It can be very distressing to get convicted for a traffic violation and be told that you need an SR-22 certificate.
Unfortunately, car insurance costs are on the rise nationwide. In addition to these price increases, an SR-22 certificate will up your insurance premiums, so you will be spending more money—which many people simply cannot afford.
The good news is that an SR-22 certificate is not a permanent penalty. It is definitely inconvenient when you need to have one, but it won’t be required forever.
In this article, we are going to cover what an SR-22 is, and provide you with everything you need to know about how long an SR-22 certificate will last.
What Is an SR-22 Certificate?
Many states in the U.S. require drivers who have been convicted of serious traffic violations to file an SR-22 certificate.
SR-22 certificates are forms that you will need to attach to your insurance policy to verify to your state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that you have active car insurance that meets the minimum coverage required by law.
An SR-22 certificate will be ordered by a court or your state. If it is court-ordered, the judge will instruct you at the hearing that you will need an SR-22 certificate. If it is state-ordered, you will typically receive a letter from your state’s DMV.
Not everyone needs an SR-22 certificate. It is generally required if you have been caught driving without insurance or a valid driver’s license.
There are also some other reasons why you may need an SR-22 certificate. These include:
- Being convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs: a DUI or DWI.
- Driving without enough insurance—the minimum liability coverage required by your state.
- Too many at-fault accidents or traffic violations.
- Repeat traffic offenses in a short space of time. For example, three or more speeding tickets within six months.
- Not paying court-ordered child support.
- Having a hardship license in place, which is issued for temporary driving needs because of a license suspension or because your license has been revoked.
Key Point: What Is Minimum Liability Insurance?
Minimum liability insurance is the least amount of coverage that you will need to pay for any damages that you cause in an accident, or when you are found at-fault in an accident.
This is usually represented as 25/50/20 insurance, which relates to the amount of money you will be covered for. As an example:
Each state has its own minimum liability insurance limits and to find out what these are, you can contact your local DMV or your car insurance company.
What Is an FR-44 Certificate?
Usually needed after a DWI or a DUI conviction, an FR-44 is similar to an SR-22, although it is only issued in Florida and Virginia.
The difference between an SR-22 and an FR-44 is that the SR-22 minimum liability coverage limits are usually double that of the state minimums under an FR-44.
What Is an FR-19 Certificate?
The FR-19 form is only required in Maryland, and nowhere else in the U.S.
Similar to the SR-22 and FR-44 certificates, an FR-19 is a form that is required by the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) to verify that you are carrying sufficient minimum coverage.
Once you have been convicted of a serious traffic violation and are instructed to obtain an FR-19, you will have 15 days in which to submit your form.
If you fail to do so in the 15-day period, you could be faced with a suspended license and the removal of your driving privileges.
In Which States Does an SR-22 Certificate Not Apply?
The only states that do not require you to have an SR-22 form after you have committed a serious traffic violation, include:
- New Mexico.
- New York.
- North Carolina.
How Long Does an SR-22 Certificate Last?
In most states that require an SR-22 certificate, you will need one for a period of three years.
To make sure that you have the right information, you can contact your local DMV to find out how long you have until the requirement for your SR-22 certificate is lifted.
Here is the length of time that you will need an SR-22 certificate per state where it applies:
|State||Length of filing period|
|Alaska||3 – 5 years|
|District of Columbia||3 years|
|Florida (FR-44 required)||3 years|
|Maryland (FR-19 required)||3 years|
|New Hampshire||3 years|
|New Jersey||3 years|
|North Dakota||1 year|
|Rhode Island||3 years|
|South Carolina||3 years|
|South Dakota||3 years|
|Virginia (FR-44 required)||3 years|
|West Virginia||3 years|
What If I Need an SR-22 Certificate in a State That I Don’t Live In?
Needing an SR-22 for another state is a very common situation. If you have committed a serious traffic violation while driving in another state to your home state, your insurance provider will typically file the SR-22 certificate on your behalf.
If you are moving to another state and have an SR-22 certificate in place, you will still need to fulfill the SR-22 requirements of your former state.
You will also need to meet your former state’s minimum coverage requirements—including the coverage and liability limits.
What Are the Penalties for Driving without an SR-22 Certificate?
Driving without an SR-22 certificate when you have been ordered by the court or the DMV to get one, will result in a few quite serious penalties.
The first penalty is that the period for needing an SR-22 certificate will start over. You could also be arrested for not having an SR-22 certificate.
Finally, you could face a driver’s license suspension, and/or have your license plates and vehicle registration revoked if you are found without an SR-22 certificate.
Having your license reinstated is not an easy process, so it is definitely a good idea to make sure you get your SR-22 certificate filed as soon as possible once you have been ordered to do so.
Where Can You Get Your SR-22 Certificate?
If you have been informed by the court or your DMV that you need an SR-22 certificate, then you will need to contact your car insurance company.
Any major insurance company that files documents with the state is also able to issue SR-22 forms.
When you contact your insurance agent, you can mention that you need an SR-22 certificate. In some cases, your insurance company may no longer want to insure you, in which case you will need to shop for car insurance again.
To get the best quality car insurance coverage at the lowest possible rate, you can simply head to the top of this page and insert your zip code. CheapInsurance.com can provide you with a wide range of insurance coverage options to choose from.
It is important to note that you will not be able to file your SR-22 certificate on your own. You will need to work with your insurance company to do so.
This procedure is specially designed to ensure the authenticity of the SR-22 form and to make sure that you maintain coverage for the minimum amount of insurance required by your state.
An SR-22 certificate must come directly from your car insurance company to guarantee its authenticity.
The moment that you receive your SR-22 certificate, your insurance profile will be changed to ‘high risk’.
If you are a driver with an SR-22 certificate, you will be seen as riskier to insure. This is typically because you would have been convicted of a serious traffic violation.
This means that you will be paying more for car insurance compared to other drivers.
How Much Does an SR-22 Certificate Cost?
Filing an SR-22 certificate will typically cost between $15 and $25. This cost may vary slightly depending on the state that you live in. In some states, you will need to pay the filing fee up front.
However, the real cost of having an SR-22 certificate kicks in when you need to shop for car insurance or have your insurance renewed.
Drivers who are shopping for car insurance will typically pay significantly higher insurance coverage rates if they have an SR-22 certificate, compared to those who do not need one.
If you are able to go for three years without a traffic violation or incident, then you will be able to re-enter the standard insurance market once again, and get lower car insurance quotes.
How Much More Expensive Is SR-22 Insurance than Regular Insurance?
If you need an SR-22 certificate, your insurance company could charge you up to double the standard insurance rate for drivers who are not seen as high-risk.
For example, in Colorado, the difference between the insurance rates for good drivers compared with high-risk drivers is quite apparent.
The average insurance rates for drivers with a clean driving record in Colorado are as follows:
|Provider||El Paso County|
|Arapahoe County||Jefferson County||Adams County||Average|
On the other hand, if you live in Colorado, your insurance company will charge you a far higher rate if you don’t have a clean driving record and are considered a high-risk driver. For example:
|Provider||El Paso County|
If you want more information regarding SR-22 auto insurance in your state, we have a dedicated article for every state in the U.S.
Simply search our blog for your state and see what you could be paying for SR-22 auto insurance.
How Can You Find Cheap SR-22 Insurance?
Although you will end up paying higher rates for an SR-22 insurance policy, you can still save money.
- Consider usage-based car insurance: If you don’t drive very often, opt for insurance that charges you based on how many miles you drive per month.
- Raise your deductibles: If you do this, your insurer will likely reduce your premium.
- Bundle your car insurance with other policies: Opt for insurers who can offer you great prices on your other insurance needs as well, and go with one company.
- Pay your premium in full instead of monthly payments: Enjoy a percentage discount when you pay your annual insurance premium in full instead of monthly.
Get the Best Quality, Cheapest SR-22 Car Insurance Today with CheapInsurance.com
If you have received a court order or an instruction from your DMV to get an SR-22 certificate—and once this has been filed with your insurance company—you will end up paying more for your insurance coverage.
When you need an SR-22 certificate, this will be a good time to start shopping around for cheap insurance quotes.
Finding a good insurer can be a time-consuming process. Fortunately, we are here to help you find the insurance coverage that you need—at the best price.
All you need to do is head to the top of this page and enter your zip code. You will find a wide selection of insurance quotes to choose from.
Once you have an idea of the auto insurance premiums that you could be paying, it will be time for you to contact the insurers that are offering you the cheapest rates to get a formal quote.
Getting car insurance should be quick, simple, and stress-free, and you deserve to get the best insurance rates possible.
At CheapInsurance.com, we’ve got you covered!