For many people, their initial questions after receiving an SR22 insurance requirement are financially related: how much is this going to cost, and how can I afford it? While the specific price of SR22 insurance depends on several variables, there are a few things you can look into to get a better idea of what you’ll be paying. Here are some factors that can affect your SR22 insurance rate.
What is SR22 Insurance?
If you find yourself needing to file for SR22 insurance, one of the most important things to do is to learn more about the process, requirements, and any other information you need. Knowing what you’re facing will help make the entire procedure as easy and efficient as possible. For those that aren’t familiar, SR22 insurance is a way for the state to ensure that you are meeting the minimum liability requirements and keeping up with your auto insurance. It’s also technically not insurance. The SR22 is a certificate of financial responsibility that affects your insurance, but it is not a policy in and of itself.
Who Needs an SR22?
Generally speaking, SR22 certificates are required for drivers who are deemed high-risk. By filing for and keeping up with your SR22, you are guaranteeing to the state that you meet their auto insurance requirements. Your state may require you to file for an SR22 certificate after certain driving instances:
- Conviction of a DUI or DWI
- Driving without auto insurance
- Multiple or serious traffic violations
- Causing a car accident, or getting in an accident while uninsured
If your state or judge requires you to get SR22 insurance, you will have to inform your auto insurance company. They will take the proper steps to file the SR22 certificate with the state and update your insurance policy to reflect the changes.
What Can Affect Your Rates?
Type of Violation
One of the biggest factors that can affect your SR22 insurance rate is, of course, the type of violation that caused you to receive the SR22 requirements. More serious infractions—such as driving under the influence or causing a serious car accident—will severely increase your auto insurance rates. Some states require you to get a different certificate of financial responsibility for these more severe violations. In Florida and Virginia, for example, you may need FR44 insurance after conviction of a DUI or DWI. The minimum liability limits for FR44 insurance are even higher than those of SR22 insurance, which means your insurance policy will cost more.
Type of SR22 Coverage
There are different types of SR22 insurance to fit your situation: operator, owner, and operator/owner. An operator policy, also known as a non-owner policy, is designed for drivers who don’t own their own car and instead borrow or rent their vehicle. An owner SR22 insurance policy is for drivers who own their own car and use it as their primary vehicle. If you fall into both categories, you might need operator/owner insurance, which is designed for drivers who both own their own car but also occasionally borrow or rent their vehicle. The different types of SR22 insurance make it easier to find a policy that is right for you and your situation.
Your insurance company plays a huge part in your SR22 insurance. When you are first looking for the right SR22 policy, don’t be afraid to shop around between insurance companies. Some providers won’t even cover drivers who have an SR22 certificate, while others offer much higher rates than their competitors. Every insurance company and policy is different, which is why it’s important to consider your options ahead of time.
Where You Live
Every state has different SR22 insurance requirements, so your rates will vary depending on where you live. The minimum liability requirements in your state determine your SR22 insurance’s cost. For example, the minimum liability requirements in Colorado are $25,000 for bodily injury to one person, $50,000 for injury to two or more people, and $15,000 for property damage. These are the rates that will define your SR22 insurance costs if you are required to file for the SR22 in Colorado. Some states have higher minimum liability requirements, while others are lower. A few states—Delaware, Kentucky, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, and Oklahoma—don’t have SR22 requirements. However, even if you move in the middle of your SR22 policy, you are still required to pay the original state rates where your SR22 certificate was filed.
Failure to Meet Requirements
Because it’s a guarantee to the state that you’re maintaining the required auto insurance, it’s vital that you maintain your SR22 policy throughout the entire required coverage period. As soon as you drop your policy or fail to meet the requirements, your insurance provider is legally obligated to contact the state that your SR22 certificate is no longer active. Once again, the consequences will be different depending on where you live and your specific situation, but you might have your license suspended and have to pay other fines. However, you might have your SR22 insurance for up to five years, and a lot can happen in that time. If you must change insurance providers—either because you’re moving to a new state or you find a better policy—make sure your SR22 coverage never slips during the change. Don’t cancel your old policy until the new one is in place.
Even if it’s by accident, a lapse in coverage may result in consequences that could make your SR22 insurance rates cost more and last longer. In addition to the penalties you’ll face, if your state finds out that you aren’t meeting and maintaining your SR22 requirements, you will need to start your coverage period over again. For example, if you get caught without your SR22 certificate two years into a three-year probation, your policy will restart, and you will have to continue with your SR22 insurance for another three years. This is why you should take extra care to meet your requirements and have a copy of the SR22 certificate with you whenever you drive.
In short, many different variables affect your SR22 insurance rate. If you are facing SR22 requirements and aren’t sure what to do next, learning more about state requirements, insurance providers, and other details is a great first step.