If you commit certain traffic violations, you will likely be required to obtain an SR-22. This form states that you hold the correct amount of car insurance required by your state in order to drive legally. Violations that lead to an SR-22 requirement can vary, but it typically occurs after your license has been suspended. This can occur if you:
- Received a DUI or DWI
- Were caught driving without insurance, especially if you cause an accident
- Were caught driving without a valid license
- Committed multiple traffic offenses in a short amount of time
An SR-22 may be ordered by a court or by the state. Once you file for an SR-22 with your insurance company, you will have to take the form to your DMV. Keep in mind that your license’s suspension depends on factors besides an SR-22 requirement. The length of your suspension varies depending on the violation. You will also likely be required to pay a fee and take a defensive driving course.
In general, you will need an SR-22 before you’re able to reinstate your license.
What Happens if You Don’t Get SR-22 Insurance?
If you fail to obtain—and maintain—an SR-22 and the insurance required, you could be charged with fines and other penalties, including paying to reinstate your license again. Simply having car insurance isn’t adequate when you have an SR-22 requirement. Along with your insurance statement, you will also need to be able to prevent a valid SR-22 when necessary.
How Long Do You Need an SR-22?
The length of SR-22 requirements vary depending on your state. On average, you will need to carry an SR-22 for two to three years. You can then work on clearing it from your record. The incident that caused the SR-22 requirement may take longer to waive, however. DUIs and DWIs, for example, can stay on your record for as long as 10 years depending on where you live and the circumstances of the incident. Violations that include at-fault crashes or injuries may take longer to waive.
Is SR-22 Insurance Expensive?
It’s important to differentiate between an SR-22 and car insurance. SR-22 insurance simply refers to car insurance you carry while having an SR-22 requirement. An SR-22 isn’t insurance itself, but a form that states the driver carries the required amount of insurance. That being said, SR-22s are typically cheap. You can purchase one from an insurance agency for $15-$25. This is a one-time payment, unlike car insurance premiums.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for your car insurance. An SR-22 itself doesn’t cause car insurance rates to go up, but the violation that led to the SR-22 will. A DUI can skyrocket your rates by 80% or more, which can be around $1,300 additional a year. This is a lot of money for car insurance, and many insurance agencies reject drivers who have SR-22 requirements. When looking for car insurance after your license is suspended, make sure to look for an agency that specializes in nonstandard and high-risk drivers. High-risk drivers refer to drivers who have poor credit or spotty driving records who are seen as more likely to file a car insurance claim.
There are ways to save money on car insurance after an SR-22, but you will be paying more than you did before the violation.
When you are charged with an SR-22, make sure not understand the limits of your state’s requirements. Each state requires different limits of liability car insurance. You will need to carry this coverage for as long as your SR-22 lasts.