SR-22 rates among drivers vary widely from state to state. In part, these variations reflect differences in state laws with regard to who needs SR22 insurance, the reasons for needing said insurance and for how long drivers need to maintain coverage. In most states, this form of insurance is optional for the majority of drivers unless or until they are convicted of certain driving infractions. SR22 insurance can help motorists who are facing the potential revocation or suspension of their licenses keep their driving privileges. It can also assist drivers who are nearing the end of a suspension regain their lost licenses and mobility.
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What is SR-22 insurance?
Despite its name, SR-22 insurance is not in and of itself a form of vehicle insurance. It is actually a type of insurance rider that can be applied to other vehicle insurance policies. An insurance company files an SR22 form with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in a policyholder’s state of residence when a rider is purchased. The form verifies to the DMV that appropriate vehicle insurance is in place and for how long the rider is valid.
In the event that an SR22 policyholder cancels his or her vehicle insurance or allows it to lapse, the rider will prompt the insurance company to notify the DMV of the change so that it can take action accordingly. This provision serves two purposes. First, it strongly motivates motorists to keep their required insurance in place and up to date. Second, SR22 insurance riders allow state DMVs to act quickly to correct or address the situation when a motorist allows his or her insurance to lapse.
Who needs SR22 insurance?
Who needs SR22 insurance will be different in each state. Generally, however, states require motorists to file SR22 forms after they have been convicted of certain types of driving violations or unsafe driving practices such as:
- Driving while intoxicated or driving under influence. Motorists driving while impaired by drugs, alcohol or other intoxicating or debilitating substances may be required to purchase a qualifying insurance rider for anywhere from six months to several years, depending on the laws in their states and the severity of their offense.
- Excessive accumulation of driving demerits. Also referred to as “points” on a driver’s license, demerits may be assigned for a diverse range of driving or vehicle-related infractions. Motorists may need SR22 insurance to keep their driving privileges if they acquire points above a certain threshold within a set period of time (e.g. 12 points in a year).
- Involvement in at-fault or hit-and-run accidents. Drivers who are found to be at fault for a multiple vehicle accident or who left the scene of an accident illegally may be required to file qualifying insurance riders.
- Suspended or revoked drivers licenses. Motorists who demonstrated unsafe or illegal driving habits to the point that their driving privileges were suspended or revoked must often determine how to get SR22 insurance and file the appropriate forms before their licenses can be reinstated.
Reinstating Driving Privileges With SR22
SR22 insurance quotes and filings can play a key role in motorists’ attempts to reinstate their drivers’ licenses after suspension or revocation. Reckless and unsafe driving habits are more than just dangerous. They are also costly. Accidents and infractions can lead to property damage, vehicle damage, injuries and emergency services costs.
When careless drivers fail to hold or maintain adequate and appropriate insurance, those costs are unfairly borne by the innocent parties impacted by the accident. SR22 insurance riders force drivers with a history or unsafe or problematic driving behavior to hold and sustain enough insurance to prevent the costs of any future incidents from being forced onto others. As a result, such SR-22 riders are commonly required before states will allow drivers with suspended or revoked licenses to legally drive again.
How to Get SR22 Insurance
Motorists can obtain SR22 insurance quotes and policies from any insurance provider authorized to issue policies in their states of residence. In most cases, drivers simply purchase the policy from whatever insurance company they have already used to secure standard motor vehicle insurance such as collision or liability policies.
SR-22 rates, like all insurance costs, will be slightly variable by state. They may also be influenced by factors such as how many insurance policies a motorist holds with the company, how long he or she has been with the company and his or her personal driving history.
Motorists who need SR22 insurance should speak to their insurers about the process of filing the necessary forms with the DMV. Although motorists may be able to or need to file the SR-22 forms themselves, in many cases the insurer will handle the filing of all necessary forms once the policy has been purchased.
Penalties for Not Filing an SR22 Form
Failing to file SR22 forms when required can lead to severe state penalties for motorists. Motorists who need the insurance rider to keep their driving privileges will typically lose them if the appropriate paperwork is not filed correctly and on time. Drivers with suspended or revoked licenses will not be able to have their driving privileges reinstated without filing the correct riders by the DMV-imposed deadlines.
Loss of driving privileges due to failure to acquire SR22 insurance can be almost immediate once the deadline for filing is reached. Motorists who continue to drive after their licenses have been suspended or revoked due to failure to submit SR22 forms can quickly rack up additional fines, penalties and losses. It is therefore essential that motorists make themselves aware of the laws and regulations regarding this type of insurance rider in their states of residence and that they comply quickly and efficiently when required to purchase and submit proof of their policies.