Individuals who have had their driver’s license suspended or revoked in the state of Texas are required to file an SR22 with the state’s Department of Public Safety (DPS) in order to have their driving privileges reinstated. This form, which can be obtained from your insurance carrier, provides proof to the state that you are maintaining at least the minimum liability insurance coverage required by state law. The insurance policy that is issued with this form is generally the same as a standard insurance policy, but often carries much higher premiums.
Reasons for Needing SR22 Insurance in Texas
Most often, a driver will need an SR22 if his or her driver’s license was suspended or revoked. This could be due to being convicted of driving under the influence, causing an accident while driving without adequate insurance or accumulating a significant number of points on your driver’s license in a short period of time. Even if you do not own a car, but may drive other people’s vehicles, you will need to obtain a Non-Owner SR22 insurance policy in order to have your driver’s license restored.
Maintaining Your Coverage
According to the Texas DPS, a driver is required to maintain the policy for two years from the date of the incident in question. Your driving privileges will be suspended if any of the following occur during that two year time period:
You fail to be obtained by the deadline.
You allow your coverage to lapse.
Your insurance company cancels your policy and you fail to obtain a replacement policy right away.
Insurance companies are required to notify the state if they cancel your policy for any reason or if you allow the policy to expire, so there is no way for you to avoid this requirement and keep your driver’s license. The state will automatically suspend your license if they receive such notification.
Most insurance providers will write up the proper paperwork, so you should first check with your current carrier for such a policy. However, it is a good idea to also obtain quotes from other companies, as each insurer rates the factors that determine premiums differently. Some of the factors they consider include:
Offense requiring an SR22
Other driving offenses in the past three years
The age and gender of all drivers on the policy
The age and model of the vehicle(s) to be insured
While it is likely that your insurance premiums will increase due to the SR22 filing, you may be able to find a more affordable policy by shopping around with different providers before purchasing your policy.
A Secondary Option
Provided you already have an insurance policy that meets the state’s minimum requirements, the law allows you to purchase a secondary policy. This may prove to be a less costly way to obtain the coverage that you need, but you must be sure that all of your policies together add up to at least the state minimum requirements which are $30,000 per person bodily injury, $60,000 per incident bodily injury and $25,000 per incident property damage.
Submitting an SR22
Unlike some other states, Texas does allow drivers to submit an SR22 themselves. The form can be submitted in person at designated DPS locations, or it can be mailed to the main DPS office in Austin. The address can be found on the DPS website, www.txdps.state.tx.us. Most insurance companies will submit the form on behalf of their policy holders, although some do charge a fee for this service.
If you’ve lost your driving privileges, obtaining SR22 insurance is a necessary step in having those privileges restored. You will then need to maintain that policy for the next two years, but after that time has expired, you will be able to go back to the normal insurance coverage.