By law, the state of Georgia requires all drivers to carry car insurance. The law generally trusts all drivers to get covered on their own. However, it also requires drivers to carry proof of coverage in their vehicles, and it allows the authorities to ask drivers for proof of insurance if they pull them over. So, if you get stopped for a traffic violation, and the police discover that you don’t have active car insurance, you will likely face additional penalties. One of these might be a requirement for you to get an SR-22 certificate. Here’s why that might happen.
What’s an SR-22?
An SR-22 is a certificate that a driver applies for, which attaches to their car insurance. requirements. It acts a written proof that a driver has active car insurance, in line with Georgia’s minimum insurance requirements. This is a legal penalty that the state uses to force certain drivers to carry continuous insurance coverage.
Once you apply for the form, it goes on file with the Georgia Department of Driver Services, and remains there, usually, for a period of three years. If you ever let your policy become inactive, then your insurer will notify the state that you don’t carry coverage, and the SR-22 will lapse. Therefore, you will automatically become at-risk of further penalties.
Why does it apply to uninsured drivers?
Not all drivers have to get an SR-22, it usually only applies to drivers who have been deemed high-risk operators. Drivers who cause severe at-fault accidents, or receive DUI charges, are among those who often have to get the SR-22.
However, the SR-22 is also used to force drivers who get caught driving without coverage to carry it at least for the foreseeable future.
Think about it this way. Georgia requires almost all drivers to carry car insurance. Therefore, just by driving without coverage, you are already violating one of the state’s cardinal driving laws. The SR-22 will help the state make doubly sure that you don’t re-offend.
Also, the reason the state requires drivers to have car insurance is because by having a policy, drivers can get financial assistance following accidents. So, if a driver operates without coverage, and has an accident, they could not only harm themselves, but also others. Without coverage present, they might likewise lack the financial resources to cover the costs of damage.
Under state law, drivers who are at-fault for wrecks often have to pay for the damage they cause other drivers. So, if an uninsured driver is at-fault, then they might not be able to cover the costs of that party’s losses. Losses therefore could snowball to include numerous parties.
If a driver has operated without insurance before, then they clearly represent a risk on the roadway. The SR-22 is an extra layer of protection that helps ensure drivers who have a risk to operate without insurance eliminate those possibilities.
Why Policies Lapse
If you are a licensed driver, you have to carry car insurance, and that means keeping the policy active. However, no policy automatically lasts forever. Coverage might lapse in numerous situations:
- If you fail to pay your premium, your policy could terminate for lack of payment.
- Policies usually must renew every six months or annually. Therefore, you’ll have to renew your policy before it expires, or switch to another policy.
- Insurers can often terminate your policy for various reasons, such as if you intentionally damage your car, file a fraudulent claim or receive a license suspension.
However, it doesn’t matter what is the cause of the policy lapse. Getting behind the wheel without coverage could lead to an SR-22. That’s why most insurers offer numerous incentives to help drivers keep their coverage active, and why they usually must notify you in case a lapse appears imminent. Always keep your insurance cards in your car, remain aware of when your payments are due, and when you need to renew coverage.