If you get in trouble behind the wheel in Maine you could be ordered by the court to file for an SR-22.
Though it’s commonly called “SR-22 insurance,” an SR-22 isn’t insurance at all. Instead, 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 Pine Tree State.
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Do I need SR-22 insurance?
Your state DMV will let you know if you need to file an SR-22. In Maine, you may need to file for an SR-22 if:
- You’re convicted of a DUI or reckless driving.
- You’re caught driving without insurance.
- Your license is suspended or revoked.
- A judge orders a mandatory insurance supervision.
What if I don’t have a car or license?
You’ll likely need to file for an SR-22 to legally get behind the wheel in Maine even if you don’t own a car. If you lose your license because you’re caught driving without insurance, the state could order you to carry non-owner insurance to reinstate your license.
What if I’m from another state?
If you have an SR-22 from another state, you’re required to maintain it while driving in Maine. Your SR-22 is likely to be sufficient in Maine as long as your provider is licensed to do business in the state, but it’s best to verify coverage with the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) and your insurer.
How much does an SR-22 cost?
Once you’ve purchased or renewed a policy, most providers will file an SR-22 for a fee of $20 to $50. But it’s not necessarily the fee that’s most costly when you’re in need of an SR-22. You’ll also typically see higher premiums than you’re used to. Ask your provider how much you can expect your rates to increase. And make sure you understand your role in maintaining your insurance and your SR-22. A lapse or nonrenewal could set you back a lot of money and time.
The impact of an SR-22 on your car insurance ratesSR-22s are often required after a driving conviction, such as driving without insurance or a DUI. After such a conviction you’re considered a “high risk” driver by the state and most providers.
Ask your provider how much you can expect your rates to increase. And make sure you understand your role in maintaining your insurance and your SR-22. A lapse or nonrenewal could set you back a lot of money and time.
How do I file an SR-22 in Maine?
- Find an insurer. Ask your insurer if it’s authorized to issue SR-22s in the state of Maine. If not, find a provider that is.
- Pay the SR-22 fee. To finalize your SR-22, you’ll pay a processing fee to your insurer.
- Verify minimum liability coverage. If you’re already insured, call your provider to verify your policy includes at least:
- $50,000 for injury or death to one person.
- $100,000 for injury or death to more than one person.
- $25,000 for damage to property.
These are the minimum coverage requirements for the state of Maine. You may see this coverage listed as 50/100/25 in insurance documents.
- Submit your SR-22. Your insurance agent will file your SR-22 with the Maine Secretary of State. Verify with the office that it’s done so.
- Wait for confirmation. You’ll receive a letter from your insurer and the Maine Secretary of State that your SR-22 is accepted.
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How long will I need an SR-22?
In Maine, most court-ordered SR-22s result in a coverage requirement of three years.
What happens if I let my SR-22 lapse?
A lapse can happen for a number of reasons. Switching to a new insurance and not having it certify your coverage before your old policy ends, your insurer cancelling coverage due to continually late payments and failing to renew within 15 days of expiration are all reasons for a potential gap in coverage.
When you have a lapse in coverage, your insurer notifies the state. From there your license and registrations can be suspended until your SR-22 insurance is renewed.
What happens when I don’t need SR-22 coverage anymore?
It’s a great feeling to finally be free of an SR-22 filing period. Before you cancel your current plan, it’s a good idea to confirm with the BMV that you’re clear to do so. You can then contact your insurer and go about changing your policy as you choose.
A fair amount of work goes into maintaining your SR-22 certification. Keep up on payments, renew early and drive safely to keep the SR-22 period as short as possible, and to avoid additional fees.
Trying to find car insurance isn’t the most exciting activity, but it’s especially important to shop around when you have a mark on your record. Compare your options so that you can get the plan that best fits your budget and needs.