An SR-22 is not an actual “type” of insurance, but rather a form that proves your car insurance policy meets the minimum motor vehicle liability insurance coverage required by state law.
The SR22 form may be required by a court or your state if you have certain driving-related violations such as DUIs, reckless driving, an at-fault accident in an uninsured car, or a number of other reasons.
What is SR22 insurance?
SR22 insurance isn’t actually insurance at all, but rather a document that proves to the state that you have liability coverage (both property damage and bodily injury). In most states, it’s called an SR22 form, but Virginia and Florida like to be different, so they call it an FR44. Now that we’ve cleared that up, we’ll still occasionally refer to it as SR22 insurance, since you’ll often see it casually referred to in that way.
The SR22 form is a “certificate of financial responsibility” which states can require from high-risk drivers. Depending on the state, you may also hear the SR22 form being called an SR‑22 bond or SR22 certificate. The FR44, similar to the SR22 form, may require that you carry more insurance than state minimums.
Even if you don’t own a car, you might still be required to get a certificate of financial responsibility, known as non-owner SR22, if you ever borrow or rent a car. This essentially proves that you have minimum vehicle liability coverage for non-car owners, which covers you for liability if you get into an accident driving someone else’s car. If you are required to have an SR22 form and haven’t filed it, you may face license suspension.
Why would I need an SR22 form filed with the state?
SR22 insurance may be required by states for high-risk drivers. It can be court-ordered, or simply required, to get your license back after suspension, to reinstate driving privileges or to register your car with the department of motor vehicles.
Here are some of the reasons your state may require your insurance company to file an SR22 form:
- If you drove while intoxicated or under the influence (DUI or DWI) and were convicted.
- If you were pulled over while driving without state-mandated minimum liability coverage.
- If you have been arrested or ticketed for reckless endangerment while driving your vehicle.
- If you racked up multiple traffic offenses and traffic violations on your driving record in a short time frame.
- If you got into an at-fault accident while driving an uninsured car.
Keep in mind, states’ laws and rules around SR22 insurance vary. Some states may require the SR22 form in the instances above, and others may not, and some states may have additional scenarios where an SR22 form is required to prove insurance coverage.
Does SR22 insurance cost more?
The SR22 form does have a filing fee, which is usually around $25.
Drivers who are required to file an SR22 also inevitably pay higher premiums for their minimum motor vehicle liability. You see, SR22 insurance is required for particularly high-risk drivers like those who drive while intoxicated or those involved in crashes from distracted driving behaviors.
In some ways, issues like DUIs, DWIs, and traffic tickets end up increasing insurance premiums for all drivers, not just those that require the SR22 form. You can call your insurance agent for an insurance quote to get more information on your rates and state insurance requirements.
Do all auto insurance companies offer SR22 form filing?
No. Some insurance companies offer SR22 filing, while others might only offer it under very specific conditions. Others, like Lemonade, may not offer the SR22 form option at all.
What if my car insurance lapses?
SR22 requirements are typically for a minimum of three to five years after the relevant incident on your record. If during that time you let your policy lapse, or miss a payment that results in a cancellation, you are in violation. Your insurance company is required to notify the state of your policy lapse immediately, just as they did with the SR22 or FR44 form filing. This could result in your driver’s license being suspended or revoked, or otherwise complicate your ability to register your vehicle.