What is an SR-22 and When Do You Need One?

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If you’ve been driving safely and obeying the law, you probably have no idea what an SR-22 is. Maybe you’ve never even heard of one. Perhaps you’ve heard the term but you’ve never needed to know the details. That changes quickly, though, when you’re told you need an SR-22. Suddenly, the details of that document are vitally important – and more confusing than ever. Don’t worry, though. It’s simpler than you might think. Here’s what you need to know about the SR-22.

The SR-22 Defined

What is an SR-22, anyway? In some states it’s also called a CFR, or Certificate of Financial Responsibility. It’s a form that you car insurance company files on your behalf with the DMV in your area. It certifies that you are paying your car insurance premium, haven’t had a lapse, and are currently covered. It tells the DMV that you are acting in a financially responsible way regarding your insurance coverage.

Who Needs an SR-22?

Typically, if you’re following safe driving practices and keeping your insurance up to date, you’ll never need an SR-22. However, if you’ve been caught driving without a license – especially if you were caught due to an accident – you’ll be required to provide proof that you’re keeping on top of your insurance payments. SR-22s are usually issued after an accident if one of the drivers wasn’t able to provide proof of insurance. However, you can also be required to keep an SR-22 if you were pulled over and couldn’t provide proof of insurance.

Reasons an SR-22 is Issued

There are a variety of situations that could result in the issuance of an SR-22. However, some situations are more common than others. Here are some of the most frequently occurring situations that can result in an SR-22.

●     You had your driver’s license suspended or revoked.

●     You drove using a suspended license.

●     You drove without a license.

●     You were at fault in an accident and couldn’t provide proof of insurance.

●     You obtained a DUI, DWI, or other substantial driving-related charge.

●     You received too many traffic tickets in a given period of time.

How Much Does an SR-22 Cost?

You will have to pay a filing fee if you’re required to have an SR-22 form. However, the fee is usually small, somewhere around $15 to $25. That being said, you’ll also have to obtain insurance before you can file an SR-22, since an insurance company is the only entity that can provide proof that you’re insured. You won’t be turned down for insurance just because you have an SR-22, but the insurance company will probably consider you riskier to insure than other drivers. As such, you’ll likely have to pay a higher premium, at least for awhile, until you can prove that you’re driving responsibly and keeping your insurance paid up.

Where to File

If you have to file for an SR-22, you’ll have to go through your insurance company. Only a state-recognized car insurance company can provide you with an SR-22 and file it on your behalf. Keep in mind, also, that if you had to file an SR-22 in one state but moved to another state, you’ll have to file again once you arrive in the new state. The reason for this is that the SR-22 is a state form, not a federal form.

Duration of the SR-22 Requirement

While situations can vary, it’s common for those who have to file an SR-22 to do so for three years. During those three years, you have to keep your insurance up to date, and you cannot lapse at all. If you fall behind on payments and your coverage lapses, the insurance company is legally required to contact the DMV. At that point, your driver’s license will most certainly be revoked. It’s crucial that you make continuous monthly payments on your car insurance for the duration of your SR-22 requirement – and onward.

If you’ve been involved in a traffic-related offense resulting in an SR-22 requirement, make sure to contact a traffic lawyer in your area to see if you have any options. There might be a way you can fight the charges against you. If you can, you may be able to avoid filing an SR-22. However, only a qualified traffic law attorney will be able to help you build the most beneficial defense.

 

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