Your state might require you to carry SR22 insurance if you have been convicted of certain motor vehicle violations. In most states, driving without insurance or another type of financial security triggers an SR22 requirement. For example, Pennsylvania requires drivers who have been caught driving without financial responsibility three times to maintain SR22 coverage.
Depending on your state’s laws, you might also have to carry an SR22 if you are convicted of reckless operation, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, committing a felony while operating a moving vehicle, or another serious offense.
What is an SR22?
An SR22 is a form that proves to your state’s regulatory authorities that you carry the minimum amounts of liability and other required coverages. In order to obtain an SR22, you must purchase an auto insurance policy that meets your state’s minimum requirements.
Financial responsibility laws vary considerably by state. For example, Ohio law only requires drivers to carry $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident with a per-person limit of $12,500, and $7,500 in property damage liability per accident. Conversely, minimum liability limits in Mississippi are somewhat higher. This state requires $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability, and $25,000 in property damage liability.
After your insurance company has filed an SR22 and issued an auto insurance policy, you must maintain coverage at all times, even if your vehicle becomes disabled. If your policy lapses during the SR22 requirement period, your insurance carrier must notify your state’s regulatory authorities. This cancels your SR22 and can result in suspension of your driving privileges and vehicle registration.
How Do I Get Cheap SR22 Insurance?
Buying SR22 insurance can seem complex and expensive. If your state requires you to carry an SR22, standard insurance companies might decline your application. Some standard companies that are willing to provide SR22 filings impose high surcharges, which can make it difficult to obtain.
Although no SR22 insurance is truly cheap, there are several strategies you can use to minimize your auto insurance expenses:
1) You can choose to buy only the coverages required by your state. Some states require liability coverage, while others also require personal injury protection or uninsured motorist coverages.
Optional coverages, such as collision and other-than-collision coverages, increase your premiums, which means that you will pay more for auto insurance each month. Other-than-collision and collision coverages might not be necessary if you own a older vehicle that does not have substantial market value. Keep in mind, though, that if you still owe money on a car loan or lease, your lender might require you to carry these coverages.
You can also carry only the minimum amounts of liability that your state requires; however, it is important to remember that minimum liability limits might not fully protect you if you cause a major accident. In most states, an injured driver or passenger can sue you for medical or vehicle repair expenses that exceed your coverage limits.
2) If you must carry collision and other-than-collision coverages, you can opt for a high deductible. A deductible is the portion of the repair or replacement expenses that you must pay out of your own pocket if your car is damaged, destroyed, or stolen. Most car insurance companies offer deductibles ranging from $250 to $1,000. Keep in mind that you should have savings equal to your deductible amount in case your vehicle is destroyed or damaged.
3) Take advantage of policy discounts. Many insurance companies offer discounts if you insure more than one car on the same policy, take a defensive driving course, or install a passive anti-theft device in your vehicle. These discounts can significantly lower the cost of your policy.
4) Practice safe driving habits. Even if you must carry an SR22, your premiums will decrease over time if you avoid accidents and traffic citations. Some companies can even move you to a standard or preferred tier as your driving history improves, which can help you save even more money.
Although getting cheap SR22 insurance can be a challenging task, practicing safe driving and choosing your policy coverage’s carefully can help you get the coverage you need at a price you can afford.