What is an SR22?

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Jun 21, 2021

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What You Should Know

  • An SR22 is required for those who have committed a serious traffic violation
  • The judge usually informs drivers who are required to file an SR22 in court or a letter from the state
  • Insurance premiums will increase after being compelled to get an SR22

An SR22 is an official document you may need to file to prove that you carry the minimum amount of auto insurance required by law. The SR22 is not mandatory for all insurance policy holders, only those who have committed some kind of serious traffic violation or several repeated offenses. 

The SR22 is also commonly referred to as a certificate of financial responsibility, the SR22 bond, the SR22 form, and SR22 insurance. If you’ve been notified that you need to file an SR22, follow this guide to make the process much simpler.  

What is SR22 Insurance?  

SR 22 insurance is not a special kind of auto insurance policy that you need to purchase. The SR22 form is filed with your state’s department of motor vehicles as a way to prove that you will maintain the state’s minimum liability coverage for a certain amount of time.1 

Many auto insurance companies will file the SR22 form to the department of motor vehicles on your behalf. Insurers that specialize in high-risk driving are the most likely to offer SR22 filing form services. These include: 

  • 21st Century 
  • Dairyland 
  • Direct Auto 
  • Gainsco 
  • The General 
  • Infinity 
  • Kemper 
  • National General 
  • Safe Auto  

Companies that offer SR22 services can simply file the form and add it as an amendment to your existing policy. However, if your current insurer does not offer SR22 services, you will have to shop for a new policy with a different company that does support SR22 filings. Because the state has deemed it necessary for you to file the SR22, failure to do so can result in your driver’s license being revoked.  

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Do I Need an SR22? 

Drivers who are required to file the SR22 are typically informed either in court by a judge, or in an official letter from the state. The SR22 allows you to maintain or earn back your driving privileges after committing some kind of serious traffic infraction, such as: 

  • Being convicted of a DUI or DWI  
  • Causing an accident while driving without auto insurance  
  • Receiving too many traffic tickets (like speeding) within a short period of time   
  • Driving with a suspended or revoked license  

SR22 forms may also be required for non-driving violations, like failing to pay court-ordered child support. In two states—Florida and Virginia—a similar but separate certificate of financial responsibility form is used. Instead of the SR22, these states use the FR-44 form,2 which requires high-risk drivers to purchase more than the minimum liability insurance.  

Several states don’t have any certificate of financial responsibility requirements. Overall, if you need to file one of these certificates, you will be clearly instructed in traffic court or via mail from your state’s department of motor vehicles.  

What Is an SR22 Going to Cost Me?  

How much does SR22 insurance cost a month? It usually costs only about $25 to file the SR22 with your state.3 However, the total cost of filing an SR22 insurance policy can be much higher. Often, when drivers are compelled to file an SR22 after a serious traffic violation, their monthly insurance premiums increase. 

Your individual rate of increase after filing the SR22 depends on several factors, such as: 

  • Your ZIP code 
  • The kind of vehicle you drive 
  • Your insurance history 
  • Your driving record   
  • Your age 
  • Your job 
  • Your credit score 
  • Your gender 
  • How far and how frequently you drive

If you happen to live in Florida or Virginia, the cost of having to file a certificate of financial responsibility form can be even more substantial because you’re required to purchase double the state’s minimum amount of liability insurance.  

FR-44 Cost Breakdown 

In Virginia, for example, the minimum liability insurance figures are as follows:4 

  • $25,000 of coverage per person 
  • $50,000 of coverage per accident for bodily injury  
  • $20,000 of coverage per accident for property damage  

If you are ordered to file the FR-44 form, your insurance requirements will increase to:  

  • $50,000 of coverage per person 
  • $100,000 of coverage per accident for bodily injury 
  • $40,000 of coverage per accident for property damage   

Do I Need an SR22 if I Don’t Own a Car? 

Individuals who are ordered to file an SR22 typically have their licenses suspended until the form is completed. Even if you don’t own a car, you still have to file the SR22 if you want your driving privileges reinstated. You can purchase non-owner car insurance from a company that will file the SR22 on your behalf. 

Non-owner car insurance provides coverage for any damage you cause when you drive a vehicle that isn’t yours, such as a rental or a borrowed car. Obtaining non-owner car insurance is the easiest way to file the SR22 and get your license reinstated if you don’t own a vehicle. 

Plus, having non-owner car insurance before you purchase your own vehicle can help you save money down the line. Auto insurers typically view gaps in insurance history as a negative factor when determining the cost of your monthly premium. By arranging non-owner car insurance, you can avoid any gap in your insurance history, and future insurers will be less inclined to view you as a high risk case.  

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What if I Need to File an SR22 in Another State? 

It’s common for drivers to file the SR22 car insurance in a state other than the one in which they live. Traffic violations can occur while you’re traveling in another place. The department of motor vehicles in the state where your violation occurred is the one that will require you to file the certificate of financial responsibility form.  

To file the SR22 in another state, it’s helpful to work with your auto insurer that has networks across the country. Often, the local insurance provider may not have the same reach and resources as one of the name brand companies that offer SR22 services, such as: 

  • Progressive 
  • American Family 
  • Allstate 
  • Geico 
  • State Farm  
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans, and their families)  

How Long Do I Need the SR22?

So, how long does an SR22 last? In most states, you’ll be required to have an SR22 that shows continuous coverage for about three years, although this can be longer in some cases. If your insurance policy lapses (meaning you fail to pay your premium) or expires (meaning your policy ends) before these three years are up, your insurance company is legally required to inform your state’s department of motor vehicles. 

When this happens, the state may suspend or revoke your driver’s license. Or, you can learn how to get a restricted license if you need it for approved purposes.

However, if you promptly file the SR-22 when ordered to do so, and if you maintain continuous coverage for the required period, the state will lift your SR22 status. That being said, the SR22 doesn’t automatically get removed from your insurance policy. Just like when you file the SR22, the first thing you should do when arranging the removal of your SR22 is to contact your auto insurance agent and inform them of your situation.  

Will I Save Money After the SR22 is Removed? 

Want to learn how to get an SR22 removed? After your SR22 coverage is removed, your insurance premium may go down, especially if the SR22 caused a notable increase in your rates. This can vary depending on your specific insurer, and post-SR 22 car insurance savings are not guaranteed.

You could also consider shopping around for a new policy after your SR22 is removed. Often, when you’re involved in a serious driving offense, your insurance rates are inflated for at least three years.3 Once the SR22 is removed, enough time will have passed since your serious traffic violation occurred that you may be able to find a new policy with more moderate rates.  

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Discover Your New Auto Insurance Policy Today  

If you don’t want to waste time and energy shopping around the market for a cheaper auto insurance policy, you can skip ahead to the good part by getting matched with the most affordable rates in your area. Use our free, quick, and easy quote comparison tool, and you can start saving right away. 

How 4AutoInsuranceQuote Makes Saving Simple

We have an easy three-step process to help you save time and money:  

  1. Enter your ZIP code in the search bar 
  2. Fill out a simple form with your basic driving information 
  3. We’ll send you an email with premier car insurance quotes from top providers in the industry

4AutoInsuranceQuote can help high-risk drivers get matched with insurers who specialize in SR22 certification. Plus, we can help teenage drivers, first-time drivers, casual drivers, non-owner drivers, senior drivers, and all other kinds. 

By comparing rates, it’ll be instantly clear how much you could be saving on car insurance. Whether it’s a name brand agency or a boutique firm in your local neighborhood, we search the entire auto industry for policies that suit your individual needs. With our fast and free quote tool, you can skip the hassle and headache of calling different insurance agents or visiting broker’s offices in person. Discover great savings with just a few clicks.

References:

  1. Oregon DMV. What is an SR-22 Certificate? https://www.oregon.gov/odot/dmv/pages/driverid/sr22.aspx
  2. Virginia DMV. Financial Responsibility Certifications. https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/commercial/#insurance/certifications.asp
  3. Nerdwallet. What Is an SR-22? Insurance After a Mistake. https://www.nerdwallet.com/article/insurance/sr22-insurance
  4. Virginia DMV. Insurance Requirements. https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/vehicles/#insurance.asp

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