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SR22 Insurance: What is it and do I need it?

Fact-checked with HomeInsurance.com

If you’ve been asked for an SR-22, you may be wondering what that term means. There are times you’ll need an SR-22 to reinstate your driver’s license, and although the process isn’t complicated, it takes some time to complete. This guide will help you learn everything you need to know about what SR-22 insurance is for, who needs it and how to get it.

What is SR-22 insurance?

Driving is a privilege, not a right. Making a bad judgement call can cost you money, time and convenience. The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can suspend or revoke your driver’s license after a serious traffic violation, such as driving under the influence (DUI) or being in a car accident without car insurance. 

To reinstate your driving privileges,  you may be required to show the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that you have SR-22 or FR-44 insurance. SR-22 isn’t really a type of insurance — it’s actually a form you must file with your insurer to let the DMV know you’re properly insured. 

An SR-22 is also known as a statement of financial responsibility and shows that you’ve paid for the state’s minimum liability auto insurance as required by law. The SR-22 is attached to your existing auto insurance. If you don’t have insurance coverage, you’ll need to get insured first before you can request an SR-22 filing. 

Do I need an SR-22?

Consider the following qualifying circumstances if you are asking yourself “do I need an SR-22?”:

  • Your license was suspended or revoked and they’d like to reinstate it.
  • You caused an accident and were caught driving without car insurance.
  • You were convicted of a DUI or DWI.
  • You have several traffic violations over a set period of time such as six months.
  • You are behind on the child support ordered by the courts.

If any of these statements apply to your situation, you may need an SR-22.

How to get an SR-22

Getting an SR-22 isn’t that complicated, but it can require some time and effort. If you don’t have car insurance, you’ll need to buy an auto insurance policy first. It’s likely you’ll be required to pay for a six month or annual policy up front. 

If your license was suspended for a DUI or other serious violation, the cost of car insurance will likely be high. Before you sign on the dotted line and pay the premium in advance, confirm the insurance company provides SR-22’s to verify your insurance meets state minimum requirements. If not, you may need to find another insurer. 

Once you have a policy (or if you already have insurance), getting an SR-22 form is simple. Contact your auto insurance company to request an SR-22 and they’ll handle the paperwork for you.

Do you need an SR-22 form to get car insurance?

Car insurance is the prerequisite to getting an SR-22 form, not the other way around. The order is easier to remember if you think about what an SR-22 is — a statement from your car insurance company that you are insured according to state law. 

How much does SR-22 insurance cost?

People often ask how much does SR-22 insurance cost a month. An SR-22 is a form associated with a one-time fee. Insurers typically charge you $25 to file the SR-22. What gets expensive is the actual insurance needed before you can file an SR-22.

If you need to file an SR-22, chances are, you were responsible for a serious traffic violation or were caught driving without car insurance. Insurance companies will find you to be high-risk and more prone to accidents and claims, often raising your car insurance premiums. 

The amount your car insurance increases depends on the insurance company. Progressive Insurance, for example, claims to raise your premiums about 7% after a first-time DUI and 5% for drivers with an SR-22 on file.

After your SR-22 ends

An SR-22 typically ends after three years, although some aren’t needed as long. If the length of time isn’t specified in your original letter from the DMV requesting the SR-22, contact your local field office to ask.

An SR-22 won’t automatically get removed from your insurance policy — you’ll need to notify your insurer when it’s no longer needed. Make sure you confirm when it’s safe to cancel an SR-22. The insurance company has to notify the DMV of your cancellation. If you cancel too soon, your license can be suspended. 

SR-22 Insurance FAQs

Who needs an SR-22?

Some of circumstances necessitating an SR-22 include:

  • After you’ve been asked in writing for an SR-22 by the DMV
  • To reinstate your driver’s license after a suspension
  • If you were convicted of a serious traffic offense, such as a DUI or DWI
  • If you were in an accident and didn’t have insurance coverage

How much does SR-22 cost?

Insurers typically charge $25 to file and process one on your behalf. 

How long does an SR-22 last? 

An SR-22 will last as long as you continue to pay your car insurance. The requirement to have one can last upwards of 3 years depending on the violation severity causing you to need one.

How do I remove an SR-22?

Once the DMV no longer requires you to have an SR-22, you’ll need to ask your auto insurance company to remove the SR-22. It may take a short period of time for the insurer to communicate with the DMV that it has been removed.

Cynthia Paez Bowman

Writer

Cynthia splits her time between Los Angeles, CA and San Sebastian, Spain. She travels to Africa and the Middle East regularly to consult with women’s NGOs about small business development.

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