A SR22 is a type of insurance that many people may not have heard of before they’re notified that they require one. So, what is a SR22? The short answer is that a SR22 is a certificate that’s held by high risk drivers upon committing a traffic offence. Due to the name, there is a common misconception that this is an insurance form, but it’s not. A SR22 is simply proof of financial responsibility that must be maintained for as long as the holder’s state requires. Reasons for needing a SR22 include:
- Receiving several tickets in a short amount of time
- Being convicted of a DUI or other substance abuse
- Driving without insurance or a license
- Driving with a suspended license
- Being at-fault in an accident without holding the proper insurance.
Maintaining a SR22 is not an experience anyone is eager to have. You’re also likely to develop several questions when applying for one. To address any queries you may have, we’ve made a list of frequently asked questions about SR22s.
How Do I Get a SR22?
To file for an SR22, you need to already own standard auto insurance. If you’re penalty was due to not carrying insurance, you’ll have to obtain that before getting your SR22. Depending on your driving history, this can be expensive, but it’s an essential step. Once you have regular auto insurance, you just need to contact your insurance provider to begin the SR22 filing process.
How Much Will It Cost?
This can vary, of course, but in most places a SR22 holds a $15 to $50 filing fee, and the penalty/reinstatement fee can run between $55 and $250. You may want to talk to a few different companies before making a financial decision regarding your provider. Do thorough research on the companies you are considering.
Does the Law Vary by State?
This short answer is yes. You should check your state laws before filing for your SR22 and familiarize yourself with the requirements. Not only do state laws vary, but there’s a chance that you’ll have to refile the form if you move between states. There are states that don’t require SR22s, so you want to familiarize yourself with their laws as well. The states in which SR22s aren’t required:
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
How Long Will I Need It?
This varies by state, but the average term of an SR22 is three years, and you’re required to keep your policy current the entire time. If you commit another punishable offense while carrying your insurance, you’ll most likely have to file again and start the process over from the beginning.
Will it Affect My Insurance Rates?
Unfortunately, your SR22 can have a large impact on both your current, and future, insurance rates. If a SR22 is a result of reckless driving, such as drinking or dangerous speeding, it’s more than likely your insurance will take a hit. Insurance companies may offer an exorbitant premium, or outright reject your application. Also keep in mind that it’s possible that your current provider may drop you upon learning of your offence.
Can I Get it With a Different Insurance Company?
Once you answer the question of insurance rates, you may wonder if you can have both your auto insurance and SR22 with different companies—yes, you can. Many insurance companies don’t even offer a SR22, so you would have to select a different company regardless. This is important information in allowing you to select the rates that work for you.
What if I Don’t Have a Car?
An SR22 acts as proof of financial responsibility. You’ll need to have it even if you don’t own a vehicle. What you’ll need is non-owner SR22. This means that if you’re involved in an accident and are at fault, the vehicle you’re driving will not be covered.
Can I Switch Insurance?
It is certainly possible to switch insurance policies while holding a SR22, as long as you still follow the proper requirements. It’s understandable that you may wish to do this if your policy is affected by the incident, and you want to explore different financial options.
What if I Miss a Payment?
Allowing your insurance to lapse will almost certainly cause suspension of your insurance, so you want to be sure to stay current. If you don’t maintain it, your insurance company is required to let the government know, and this can result in heavy fines. If you do miss a payment, call your insurance company immediately to avoid penalties.
How Long Does it Take to Get it?
The entire process can take as long as 30 days, although this depends on the situation. You ideally want to contact your insurance company immediately after learning that it’s required. Once you find the quote that works for you and sign up, the company will issue the certificate. An electronic file can be transferred immediately so that you don’t have to wait. Some states, however, do require your certificate to be sent through the mail.
I Have My Certificate. What Now?
Once you have your SR22, it’s important that you always have it on you. If your insurance company has an app, you may be able to download it and access your form there. The most important things to do are keep up on payments and be careful on the road. Any additional driving offenses may invite harsher consequences than they did previously.
Mindfulness on the road is what’s ultimately going to be your best friend. Get a designated driver if you go out drinking, and always make sure that you’re current on your insurance policies. Having a SR22 is an annoyance, but it won’t be on your record forever. If you follow the guidelines presented to you, everything will be settled over time.
We hope that everything on this list has answered any questions you may have. If not, contact the appropriate insurance companies, and they’re sure to help you with anything you may need. If you’re looking for SR22 Insurance in Denver, contact Serenity Group today.