If your Tennessee driver’s license has been suspended, you might be required to file an SR-22 before you can get your license back.
An SR-22 is proof of future financial responsibility and shows that you have liability car insurance that meets Tennessee’s minimum requirements.
Here’s a look at how to get and maintain an SR-22 in the Volunteer State.
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Why do I have to file an SR-22 in Tennessee?
Your state DMV will let you know if you need to file an SR-22. Tennessee law may require you to file an SR-22 if:
- You’ve been charged with DUI or reckless driving
- You’ve been involved in multiple accidents
- You’ve been issued multiple speeding tickets
What if I don’t have a car or a license?
In most states, you’ll still be required to file an SR-22 to get your license back, even if you don’t own a car. To get behind the wheel in Tennessee without a car, look into non-owner car insurance.
What if I’m from another state?
If you have an SR-22 from another state, you must maintain it while driving in Tennessee. Your SR-22 is likely sufficient in Tennessee, but it’s best to verify coverage with your county Driver Services Center (DSC) and insurer.
How much does an SR-22 cost?
Once you purchased or renewed an insurance plan, most providers charged a fee of $20 to $50 for filing an SR-22. But it’s not the filing fee that’s expensive when you’re required to file an SR-22 — you’ll see higher premiums than you’re used to.
The impact of an SR-22 on your car insurance rates
SR-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 Tennessee and most providers — which typically results in higher insurance rates. Still, you’ll find providers out there that specialize in high-risk drivers.
Talk to your provider about 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 Tennessee?
- Find an insurer. Ask your insurer if it’s authorized to issue SR-22s in the state of Tennessee. 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.
- Verify minimum liability coverage. The minimum limits of liability insurance in Tennessee are 25/50/15. If you’re already insured, make sure your policy includes at least:
- $25,000 for injury or death of one person.
- $50,000 for injury or death of more than one person.
- $15,000 for property damage.
- Submit your SR-22. In Tennessee, your insurance provider will electronically file the SR-22 on your behalf. Always verify that it’s been sent.
- Wait for confirmation. You’ll receive a letter from your insurer and the Tennessee Secretary of State that your SR-22 is accepted.
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How long does Tennessee require an SR-22 for?
In Tennessee, you may be required to keep an SR-22 on file for up to five years from the date your license was suspended. If you go without incident for the first three of five years without incident, you may be able to get the SR-22 canceled early.
What happens if I let my SR-22 lapse?
Failure to maintain an SR-22 for the entire length of your mandate could lead to paying fines of up to $300, your car being towed and license suspension. The state may also prevent you from renewing your vehicle registration if the SR-22 requirement isn’t met.
What happens when I don’t need SR-22 coverage anymore?
Once your mandated filing period is over, it’s wise to call the Department of Safety (DOS) to confirm no further action is needed before you switch policies. After you get the green light from the DOS, you can contact your insurance agent and figure out the next steps for changing your plan.
You’re fully in charge of keeping your SR-22 certification in line. Renew your insurance before it expires, keep on top of premium payments and drive within the law during your filing period to keep it as short as possible.
Compare providers to find the best deal. Your options may not be completely limited just because you have a mark on your record.