If you’ve gotten in trouble behind the wheel in Washington, you could be ordered by the court to file for an SR-22.
Though you’ll hear references to “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 Evergreen State.
Do I need SR-22 insurance in Washington?
In Washington, you may need to file for an SR-22 if:
- You’re found driving without insurance.
- You’re convicted of a DUI.
- The state revokes your license.
- You’ve failed to pay a judgment from a conviction.
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 Washington. If you lose your license because you’re caught driving without insurance, the court 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 must maintain it while driving in Washington. Your SR-22 is likely to be sufficient in Washington, but it’s best to verify coverage with your local DMV and your car insurance provider.
How long will I need the SR-22 for?
In Washington, most court-ordered SR-22s result in a coverage requirement of three years.
How much does an SR-22 in Washington 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 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.
How to file for SR-22 insurance in Washington
1. Find an insurer. Ask your insurer if it issues SR-22s in the state of Washington. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to find another provider that does.
2. Pay the SR-22 fee. To finalize your SR-22, you pay a fee to your insurer for the convenience of filing on your behalf.
3. Verify minimum liability coverage. If you’re already insured, call your provider to verify 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.
- $10,000 for damage to property.
These are the minimum coverage requirements for the state of Washington. You may see this coverage listed as 25/50/10 in insurance documents.
4. Submit your SR-22. Your insurance agent will file your SR-22 with the Washington Department of Licensing. Verify with them that they have done so.
5. Wait for confirmation. You’ll receive a letter from your insurer and the state of Washington that your SR-22 is accepted.
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 driving under the influence After such a conviction, the state and most providers consider you a “high risk” driver.
What happens if I let my SR-22 lapse?
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 non-renewal could set you back a lot of money and time.