If you have recently been ticketed for driving without insurance, been found guilty of a DUI, or are charged with reckless driving, you may have been told that you are required to carry SR-22 insurance. The following guide can answer some of your questions on this requirement so you can make sure that you stay on the right side of the law.
Q: What is SR-22 insurance?
A: An SR-22 isn't actual insurance. It is a form from your insurance company that is provided to the state motor vehicle department for the sole purpose of proving that you are carrying minimum liability coverage. If your insurance lapses, the insurance company is required by law to notify the state that you are no longer insured.
Q: Is it required if you don't own a vehicle?
A: This depends on the requirements of the court for your particular case. In some cases, you may be required to carry a liability policy with an SR-22 even if you don't own a car and don't plan on driving. In this case, you will need to contact an insurance agent to find the best policy option for your specific needs.
Q: What happens if you drop coverage?
A: This depends on local regulations along with the repercussions outlined in court for your case. In more lenient areas, you may only have your license suspended and a fine assessed. In others, you could be found in violation of your suspension and you may have a warrant issued. Make sure you have a full understanding of the repercussions before allowing the SR-22 to lapse.
Q: Is there an extra cost for an SR-22?
A: Yes, most agents require a one-time filing fee for the SR-22. Your insurance rates will go up, though. This isn't necessarily because of the SR-22, but because of the cause for needing one. The amount of the rate increase is to reflect the increased risk of insuring a driver that has been found guilty of a DUI, for example.
Q: Can you move or change insurance companies?
A: Yes. If you move to a different state, you will need to talk with your insurance company to find out if the SR-22 will need to be transferred to your new state. In some cases you will only need to maintain it with the original state until the end of the required period. If you must also file one in your new locale, you will need to pay the filing fee again. You can also switch insurance companies, but make sure there is no coverage lapse and that your new company files the SR-22 promptly.