SR-22 Insurance: Help Is at Hand for High-Risk Drivers
Accidents happen. People make mistakes. Unexpected things occur. However, while all of those are true, they do nothing to mitigate the fact that a single mistake could leave you labeled as a "high risk” driver. If you are, you could be required to file an SR-22 before you can have your license reinstated. What is an SR-22, how does SR-22 insurance work, and what do you need to know about this situation?
What Is an SR-22?
We’ll begin by addressing one of the most basic questions – what is an SR-22? Simply put, it is a form that a court of law may require you to obtain from your insurance company. It is also called a certificate of financial responsibility. Basically, it’s a form filed by your insurance company that proves to the court that you have at least liability insurance on your vehicle, and that your policy meets the minimum requirements in your state.
Who Needs an SR-22?
There are many situations in which you might need an SR-22. For instance, if you have multiple accidents on your driving record, the court could label you as being a high-risk driver. If you have been convicted of DUI, you could be required to obtain an SR-22 before the court will reinstate your license. In some instances, you will be required to file an SR-22 form if you have been convicted of driving without insurance (whether an accident was involved or not).
If you have received multiple speeding tickets or other moving violations within a relatively short period of time, you could also be labeled as being a high-risk driver. In all of these instances, it is possible that you will need to have your insurance company file an SR-22 with the state government.
What Does an SR-22 Do to Your Insurance Rates?
Being required to file an SR-22 indicates that you are a risky driver – that’s something that insurance companies don’t like very much. They are risk averse. After all, the riskier you are, the more likely it is that they will have to pay out to cover damages. It’s a simple equation. Greater risk equates to a higher chance of profitability loss, and that is not how you run a successful business.
So, you can expect most insurance companies to deny you if you are required to obtain an SR-22. Many insurers do not work with high-risk drivers at all. Those who are willing to work with you will charge very high insurance rates, so you can expect your costs to rise significantly, at least until the SR-22 can be removed from your policy.
How Long Do You Need to Have an SR-22?
In general, you’ll need to have an SR-22 on file with your auto insurance company for at least three consecutive years. After that time, you should be able to contact your insurer and ask them to remove the form. However, understand that this is not set in stone. The duration you’re required to maintain an SR-22 form can vary greatly by state, by risk type, by personal driving history and for other reasons. You will need to check with your state’s DMV to determine exactly how long you need to maintain the form.
How Do You Get an SR-22 Form?
While you are the one required to obtain the SR-22 form, you cannot actually file it yourself. You will need to work with your insurance company or agent to obtain the form, complete it and file it with your state’s DMV. However, this is not the case in all situations – some insurance companies do not file the form, and will require that you do it. Once it has been filed with the DMV and your fees have been paid, your license will be reinstated.
How Much Does it Cost to File an SR-22?
The cost of the SR-22 form itself is generally not high. Most insurance companies will charge $25 or less to do this for you, although some may charge up to $50. You will need to speak with your insurance agent to determine the exact costs that apply to your situation. However, this is not the end of your costs. You will still need to pay the license reinstatement fee to the court if your license has been suspended. This may be $100 or more depending on the reason for the suspension, the number of times you have been ticketed or charged, and other circumstances.
What Happens If You Cancel Your Insurance?
If you have been ordered to file and maintain an SR-22, you need to understand the ramifications of canceling your insurance. To put it bluntly, as soon as you cancel your insurance, the company will notify the state government that you are no longer insured. This causes your three-year period to restart from the beginning. Even if you found new insurance on your car the day after cancelling your policy with the previous insurer, you will still need to restart your three-year SR-22 period. Always purchase a new insurance policy and have the company file another SR-22 before canceling your previous policy.
What Is an FR-44?
If you fail to maintain your SR-22 requirement, in some states the court could require you to file and maintain an FR-44. This is very similar to an SR-22, but it usually requires that you carry more than the state minimum in auto insurance. It’s most commonly applied in cases where the driver did not maintain insurance after being required to file an SR-22.
The Help You Need
If you have been deemed a "high-risk” driver and are in search of SR-22 insurance, we can help. Many insurance companies will not work with high risk drivers, but at Freedom National, we understand that you shouldn’t be judged by past mistakes. We can help you find the SR-22 insurance you need to get back on the road legally. Contact us today to learn more about your options when it comes to SR-22 insurance, or get a quote to see how much you can save on your SR-22 policy.