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Your state may require you to file an SR22 form if you have been convicted of driving without car insurance or a serious infraction such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In these cases, you typically will have had your license suspended. The filing of the SR22 is one of the stipulations you must meet in order to have your license reinstated. An SR22 is filed by your insurance company stating that they have agreed to enter in a contract with you for an insurance policy that meets at least the minimum liability requirements of your state.
The SR22 Requirement
Most states require SR22 forms to be filed after a person has been caught and convicted of driving without insurance or has committed a serious infraction resulting in the suspension of their license.
In almost all states, an SR22 filing is required after being convicted of DUI.
Eight states currently do not have the SR22 form, but may have alternate requirements similar to this process. These states are Delaware, Kentucky, New York, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Minnesota, and New Mexico. For more information on requirements in your state, you can visit your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website.
In most cases, an SR22 filing is required for a specified amount of time, typically three years. Your insurance company must file the form as many times as required by your state. Each filing typically costs a fee between $15 and $25, which will be passed along to you when you are billed for your insurance premium.
If your insurance lapses during this time period or you move out of state the insurance company is required to alert the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or other licensing agency, and your license will be once again placed under suspension under the proper SR22 is once again in place. The American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators (AAMVA) describes this further.
The SR22 form filing is often referred to as SR22 Insurance. In reality, there is no specific insurance called SR22 Insurance. It is simply a regular car insurance policy where the insurance company files this form with your state to show proof that you are carrying the proper amount of car insurance.
Some insurance companies do not offer SR22 filing. If this is the case with your current insurance provider, and you are ordered to file an SR22, you will have to find another auto insurance company.
Non-Owner SR22 Insurance
Some insurance companies offer non-owner insurance for individuals required to file an SR22 in order to have their license reinstated. Individuals who may want this type of insurance do not own their own vehicle, but may be able to borrow another person’s car, and would therefore need their driver’s license to be free from suspension.
Cost for Insurance that Includes an SR22 Filing
Purchasing car insurance when you need an SR22 form to be filed can be expensive. This is due to the fact that individuals requiring an SR22 have typically committed an infraction that makes them a high-risk client to insure.
In addition to your premium, there will be filing fees for the SR22 imposed by the state, but the insurance company may charge additional fees on top of these. There are ways you can find to save money on insurance involving an SR22. These include:
- Shop around and get several quotes for insurance before settling with a company.
- Consider a higher deductible in exchange for a lower premium.
- Pay your balance in full each year versus spreading payments out which will cost you more in interest.
- Pay online and receive electronic statements. Most insurance companies will give a discount to you for the paperwork they save.
- Look for low mileage discounts if you drive a limited amount of miles annually. With some companies these discounts; however, will not be applicable for high-risk drivers.
- Check into insurance that may be available through organizations you belong to such as collegiate or professional clubs. This often comes with discounts, but make sure it includes SR22 filing.
- Make sure you are only purchasing the amount of auto insurance you need. If your vehicle is not worth much, consider doing away with collision insurance. Just make sure your liability insurance meets your state requirements.
Avoiding an SR22
No matter what discounts you are able to find you will still pay more for auto insurance with an SR22 because it automatically puts you in a high-risk group. Therefore, you will want to try to avoid an SR22 at all costs.
First, make sure you always keep your auto insurance policy current. Do not allow it to lapse due to failure to pay your premium on time or failure to renew the policy. Even a day or two without insurance could be costly. You could be an excellent driver, but if you are caught driving without coverage, you will be forced to submit an SR22.
Next, never drive when you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Know your limits. A blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 is considered to be legally intoxicated. An especially high blood content carries even stiffer penalties. One drink may be fine for one person and drastically impair another. It is better to be safe than sorry and always have a designated driver who does not consume any alcohol when you go out.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that alcohol related accidents cost $37 billion each year and drinking and driving leads to one death every 51 minutes in this country!
Finally, keep your driving record clean. Avoid multiple infractions by following the rules of the road and obeying traffic laws and speed limits. Do not drive recklessly and avoid distraction by staying off your cell phone while driving.
If you do get charged with an offense that carries an SR22 as part of the penalty, you may be able to fight it in order to avoid the SR22. Contact a lawyer specializing in traffic offenses.
It may be possible to fight the charge or have the charge downgraded to one that does not include SR22 filing. For example, a DUI charge could possibly be downgraded to reckless driving or even dismissed if the responding officer did not administer a field sobriety test despite your compliance.
The Importance of Car Insurance
States mandate SR22s because it is highly important that drivers carry an appropriate amount of auto insurance. It protects themselves, as well as, other drivers on the road. Drivers who act in a dangerous manner, such as drinking and driving, are all the more likely to cause an accident, and therefore, it is even more important that these high-risk drivers be properly insured. Unfortunately, the Insurance Information Institute reports that as many as 13.8% of drivers do not carry proper coverage.
Failure to carry a proper car insurance policy could result in hefty fines, license suspension, and other penalties, such as community service time if you are caught even if you are a first offender. Multiple infractions could lead to even stiffer punishments. The consequences for failure to carry auto insurance go beyond the legal issues.
If you cause an accident, you will have to pay out of pocket for the damages to the other vehicles and the medical bills for anyone injured. Medical bills add up fast and when aspects such as lost wages or legal fees are tacked on, you could risk losing everything. The Insurance Information Institute, recommends carrying at least $100,000 in bodily injury protection per person and $300,000 per accident.
You must have proper auto insurance to file an SR22, which is a form filed by your car insurance company with your state Department of Motor Vehicles showing proof of insurance that meets the minimum state requirements. If you are convicted of driving without insurance or of other serious offenses such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you could be forced to file an SR22.
It is important to do as much as you can to avoid an SR22 as it puts you into a high-risk driver category that will cost you a bundle in terms of your insurance premium, despite some discounts you may be entitled to.
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