What Is an SR-22?

If you ask some people, “what is an sr-22?” or “what is an SR-22 policy?”, you may get a lot of mixed responses. While many people believe it is a type of insurance, it’s not. SR-22 is a certificate you get from your insurance company that shows you are carrying the correct level of state-mandated car insurance coverage. If you have a DUI, several serious moving violations, get into an accident without insurance or do anything else that would make you a more serious driving and insurance risk, your state may require you to get SR-22 certification. SR-22 may also be referred to as your proof of financial responsibility.

Who needs an SR-22?

  • DUI/DWI – You may hear SR-22 insurance certifications referred to as DUI insurance. The reason for this is that in most states if you are charged with driving under the influence, you will be required to get a higher level of insurance and prove it with an SR-22 certification. This is one of the most common needs for SR-22 proof of coverage.  
  • An at-fault accident without insurance – If you cause an accident and are caught without insurance, chances are the state will require you to show proof of insurance to get your license and driving privileges back. In most states, you are required to carry at least basic liability car insurance coverage.
  • Repeat traffic offenses – If you habitually break the law while driving, the state may require you to get SR-22 insurance proof. This can be as a result of a few major infractions or multiple minor infractions in a shorter period.
  • Revoked or suspended driver’s license – You may need to get SR-22 if your driver’s license is revoked or suspended for any other reasons not already mentioned. It may be a requirement before the state DMV will let you have your driving privileges back.

How do you get an SR-22?

  • Research the process in your state. Each state will have a different process for SR-22 certification. Before you start contacting insurers, take a minute to research how the process is handled in your state. While your insurer should be able to walk you through the process, it is best to make sure you fully grasp the process.
  • Get an insurance policy first. Before you can file to show proof of coverage, you need to get coverage. As you are considered a riskier driver, you may have to shop around to find an insurer willing to cover you. Additionally, you may have to shop around to find a premium that you can afford. Make sure you know the coverage limits that the state is requiring you to carry. Generally, the limits will be much higher than the basic coverage minimums for other drivers.
  • Request SR-22 certification. Your insurer will be able to file your SR-22 form with the state showing that you have the requested amount of coverage. Most states will not issue SR-22 forms to individuals. The form must come from your insurance company. In some states, your insurance company may be required to file the form for you.
  • Follow up. Once you’ve requested the paperwork to be filed, follow up regularly. Most likely, this is a necessary step to get your license back or to regain your ability to drive. Make sure that you’re following up regularly until the paperwork has been taken care of. In most states, you are not required to refile the paperwork every year, but you should research this to be sure.

How much does an SR-22 cost?

Generally, your insurance company will only charge you a small fee for filing your SR-22 certification. The cost will vary by provider, but it is usually around $15-$25. Remember, SR-22 is a form that gets filed with the state and is not an actual insurance policy. However, having to get SR-22 will affect your premiums and may not be offered by all insurers.

Your car insurance premium will also be higher

While the SR-22 form itself will only cost you a nominal fee, your insurance premiums may go through the roof. Your insurance rate is based on your risk level as a driver. The riskier you are, the higher your premiums will be. Since the reasons for needing SR-22 all show a pattern of higher-risk driving behaviors, expect to pay a lot for your insurance. Additionally, your state will require you to have much higher limits than the normal minimums on your policy. This will also add to the overall costs.

SR-22 for non-owners

Even if you don’t own a car, you may still need to get your driving privileges back. Some insurers will offer SR-22 for non-owners. Generally, these policies will still be expensive, but they may be less expensive than coverage if you do own your car.

The process for getting SR-22 for non-owners is quite similar to the process of getting certification as a car owner. Start by researching your state’s requirements for coverage and the certification process. From there, begin contacting insurers that advertise SR-22 for non-owners. Once you can get coverage, request that the certification be filed following the state’s processes. After that, follow up to make sure the paperwork was handled properly.

When SR-22 ends?

The period you need SR-22 certification will depend on the state you live in and the infractions. Sometimes this may be just a few months, or it might be a few years. For example, if you get a DUI in the state of Florida, you’ll be required to have SR-22 coverage for at least three years. In Tennessee, the requirement is five years from the date of the suspension, but you can request removal after three years if you have served all other suspension penalties.

Generally, you’ll be notified by the DMV of how long you will need SR-22 coverage. The SR-22 requirement comes through the DMV and not through criminal courts. If you do have any more infractions during the period, the end date may be extended out further.

What’s Next?

About the Authors

Jason Lee is a U.S.-based freelance writer with a passion for writing about dating, banking, tech, personal growth, food and personal finance. As a business owner, relationship strategist, and officer in the U.S. military, Jason enjoys sharing his unique knowledge base and skill sets with the rest of the world.