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Updated August 19, 2022
Were your driving privileges revoked or suspended? You might be required to file an SR-22 before you can get back on the road. Often incorrectly referred to as SR-22 car insurance, this filing isn’t really a type of car insurance—it’s a form that you file to prove you meet your state’s minimum insurance requirements to drive.
States usually require SR-22s to restore a suspended license or after a conviction for reckless driving or major moving violations. These violations can also raise your insurance rates.
An SR-22 proves that you have the minimum liability coverage required to operate a car in your state.
You might have to get one if you have a DUI conviction, an uninsured at-fault accident, or another serious driving violation on your record.
Some states don’t require SR-22s. If you’re required to get one, you will be notified.
Who needs an SR-22 certificate?
What is SR-22 car insurance
An SR-22 form is filed by proving a driver meets minimum insurance coverage requirements. Drivers with DUIs may need to file an SR-22 to legally drive.
Not everyone needs an SR-22. When you do need one, it’s usually mandated by the court or by your state’s motor vehicle department for certain traffic violations, such as:
Serious or repeat traffic offenses
An accident you caused while you were uninsured
Having your license suspended or revoked
As a condition for having your driving privileges restored, the courts or your state may require you to file an SR-22. This form is proof that you can meet your state’s minimum liability requirements with your auto insurance policy. This liability coverage usually includes property damage and bodily injury liability.
You may also hear the form called a certificate of financial responsibility or, in Virginia and Florida, an FR-44.
The length of time you need an SR-22 varies depending on the reason for your license suspension or revocation. More serious offenses may require you to carry the SR-22 for longer. Most drivers who have one will need to submit the form for at least three years, although under some circumstances, you may have to file for five years or more.
Where you live also affects when the countdown starts on the SR-22 requirement. In some places, it might start on the day of the incident. In others, it might start on your conviction date, the day your license is suspended, or the day your license is reinstated.
It’s important to know that you can’t just cancel your car insurance policy after your SR-22 is filed. Your insurance company is required to notify the state if your car insurance coverage lapses or expires, and that could mean your license is suspended or revoked all over again.
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How much does an SR-22 cost?
SR-22s by themselves aren’t very expensive. Your auto insurance company may file them for free as part of your policy. There is a small filing fee that varies by state, which is usually around $25.
However, there is one important thing to know about SR-22s and insurance costs. The violations that caused you to need an SR-22 will greatly affect the cost of your insurance because you’re now considered a high-risk driver.
The specific violation you committed will affect how expensive your premiums will be after your SR-22 is in place. For example, if you have a DUI in your recent past, that will usually mean higher insurance premiums than a speeding ticket would.
Sometimes, people with SR-22 requirements who need a new policy may be forced to pay for the entire policy in full before being approved for coverage. This can be a real financial imposition, but if you’re able to pay it, paying in full up front ensures that you’ll have car insurance for that entire term and won’t be penalized for having your policy lapse.
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How to Meet the SR-22 Requirement
If you need to file an SR-22, your insurance company will usually handle that for you. If your insurance policy is still in effect, let your provider know that you need to file an SR-22. If they aren’t licensed in the state where you need to file, you will have to do it yourself with your state’s department of motor vehicles.
There are a few types of SR-22s:
Operator or nonowner SR-22s: An operator or nonowner’s form is for people who borrow or rent cars but don’t own vehicles. It protects the policyholder instead of covering a specific vehicle. You might also hear it called a nondriver SR-22 or nonowner car insurance, even though it’s not technically its own insurance policy.
Owner: The owner’s form is for drivers who own and drive their own car and no one else’s.
Operator/owner: This form is like a combination form. It covers drivers who own a car but might also borrow or rent another car sometimes.
When you have an SR-22, you can’t cancel your current insurance policy until you have a new one in place. If your policy lapses for any reason while the SR-22 is in effect, the SR-22 will be voided and you’ll get in serious trouble.
However, having an SR-22 doesn’t mean you can’t shop around for better insurance. You can find a new provider that will meet your needs and will file an SR-22 for you. After that policy is in place, you can call your current insurance agent and cancel your old policy.
Start by comparing car insurance quotes to figure out who the cheapest insurance company is, and make sure you read plenty of reviews to see who has a history of good customer service and financial stability.
Note that it’s illegal to hold dual insurance policies when one company knows about your SR-22 and the other doesn’t, so make sure everyone is on the same page at all times. Get SR-22 insurance quotes from your old company too so that you can compare them to new companies.
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Get Back on the Road Legally
An SR-22 form will help you get back on the road legally. If you follow the rules and don’t have any more violations on your record, you’ll be paying normal rates again before you know it.
Frequently Asked Questions
After you’ve kept the SR-22 in place for the required amount of time, ask your insurance company to remove it from your policy. Your rates may go down, but that’s not guaranteed.
This is common, especially if you committed a violation while visiting or living in a different state. Ask your insurance company for help—most insurance companies should be able to help as long as they’re licensed in the state where you need an SR-22.
If your coverage lapses for any reason, your insurance company will inform the state’s DMV. This could mean that you lose your driver’s license or face other serious consequences, depending on the state. Be sure you make your payments on time so that your insurance provider doesn’t cancel your policy.
Some states require FR-44s or FR-19s instead of or in addition to an SR-22. FR-19s prove that the driver had insurance at some point in the past, while an FR-44 proves that you have active liability insurance that meets state requirements. The FR-44 typically has higher requirements than state minimums or SR-22s require.
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