You’ll hear it called SR-22 insurance, but it isn’t actually insurance at all. It’s a document that your insurance company files with your state as proof that you carry an active policy meeting minimum liability requirements. In other words, it’s your official proof of insurance to legally get back on the road.
How to file an SR-22 with popular insurers
SR-22 requirements by state
States that don’t require SR-22 insurance
These states don’t require SR-22 insurance if you’re a current resident, but you might need to keep your SR-22 insurance if you move to these states from a state that does require it.
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
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What is SR-22 insurance?
What an SR-22 is, how much it costs and how it affects your driving record are three common questions. And the answers might just surprise you.
An SR-22 isn’t insurance
An SR-22, also known as a certificate of financial responsibility, is a form your car insurance provider files with your state’s DMV on your behalf. This certificate confirms that you have an insurance policy that meets all necessary state requirements.
Filing for an SR-22 is cheaper than you might expect
Most providers charge a fee of $15 to $50 to file an SR-22 on your behalf. But the real cost of an SR-22 is the impact it has on your car insurance premiums.
After a serious driving violation, you’re considered a high-risk driver, which means you could be looking at greatly increased premiums for as long as you need an SR-22. This can often be to the tune of hundreds of dollars more, so shopping around and comparing quotes is especially important.
An SR-22 won’t leave a permanent mark on your driving record
Depending on your state and your circumstances, you might only need an SR-22 for two to five years — assuming you maintain a clean record. After you’ve met your requirement, simply request that your insurer remove the SR-22 requirement from your policy.
Watch our short video for five tips to get the cheapest rate possible on your SR-22 insurance:
Who needs SR-22 insurance?
Your state DMV will let you know if you need to file for SR-22. Depending on your state’s laws, you could be required to file an SR-22 if:
- You’re convicted of a DUI or DWI
- You’re ticketed for driving without insurance
- You’re involved in an accident that causes an injury
- You accumulate a lot of points on your driving record
- Your driver’s license is suspended or revoked
Any of these marks on your record can result in your state considering you a risk, at which point filing for an SR-22 can help reinstate your license.
Do I need an SR-22 if I don’t own a car?
Typically, yes. Depending on your state, you may still need to file an SR-22 even if you don’t have a car or plan to use your driver’s license much.
You can usually get nonowners car insurance and satisfy the requirements to file an SR-22. Keeping insurance even when you’re not planning to drive your own car can help prevent your rates from spiking even more from a lapse in coverage, too.
Can my insurer drop me after I file for SR-22?
If you’re required to file an SR-22 because you got into trouble behind the wheel, your existing car insurance provider might consider you too high risk to insure and cancel your policy. And depending on your policy, you might get until the end of your policy term, or you might be dropped effective immediately.
If your insurer does cancel your insurance, don’t panic. You’ll receive written notice before your policy ends to give you enough time to find a new insurer. Plenty of insurance companies out there specialize in high-risk insurance, including well-known companies like The General and Geico.
How do I file an SR-22?
- Find an insurer. Ask your insurer if it’s authorized to issue SR-22s in your state . If not, find a provider that is.
- Pay the SR-22 fee. Your insurer will charge you a processing fee to file the SR-22, typically around $15 to $50.
- Verify minimum liability coverage. The minimum limits vary by state. Your insurance provider can help you with this.
- Submit your SR-22. In most states, your insurance provider will electronically file the SR-22 on your behalf. Always verify that it’s been sent.
- Get confirmation. Ask for confirmation from your provider that your SR-22 has been accepted.
How long is my SR-22 valid?
Your SR-22 can stay valid for up to three years, depending on which state you live in. If your SR-22 certificate expires, you’ll need to contact your insurance company to issue a new one.
How do I remove or cancel my SR-22 filing?
After you’ve satisfied your SR-22 requirement, take the lead on removing the SR-22 from your record. First, confirm with your state’s motor vehicles department that you’re in the clear. Get the proof in writing, and forward it along to your insurance company.
You may need to complete additional forms, but your insurance company should be able to handle that for you. The most important final step in the process is to shop around for new coverage, because you’ll likely qualify for much lower rates.
Depending on where you live you might need this certificate to prove your policy meets your state’s minimum car insurance requirements after certain auto incidents. The effects of your SR-22 will come down to the reason for having one. However, you can compare state requirements and quotes to find the best value for you.
Your best bet is to compare your options and find the best deal for your situation.
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