SR22 insurance is a special category of car insurance for “high risk” drivers.
You might need SR22 car insurance temporarily for a variety of reasons:
- A serious driving offense such as a hit and run, racing, or reckless driving
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI)
- Driving without insurance or with a suspended license or registration
- Being in a car accident, particularly if you were found at fault for it
- Numerous minor infractions, like speeding, that occur over time
In these situations and several others, a court can order that you get SR22 car insurance. There are even some cases where the order to hold this insurance has nothing to do with your driving history. For example, SR22 can be enforced against someone who is behind on court-mandated child support payments.
Despite the fact it’s called “SR22 insurance,” it is a little bit different from any other type of insurance policy. In technical terms, it is an insurance endorsement. But what does that mean for you and how does it really work?
SR22 auto insurance can be a confusing topic. It is even harder to wrap your head around in light of the tough situations that can lead to an SR22 requirement. To make things easier, the experts at Cheap Insurance have written this article so you can get the facts on SR22 car insurance.
Let’s learn all about how SR22 insurance works.
How SR22 Insurance Works: Getting New SR22 Vehicle Insurance
Wondering how SR22 insurance works is normal, since it is not like any other car insurance product.
When you buy SR22 insurance, the actual insurance coverage you need is only part of what you are paying for. An SR22 policy often has the same amount of liability coverage that a minimum car insurance policy has in that state. However, some extra administrative work goes into keeping the policy current.
As you compare car insurance online, you will notice insurers can vary greatly in how much they charge for SR22. Establishing a valid SR22 policy usually means talking to an insurance agent by phone or in person.
When your new SR22 car insurance comes into force, the insurance company issues a special document known as a “certificate of financial responsibility.” This is placed on file with your state – the insurer manages it directly.
It serves as legal evidence that you hold at least the lowest amount of car insurance required in your state. The state reviews it before driving privileges are reinstated after any driver’s license suspension.
You will usually need to hold SR22 insurance for three years – either after the date of the incident or after the date of a court conviction. Rarely, a court may require you to maintain your SR22 auto insurance for five years.
Keeping Your SR22 Vehicle Insurance Policy Current
It is crucial not to let your SR22 insurance lapse for any reason.
More states are implementing databases that allow them to check insurance policy status faster. They receive a notification from your insurance company if your policy is terminated.
For the average motorist, this triggers a Letter of Inquiry. The person is then required to respond with proof of car insurance. There may be a grace period of a few days up to about a month for this process to unfold.
If you have been ordered to hold SR22 car insurance, however, you should not assume you will be given a grace period. Even if you are without insurance for just one day, it could automatically trigger legal penalties.
These penalties may include suspension of your driver’s license or vehicle registration, fines, or even jail time. In some states, laws do not allow for any discretion about the punishment, even if there was an honest mistake.
You will pay a monthly premium to your car insurer for your SR22 insurance policy just as you would with any other policy. Most people pay their insurance premium online. If you use auto-pay or pay by check, always be sure to verify that your payment cleared your bank.
If you are ever late on payment, insurance companies usually give you some time to get current. You may have anywhere from a few days to a month to pay, although a late fee may be assessed.
If you do not pay before the courtesy period expires, you lose your insurance.
Can You Change Insurers for an SR22 Auto Insurance Policy?
Yes! If you find a better deal on car insurance, you are always free to change insurers.
A court order can require you to get an SR22 insurance endorsement, but it usually won’t say anything about what company should provide it. Insurance firms all follow the same set of state rules. Any company that offers sufficient SR22 auto insurance should work.
That said, not all insurers have the SR22 option.
You will usually need to look for a large national or statewide car insurance company to find SR22: Many smaller companies choose not to provide it. And you might have to spend quite a bit of time comparing car insurance online before you find quotes for cheap SR22 car insurance.If you decide to change insurers, contact your old insurer and be certain you know when your policy would end. Then contact your new insurer and make them aware that you have a current policy that meets SR22 standards.
Closing Your SR22 Car Insurance Policy
State rules vary about how the closure of an SR22 car insurance policy is handled:
- You might receive no notification whatsoever that you no longer need the SR22
- You might receive a notification in writing from your DMV or from a traffic court
- You may need to schedule a final court hearing, even if you haven’t had one lately
- Sometimes, you might hear from your insurance firm that you no longer need SR22
Clerical errors happen, so be sure you double-check the date on your original court order before you close SR22. To close SR22 insurance, you need to notify your insurer – they will usually ask for a request in writing.
Assuming all the dates are correct, you will probably not receive any further follow-up once you close your SR22. You are free to switch to a minimum car insurance policy for your state. You can also compare insurance quotes online to switch to another provider.
SR22 Insurance Without a Vehicle?
There are a few scenarios where it may be permitted for you to stop using SR22 insurance. Challenging or appealing your conviction could lead to the requirement being dropped. You might no longer need SR22 if you discontinue driving or if you move to another state.
You may need SR22 insurance without a vehicle if you are continuing to drive, even though you do not own a car. You can get an SR22 insurance endorsement on your non-owner car insurance, which covers liabilities if you are in an accident while driving someone else’s car.
Now that you know how SR22 insurance works, it’s time to find a terrific deal on your new policy. Cheap Insurance lets you compare insurance quotes from all over your state. Get started now or contact us to learn more.
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