How do I get SR22 Insurance?
The term “SR 22 insurance” is a bit of a misnomer. SR22 isn’t exactly “insurance” at all. It’s just a form your insurance company submits to your state DMV on your behalf verifying that you have insurance, and confirming to the state that if your coverage lapses for any reason, they will notify the state, which will then suspend your license until they receive a new SR22 from you.
If you get convicted of a DUI, your license will in all likelihood be suspended for a period of time. The state won’t reinstate your license until they receive an SR22 filing from your carrier.
States impose the SR22 requirement on drivers who get cited or convicted for DUI, DWI, and who have too many moving violations in too short a time. They do this to ensure that if high-risk drivers are going to be on the road, at least they’ll have liability insurance in place to protect other drivers on the road.
So to get an SR22, you need to have car insurance already in force. Then you need to ask your agent or customer service rep at your insurance company to file the SR22 document on your behalf.
Not every carrier will do this. Some carriers don’t want riskier drivers. The minute they learn you have a DUI, they may cancel coverage. Or they may slap you with a much higher premium.
If the do file an SR22 with your state, expect to pay a filling fee, usually between $15 and $65. That’s in addition to any other additional costs, which we’ll discuss below.
How Much Does SR22 Insurance Cost?
Every carrier is different. But if your carrier does file SR22s, the filing fee ranges between $15 and $65 or so. But that’s just the beginning. Your DMV may charge a license reinstatement fee, which could be between $50 and $250.
Insurance companies also charge higher premiums to higher-risk drivers. And now that your state has identified you as needing an SR22, congratulations: You’re now a “high-risk” driver! So you can expect to pay higher rates.
Some states require people with DUI convictions to carry more insurance, over and above the state minimum. So if you’ve been carrying the state minimum (which isn’t enough, anyway), you can expect to pay much more in monthly premiums than you did before you got in trouble.
How much more? That depends on the insurance company. On average, your premium will go up by about 80% after your first DUI. But some carriers will hike your rate much more than others. And the effect will be much higher in some states than others. For instance, according to research from Insurance.com, premium increases following a DUI average 238%!
Every insurance company prices risk differently. Some are more forgiving of DUI and other incidents than others. So when you go looking for an SR22, it’s important to use an independent insurance broker who can shop your application to many different carriers, rather than a captive agent who can only sell you a policy from a single company.
Are SR22 requirement different in every state?
Yes, SR22 requirements are a function of state law, which of course varies from state to state. Some states don’t use SR22s at all, including Alaska, Delaware, Kentucky, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, and Oklahoma.
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
Some states (Florida and Virginia) may require you to file an FR44 to reinstate your license. This filing is similar to an SR22, except that they are used only for DUI incidents. They also require carriers to verify that the driver carries at least $100,000 in liability coverage, which is much higher than the usual minimum required liability coverage in those states.
For more information on your specific state’s SR22 laws, click here.
How Long Will I Need an SR22?
It depends on the state, but you can expect to have the SR22 requirement for about three years, on average. Some states extend the SR22 period up to five years.
However, some states may impose longer requirements for drivers with certain convictions. For example: If you are convicted of DWI and refusal, you may need to carry SR22 for five years from a first offense, ten years for a second offense, and twenty years after a third offense.
After a fourth offense, you may need an SR22 for life.
Don’t be that guy.
If your coverage lapses, the clock may restart all over again. Also, you have another driving offense during your SR22 period, the clock may start all over again. And you’ll probably have to pay higher premiums the entire time.
Don’t be that guy, either.
I don’t have a car. Do I still need to buy insurance?
You will still need an SR22 to keep your license active, even if you don’t have a car. In this case, you would get a non-owner insurance policy. These only cover liability and don’t cover damage to the vehicle you’re driving, if you’re in a wreck. Non-owner coverage is much cheaper than coverage for owners. So if you don’t own a car but you need to keep your license active with an SR22, be sure to ask your agent for quotes on a non-owner policy.
What happens if my insurance lapses?
If you miss paying your monthly premiums, or your carrier cancels or rescinds your policy and you have an SR22 or FR44 on file, the carrier will let your state DMV know, and the DMV will suspend your license. They won’t reinstate it unless you get new insurance in force, and a new SR22 or (in Florida and Virginia) FR44 on file verifying that you have coverage in place.
You’ll also have to pay filing and license reinstatement fees. In some states, the “clock” will start all over again. So if your state imposed a three-year SR22 mandate, and you lapse, you may have to start the three-year period all over again from the date you reinstate your coverage and file the form.
How long does it take to get SR 22 insurance?
That depends. First, the mandatory minimum license suspension phase must elapse before you can drive again, even if you have an SR22.
Second, it can take time for some carriers to process the paperwork. At Select, all of our agents have access to the ALEERS system. That’s a data exchange network that allows our agents to file SR22s, waiver packets, and other documents with state DMVs electronically. So if all you’re waiting on is the SR22, we can file it electronically and you can usually start driving immediately after that.
Some companies don’t have access to the ALEERS system. They have to email or snail mail documents to state DMV officials. Which means you may have to wait days before your license is reinstated. (Note: Some states still require a snail mail filing.)
I am required to get an SR22 or FR44. What do I do now?
First, don’t drive until your license is fully reinstated. Normally, the state won’t reinstate your license until they receive that filing. If you get caught driving with a suspended license, you could face more severe penalties and make the problem worse.
The second thing you should do is contact us. As specialists in SR22 and high-risk car insurance, we have more training and expertise in the unique aspects of this particular market segment than most general practitioner insurance agents.
We’re also not captive to any one carrier. We are appointed with and can sell insurance for many carriers. So you are much more likely to get competitive rates, and get the type of insurance coverage you need, at a reasonable price.
It won’t be as cheap as your coverage before your DUI or violation. You’re now in a different risk category. But carriers price high-risk drivers radically differently, which is why you should use independent agents who can help you compare quotes and policies from many different carriers. Not just one.
We’ll discuss your options with you, and make it easy to select the best option for your individual budget and situation.