What You Need To Know About SR-22 Insurance
There is nothing fun about having your license revoked. Maybe you drank a little too much one night and ended up with a DUI. Or maybe you forgot to pay all of those parking tickets. Your license is important and you need it. Driving is an essential part of every day life for most Americans. Not only that but public transportation in most areas of the country is not up to par. Unless you live in large cities such as New York or Chicago, you will need to drive to and from work. We as Americans spend a lot of money on our cars. From that first purchase and oil change, to the rising gas prices all over the United States. We have a lot invested in those four wheels parked in our driveway.
Why we depend on our vehicles so much is mostly cultural. Americans are proud to be part of the car revolution. And with companies like Chevrolet and Ford, we produce some of the best cars and trucks in the world. But cars and the fads that led us to loving them, are changing. With more drivers on the road, safety laws have become stricter and less lenient to those first time offenders.
Life Without Your Car
And it’s for good reason. We all need to work, get to school, drive our kids to that doctors appointment. Have you ever stopped and wondered what your daily life would be like without your car? For thousands of Americans, this happens annually. When you get your license revoked you can no longer operate a vehicle. Usually for a minimum of three years. Laws are a little different in every state. Some states don’t carry laws related to cheap SR22 insurance. But for those that do, you will want to know the scoop on this kind of insurance.
You can break down the many reasons why you need the best cheap SR22 Insurance. But it all comes down to cost. What will you have to pay for if you aren’t even allowed to drive? How can you obtain Sr22 insurance in the first place? Where is the best cheap insurance located? How can you get discounts if you are a “high-risk” driver? What is a “high risk” driver anyways? These are the questions we can answer in this blog. Getting the best information, no matter what state you happen to live in, is the key to getting through this rough time.
Facts Not Fiction
First, let’s break down what SR22 insurance is. SR22 Insurance is a vehicle liability document required by the Department of Motor Vehicles for “high-risk” drivers. It is a document issued by your insurance company showing proof that you are carrying the minimum auto insurance required in your state. SR literally stands for “safety responsibility”. SR22 coverage is something that is added to your existing auto insurance policy. Your insurance company can file the form electronically with the Department of Motor Vehicles. If you need SR22 insurance, you will want to talk with a broker who can file the proper paperwork with the DMV. If you don’t already have a broker, try and search for a broker online.
There are many reasons for needing SR22 insurance. One of the most common is because of drunk driving. There is unfortunately a drunk driving phenomenon in this country. You could say it’s from so many people being on the roads, or our laws on alcohol consumption. But the truth is that DUI charges are getting fewer and fewer in recent years. In the last three decades, drunk driving fatalities have dropped by one third. This is great news. Except for the fact that there are still nearly 10,000 drunk driving deaths annually in the United States. These deaths and crashes cost about 44 billion dollars in total, according to the NHTSA.
How You Can Get Stuck With SR-22
Here are a few of the ways that you get stuck with needing extra insurance, such as an SR22. This information applies to most states in the U.S.
SR22 documentation is “proof of financial responsibility” for drivers who have had their licenses
revoked or suspended for any number of reasons, including:
- Excessive violations within a certain time frame.
- Driving without insurance.
- Outstanding traffic or parking fines.
- At-fault accidents while uninsured.
- Reckless driving.
Even if your state does not require this filing, you must keep the best cheap SR22 insurance if you are moving to a state that requires it.
Here are the states that do not require SR22:
The Laws In Your State
Here are some examples of laws related to cheap SR22 insurance. We will start with California law since there are the most drivers in that state.
The number of DUI arrests in California has been slowly decreasing. The most recent study in 2014 shows that there were 160,388 DUI arrests in California. The conviction rate hovers around 75%, which hasn’t changed in the past few years. If you have a DUI, excessive violations, are caught driving without insurance or without the proper amount of insurance, have outstanding parking fines, or are caught for reckless driving, you will have your license taken away. The state of California is very strict on this. With so many drivers on the road the Highway Patrol, along with city and county police, need to stay strict and realistic about drunk driving.
If you area first time offender in California you will be fined, have your license taken away and maybe face jail time. You will need to carry SR22 insurance for a minimum of three years with no lapses on your insurance payments. The DMV will decide when you can have your license back and you will need to file all paper work through them. You are then labeled as a “high-risk” driver. You will need to prove yourself to the state by keeping a safe driving record. If you have a second offense, the punishments are harsher. In some cases in California you will need to attend treatment for alcoholism if you are caught driving drunk. All DUI convictions will stay on your record for 10 years.
Florida has some of the lowest standards for car insurance and SR22 insurance in the country. But if you are caught drunk driving there will be a revocation of your license, along with fees. Unlike California, there aren’t as many laws protecting citizens when it comes to crashes. Maybe that is because there are fewer drivers. Either way you won’t be needing the same types of insurance in Florida as you do in most of the United States. Florida state is a “no-fault” state. This means that an individual’s insurance company covers their losses regardless of fault. Florida requires a minimum of $10,000 for Personal Injury Protection. Florida also requires a minimum of $10,000 Property Damage Liability.
Driving without insurance in Florida can result in a suspension of your registration or driving privileges. There will also be a reinstatement fee of between $150 and $500, plus the increased cost of insurance. The SR22 filing certifies to the State of Florida that you have at least “10/20” bodily injury and $10,000 property damage coverage. In most cases the State of Florida requires individuals to have the SR22 filing for three years. Like California, Florida takes DUIs a little more seriously than regular insurance, but the penalties for drunk driving are not as severe.
New Jersey is one of those gray areas when it comes to SR22 insurance. Technically you are not required to file a SR22 insurance claim when you have your license revoked. But you are required to continue to carry a basic policy. A basic policy in New Jersey is:
- The state mandates that a “Basic Policy” be available to drivers who are facing financial hardship (usually reserved for young drivers).
- It includes $15,000 of Personal Injury Protection and $5,000 Property Damage liability.
This policy is the typical split-limit liability policy and includes the following minimum coverages:
- Bodily Injury liability: $15,000 per person, $30,000 per accident
- Property Damage liability: $5,000
- Personal Injury Protection: $15,000 per person or accident
How To Obtain SR-22
SR22 Insurance is not complicated, yet many people are scared to start this process with the DMV. The best way to approach this hard time is to talk with a broker or insurance agent. A broker is someone who intimately knows the insurance industry but works for you. That means they are on your side and ready to help. They can also file all of the paperwork with the DMV and find you the best deals on cheap SR22 insurance.
The more you know about the process the easier it will be to get started. Reading this blog is a great place to start. The best way to save money even when it comes to filing SR22 insurance is to be knowledgable. You might not qualify for the same discounts as a “high-risk” driver. But there is a way to earn back the trust of the state. This applies no matter what state you live in.
It is imperative that you never stop payment or let your policy lapse once you have started the SR22 process. You need to show that you are able to pay for your insurance and that you will keep insurance on your vehicle. Try to get the most amount of insurance as possible. We know that times are tough, but it is always better to be over-insured, rather than under. You should add things to your policy like Uninsured Motorist Coverage. For just a few dollars every month, you could be insured in case someone who lacks proper insurance hits you. In most states, about 20% of all drivers aren’t carrying the right amount of insurance.
Rules to live by:
Here are some simple things to keep in mind when going through this grueling process.
- Stay calm and know that this too shall pass.
- Stay up to date on all of your bills and pay on time. This means car insurance and your extra SR22 costs.
- Never lapse on a payment. Once you start this process, even though you might need to go through this for three years or more, stay consistent.
- Do not drink and drive under any circumstances. This means riding a motorcycle or bicycle as well. Stay clean and stay out of trouble.
- Be a safe driver and try to stay away from tickets. Whether it be a parking ticket or a red light, you can’t risk getting another fine.
- Keep supportive people around you. It is easy to judge someone who has had their license revoked. Getting a DUI also limits potential job opportunities. But keeping supportive family and friends at your side is one way to stay positive and help the time pass.
- Take public transportation. It might even save you some money.
- Stay working as much as you can and know that there are people out there every day who cannot use their cars. They somehow get by and so will you!
- Think of the long term. It is hard to get caught up in the negativity of getting a DUI or revoked license. But if you think of the long term, you know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Stay focused on that light.
Terms You Should Be Familiar With
- Bodily Injury Liability Coverage: Coverage that pays for the injured party if you are at fault in an accident. May also cover legal fees, lost time at work and other related expenses to an injured person.
- Bundling: Coverage that includes multiple policies such as home and auto which when combined can save the consumer premium costs.
- Certificate of Insurance: A written document that proves coverage is in force during a specific time period.
- Citation: A violation of either moving or non-moving laws in which an official serves a ticket to the person at fault.
- Comprehensive Coverage: Coverage for loss not caused by a collision such as damage from fire or theft.
- Defensive Driving Course: A traffic safety course which improves driving. It may be taken to prevent a citation from being placed on your driving record or to reduce insurance premiums.
- Financial responsibility laws: Laws that make it illegal to not have the minimum state standards of liability insurance.
- Full Coverage: Includes liability, collision and comprehensive coverage on a specific vehicle. Most financed vehicles are required to carry full coverage.
- Liability Coverage: Coverage that pays someone that you have injured or property you have damaged if it is declared your fault.
- Licensed Driver: A person who has fulfilled a state’s requirements for driving a vehicle and has been issued a valid license.
Finding The Right Insurance
The most important step for you now is to find the right insurance provider. The one who gives you a great deal and has great customer service. You should be realistic about how much you might have to spend. But talking with a broker can ease your mind. Bundle your insurance policies together to save. If you can, try paying on your insurance policy once a year instead of monthly. This will save you from paying installment fees. Get going now and stay steadfast through this process. Having the cheap SR22 insurance you need comes with a price. But with the right insurance company, you might be pleasantly surprised.