What is SR-22 Car Insurance?
SR-22 auto insurance is the term used for a document given to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in some states to prove that a driver is covered by minimum liability insurance. The name does not actually stand for anything, according to the Florida DMV, but some people believe it began as “State Required Form #22” or “Safety Responsibility Form #22.” Regardless of the meaning of the term, it has become a generic form name signaling the requirement of a state for a driver who has something on his or her record requiring proof of insurance.
Various states require SR-22’s for different infractions. While each state’s requirements are slightly different, states generally require SR-22’s following DUI convictions or accidents in which the driver is uninsured. However, some states will require the form for failure to pay child support, excessive driving points, and outstanding traffic tickets.
What does the SR 22 Form Filing Requirement mean to Auto Insurance Companies?
If you have received notice from your state that you are required to file an SR-22, you should understand that it means that you are now classified as a “high-risk” driver, and your automobile insurance rates will most likely be affected. You should first contact your state’s DMV to determine the exact requirements for your SR-22. If you have been convicted of DUI and are eligible for a restricted license, you will have to enroll in a driver’s education course, pay your fines, including any DMV charges, and provide proof of financial responsibility. This is the purpose of the SR-22; to show that you are financial able to maintain auto insurance on your vehicle.
Despite popular belief, SR-22 is not an auto insurance policy in itself. When companies refer to “SR-22” insurance, what they are actually saying is that they will cover you with an addendum to your policy, and you can file the proper form with the state. The responsibility is always on the covered driver to ensure that all state requirements are met.
How do auto insurance companies handle drivers with an SR22 requirement?
Your auto insurance company at the time of your conviction may handle the situation in one of two ways. First, the company may elect to simply cancel your coverage. It is the right of any auto insurance company to do this if you are classified as a high-risk driver. However, many companies will offer to
continue your coverage for a higher rate. Many major insurance companies which will write SR-22 policies in some states. However, many companies also have certain requirements for drivers who are required to carry SR-22’s, and may not insure all such drivers.
What is a Non Owners Auto Insurance Policy?
Another type of policy available is called a non-owner auto insurance policy. Some people who are convicted of various traffic offenses may elect to sell their vehicles, or the vehicles may have been wrecked in the accident. However, the drivers may wish to retain driving privileges, so that they can continue to operate a vehicle. These drivers may rent cars or drive a friend’s car on occasion. In that case, the policy insures the driver for any vehicle driven rather than a specific car. The SR-22 must still be filed with the state, however, and it is the driver’s responsibility to meet any additional requirements for retaining a driver’s license.
How much is auto insurance with a SR22 requirement?
Auto insurance rates for SR-22 coverage vary according to many factors. Generally, if you have a good driving record up to the time of your conviction, and if you maintain a good driving record afterward, you will have lower rates than a driver who has many convictions. Your age, the type of car you drive, and even your credit history may also have an impact on your rates.
The good news is that SR-22 requirements are not forever. While the number of years varies from state to state, three years is the average time a driver is required to file an SR-22. If, during those three years, the driver maintains a safe record with no moving violations, and is current on auto insurance premiums, the SR-22 requirements will often be lifted. On the other hand, subsequent driving convictions will greatly increase your rates or cause your coverage to be canceled altogether. More importantly, most states will suspend or revoke your restricted license upon the first traffic infraction. If you do not have a license, you cannot legally drive no matter what your insurance status is.
You can shop for quotes for SR-22 coverage just as you do for regular coverage. There are many auto insurance companies who coverage to drivers with an SR22 requirement. You can also talk to individual agents about your coverage needs but always make sure to get quotes from various companies before committing to coverage.