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There is an average of 6 million car accidents each year in the United States.
Accidents happen and if you’re at fault and don’t have liability insurance, you can be financially destroyed. That’s why many states require certain drivers to carry SR-22 insurance.
If you find out that you’re required to carry an SR-22, you might be confused. Don’t panic – keep reading to learn more about SR-22s and why you might need one.
What is SR-22 Insurance?
First of all, an SR-22 is not insurance itself. Rather, it’s a document that your insurance company sends to your state’s government, either by paper or electronically. The document servers as proof to the state you have currently carry liability insurance and that your policy is active and in compliance with state minimum requirements.
Most drivers will never end up needing an SR-22. They are commonly required in order to maintain or reinstate your driving privileges after you have been convicted of certain traffic and driving offenses.
SR-22s are also called Certificates of Financial Responsibility or simply SR22s.
Why Would a Person Need an SR-22?
As we mentioned above, most people will never end up needing an SR-22. If you do require one, you will know.
SR-22s are required when you’re involved in an accident and convicted of a traffic offense but unable to prove that you could handle the financial responsibility of any damages you may cause by driving on your own. Common examples of situations where you could need an SR-22 include:
- Having your license suspended or revoked
- Getting too many tickets in a designated time period
- Being a repeat offender when it comes to traffic offenses
- Causing an accident while driving without insurance
- Getting a DUI, DWI, or other serious moving violation
- Being caught driving without insurance or without a license
SR-22 can be ordered by the court or the state government. If the court orders you to have an SR-22, you will be notified that you need one at the court hearing where the judge makes a ruling on your case.
If the state requires you to have an SR-22, your state’s DMV will send you a notice of that requirement.
If you are advised that you need an SR-22 for any reason, it’s important to contact your insurance company right away. They will file the form with the state on your behalf.
FAQs about SR-22s
Even though you now know the basics when it comes to SR-22s, chances are you still have some questions. This is completely understandable as SR-22s are not commonly discussed and most drivers never have never heard of them until they need one.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions drivers who need an SR-22 have about the process.
How Long Does it Take to Get an SR-22?
After you contact your insurance company, they will file the SR-22 with the state. If they are able to send the document via electronic filing, the state may receive it the same day you make your request.
If your insurance company has to file the document through the mail, it may take 10-14 days for it to be received and processed by the state.
If you receive your copy before the original has been processed, you can ask your DMV if your copy is enough proof to get your license reinstated.
What Will an SR-22 Cost Me?
Fortunately, SR-22s are not very expensive. While exact costs vary by state, most insurance companies only charge a small processing fee.
It is worth noting that some insurance carriers won’t insure drivers who require an SR-22. Others may add surcharges to your premium. Fees and availability will vary between insurance carriers.
Will This Cause My Insurance Rates to Go Up?
It’s possible that your rates may go up if you require an SR-22. However, it’s important to note that this is more likely due to the violation itself than the requirement to have an SR-22 on file.
How Long Will I Need an SR-22?
This will ultimately depend on where you live. States generally require drivers to continuously maintain insurance with an SR-22 for 3 years. However, some states only require 2 years and some may require up to 5.
The exact period of time will depend on the laws of the state you live in and the reason you need an SR-22 in the first place.
Some drivers may wonder if it’s worthwhile to just avoid driving during this time period. We don’t recommend doing this as choosing not to drive for the duration of your SR-22 requirement won’t necessarily solve the problem.
In some states, you will find that when you go to reinstate your license after this time period has elapsed, they will restart the clock and require an SR-22 for another period of time.
The requirements for reinstating your license will ultimately depend on the violation involved. You should contact your state DMV to find out exactly what they need you to do.
If your license is reinstated during the time period that you are required to carry an SR-22, you’re most likely still going to need to carry it for the entire period of time mandated by your state.
While it is possible that the end of your license suspension period is the same as your SR-22 requirement, it’s more likely that you will still need the SR-22. You can contact your state DMV to determine your specific requirements.
Do You Need an SR-22?
If you’ve been notified that you need SR-22 insurance, we are here for you. We make it easy and affordable to get the insurance you need to get back on the road.
We understand that mistakes happen and are dedicated to helping drivers get a fresh start. Click here to get started today with a free online quote.