Before you get on the road as a driver, you need to fulfill several legal obligations. For most drivers, these legal obligations start with getting a valid driver’s license, keeping title paperwork in their vehicle, and maintaining insurance coverage that complies with state laws.
For some drivers who have traffic offenses on their records, the obligations include obtaining SR-22 insurance. In this blog, we walk you through everything you need to know about this document.
What Is SR-22 Insurance?
Contrary to the common name, SR-22 insurance isn’t actually an insurance policy. SR-22 insurance is actually a safety responsibility (SR) form that is filed with your state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You may also hear this form called a bond, certificate, or filing. The official name depends on your state of residence. In Illinois, for example, the DMV and your insurer will refer to the form as SR-22 insurance.
The purpose of the SR-22 is to certify that the individual in question has adequate auto insurance coverage. People who are uninsured or underinsured must obtain adequate car insurance before they can file an SR-22 form.
When Do You Need SR-22 Insurance?
If you need SR-22 insurance to drive legally, you’ll know. Generally, SR-22 insurance is court mandated. If and when you need to file this form, a judge or other court official will notify you in person, call you, or send you an official letter.
Filing an SR-22 is part of the process to have your driving privileges reinstated after specific types of traffic offenses. Common reasons for an SR-22 mandate include:
- Accident where you are both at-fault and uninsured
- DUI or DWI conviction
- Excessive traffic tickets or frequent accidents in a short time period
- License suspension or revocation
In most cases, filing the SR-22 is one of the last steps in having your license reinstated. You may be required to complete traffic school, pay fines, or complete other tasks set by a court before filing.
Which States Use SR-22 Insurance?
Most states have a version of SR-22 insurance that is required after major traffic offenses. In fact, only eight states in the U.S. have no SR-22 laws. These states are:
- New York
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
If you are a legal resident of one of these states, you will not need to file an SR-22. However, if your traffic offense occurred in one of these states while you lived in a state where SR-22 laws are in place, you may be required to file. Once you have SR-22 insurance and your license is reinstated, you will need to carry proof of your SR-22 coverage, even if you travel into one of the states listed above.
How Do You Obtain SR-22 Insurance?
To file for SR-22 insurance, you must complete a form that is then submitted to the state DMV. Because the amount and type of insurance you have must be verified on the SR-22 form, you must file with the help of your auto insurance company.
Generally, you fill out the form with the help of an insurance representative and pay a processing fee between $15 and $30. Then, your insurance company submits the form to the DMV on your behalf. Once your SR-22 insurance is processed, you will need to maintain your insurance and carry your proof of SR-22 compliant coverage for a specified period of time. Usually, the time requirement is three years.
Need SR-22 insurance before you can begin driving again? Work with the knowledgeable team at Metropolitan Insurance Service Consultants. We can help you file your SR-22 documentation and get back on the road as soon as possible.