Many people who own a vehicle have heard of SR22 insurance before, but most people who have never been required to file an SR-22 insurance form have no idea what it is. So what exactly is SR22 insurance, why is it required, and how does it work?
What is SR22 Insurance?
Technically speaking, SR22 insurance isn't insurance at all, but rather a form or a document that certain drivers are required to carry. If you are required to file for SR-22 insurance, it typically means that you have violated (through commission or omission) state driving or traffic laws. A driver who is required to carry SR22 insurance is typically seen as a high risk driver.
Why is SR22 Insurance required?
There are many reasons why one would be required to carry an SR22 insurance form. Most of the reasons stem from irresponsible decisions behind the wheel. The most common reasons why a driver is required to have an SR-22 are:
- Driving without insurance coverage
- Serious moving violations like a DUI, reckless driving, or similar
- Repeated traffic offenses in a very short period of time
- Suspended or revoked license
Whether or not a driver is required to have SR-22 insurance is very case-by-case. For example, there are many drivers who have been caught violating one or more of the traffic rules above, but weren't required to file for SR22 insurance. The final result depends on the severity of the infractions as well as many other factors.
How does SR22 Insurance work?
If a driver is required to have SR-22 insurance, an SR22 form must be filed by the driver's insurance company to the Department of Motor Vehicles in the driver's state. The insurance company is then required to notify the state if the driver is not abiding by the rules and regulations that caused the driver to receive the SR22 in the first place.
For example, suppose you were caught without state minimum car insurance, and were required to file an SR22 as a result. In this example, if you ever stopped making your car insurance payments (or canceled the policy altogether), your insurance company would be required to notify the DMV that you are no longer being insured through that carrier.
How Long Must a Driver File SR22 Insurance?
If a driver gets to the point where he or she is required to file SR22 insurance, he or she usually has to keep it for a minimum of three years. Depending on the state the driver lives in and the severity of the decisions the driver made, the length of time required to carry SR22 insurance may be reduced or extended beyond three years. Once a driver has SR22 insurance, if he or she ever wants to get rid of it, then he or she needs to carry continuous car insurance coverage for the full three years, and limit the traffic infractions during this period.
Is SR22 Insurance Written by All Insurance Companies?
Most car insurance companies will write a car insurance policy for a driver who requires an SR-22; however not all companies do. A driver who requires an SR22 is defined as a high risk driver, and there are certain companies who elect not to insure drivers who are high risk.
Although the SR-22 may limit certain drivers from accessing a full range of car insurance policies, there should always be plenty of insurance companies that will insure drivers who require SR22 insurance.
Is SR22 Insurance Expensive?
A driver who has to file for SR22 insurance can reasonably assume that his or her car insurance will be much more expensive than an equivalent driver without an SR22. The main reason for this may not necessarily be due to the SR-22 form, but rather what caused the driver to file for SR22 insurance in the first place.
If you are a person who is required to file an SR22, then you need to start thinking long-term. Yes, in the short term your car insurance may be more expensive, but if you can be responsible behind the wheel and responsible in maintaining insurance, then after only a short time your insurance rates should reduce to what most people pay.
Can I Insure with State Minimum Liability Limits if I Need a SR-22?
In some states, when a driver has SR22 insurance, the state minimum liability limits are sufficient insurance coverage to satisfy the demands of the SR22. In other states, much higher limits are required. The requirements vary state-by-state, and when a driver is required to file for the SR22 insurance form, he or she will be informed on the minimum amount of insurance that is needed.