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An SR 22 form requirement is often given to people driving while under the influence, operating a car with no insurance or driving recklessly can result in fines, license restriction or suspension, and possibly jail time. Even if an individual is fortunate enough to escape all these other penalties, they will most likely be considered a high-risk driver, and will be required to file an SR-22 form to confirm that they carry enough liability insurance in case they get involved in any accidents in the future.
An SR-22 is not a type of insurance as some people may think, it is actually a certificate. It is also called a Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR), and is mandated by the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), and provided by insurance companies. The purpose of the certificate is to verify to the DMV that a risky driver has an adequate amount of liability insurancecoverage in place.
Who is Required to Have an SR-22
Regulations are different in each state, and most typical drivers do not need an SR-22 certificate. Usually, the certificate is required by the court or state that a person has been convicted in for certain driving offenses. Additionally, some drivers may still need to have an SR-22 even if they get a restricted license sentence without a DUI or other conviction. An accident that was caused by an uninsured driver, not being able to provide proof of insurance coverage, or reckless driving will require an SR-22 certificate. If a person needs to have an SR-22, their state motor vehicle department or the courts will notify them.
Obtaining an SR-22
When an individual is shopping for insurance, they need to inform their insurance agent about their requirement for an SR-22 certificate. Once a person finds an insurance company that will cover them for a rate they can afford, they will need to purchase a policy first, and then the car insurance company will start the process of getting the Certificate of Financial Responsibility filed on their behalf.
How a New SR-22 Requirement Affects a Current Insurance Policy
Some insurance carriers will just need to be notified. Contacting the customer service department will get the process started, and they will review coverage on an individual’s policy and begin the certificate filing process on the individual’s behalf. However, some car insurance companies may cancel people who have gotten a conviction and now require an SR-22 certificate and other insurance companies do not write SR-22 policies at all. Additionally, even though a person’s current insurance company may write an SR-22 policy for them, the rates may be prohibitive and they would benefit from shopping around for other companies that will give them better rates. Even though a person with an SR-22 requirement is considered a high-risk driver, insurance rates will still vary widely from one company to the next so it is worth it to check with several insurance companies to find the most affordable rate.
Minimum Insurance Requirements
There are minimum coverage requirements that go along with the SR-22 policy. These will vary by state, for example Arizona requires only 15/30/10 liability insurance, however Alaska requires 50/100/25 insurance. These requirements are interpreted as how many thousands of dollars in bodily injury (BI) coverage per person is needed; then the amount of BI coverage per accident; and lastly the amount of property damage coverage that is required.
How an Out-of-State Relocation Affects the SR-22
The SR-22 is state specific, so a Nevada SR-22 will only be valid in Nevada. If an individual moves to another state, they may have to get a different SR-22 form to show proof of financial responsibility in their new state. Additionally, even though they may move to a state that does not require an SR-22, they are still required to maintain the SR-22 conditions from the previous state they lived in.
Fees Associated with the SR-22 Form
States charge a fee to file the SR-22 form. This is typically $25, but may be higher in certain cases and in certain states. This is a one-time charge that only needs to be paid the first time an SR-22 certificate is filed. It will not need to be paid again at each renewal, however, if a person allows their policy to lapse then the insurer will have to re-file the SR-22 certificate and charge another filing fee. This fee is not included in any rate quote that might be provided online by insurance companies.
Term of the SR-22
The SR-22 certificate will remain valid as long as the insurance policy remains paid and active. If the policy gets canceled for any reason, the insurance company is required to notify state authorities. If the driver lets their SR-22 policy lapse, they may be subject to a license suspension. Additionally, once a policy lapses, it will be even more difficult to find an insurance provider. This is especially true if an individual is caught while driving with a lapsed SR-22 policy. Drivers should carry proof of their certificate of financial responsibility, or SR-22, just like they would be required to carry a regular insurance card. If a person fails to carry proof and is pulled over by a police officer, they may be subject to a license suspension or revocation.