Financial responsibility is required for drivers in virtually every state of the United States. Maintaining financial responsibility means that you have the financial means to pay for property damage and personal injuries sustained by others if you cause a motor vehicle accident.
Some states allow drivers to post cash or securities to provide proof of financial security. For example, an Ohio driver can comply with financial responsibility laws by posting at least $30,000 in cash or bonds with the Ohio State Treasurer. For most drivers, though, auto insurance is a more affordable way to meet financial responsibility requirements.
In certain cases, purchasing an insurance policy may not be sufficient. Certain violations trigger a SR22 requirement. The specific violations that trigger a SR22 requirement vary from state to state. Typically, they include severe violations such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, reckless driving, and driving violations that occur during the commission of a felony.
What is SR22 Car Insurance?
A SR22 is not a specific type of car insurance. Instead, it is a certification form sent by your insurance company to your state’s motor vehicle regulatory authority. It certifies that you carry the minimum amount of auto insurance required under your state’s laws. This typically includes liability coverage to pay for injuries and property damage you cause to others as the result of a motor vehicle accident.
Aside from the certification requirement, SR22 insurance is no different from any other minimum-limit auto insurance policy. Depending on your state’s laws and the insurance carrier you work with, you may be able to add other coverages to your policy, such as:
– Uninsured motorist coverage, which pays for injury-related expenses if an uninsured driver causes an accident.
– Physical damage coverage, which pays for repairs to, or replacement of, your car after an accident.
– Towing coverage, which takes care of charges you incur if your car has to be towed to a repair facility.
The process of obtaining a SR22 is relatively simple:
– Gather information you will need to obtain an auto insurance quote. You will need your driver’s license number, Social Security number, and the vehicle identification number of the car you want to insure. Having a copy of your driving record can also help streamline the process. You can obtain a copy of your driving record from your state’s Motor Vehicle Department.
– Obtain a quote for SR22 auto insurance. When you provide your information, be sure to note that you need a SR22 filing. Without this information, the insurance company will not file a SR22 on your behalf. This can delay reinstatement of your license and driving privileges.
– Remit your initial payment, which typically includes a portion of your policy premium and administrative fees.
– Follow up with your state’s Motor Vehicle Department to ensure that the insurance company has filed a SR22 form on your behalf. In most states, there departments receive and process SR22 forms withing five to 10 business days. Some states, such as Ohio, permit electronic submission of SR22 forms, which reduces processing time and allows you to reinstate your license more quickly.
How Long Do I Have to Have a SR22?
The length of time varies by state. Depending on your state’s laws, the nature of the motor vehicle offense you were convicted of might also determine the duration of the SR22 requirement. In most states, you must maintain a SR22 for a period of five years or fewer. Some states, such as Florida, only require eligible drivers to maintain a SR22 for three years.
How do I Ensure That My SR22 Remains in Force?
Because a SR22 certifies financial responsibility compliance, it is only valid if you maintain continuous auto insurance coverage. If you fail to make a premium payment, your coverage will lapse. Insurance companies are required to notify state Motor Vehicle Departments of coverage lapses, typically by filing form SR26. Notification of a coverage lapse cancels your SR22 filing. This can result in suspension of your driver’s license, fines, and other penalties.
What Happens if I Move to Another State?
If you move to another state while a SR22 requirement exists, you must still maintain your SR22. If you do not, the Motor Vehicle Department in your new home state may suspend your driving privileges.
Some states, such as Ohio, require that the insurance company providing auto insurance coverage be licensed in the state requiring the SR22. When you move, make sure that your insurance carrier is licensed in both the state requiring the SR22 and your new home state.