If you ever receive a letter from the DMV stating that your license has been suspended, you'll probably quickly want to know--what is SR22 auto insurance? You won't be able to get back on the road, legally at least, until you obtain insurance and file with the state.
What is SR22 Auto Insurance?
SR22 Insurance is actually a paper form that an insurance company fills out on your behalf. The form is then given to the DMV office. Once they have the form, then you can have your driver's license back so that you can begin driving again.
Without the form, your license would stay suspended. The SR22 form acts as proof to the state that you have insurance and meet the following criteria:
- You are carrying at least the minimum liability limits set by your state
- Your insurance company will notify the state if you have a lapse in coverage
Think of SR22 Insurance as extra proof that you do have insurance. The process of having the insurance company send paperwork to the DMV is often called an "SR22 filing."
Who Needs to File an SR22?
If you license has been revoked, you'll have no choice but to file. If you drive around without insurance, not only are you taking a huge finance risk if you get into an accident-but simply being stopped by the police could land you in jail.
Common reasons why someone's license would be revoked include:
- Convicted of a drunk driving violation
- Too many minor accidents in one year. This is sometimes referred to as having too many points in some states.
- Having too many unpaid parking tickets or other fines
- Getting into an accident while being uninsured
- Other violations
How do you File an SR22?
The first thing to do is contact the DMV. Find out exactly why your license was suspended, and how long you'll need to carry SR22 insurance. The common length of time is 1-3 years, but it can be made shorter or longer by a judge.
Ask the DMV if there is a reinstatement fee that must be paid before your driver's license can be valid again. Find out if that fee must be paid before you file the SR22 form, or if it's done at the time you file.
Who Will Insure Me?
If you currently have insurance, check with the company that issued the policy to see if they provide SR22 coverage. If they respond back by asking what is SR22 auto insurance-then you'll need to start looking for a new company.
Just like shopping for a regular auto policy, you can obtain quotes to see who will give you the best rates. You can contact directly those companies that issue policies directly to consumers, such as Geico or USAA. Or, if you would prefer, visit an insurance agent or broker. He or she would be happy to help you obtain insurance.
Not all companies offer SR22 insurance, but there will definitely be a company that will offer you coverage. You'll just have to be able to pay the premiums.
Why Does My Insurance Cost so Much?
When filing an SR22 form, the insurance company will immediately put you in the high risk category. High risk means that there is a stronger than average possibility that you will file a claim. The result-you'll pay more for your insurance.
How much more depends on your state, the insurance company, and what is on your driving record. Expect your premiums to double. If you were convicted of a DUI-they may triple. You'll continue to pay the higher rates throughout the duration of your SR22 filing.
What if I Don't Have a Car?
If you don't need insurance because you don't own a car, but you would like to have your license reinstated anyway, you'll still have to pay the heft y premiums.
There is an SR22 policy called the "non-owners" or "operators" filing that provides coverage for any vehicle you drive which you don't own. If you don't obtain this policy, your driver's license will remain invoked.
Thankfully, a valid driver's license isn't needed to obtain a bus or subway pass.