Few things in life are permanent. And just like a speeding ticket, an SR-22 likely won’t have lasting effects, either. Here’s what to know and expect while you have one:

1. It’s not really insurance

While many refer to “SR-22 insurance,” an SR-22 is actually just a certificate your car insurance company files with your state to vouch for you. Basically, it verifies you have coverage or creates a ‘monitor’ for the state. You only need an SR-22 if a judge says you do—this can happen after certain violations like a DUI, Driving without Insurance, Accident without insurance, Excessive Violations, etc. If you’re required to carry an SR-22 and you already have insurance, you’ll just need to add it to your policy or go get a non-owner (AKA a Named Operator Policy) If you’re not insured, you’ll quote an auto policy and an SR-22 or again, a non-owner SR22 plan.

2. It’s not (too) expensive

Having an SR-22 filing might cost you a little extra (again, temporarily):

  • There’s a fee to file it, generally around $25. If you don’t have insurance, the fee is included in your quote.

  • Your insurance rate might go up if you need the SR-22 because of a moving violation or accident.

  • Certain states require you to pay in full when you have insurance that includes an SR-22 filing.

3. It’s not forever

In three years—give or take, depending on your state—you won’t need your SR-22. At that point, call your insurer and ask to have the filing removed from your policy. Three years is also how long it takes, generally, to clear your driving record. So, any violations that triggered your needing an SR-22 have cleared from your record, too. In the meantime, keep your head up, know we’ve all been there and remember that in time this will become “that one time when …”.