An SR-22 (sometimes referred to as a “certificate of financial responsibility" or “SR22 insurance") is a proof of car insurance certifying that you meet your state's minimum car insurance requirements.
SR-22s, however, differ greatly from standard forms of proof of insurance, with the most common form being an insurance ID card.
Where insurance ID cards prove only that you are currently insured, an SR-22guarantees that you'll meet the minimum car insurance requirements for a specific period of time.
If you must have an SR-22, you will face requirements not needed with a standard form of insurance.
SR-22 vs. “SR22 Insurance"
You may find that SR-22s are often called “SR22 insurance". This is actually a misnomer; SR-22 forms are not a type of car insurance but rather a certification of insurance.
However, because getting an SR-22 involves seeking out an insurance provider who will file the certificate for you, it feels similar to the process of purchasing insurance. In some cases, insurance providers may even advertise this service as “SR22 insurance."
Who Needs an SR-22?
SR-22 filings are typically related to serious traffic violations. Generally, you will be required to file an SR-22 for the following reasons:
- You are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI).
- You are caught driving without car insurance.
- You are involved in a serious car accident.
- Your driver's license has been suspended or revoked.
- You have an excessive amount of violation points on your driving record.
Most states require SR-22 certificates to be filed for 3 years. If you remain violation-free within those 3 years, you will no longer be required to file an SR-22 at the end of the 3 years.
If you commit another violation that normally requires an SR-22 filing, your SR-22 filing period may be extended.
Filing an SR-22
States that require an SR-22 also require that it be filed directly through your car insurance provider. This is to help ensure that you are not falsifying your car insurance status.
If you need to file an SR-22, contact your car insurance agent or representative immediately.
SR-22s and Auto Insurance Costs
Because SR-22 certifications are linked directly to severe traffic violations and car accidents, you may experience an increase in your car insurance premium, and it may be significant.
You may even find that your car insurance company will not file an SR-22 for you, and you will have to shop for another car insurance provider.
In essence, SR-22 drivers are considered “high-risk" drivers, and some car insurance companies will not cover high-risk drivers in the standard market.
Automobile Insurance Plans
If your high-risk driver status is making it difficult for you to find car insurance, you may be able to apply for car insurance through your state's automobile insurance plan.
Through these plans, car insurance companies in your state share the risk of covering high-risk drivers equally among each other.
In most states, you can apply to an automobile insurance plan through any car insurance agent licensed to do business in the state. Contact your insurance agent or representative for more information.
A state automobile insurance plan should be considered a last resort. Policies written through these plans are typically much more expensive than policies written through the standard market.