If you’ve gotten in trouble behind the wheel in Illinois, you could be ordered by the court to file for an SR-22.
While commonly referred to as “SR-22 insurance,” an SR-22 isn’t insurance at all. Rather, it’s a document your insurance company files with the state to prove you’re covered by the minimum car insurance required to legally drive.
Here’s a look at how you can get and maintain an SR-22 in the Land of Lincoln.
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Do I need SR-22 insurance in Illinois?
Your state DMV will let you know if you need to file an SR-22. In Illinois, you must file for an SR-22 if:
- Your license is suspended due to a safety responsibility issue or unsatisfied judgment.
- Your license is revoked.
- You’re under mandatory insurance supervision.
- You’re convicted three or more times for insurance violations.
There are three types of Illinois SR-22 certificates:
- Operator’s certificate. For drivers who don’t own a vehicle.
- Owner’s certificate. For drivers who intend to drive their own cars.
- Operators-owners certificate. Coverage for all cars you might drive, whether you own them or not.
What if I don’t have a car or license?
You’ll still need to file for an SR-22 to legally get behind the wheel in Illinois. Ask your insurer for an operator’s certificate.
What if I’m from another state?
If you have an SR-22 from another state, you must maintain it while driving in Illinois. Your SR-22 might be sufficient for Illinois’ requirements, but to confirm you’re on the up and up, check with your local Illinois DMV and your insurer.
How much does an SR-22 cost in Illinois?
Once you’ve purchased or renewed a policy, most providers will file an SR-22 for a fee of $20 to $50. It’s not the fee that’s most expensive when you file for an SR-22 — you’ll also typically see higher premiums than you’re used to.
Premium increases are a result of your infractions moving you into a category of drivers that the state and insurers consider to be high risk. On top of those higher rates, you may also need to pay your coverage for the year all at once instead of on a monthly basis. Set aside time to talk with your insurance agent to determine how the SR-22 filing will affect your standing.
How do I file an SR-22 in Illinois?
- Find an insurer. If your current insurer is authorized to issue SR-22s in the state of Illinois, request adding one to your policy. Otherwise, you’ll need to find another provider willing to file on your behalf.
- Pay the SR-22 fee. You’ll pay a processing fee to your insurer to finalize your SR-22 filing.
- Verify minimum liability coverage. If you’re already insured, make sure your policy includes at least:
- $25,000 for injury or death to one person.
- $50,000 for injury or death to more than one person.
- $20,000 for damage to property.
These are the minimum coverage requirements for the state of Illinois. You may see this coverage listed as 25/50/20 in insurance documents.
- Submit your SR-22. Your insurance agent will file your SR-22 with the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.
- Wait for confirmation. You’ll receive a letter from your insurer and the Illinois Secretary of State that your SR-22 is accepted. Without this confirmation, you can’t legally drive in Illinois.
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How long will I need an SR-22 in Illinois?
In Illinois, most court-ordered SR-22s result in a coverage requirement of three years.
What happens if I let my SR-22 lapse?
Your insurance is required to file an SR-26 with the state Safety and Financial Responsibility Section in the event of your coverage ending. A lapse in your insurance, be it from not renewing far enough in advance, expiration or cancelation, can result in your license being suspended.
In order to prevent a gap in coverage be sure to pay your premiums on time and renew your SR-22 insurance a minimum of 45 days in advance. The insurance provider you’re going through is also required to report if you don’t renew your SR-22 coverage within 15 days of expiration, which may also result in your license being suspended.
What happens when I don’t need SR-22 coverage anymore?
After your mandate period is over you’ll be able to cancel your SR-22 coverage. To avoid a potential suspension check with your local DMV and confirm you no longer need to have that particular coverage before you change your insurance policy.
You’re responsible for staying ahead of the game when it comes to your SR-22 insurance. Monitor where you’re at in your filing period carefully, stay on top of your payments and renew before the 45-day deadline to avoid potentially getting your license suspended again.
Insurance premiums can be especially costly for drivers who have been marked as high risk. Take the time to compare your options to find the company that best fits what you can afford while providing the coverage you need.