SR-22 Insurance Coverage

If you need to know how SR-22 insurance works, you’ve come to the right place. An SR-22 is the form that your insurance company must file with the state if required. You will only need an SR-22 if you are considered “high risk”. Read on to learn more.

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Lauren Blair has been practicing law for more than 25 years. Lauren has been a licensed member in good standing of the Illinois bar since 1994, the year she graduated from Illinois Institute of Technology’s Chicago-Kent College of Law. Prior to law school, Lauren obtained a Bachelor of Arts in government from Cornell University. For the first 20 years of her practice, she worked in mid-size l...

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UPDATED: Mar 2, 2021

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Summary

  • An SR-22 certificate is a document that is filed by insurance companies with the state and acts as proof of underlying insurance. It is not the underlying insurance and does not provide coverage itself.
  • SR-22 certificates are typically required to reinstate driver’s licenses that have been suspended or revoked for driving violations or other “high risk” reasons which vary by state.
  • Common reasons for an SR-22 include being convicted of a DUI, reckless driving, driving on a suspended license, and driving without insurance coverage.
  • On average, high-risk drivers are required to maintain SR-22 certification for up to three years, but time requirements vary by state.
  • If you cancel your policy or allow your coverage to lapse or drop below the minimum requirements before the determined time frame, your insurance company is legally required to notify the state through an SR-26 filing, which cancels the SR-22 certification. Premature cancellation of an SR-22 certificate can result in serious penalties, including permanent revocation of driving privileges.

Most drivers are only required to provide proof of car insurance financial responsibility when asked. If, however, you’ve had your driver’s license suspended or revoked, SR-22 certification must be obtained and filed with your state in order to reinstate your license. The SR-22 acts as proof of adequate insurance. Read on to learn more about how SR-22 insurance works. 

If you know that you need SR-22 insurance, put your ZIP code into our search tool to find an insurance provider in your area who can help with your SR-22 certificate needs.

What is SR-22 insurance coverage?

As you already know, each state requires certain liability coverage and levels of insurance. The SR-22 is simply a monitoring system that states use to keep track of insurance coverage for motorists with convictions for certain driving violations and other “high risk” drivers. If the policy cancels before the SR-22 time requirement is met, the driver’s license will be suspended until compliance is met again. For repeat violations, more serious consequences will likely occur.

SR-22 Insurance Defined

SR-22 insurance, also known as a certificate of insurance or certificate of financial responsibility (CFR), is an automobile liability insurance document. An SR-22 is simply the name of the insurance form which certifies that the state’s car insurance coverage requirements have been met. Most states require an SR-22 certificate to be filed with their Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for “high-risk” insurance policies. 

The SR-22 form, itself, is not an insurance policy. It simply certifies the existence of adequate car insurance coverage. Your insurance provider prepares the certificate and files it, usually electronically through an SR-22 form pdf, with the DMV. 

Types Of SR-22 Insurance

Each state has its own SR-22 coverage requirements for drivers. Generally speaking, there are three types of SR-22 insurance certificates:

  • Operator Certificate – This is non-owner SR-22 insurance. An Operator Certificate applies to drivers who don’t own the vehicle they drive.
  • Owner Certificate – An Owner Certificate is for drivers who drive their own car.
  • Operator/Owner Certificate – An Operator/Owner Certificate is a combination form that applies to motorists who drive their own car and also drive borrowed and/or rented vehicles.

How Long SR-22 Insurance Is Required

Exact time frames vary by state, but most states require drivers to maintain SR-22 certification for up to three years. Your DMV or insurance carrier will have specific information on the requirements for your particular state.

Ending SR-22 Insurance

If SR-22 certification is no longer needed, then your insurance company must file an SR-26 form with the DMV to remove the SR-22 requirement. An SR-26 cancels the SR-22.

If, on the other hand, you let your required coverage lapse, for example by not making timely payments, reducing coverage below requirements, or canceling your policy, then your insurance company is legally required to contact your state’s DMV. Letting your SR-22 certification lapse could result in the loss of your driver’s license, and there may be other consequences depending on the circumstances.

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Is SR-22 insurance full coverage?

An SR-22 is not an insurance policy and does not provide insurance coverage. As explained above, an SR-22 certificate is the insurance company’s confirmation to the DMV that you are meeting your state’s auto insurance minimum requirements. It is not considered car insurance itself, but rather is a declaration from your policy provider to the state that they are covering your driving for certain car insurance-related circumstances.

Who needs an SR-22?

SR-22 insurance certification is typically required for “high risk” drivers. You may be considered “high risk” if you have been convicted of one (or more) of the following driving violations:

Depending on your state laws and the circumstances, drivers can be required to obtain an SR-22 for other reasons. That said, typically motorists who don’t have any driving violations won’t have to obtain SR-22 certification from their insurance provider.

How much does SR-22 insurance cost a month?

Most insurance companies prepare and file SR-22 certificates without cost as part of your underlying auto insurance policy, but some might charge you additional fees or surcharges. Because SR-22 certificates are required in high-risk cases, you can expect an SR-22 filing requirement could mean your car insurance rates will increase.

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Get Help

If you’ve been a good driver, chances are you won’t need SR-22 certification. On the other hand, if you’ve been convicted of a driving violation or have been classified as a “high risk” driver, you could be required to obtain and maintain SR-22 car insurance certification. 

If you’re required to get SR-22 insurance but fail to do so, you could face serious consequences, including losing your driver’s license. Put your ZIP code into our search tool now and talk with an insurance agent who can answer questions about your state’s SR-22 requirements and help with your SR-22 certificate needs.

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