Major traffic violations can have a variety of penalties, one of which often includes a suspended driver's license. Once someone has been deemed a high risk driver, it may be necessary for them to prove to the DMV that they have acquired the appropriate amount of financial responsibility before their license can be reinstated. Though the proof required is commonly referred to as SR-22 insurance, it isn't an actual insurance policy but an addendum to a policy. The conditions surrounding an SR-22 certificate varies from state to state, making it important to review your specific state laws if you find yourself facing this kind of penalty.
Why You May Need SR-22 Insurance
There are a few different traffic offenses that are likely to lead to a driver having to file an SR-22 form. The most common include being cited for a DUI, causing an accident while not insured, reckless driving and collecting several points on a record in a short period of time.
SR-22 Insurance Providers
It's a good idea for those required to show that they have fulfilled their SR-22 requirement to shop around for the best deal. As a high risk driver, you can expect your premium to increase and to pay a fee for filing an SR-22. The cheapest SR-22 insurance won't always come from your existing provider, and not every company is willing or eligible to offer this option. The insurance company you decide to sign up with will be responsible for submitting the DMV form on your behalf and must be licensed in your state to do so. It's important to be honest about your driving status with every provider you speak to.
Obtaining and Maintaining an SR-22 Addendum
Once you've found an insurance company that can provide you with the minimum liability coverage required at an affordable price and issue the mandatory certificate, there are some things to keep in mind. It can take a little bit of time to complete the SR-22 filing in the system, and you will have to wait until all steps are finalized before legally regaining your driving privileges. It most likely won't happen overnight. After you receive your proof of financial responsibility and the DMV has been properly notified, it must be kept with you whenever driving should you be pulled over at any time. SR-22 insurance must remain in effect and in good standing for the duration of time that you are required to carry it. If there is ever a lapse in coverage or a cancellation, it can result in another suspension.
SR-22 State Laws
As mentioned above, state laws differentiate when it comes to the SR-22. There are some states that don't enforce it at all, and those that do, have their own requirements when it comes to coverage amount, coverage length, penalty fees and becoming licensed when moving to a new state. Many people mistakenly believe that when they leave one state for another that doesn't have SR-22 insurance regulations it means they can leave their financial responsibility obligations behind. However, in most cases, you are still expected to carry the addendum for the specified amount of time no matter what state you move to.
Types of SR-22 Forms
There are usually three types of SR-22 forms available to drivers. A non-owner certificate covers anyone who doesn't have a car registered under their own name but wants to operate a rented or borrowed vehicle. An owner certificate is for a driver that needs to cover one or more vehicles in their name. An operator/owner certificate covers all the bases for someone who has a registered vehicle as well as might be driving a car that isn't personally owned.
It can be difficult to grasp the entire concept of SR-22 insurance at first, but finding a knowledgeable provider and familiarizing yourself with state laws are key to making sure you remain in compliance with the law.
Tiffany Olson loves to write about finance and insurance related topics. She lives in Northern California and when she’s not blogging you will usually find her doing yoga, cooking, or traveling.