Have you been ordered to hold SR22 insurance by a court?
SR22 is an unusual kind of insurance product that works differently from any other kind of auto insurance. In fact, it does not offer any financial protection above and beyond a standard auto insurance policy in your state. It is a bit more accurate to call it an “insurance endorsement,” but it is often called SR22 insurance for short.
Some states have different names for SR22, such as FR44, which stands for “Financial Responsibility.”
You usually end up needing this kind of insurance after a stressful situation such as an automotive accident. On top of that, the cost of SR22 insurance can be substantial. It is important to know the facts and make the best choice possible so you can save money while you meet your obligations.
Who Needs SR22 Car Insurance?
SR22 auto insurance is not needed by most motorists. It is special insurance that designates a category of “high risk” drivers. In general, it can only be required by a court of law. This usually happens after a conviction for a traffic offense, although there are some exceptions.
Someone might be ordered to hold SR22 car insurance if:
- They were convicted of a serious traffic violations, such as a hit and run or Driving While Intoxicated
- They were found responsible for a number of smaller traffic offenses within a short period of time
- They were determined to be at fault for a car accident that resulted in injury or property damage
- They failed to hold the minimum car insurance or drove without a license or vehicle registration
- They failed to pay court-ordered child support and did not make up the missed payments promptly
There may be other situations where the SR22 designation is warranted. Every state is different when it comes to SR22, but they all recognize it and use it for the same basic reasons.
When you buy an SR22 policy online or at a local insurance agency, the agency files some paperwork on your behalf. This paperwork demonstrates to the state that you are carrying at least the minimum car insurance required to drive legally. Virtually all SR22 policies deliver only this minimum level of coverage.
If a judge orders you to get SR22 online or elsewhere, you will be required to pay for it before you can drive. If your vehicle has been impounded, you will need to show proof of SR22 before you can reclaim it. The same is true if your license or registration was suspended.
Once you are ordered to hold SR22, you will usually need to keep it for about three years. The three years can start from the date of a court conviction or from the date of the qualifying event. You can always change car insurance providers, but you can’t close your SR22 policy unless you stop driving completely.
It is especially vital to make sure your SR22 policy is kept up to date because you can be subject to harsh penalties if your insurance lapses. You might face fines, loss of your registration, license suspension, or even jail time. If you are under court supervision, be sure you know whether SR22 is a condition of probation.
Many people struggle with two SR22 insurance issues:
- It usually offers auto insurance only equivalent to the minimum in the state your car is registered
- It can be very expensive, up to three times as expensive as a standard policy in the worst cases
Just as with any car insurance policy, the cost of SR22 insurance will usually go up every year you hold it. With that in mind, it is crucial to get a car insurance policy at the most favorable rates possible. The lower your rates when you start, the more you will save over time.
The Cost of SR22 Insurance Varies by State and Insurer
There are two main reasons why it can be expensive to hold SR22 car insurance:
- Your monthly auto insurance premium will go up based on the reason you need to hold SR22.
- You will also pay an additional amount because SR22 is considered “high risk” auto insurance.
How much will your auto insurance premiums go up after an issue on the road? It depends entirely on exactly what happened. For example, a minor accident might cause your rates to go up by 6%, while a bigger one is more likely to push your rates up by 60% or more.
Driving Under the Influence (also known as Driving While Intoxicated in some jurisdictions) is widely looked at as one of the most serious infractions. If you refuse to take a breathalyzer test, even if you were in the right, you could see your premiums double. This is one of the costliest outcomes for drivers in any state.
In nearly all states, leaving the scene of an accident (usually referred to as Hit and Run) is the conviction that causes the biggest hike in your auto insurance rates. Leaving the scene can cause your rates to triple. In some states, street racing (also called drag racing) is treated as seriously or almost as seriously as leaving the scene.
Even a relatively minor offense can become very expensive if you are hit with a charge of “Reckless Driving” on top of it. Several states leave this entirely up to the discretion of the responding officer. For example, you might end up with a secondary charge of reckless driving if you are stopped for speeding or running a red light.
But the biggest factor in the cost of SR22 insurance is the insurance company itself!
A small minority of car insurance companies offer SR22 car insurance for just a few dollars more than the basic car insurance policy. However, there is really no limit to how much they can charge in most cases. Not all car insurance firms offer SR22, because they feel holders are more likely to have accidents.
It’s not out of the ordinary for car insurance brands to charge extra fees for the administrative work they have to do when they transmit your SR22 certification to the state. They also charge more “just in case” you happen to get into an accident compared to someone with a spotless driving record.
Get the SR22 Car Insurance Coverage You Need at Rates You Can Afford
Of all the dozens of car insurance companies that operate in your state, it may be the case that only a handful of them offer SR22. You need an affordable car insurance policy as soon as you can get it. That means finding a fast, effective way to compare car insurance policies online.
Luckily, there is a solution that works for any motorist.
With Cheap Insurance, you can compare auto insurance quotes from all the leading car insurance companies in your state. That includes great options for your SR22 auto insurance. Getting the best deal on SR22 car insurance could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars over the lifetime of your policy.
Dealing with SR22 insurance isn’t fun, but Cheap Insurance makes it easier than ever. Get started comparing car insurance now or contact our team for more information.