An SR-22 is an endorsement added to an automobile insurance policy guaranteeing that the insured is in compliance with state laws regarding the minimum requirements for insurance. This endorsement is provided directly to the Department of Motor Vehicles by the office of the insurance company.
There are several reasons why the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles may require an insured to carry an SR-22. These include driving while intoxicated (DUI), driving with a suspended license, and driving without insurance
Once a driver’s license has been suspended, the Department of Motor Vehicles will require proof of SR22 insurance in South Carolina before they will reinstate the license. The insured will be required to carry this SR-22 for up to three (3) years. If coverage lapses, the insurance company will issue an SR-26 to the Department of Motor Vehicles notifying them that the driver no longer possesses the Financial Responsibility required by the state. This will result in the state suspending the drivers license again. If the policy lapses or is terminated, the driver will be required to start the SR22 insurance process over again for three (3) years before they will reinstate the license.
There are three (3) types of SR-22 endorsements:
1. Operator’s certificate-This endorsement is used for drivers who do not own a vehicle. This will cover them while driving any non-owned vehicle.
2. Owner’s certificate-This endorsement is used for drivers who own their own vehicle. It will only cover them while operating owned vehicles.
3. Operators-owners certificate-This endorsement will cover a driver while operating owned and non-owned vehicles.
Finding an insurance company who will provide SR-22 coverage can be a time consuming and costly endeavor. Many insurance companies choose not to provide this endorsement because they consider the driver a high risk since that person has already been charged with either driving while intoxicated or driving without insurance. Insurance companies that do offer the SR-22 endorsement typically place a surcharge on the policy, resulting in hundreds of dollars of extra premium per year.
A commercial driver who owns his own business will find it even more difficult to find coverage than an individual. Once coverage has been found, the premium often ends up being hundred to thousands of dollars more per year. A commercial driver who does not own his own business, may find it difficult to find a driving job since the employer may not be willing to spend more money on his commercial automobile coverage.
If a driver is required to obtain SR-22 coverage, it is imperative that insurance premiums be paid in a timely manner to avoid cancellation of their policy and troubles with the Department of Motor Vehicles. A licensed and experienced insurance agent will be able to help a driver in need of this coverage.