You may never hear the term SR-22 until you tangle with the legal system.
That has led to a lot of confusion about SR-22 requirements and your insurance options. Drivers eager to get back on the road need to understand exactly what an SR-22 certificate is and how it affects their choices.
If you need an SR-22, you are going to pay more for car insurance than you otherwise would. But not all companies penalize you equally, so compare auto insurance quotes to get the best possible price or check out non-owner car insurance if you don't own a car.
And you will not pay a penalty forever. Keep your record clean and stay insured and you could be paying standard rates again in just a few years.
- What is an SR-22?
- Where do you get an SR-22?
- Non-owner SR-22 car insurance
- Why is an SR-22 required?
- How much does an SR-22 cost?
What is an SR-22?
An SR-22 certification is a form that is filed with the state, not a type of insurance.
An SR-22 certificate of financial responsibility verifies that the named individual is carrying at least the state-mandated amount of car insurance. The insurance company is guaranteeing to the state that you're maintaining coverage and are financially responsible for any accidents, and it will let the state know if you do not.
Where do you get an SR-22?
The only way to obtain an SR-22 form is from a car insurance company after you purchase a car insurance policy. You cannot obtain an SR-22 any other way.
If you have an existing auto policy, you may be able to have the SR-22 added on and filed with the state. If your insurance company doesn't file the form, or you're uninsured, you'll have to shop for a new policy. Learn how to buy SR-22 insurance first so there are no surprises.
How much does an SR-22 cost?
Car insurance companies can charge a one-time filing fee, generally it is $25, and that is all the SR-22 will cost you.
However, the violation that resulted in an SR-22 requirement will affect your auto insurance premium. In short, it’s your infraction -- not the SR-22 -- that will hike up your rates. Your rate will jump by an average of 89 percent for an SR-22 filing with one DUI, or about $1,300 more, a year, according to a rate analysis by Insurance.com.
If the violation is serious, which most on the SR-22 list are, you can expect your car insurance rates to go up drastically. That doesn’t mean you can’t shop around – in fact, the rates for drivers like you can vary by thousands of dollars – but you will need to compare car insurance quotes from companies that offer SR-22 filings. The cost of SR-22 insurance can be more expensive if you don't shop around.
You'll see in the chart below that the increase to your rate varies by quite a bit among companies. The average base rate here is for a driver of a 2017 Honda Accord with full coverage carrying a $500 deductible on comprehensive and collision.
|Company||Average base rate||Rate with SR-22 with DUI||Average increase|
With either an SR-22 or FR-44, the car insurance company will make sure you buy the appropriate amount of coverage to comply with your mandated insurance requirements. If these are higher than the limits you usually carry, then expect to pay more.
Also, be aware that your state, or insurer, may require you to pay in full when your car insurance policy includes an SR-22 or FR-44 filing.
The length varies by state, and in some states according to the offense. Commonly the SR-22 is required for three years. When the clock starts on your time period also varies by state; it may begin with the offense date, conviction date, suspension date or the date when you reinstated your license.
Make certain you know how long the SR-22 is required because if you cancel your car insurance policy before that time is up, the insurer will inform the state and you’ll be punished. Your license and/or registration may be suspended or revoked and the clock could start again on how long the SR-22 must be maintained.
Another bit of good news is the offense that resulted in the SR-22 being required, and that raised your rates, won’t haunt you forever. When the violation falls off your driving record, your car insurance rates will go down as well.
Not every state uses an SR-22 certificate of financial responsibility. The SR-22 filing is not used in:
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
Of the states that do not use an SR-22, each has its own version of the form and insurance requirements.
If you have an SR-22 in one state and move to another state, normally you’ll still be required to meet the requirements of the SR-22 state where the offense was committed. That means you’ll need to look for an out-of-state SR-22 filing from a nationwide auto insurance carrier.
If you live in a state that doesn’t use SR-22 filings but are mandated to carry an SR-22 in another state, normally you’ll be unable to obtain an SR-22. In this situation, you’d need to work with the requesting state to get permission to provide, in lieu of an SR-22, certified documentation showing that your car insurance policy meets or exceeds the limits you’re being required to carry.
How to buy an SR-22 insurance policy
Not all companies will file an SR-22 certificate. And many companies may not want to insure a driver with a major infraction on his or her record. You need to compare car insurance quotes and select a car insurance company.
Once you select a company, they will file the SR-22 certificate on your behalf.
If you don’t own a car or have access to one, we can sell you non-owner car insurance that will satisfy SR-22 requirements. Call Insurance.com to compare quotes at 844-520-1574 and let a licensed agent provide you quotes from multiple top carriers.
You can get proof of insurance almost immediately by e-mail, and the car insurance company you choose will file an SR-22 or other required state filing on your behalf if you need it.
For SR-22s and FR-44s, the carriers we work with include Infinity, Dairyland, National General, Progressive and Titan. Not all insurance companies do business in all states.