If you’re looking up SR22 insurance and how to get it, changes are you’re not having a very good week or month right now.
Relax. I’ve been in your shoes. Life goes on, and you can absolutely recover from this.
This is designed to be a basic guide on everything you need to know about SR-22 insurance and answer the most common questions people have. So that you can get your driver’s license back and get back out on the road.
I’m Steve Ludwig. I’m the owner and founder of the Select Insurance Group. And we built our entire insurance agency around people just like you, who may have made a mistake or two, or face some challenges with your driving record.
Please read all the sections to this guide that may be relevant to you.
In each section, I’ve provided links to some more in-depth information. You can also get more information specific to your situation by searching for your state in the search engine window in the top right corner of this screen. I’ve also included some on-topic videos we’ve made in-house, to flesh out the written content here. Don’t miss this stuff!
You can see the rest of my videos on my YouTube channel here. Like and subscribe to the channel to stay up to date on the latest car insurance news and money-saving “Mr. Insurance” tips!
And if you have any questions, or you want to get some free, no-obligation quotes for SR-22 insurance, or any other kind of car insurance, click here and fill out the easy contact and information form. Or call us at (855) 438-7353, and ask to speak with an agent!
What is SR-22 Insurance?
An SR-22 is the name of a special form your car insurance company files with your state Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Most states have a requirement that drivers who are convicted of certain traffic offenses have their insurance companies file a Form SR22 with the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
The “SR” in “SR-22” stands for “statement of responsibility.”
Form SR-22 does two things: First, your SR-22 form confirms to the state Department of Motor Vehicles that you do carry at least the state’s minimum required liability insurance. Second, also confirms to the state that if your insurance lapses for any reason, the insurance company will notify the state. If you don’t have replacement coverage in place, together with a new SR-22 form, the state will administratively suspend your license.
You will not be permitted to drive at all – even just to get to work and back.
To drive again, you must provide a new SR-22 Insurance form.
Why is SR-22 insurance required?
The states that impose an SR-22 insurance requirement do it to ensure that drivers the courts have identified as posing an elevated risk to other motorists, passengers, and pedestrians are carrying at least the minimum liability coverage for the state.
This helps protect everyone else on the road, because in the event of an accident, the insurance will quickly provide at up to at least a few tens of thousands of dollars if needed to help the injured with medical bills, compensate them for lost time off work, and help fix or replace cars and other property that the SR22 driver damages or destroys while operating a motor vehicle.
Two states, Florida and Virginia, have another required filing called an FR-44, which requires drivers convicted of certain offenses to carry additional liability insurance, over and above the state minimum requirement.
Who needs an SR-22?
You need an SR-22 if a judge or your state Department of Motor Vehicles notifies you. You will get a formal notice in the mail that your license will be suspended if you do not get your insurance company to file an SR-22 on their behalf by the due date.
You might be required to get an SR22 if:
- Your driver’s license has been suspended.
- You have not paid court-ordered child support.
- You have driven without insurance and caused an accident.
- You’ve been convicted of a DWI, DUI or another serious moving violation.
- You’ve received a significant number of traffic tickets in a short time.
If your license has already been suspended, then your notice will tell you that you must get your insurance company to file an SR-22 before your license will be reinstated.
How do you get an SR-22?
Here’s the short version: Call your car insurance carrier or agent and ask them to file an SR-22 form for you. You can expect to pay a one-time filing fee, which is usually $25 to $65, depending on the insurance company.
Not every insurance company is willing to take on known high-risk and SR-22 drivers. Every carrier has a different appetite for risk, and they’ll price risky drivers in different ways. One carrier can be a great match for drivers with clean driving records and be an absolutely terrible match for you once you have an SR-22 requirement or a DUI or reckless driving conviction on your record.
Once you have an SR-22 requirement, you’ve transitioned from a standard- or preferred risk driver to a high-risk driver. So, your old insurance company may well no longer be a good fit for you. They may overcharge you.
By a lot.
Car insurance companies are notorious for overcharging high-risk drivers – not so much because of the higher risk, but because they are betting that you think you have nowhere else to go, and that you’ll just pay the higher premium they tell you to pay.
This is especially true of “captive” car insurance companies, who have sales forces that aren’t allowed to help you shop around.
Well, I’m here to tell you that even if you’ve got an SR-22, and even if you’ve got a few dings on your driving record, you can still get good car insurance. And if you shop around, you may find that it’s surprisingly affordable. Especially if you are willing to have a higher deductible.
Because of this, the absolute best way to get SR-22 is to use an independent insurance agent – one who can issue you a policy from any willing carrier in your state – and have them get quotes from several competing insurance companies.
Sometimes these are from smaller, regional insurance companies rather than household names. They don’t do as much advertising as the Gecko or Flo. But they are often very good at identifying niches that aren’t well served by the major insurance companies – such as high risk and SR-22 drivers – and price them very competitively.
How long does it take to get an SR-22?
If you’re with the right agent, you should be able to get an SR-22 filed in minutes, electronically.
If your agent can’t do an electronic filing, you may be with the wrong agent. Not every brokerage firm invests in the technology to interface electronically directly with the DMV in every state. At Select Insurance Group, we’re able to input your information on the phone, and click “send,” and file your SR-22 form instantaneously.
No delays waiting for mailed notifications back and forth. No wondering if your agent even got around to licking a stamp after you hang up. We can give you a transmission confirmation while you’re on the phone with us.
There’s sometimes a day or two in processing time at the DMV, as they go through their electronic alerts. But you’d have those delays anyway, even if your insurance company sends your filing in the mail!
The bottom line is, the sooner the DMV receives your SR-22 filing, the sooner you’ll be back on the road with a valid, street-legal driver’s license!
Electronic filings get there faster than snail-mail. And every day you save in the process is a day you can be back out on the road, and getting on with life.
How much does SR-22 insurance cost?
SR-22 insurance is typically going to cost more per month for the same coverage than a standard-risk or preferred risk policy. It’s not the filing itself that costs a lot of money. It’s the fact that you’ve been identified as a higher-risk driver.
You’ve already been convicted and possibly even just arrested for a serious driving offense. And nothing against you, personally, but actuaries know that the most reliable predictor of a future traffic accident is a track record of drunk driving or reckless driving incidents.
That is, insurance companies know very well that people who have one DUI, or one reckless driving conviction, are much more likely to file a claim, and they’re much more likely to have an accident that results in someone else filing a liability insurance claim.
If you have an SR-22 because of a child support issue, your premium may not go up much. But if you got your SR-22 because you were convicted of a drunk or reckless driving, or driving while under the influence, you can expect your premium to go up quite a bit, compared to a standard risk driver without an SR-22.
Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect:
SR-22 filing fee: $25 to $65. This is usually just a one-time filing fee.
License reinstatement fee. $50 to $250. This is something your DMV charges. It’s not from your car insurance company.
Premium increases: The amount of extra premium you’ll pay every month once you have an SR-22 insurance requirement depends on your offense, driving record, and in most cases, your credit score, as well.
On average, your premium will go up by about 80% after your first DUI at the same carrier. 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%.
In North Carolina, your premium after a single DUI goes up by an average of 307%!
That’s if you don’t switch carriers. Those percentages are just comparing two different car insurance applications at the same company.
If you do shop around, and you’re willing to have a higher deductible in order to buy more protection, you’ll find a lot of times that getting the SR-22 insurance you need is surprisingly affordable!
Can I get SR-22 Insurance If I Don’t Own a Car?
Yes. You don’t need to actually own a car to get SR-22 insurance. If you don’t own a car, you should ask your agent for a non-owner car insurance policy.
These policies that are designed for people who occasionally need to rent or borrow a car that they don’t own or lease themselves, or who need to drive their employer’s vehicle, so they still need to keep their driver’s license in force.
Non-owner car insurance is much less expensive than a standard owner-driver insurance policy. The coverage follows the driver, not the car.
If you have a non-owner policy, you cannot legally drive a car owned by another member of your household. So you can’t get around the SR-22 requirement.
If you don’t own a car, but you still need to drive, or maintain a current, valid driver’s license for any reason, click the link below:
Can you buy an SR-22 policy online?
Yes, you can. It’s very easy to fill out an online form and get a series of free quotes from different carriers. But we recommend using the Internet to connect with a live agent. Someone with experience. Who knows what questions to ask, who knows how to design an insurance policy to meet your specific, individual needs. And who knows what carrier is going to be the best match for your specific situation.
A live agent will also know which carriers have the best claims experience.
This is a vital piece of data that most of the online “quote engine” type websites don’t have. Pure “quote engine” websites incentivize insurance companies to show the cheapest, stripped-down policies with the least protection, so they can show the lowest premiums on the list.
But car insurance isn’t a commodity. Some car insurance companies provide a much better experience than other when it counts: At claim time.
Some carriers are more likely try to deny insurance claims than others. Or low-ball you when it comes to a settlement.
The cheapest car insurance policy on the quote engines is almost never the best one.
So come to Select Insurance Group. Fill out the free quote inquiry form. It takes just a few minutes.
From there, a real, live, experienced car insurance agent will take your information and help you shop for the best protection available for your money. Not necessarily the cheapest.
Is an FR-44 the same thing as an SR-22?
FR-44s are only required in Florida and Virginia. They serve a very similar purpose: They ensure that there is cash on the table to compensate people who may be harmed by high-risk drivers.
The difference is in the amount of insurance they require you to carry. In Florida, FR-44’s require you to carry $100,000/$300,000 worth of bodily injury liability coverage, as well as $50,000 of property damage liability insurance. An SR-22 only requires you to carry the state minimum of $10,000 in bodily liability insurance coverage and $10,000 in property damage.
In Virginia, an FR44 requires you to carry $50,000/$100,000 worth of bodily injury liability, and $40,000 in property damage coverage. That’s much more than the normal minimum coverage of $25,000/$50,000 in bodily injury and $20,000 in property damage coverage.
In both states, you can naturally expect insurance premiums for an FR44 policy to be much higher than the premiums would be for an SR22 insurance policy with only the state minimum insurance.
The silver lining, though, is that state minimum insurance policies don’t provide nearly enough protection for most people. Chances are you should own the higher liability insurance and personal injury insurance protection levels required under FR44 rules, anyway.
Do I need an SR-22/FR-44?
You need an SR-22 or an FR-44 filing if your state notifies you they need one, and you want to keep your driver’s license in force. If you get an SR22 requirement notification that your license is or will be suspended or revoked unless you comply, you’ll have to get an insurance company to file one on your behalf.
Some states don’t have an SR-22 requirement of their own: Alaska, Delaware, Kentucky, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, and Oklahoma.
However, even if your state doesn’t have an SR-22 requirement, you’ll still need to have an insurance company file one on your behalf if you’re moving into one of those states and you have an SR-22 requirement.
Why should you get SR-22 from Select Insurance Group?
Select Insurance Group was built specifically to serve the high-risk/non-standard risk driver. I made a mistake myself, years ago, and got convicted of a DUI.
I never forgot how the Big Insurance companies, and the household names treated me at the time. Some rejected me outright. The ones that didn’t figured I had nowhere else to go – especially the ones with the “captive” insurance agents that couldn’t help me shop around different companies for the best deal. They tried to take advantage of me by overcharging me for my car insurance – quoting premiums that were well beyond anything justified by the risk.
Their agents treated me like a second-class citizen.
And I quickly found that most ordinary car insurance agents working in call centers and strip malls just didn’t know much about SR22 insurance, non-standard risk drivers, and high-risk drivers.
Some of them didn’t even have the technology to file SR22 documents and waiver packets electronically with my state DMV. When you’re trying to get your driver’s license reinstated so you can get back on the road so you can get to work, go to church, get to the grocery store, and pick up your kids from school, that’s a big problem! It can add days to the process.
Second, I realized high-risk drivers especially need to use an independent insurance agent, and not one that’s captive to a single insurance carrier.
Every car insurance company prices risky drivers differently. Some penalize younger drivers more. Some penalize single males more. Some weight your credit score more than others. Some start dropping premiums sooner after an accident or conviction than others.
At Select, all our agents can quickly get competing quotes from as many as a dozen or more different carriers, all of whom want your business. So you can be assured you’re not getting taken advantage of, and that you’re getting a good value on your car insurance.
Furthermore, I learned lots of agents don’t understand the kind of followup they need to do to make sure SR22 policies don’t lapse, or grasp the details of things like keeping SR22 insurance in force when moving to another state. They just don’t do it enough.
The problem is that when they make a mistake, and your SR22 or FR44 insurance lapses as a result, it’s the client that pays the price.
In this case, even a one-day lapse can result in your SR22 requirement clock resetting back to zero. So you’ll have to pay elevated SR22 insurance premiums for three more years!
What Happens if my SR22 Insurance Policy is Cancelled?
If your SR-22 policy lapses or is cancelled, depending on the jurisdiction, the state may start your three-year SR-22 requirement clock all over again. Since insurance companies still see anyone with an SR-22 requirement as an elevated risk, that means you’ll have to pay the higher SR-22 insurance premiums for another three years.
And, of course, you may also have to pay a license reinstatement fee to the state, along with an SR-22 filing fee to your insurance agent.
And if your insurance lapses, you won’t be able to drive again until you get your insurance in place again.
So letting your SR-22 insurance laps or cancel for any reason other than getting new SR-22 insurance in place prior to cancellation can be a very expensive mistake!
Any time there’s a danger of a policy lapse, or if you’re trying to change policies while there’s an SR-22 requirement in force, you definitely want an experienced car insurance agent and broker with a special focus and training in SR-22 insurance in your corner.
Some agents who don’t specialize in high-risk car insurance don’t know all the details of how the system works. For example, they may not be able to file your SR22 insurance forms electronically, causing a delay of days before your new SR-22 filing is actually on record with the DMV.
Or they may simply not allow enough overlap between the old policies end date and the new policy’s effective date, causing an unintentional lapse.
SR22 Insurance Alternatives
If your state requires an SR22 filing from you, and you want to keep your license, you don’t really have a choice. You’ll need to bite the bullet and get an SR-22 insurance filing done on your behalf.
This is why it’s so important to work with an independent car insurance professional who can help you shop around at multiple different carriers. So you know you’re being treated fairly by your old insurance company, and you don’t get taken for a ride.
Moving out of state probably won’t help you escape an SR-22 requirement. States share information.
You will need to get your car insurance company to transmit an SR22 document to the Department of Motor Vehicles in your new state. The SR22 requirement still applies even if you’re moving to a state that doesn’t have an SR22 requirement of its own.
If getting SR22 insurance on your car isn’t possible, you have a couple of alternatives:
1. Get a non-owner’s car insurance policy.
A non-owner’s car insurance policy makes sense if you don’t own a car at all, but you still need to drive occasionally.
They cost less than a regular car insurance policy, but they are strictly liability policies. The only cover damage you cause to other people. They won’t pay out on damage you cause to the car you’re driving. A non-owner SR-22 policy allows you to get your driver’s license reinstated, and it allows you to borrow or rent other people’s cars. They don’t allow you to drive vehicles that belong to other people in your household, however. If you need to drive a household member’s car, they need to add you as an authorized driver on their policy.
However, you’ll still need to get an SR-22 insurance policy of your own in order to get your driver’s license reinstated, or transferred to a new state.
To get non-owner car insurance, you’ll need to sell or donate your existing cars. Non-owner coverage doesn’t apply if you own a vehicle.
2. Stop driving altogether.
This may be more workable than it seems at first glance! The money you save on car upkeep, gas, maintenance, and insurance can buy an excellent bicycle! And it can buy a lot of Uber and Lyft rides and subway tickets.
Fill in the gap with friends and family, who may give you a lift in a pinch or when occasional bad weather makes biking impractical or dangerous.
Of course, the decision will have to be based on the available public transportation in your area, your work schedule, and the distance you need to travel to get to work, go grocery shopping, run errands, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions About SR22 Insurance
How Do I Find Out When My SR22 Expires?
In most states, your SR22 requirement ends three years after it’s first imposed.
Your initial SR22 notice will tell you the exact date your requirement expires. Also, your state DMV official will send you a letter or email notifying you when your SR22 requirement has been completed.
If you need to know beforehand and you don’t have your initial SR22 notice handy, you should contact your state DMV office.
If it’s been at least three years since you first recieved an SR22 notice, and you haven’t had a lapse in coverage, chances are you’ve already completed your SR22 requirement. You should verify that fact with your DMV, or check your email archives and spam filter for any notifications from your DMV you may have missed.
Once your SR22 requirement is expired, contact Select Insurance Group and have us run a fresh set of car insurance quotes. Once you no longer have an SR22 requirement, you may be able to get a much lower premium by shopping around to multiple carriers. Again, every insurance company prices risk differently. Some penalize three-+ year-old driving record incidents more than others. Some are much more forgiving than others once an incident is three or more years in the past. Only by shopping around to multiple competing car insurance companies can you reliably make sure you’re getting the best possible deal.
If your SR22 certificate has been on file with the DMV with no lapse coverage for three years, you have likely fulfilled your SR22 requirement. In rare cases, the state can extend an SR22 obligation to five years. Only the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)* – not your agent – can tell you when your requirement expires. Your agent can only inform you of the length of time your policy has been active.
How Much Will an SR22 Increase The Cost of My Insurance?
That depends on your state, your age, credit score, driving record, sex, and the nature of the offense that triggered your SR22 requirement. Every insurance company is different, and every driver is different. So we’re just talking averages here.
Note: It’s not the SR22 filing itself that drives the higher cost of SR22 insurance. It’s the fact that you have the conviction for a driving-related offense in the first place. That’s what flags you as more likely to generate insurance claims in the future.
According to a recent Forbes study, a single DUI conviction results in an average 74% increase in car insurance premiums.
The average increase is higher in some states than in others. For California residents, a DUI results in an average 154% increase in car insurance premiums. In Hawaii, it’s 134%. And in Michigan – already a ridiculously high-priced car insurance market, a DUI results in a whopping 193% average increase in car insurance premiums.
The premium increases following a reckless driving conviction are somewhat less draconian, but still significant.
Note: If you’re in Florida or Virginia, you may see an FR44 requirement, as opposed to an SR22. These states use an FR44 rather than an SR22 for more serious offenses, like DUI, DUID, and reckless driving.
Unlike the SR22, which only requires you to carry the state minimum liability insurance coverage, the FR44 requires you carry at least $100,000 in liability protection. And since that liability insurance is going to be sold at a higher base rate for high-risk drivers than it is to standard- and preferred-risk drivers (i.e.. like most people are before they rack up a DUI or reckless driving conviction), it’s going to add quite a bit to your monthly premiums.
So if you were carrying just the state minimum liability insurance coverage in one of these states, and you get tagged with an FR44 requirement, brace yourself for a very significant increase in car insurance premiums as a result.
Additionally, Florida law prohibits car insurance companies from taking monthly payments from drivers with an FR44 requirement. You’ll have to pay the entire six-month premium in one up-front lump sum.
The increase is so significant that it may be worthwhile to work with your attorney to fight the charge so you can get it dismissed, or reduced to a lesser charge that requires an SR22 filing, rather than an FR44.
Think through the entire situation, including the additional costs associated with carrying FR44 insurance. Compare it with the legal costs of fighting the charge or pleading down to a lesser offense. Don’t try to navigate this alone – it’s vital to have a qualified DUI attorney on your side in the case.
What’s the Difference Between an SR22 and Proof of Insurance?
When people refer to “proof of insurance,” they refer to the insurance card your carrier sends you when they issue your car insurance policy. And in more recent years, to the proof of insurance feature on their mobile phone app, which gives you a handy way to show law enforcement, security officers, and other drivers up-to-the-minute proof that you have car insurance in place.
The SR-22 also serves the ‘proof-of-insurance’ function – but only to the state DMV. It makes no difference to other drivers, because they won’t even see your SR-22 filing. Your SR-22 is between you, your insurance company, and your state Department of Motor Vehicles.
What If I Don’t Own A Car But I’m Ordered to File an SR22?
If you don’t own a car and you still have an SR-22 requirement, you can get a “non-owner” car insurance policy. See the non-owner insurance section above.
How Long is an SR22 Valid?
In most states, you’ll need to keep an SR-22 on file for three years after a first offense, assuming it never lapses. In some states, you may need to keep your SR-22 on file with them for up to five years.
Looked at another way, your SR22 insurance filing will continue to be valid a long as you keep your car insurance in force.
When your mandatory SR22 insurance requirement is up, you should contact us and get a fresh quote. Now that you aren’t under the SR22 requirement anymore, you may be able to get a much better deal on car insurance if you shop around.
Can I Rent a Car With an SR22 in the U.S.?
Yes, you can rent a car if you have an SR22 insurance policy — even if it’s a non-owner policy.
SR22 insurance isn’t a different kind of insurance, and it’s not more restrictive than other types of car insurance. All the SR22 filing does is give your state confirmation that you are driving with at least the minimum level of insurance.
The car rental company doesn’t care whether you have an SR22 in place or not.
However, if all you carry is liability insurance coverage on your own personal SR22 policy, it won’t pay out on damage you cause to the car you rented. If you have non-owner car insurance, or you can’t afford to write a check to fix your damaged or destroyed rental car, you should consider adding the damage waiver protection to your rental car.
TIP: Carry your own collision and comprehensive. If you rent a lot, or if you’re planning a long rental, call us! Except for very short-term rentals, it’s much more cost-effective to skip the rental car damage waiver insurance. Instead, add collision and comprehensive insurance to your own policy! That will continue to cover you while you’re driving the rental, and keep covering you all month and all year round while you’re driving your own car!
Here’s one more tip: Some credit card issuers include car rental insurance coverage, including damage and theft, as a cardholder benefit. In many cases, all you need to do is use the card to pay for the entire rental fee. American Express, for example, covers up to $50,000 in damage or theft for its basic cards. For premium cards (the ones where you pay an annual fee), they cover up to $75,000, plus Accidental death or dismemberment,
Accidental injury, car rental personal property coverage.
Using a program like this can save you between $12 and $45 in car rental company insurance per day.
Genius-level tip for frequent renters: Use the money y0u save on overpriced car rental counter-sold insurance policies to increase your protection on your personal insurance policy. If you’re driving on non-owner car insurance, take the money you save by skipping the car-rental counter-sold insurance and put it towards buying a car of your own.
So you can give some rides to your friends, neighbors, and family members when they need it!