have SR-22 insurance in order to keep or re-instate your license, Bankrate says you can save money by obtaining SR-22 non-owner insurance. Less expensive than owner’s insurance, it will provide coverage for you while you are driving someone else’s car. It will also enable you to avoid the extra charges when you have a gap in your coverage.
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