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SR-22: Everything You Need to Know

Young female driver smiling, programming something on her car's touchscreen.

Have you been told you need an SR-22, but have no idea what that is, where to get one, how it works, how long you need, and why? Here, we break down the five W’s of SR-22’s so you know what you need to get back on the road.

What is an SR-22?

An SR-22 (sometimes referred to as a certificate of insurance or a financial responsibility filing) is a document, form, or certificate required by most states for high-risk insurance policies. To clarify, the SR-22 is the form itself, not the type of auto insurance. SR-22 certificates tell the state that you are carrying at least the minimum required auto insurance.

With an SR-22, your insurance company is guaranteeing to the state that you’re maintaining that coverage and are financially responsible for any accidents. It also says to the state that if you fail to have car insurance, it will let the state know, and your driver’s license could be suspended or revoked.

Who Needs an SR-22?

SR-22’s are required for drivers who have been deemed “high risk” by the state. This can happen if you have any of the below infractions on your driving record:

When Do I Need an SR-22?

These forms are often required after one of the above events takes place. You’ll know it’s required when you’re informed by the court or state. This notification will tell you why the SR-22 is required, the insurance requirements by your state, and how long the SR-22 form must stay on file with the state. If an SR-22 should expire or be canceled, your insurance company should issue an SR-26 form, which certifies the cancellation of the policy. If you are a Freeway Insurance customer, we’ll cancel or terminate an SR-22 by filing the SR-26, generally 10 days before the SR-22’s expiration.

Though SR-22’s are usually required for three years, the length can vary by state, and in some states according to the offense. When the time period officially begins can also vary by state; it may begin with the date of the offense, conviction date, suspension date, or the date your license was reinstated. You must carry continuous insurance during the specified period of time before SR-22 status is removed.

Why Do I Need an SR-22?

This form guarantees you have purchased auto insurance that meets the minimum liability insurance mandated by the state. This is important to a lot of people. First, it’s important to your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles, as they work to keep the roads safe. Since, based on your driving record, you are currently seen as a high-risk driver, the state can be assured that you are financially liable for any damage you may cause on the road.

Second, it’s important to your insurance company. They are the ones who file this form for you and sell you the necessary policy. It is important for them to have drivers who are insured and paying their premiums.

Third, it is important for you! By following the rules laid out by the SR-22 (staying insured), you will be able to show that you are a safe driver and reliable auto insurance policy holder. Over time, the SR-22 will be lifted and your rates may go back down.

Where do I get an SR-22?

SR-22’s can only be obtained from a car insurance company after you purchase a car insurance policy. If you already have an existing auto insurance policy, you may be able to have the SR-22 added on and filed with the state. Some insurers may not offer this option, in which case you’ll have to shop for a new policy.

What Else Do I Need to Know?

Beyond the who, what, when, where, and why, there are some other things you want to be aware of, like how much it costs.

How Much Does It Cost?

Insurance companies typically charge just a $25 filing fee for an SR-22. However, you will more than likely require a new insurance policy, meant for high-risk drivers, which have significantly higher rates.

Where Are They Required?

There are only a few states which do not require SR-22’s; Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. However, these states do have their own version of the form and insurance requirements. Note: If you have an SR-22 in one state and move to another state, you’ll most likely still be required to meet the requirements of the SR-22 state where the offense was committed.

Virginia and Florida are the only states that require some motorists to file an FR-44. While an SR-22 shows that motorists have at least the minimum insurance coverage, an FR-44 verifies that motorists have more than the minimum coverage. FR-44 certificates are used for the most serious motor vehicle violations.

What Is SR-22 Non-owner Insurance?

SR-22 non-owner insurance is a way for you to keep your current policy as your primary insurance, but have a secondary policy to cover your SR-22 requirement. Your non-owner SR-22 insurance would not cover any vehicles, but would include the same liability limits that are on your primary policy. This is a good option for anyone who does not wish to cancel their current insurance policy but needs to meet the SR-22 requirement.

If you’re looking for SR-22 insurance, Freeway Insurance can help. Get a free SR-22 auto insurance quote online or over the phone by calling (800) 777-5620. Freeway Insurance specializes in insuring high-risk drivers who need an SR-22, so let us help you file an SR-22 and obtain affordable auto insurance.

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