What is SR22 Insurance?
Carrying SR-22 insurance is a requirement for all high-risk drivers operating vehicles in the state of California. In contrast to most types of auto insurance, SR-22 insurance is a Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR) that serves as proof that residents with serious driving violations are adhering to state car insurance requirements. Below is a look at the unique features of SR-22 insurance and the steps drivers should take to ensure that they properly file for SR-22 insurance.
How does SR-22 differ from other types of auto insurance?
SR-22 insurance differs from other types of insurance coverage in multiple ways. In addition to being much less common than most types of insurance, SR-22 insurance is a requirement that is issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Some of the primary features that distinguish SR-22 insurance from other types of auto insurance include the following:
- SR-22 is actually a type of insurance filing as opposed to an actual policy.
- SR-22 insurance is designed for high-risk drivers as opposed to the majority of California drivers.
- People required to have SR-22 insurance have typically committed several serious moving violations.
- SR-22 is considered an addition to an existing liability insurance policy like an auto insurance policy.
- SR-22 is associated with significantly higher insurance premiums due to high-risk driving behaviors and major violations such as DUI.
Who is required to carry SR-22 insurance?
SR-22 insurance is generally required if a driver’s license has been suspended or if an individual fails to meet the mandatory insurance coverage required for California. In most cases, people who are required to carry SR-22 insurance have been convicted of a vehicular-related crime. While the nature of the conviction can vary, the most common crimes include the following:
- Reckless driving
- Driving while under the influence
- Driving without insurance
- Driving while under-insured
- Driving with a suspended license
- Driving following revocation of a license
How do you file an SR-22 form?
Fortunately for drivers, filing an SR-22 form is a fast and easy process. While you cannot file an SR-22 form on your own, you can obtain an SR-22 form on the spot from a dependable insurance agency. The filing process in California typically costs between $5 and $35, which is in addition to the driver’s standard insurance policies. Below are five simple steps to help you obtain and file an SR-22 form.
1) Contact a trusted insurance agent to request an SR-22 form. Ideally, the agency you choose should be authorized by the DMV and able to provide an SR-22 form on the spot. If your existing insurance provider cannot assist you with the required form and filing process, be sure to seek the guidance of an insurance agent who can assist you with the filing process.
2) Remit the required processing fee to your insurance agency. Because fee amounts will vary from agency to agency, you should carefully choose your auto insurance provider to make sure that you find the most cost-effective option. Remember that the SR-22 processing fee will be in addition to the cost of your SR-22 insurance and the other types of vehicle insurance that you possess.
3) Your insurance agent will ensure that the DMV receives your SR-22 request. After a driver receives purchases a policy with an SR-22 filing, the insurance company will send an electronic SR-22 to the DMV immediately. The insurance company will then deliver a paper copy of the SR-22 Form to the insured driver. Drivers will need to maintain this paper copy in order to reinstate their driver’s license at a local DMV branch.
4) You receive your approved SR-22 from your insurance agency. If your request is approved, you will receive your SR-22 from your insurance agency. There is typically no waiting period to find out if your SR-22 was approved or not. A letter from the DMV will accompany your SR-22 insurance. You should immediately make several copies of your certificate and letter for safekeeping, and ensure that the original is placed in your primary vehicle.
5) Your insurance company will take the necessary steps to maintain your SR-22. Once you receive SR-22 insurance, you do not have to worry about your SR-22 form as long as your insurance policy is active. Your insurance company will automatically file an electronic SR-22 form to the DMV at each required renewal as long as you maintain an active insurance policy.
How long are people required to drive with SR-22 insurance?
In general, California drivers who are required to have SR-22 insurance must carry it for three years following the suspension of their license. Annual filing is not required as long as SR-22 insurance is continually maintained during the mandated period. If a policy is terminated or canceled, the driver must contact another insurance company right away to acquire new SR-22 coverage. In the meantime, the driver’s insurance company is responsible for informing the California Department of Motor Vehicles that the driver no longer has current SR-22 coverage.
What happens if you drive without SR-22 insurance?
Driving without SR-22 insurance when you have been ordered to carry it can produce legal and financial consequences. If you allow your SR-22 insurance to expire or if you choose to cancel it, the insurer will report the lapse to the DMV, setting the stage for harsh penalties. Some of the potential penalties for driving without SR-22 insurance include the following:
- Your driver’s license could be suspended
- Your vehicle registration could be suspended
- Your vehicle could be impounded
- You may be subject to costly insurance reinstatement fees
Notably, one of the most significant penalties relates to the timeframe during which you must maintain SR-22 insurance. If you fail to maintain your SR-22 continuously for the required 36 month period, you may be required to carry SR-22 insurance for an even longer time period than 3 years. One of the best steps you can take as a driver who carries SR-22 is to make sure that you remain violation-free the entire time you are required to carry your SR-22 insurance. If you experience no driving violations or incidents within the specified timeframe, you will greatly increase the likelihood that you will be able to be free of SR-22 requirements and purchase a standard car insurance policy.
How do you find out if you are required to carry SR-22 insurance?
If you have been convicted of one of the major violations referenced above in California, you will receive notification from the Superior Court of California or Department of Motor Vehicles stating that you need an SR-22 form to reinstate your driver’s license. If you receive such notification, you must carry SR-22 insurance even if you do not own a vehicle. There are three general types of SR-22 forms, which are outlined highlighted below:
1) An Owner’s Policy Certificate: This type of SR-22 insurance covers financial responsibility for cars and other vehicles owned by the driver.
2) An Operator’s Policy Certificate: This type of SR-22 insurance is designed for drivers who are mandated to carry SR-22 but who do not currently own a vehicle.
3) A Broad-Coverage Policy Certificate: Drivers who carry this type of comprehensive SR-22 insurance receive coverage for vehicles that are owned and not owned by the insured driver.
What is the surest path to SR-22 insurance?
The surest way to make sure that you obtain SR-22 insurance quickly and affordably is to enlist the guidance of an expert in the insurance industry. An experienced insurance specialist will compare the top insurance companies who specialize in SR-22 insurance filing and help you find an affordable option. Ideally, the insurance expert you choose should exhibit the following qualities:
- A high level of responsiveness to your questions and needs
- A commitment to helping you select the best SR-22 insurance provider
- Expertise in an extensive array of other insurance-related products and services
Our team of auto insurance experts can provide customers with on-the-spot SR-22 forms to present at the DMV. They can also help you file an electronic copy when you purchase an insurance policy. With the help of our representatives, you can rest assured that your SR-22 requirements are addressed quickly and professionally.
The Bottom Line
If you are required to carry SR-22 insurance, it is your responsibility to make sure that you coordinate with an insurance provider that specializes in SR-22 insurance filings. An experienced insurance agent can file an SR-22 form on your behalf and maintain an active filing for the mandated duration of time. Failure to carry SR-22 insurance can lead to a host of costly and unpleasant consequences. Fortunately, a trusted auto insurance carrier can guide you through the process of securing and maintaining SR-22 insurance.
Contact us to request an on-the-spot SR-22 form to present to the DMV. In addition to providing you with the appropriate paperwork, one of the SR-22 experts on our team will be delighted to provide you with a formal insurance quotation. Call us today at 877-333-8303 to find out how we can ensure that you obtain the SR-22 insurance that you need. We look forward to becoming your total solution for your auto insurance needs.