Gianetta Palmer is a writer, copywriter, and essayist. Her work has appeared in EverydayHealth.com, Healthline, and The Dyrt Magazine. She is the author of Scrunchie-Fried and writes a lot about car insurance in her spare time.

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He also has an MBA from the University of South Florid...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 7, 2021

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Auto insurance can be complicated, and you might be wondering who needs an SR-22 insurance certificate and what exactly it is.

It can be stressful to hear you may need one, especially if you are unsure what it is.

There are plenty of common misconceptions about the SR-22 you may have heard.

Before you act on these insurance myths, let’s take a closer look at the SR-22 certificate and what it is all about.

SR-22 key considerations and takeaways
--SR-22 is not insurance but a form or certificate of financial responsibility in which an insurer will file to DMV on your behalf after purchasing the required policy.

--DMV can revoke your driver's license after a traffic violation, such as driving under the influence, and in most instances, you will need an SR-22 to reinstate your driving privileges. If your current carrier doesn't file the form (or you're uninsured), you will have to shop around for a new policy before you get an SR-22.

--An insurer files an SR-22 form with the Department of Motor Vehicles, guaranteeing you have minimum liability coverage. If at any time you cancel the policy, your insurer will notify DMV.
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What is the SR-22 Insurance Certificate?

The SR-22 insurance certificate is added to your auto policy and issued by your insurance company to your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

It identifies high-risk drivers and is required in most states.

Having one on file proves to the state that the driver has met the insurance requirements and can be allowed to drive on a restricted license following some speeding tickets, traffic violations, at-fault accidents, or DUIs

Your current auto insurance company may refuse to issue one, so you may be forced to look for a new insurer that covers higher-risk motorists.

Because the SR-22 form is added to your car insurance policy as an endorsement, you will need to have an insurance policy first, so the same carrier that insures you also files an SR-22.

Higher-risk drivers tend to pay more for coverage, so this may be a good time to shop for a new carrier even if yours is willing to insure you.

The insurance rates may be better with another insurer who specializes in high-risk drivers.

Below are the average insurance quotes from the largest insurers specializing in filing one for you.

Insurance companyAverageInsurance premium after filing certificate with DWI
GEICO$1,431$2,843
Farmers$1,730$3,201
State Farm$1,741$2,927
Progressive$1,831$2,830
Allstate$1,892$3,101
American Family$2,031$3,276
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Misconceptions about the SR-22

There are several common misconceptions around the filing:

It’s unaffordable

While it is true tickets, at-fault accidents, and other moving violations, can be costly in fines and surcharges, the form itself is not expensive.

It is a one-time application fee of around $15 – $50 when you file an SR-22.

You do not need to repay for the SR-22 each month with your insurance company – once you have paid the first time, it will be covered through the policy’s duration until renewal.

It’s a stand-alone policy

It is an endorsement added to your insurance policy.

It does not stand alone, so you still need to have an auto insurance policy before getting an SR-22 endorsement.

You can cancel your insurance after the SR-22 is filed

This is not correct – filing an SR-22 proves to your state you carry minimum liability coverage.

If you were to cancel your policy, the auto insurance company would have to notify the DMV.

Since the filing was based on your now-canceled-policy, the SR-22 form would not be valid any longer as you no longer meet the insurance requirements.

If I relocate after getting the SR-22, I do not need to maintain it in my new state

If you relocate to a state that does not require to file an SR-22 while yours is still current from your original state, you will need to continue to fulfill the requirements even while living in the new state.

You will be required to maintain the same liability insurance limits required in your original state until the certificate has expired.

When is an SR-22 Insurance Required?

A judge may require a person to file an SR-22 insurance certificate in response to some types of traffic offenses, including:

–Driving under the influence (DUI/DWI)

–Reckless driving

–Driving without car insurance

–At-fault car accidents

–Driving with a suspended license

–Several traffic violations within a short time

–Involved in an automobile accident while driving without insurance

If a judge does require it, the driver’s license will be restricted until the SR-22 is filed.

This process can take some time, so it is important to understand the judge’s instructions before driving again.

Once you have been issued the SR-22 and your driving privileges are reinstated, remember you must keep the documentation with you in your possession while driving.

Do you need an SR-22 to get car insurance?

If required by a judge, you must obtain an SR-22 from your car insurance company.

This is an additional insurance certificate your carrier will issue that proves to the state you have met your financial responsibility by carrying adequate insurance coverage.

It is important to know that not all car insurance companies will issue an SR-22.

Some will not insure high-risk drivers, so you may need to shop around to find a carrier willing to issue one.

Below are popular insurers specializing in high-risk coverage that can provide you with an insurance premium and file an SR-22 on your behalf.   

Insurance companyOne-time Fee
Dairyland*Free
Direct Auto*Free
The General$25
21st Century$25
Safe Auto$25
Progressive$25
Nationwide$50
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*Dairyland and Direct Auto filing is free. Each policy must have the state’s minimum bodily injury and property damage liability. Some states may require higher liability limits and additional protection such as uninsured motorist coverage, personal injury protection, or medical payments coverage.

How much does an SR-22 cost?

Adding the SR-22 endorsement to your policy costs between $15-$50, depending on your insurance provider.

It may be charged by your carrier at each renewal period – generally annually or every six months.

How long does SR-22 last?

SR-22s expire after 3 years in most states. The exceptions are Alaska and Mississippi, where they can range up to 5 years before expiry. They generally end after this three or five-year period.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an SR-22?

The SR-22 is an insurance certificate that shows financial responsibility obligations have been met.

It is issued by endorsement to an auto policy and sent to the state’s DMV to prove the driver has sufficient coverage in place.

When the SR-22 is required, the driver must maintain adequate coverage through the period of the SR-22.

If they do not maintain adequate coverage, the insurance company will notify the DMV, who will then restrict or suspend the driver’s license.

Reinstating is likely to come with a filing fee.

What States Do Not Require SR-22s?

The eight states that do not require it are Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Caroline, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania.

If you move from a state that required an SR-22 to one that does not, you will need to fulfill your previous state’s insurance requirements until the term is complete.

What If I Do not Own a Vehicle but Need an SR-22?

If you do not own a vehicle but need an SR-22 to drive other cars, you may purchase a non-owner SR-22 policy. A non-owner policy allows you to continue to drive non-owned vehicles.

What is the Difference Between an SR-22 and an FR-44?

The terms are often used interchangeably, and both are certificates of responsibility, but the FR-44 is only used in Florida and Virginia.

Beyond its limited use, the biggest difference between them is the higher liability limits required.

Virginia and Florida differ regarding the amount of insurance coverage required, but in both states, it is greater than that required under the SR-22.

The FR-44 is reserved for drivers with drug or alcohol-related convictions or felony convictions.

If I have an SR-22, will I always have to maintain it?

No. They generally last for 3 years, some as long as 5, but once you have successfully met the requirements for that period, the filing will end.

Make sure to let your insurance company know you no longer need to file it. 

To learn more about SR-22 insurance and common misconceptions, contact our experts today at AutoInsureSavings.org.

Our licensed insurance professionals will be happy to answer any questions you have.

Methodology

AutoInsureSavings.org collects quotes from the state’s largest insurers for a 30-year-old male or female motorist for our driver profile. Each driver has a clean driving record, and we applied a good or safe driver discount.

AutoInsureSavings.org collects three to five quotes from each insurer via Quadrant Information Services.

In other instances, for drivers with a DUI, we added a driving under the influence violation.

Unless stated, our methodology’s operating vehicle is a 2018 Honda Accord with a paperless, safe driver, and anti-theft discounts.

AutoInsureSavings.org uses rate data from Quadrant Information Services. We sourced quotes from insurer filings that are publicly available for rate comparison.
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References

https://sr22insurance.net/guide

https://www.progressive.com/

https://www.allstate.com/