Nobody wants to get an SR-22. SR-22 is a costly requirement for high risk drivers. You will almost always hear it referred to as “SR-22 car insurance,” even though it is different from all other car insurance products.
Technically, SR-22 is an insurance endorsement. It verifies that you hold at least the minimum car insurance in your state. That includes bodily injury liability, property damage liability, and any other requirements.
When you buy SR-22 insurance, you are mostly paying for this evidence. Your car insurance company keeps documentation on file with your state demonstrating that you are in compliance with the law.
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What Does SR-22 Stand For?
The SR in SR-22 stands for safety responsibility. The SR-22 is a form provided by your car insurance company. It shows that you have met the state’s requirement for car insurance.
Why Would You Need an SR-22?
When do you need an SR-22? An SR-22 is required for high-risk drivers. You will need it if you want to keep your driving privileges after a serious traffic offense. Some examples include:
- A DUI, DWI, or another serious moving violation.
- A suspended or revoked driver’s license.
- Getting into an accident without auto insurance.
- Multiple traffic tickets in a short period of time.
- Failure to pay child support.
How Much Does an SR-22 Cost?
Even though you don’t get any additional car insurance coverage, SR-22 can be very expensive. You will often pay a filing fee to start your SR-22 insurance policy, which ranges from $15 to $50. You will then pay an additional amount on your monthly premium. The extra amount depends on the circumstances that led to an SR-22 requirement. It also depends on the state you live in. In some cases, your car insurance premium may increase by 100% or more. Besides an SR-22, your car insurance premium may also be impacted by your age, gender, and even your credit score.
Avoiding the Need for SR-22 Insurance
SR-22 insurance is expensive, so understandably, people want to avoid it if possible. Want to know how to get around SR-22 insurance? Here are some options to consider:
- Voluntarily discontinue driving. If you are no longer driving, then you may be able to terminate your SR-22 insurance. Even if you still own a vehicle, you will no longer be using it. Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state to find out the process.
- Carpool or use public transportation. Even though you can no longer drive, you can still be a passenger in a vehicle. Consider ride sharing, carpooling, or public transportation.
- Use non-owner car insurance. Non-owner car insurance is a type of insurance you can buy to protect you while driving a vehicle you don’t own. Since it is not usually intended for permanent use, it can be less expensive than other car insurance policies.
- Get on another driver’s policy. In some cases, sharing a vehicle with someone else may allow you to save more money on car insurance than you would if you held an SR-22 car insurance endorsement on your own. State rules about this vary, and you may be limited to immediate family members.
- Contact your state insurance agency. Some states have established public car insurance agencies. These agencies act as insurers of last resort when someone cannot afford car insurance or can’t get a private insurer to issue a policy. California is one of these states.
- Relocate. An SR-22 insurance policy usually arises from a state court order. Any time you relocate to another state, you are expected to get a car insurance policy valid in that state. Often, this means that you could switch insurance providers and will not be liable for SR-22, but talk to a qualified attorney for more information.
- Use a vehicle that does not require insurance. No insurance needed? It may be possible. Every state has its legal definitions for seemingly simple words like “car.” Depending on the rules in your state, you may be able to use a moped, golf cart, or other type of conveyance for limited, non-highway use without having to maintain standard insurance.
- Go on vacation. Long-term travel plans are another common scenario where you may be able to temporarily suspend your car insurance without facing any penalties. While you are gone you won’t need insurance, and most countries let you drive with any valid U.S. license. Contact your insurer and the Department of Motor Vehicles to be sure.
- Argue for clemency. Even if appealing or overturning your traffic conviction was not an option, it does not always mean you have no tools at your disposal. Rather than waiting three years, you can schedule a hearing each year to argue that you are now a safe and responsible driver. The SR-22 requirement may be waived at the court’s discretion.
What States Do Not Require an SR-22?
All states except for eight require an SR-22:
- New York
- North Carolina
- New Mexico
So while you may not need an SR-22 in New York, you will need one in most states, including Florida and Texas. Make sure you follow the procedures for your state. Ignoring the requirements will only prolong the amount of time you will be without a license.
How Long Do I Have to Carry SR-22?
You will need to have an SR-22 for 1-5 years. The amount of time will vary from state to state. For example, how long you need an SR-22 in Washington for is a period of three years. Three years is the average for most states. The clock will start ticking either from the date of the infraction or the date of conviction.
However, the time period could be extended if you continue to get in trouble with the law or you cancel your SR-22 too soon. Your SR-22 could get extended for another three-year period.
Does an SR-22 Follow You?
You may think you have a good idea of how to get around SR-22 insurance: move to a state that doesn’t have SR-22 requirements. So you may wonder: does an SR-22 follow you if you move out of state? The answer is yes.
Regardless of whether or not you live in a state that requires SR-22 insurance, you will likely still have to carry the SR-22 insurance in your new state. When you move to a new state and update your insurance, driver’s license, and license plates, the DMV will likely find out that you have an SR-22 on your old insurance policy. Your new state might require that you carry the existing SR-22 until it expires, even if the new state doesn’t have SR-22 insurance.
What Happens if You Don’t Get SR-22 Insurance?
If you don’t get SR-22 insurance, you could lose your license for many more years. The same applies if you cancel your SR-22 insurance before the time period is up. So if you need SR-22 insurance, make sure you keep it for as long as needed.
Get the Best Rate
If you can’t avoid the need for SR-22 insurance, get the best rates you can. It’s crucial to search for cheap SR-22 insurance quotes and keep your costs low. That’s because even though an SR-22 doesn’t usually mean more car insurance coverage, it can be far more expensive than the average policy. You could end up paying hundreds of dollars more on premiums annually. Those costs really add up, especially over the course of 3-5 years.
If SR-22 car insurance becomes inevitable, finding the best insurance deal will save you money.
At Cheap Insurance, you can compare auto insurance quotes online, including SR-22 insurance quotes. You can compare car insurance quotes right now or contact Cheap Insurance to find out more.