If you have recently run into legal trouble due to your driving, such as drunk or drugged driving charges or driving without insurance, you may have heard of SR22 insurance. For most people, this is the first they have ever heard of it, and it is a big mystery. Fears of sky-high insurance bills are probably running through your brain, and if you don’t have a car at all, you might be wondering how you can even meet the requirement.
Fear not. While SR22 insurance does tend to be a bit more expensive than normal coverage, and any negative driving history is going to give insurance companies an excuse to jack up your rates, in reality, SR22 insurance is not any more difficult in practice to obtain and if you shop around, you may even be able to find an affordable insurance provider at lower coverage levels.
What is SR22 (or FR 44) insurance coverage?
SR 22 and FR 44 insurance coverage is a special type of insurance for high-risk drivers. Typically, these high-risk drivers include people with drunk or drugged driving convictions, reckless driving offenses, or individuals who have had a car accident while uninsured. However, every state has different requirements and there may be additional categories of drivers who are required to have this special category of insurance.
Practically speaking, SR 22 insurance will not be that much different than normal insurance was for a driver. Your insurance company will likely make you pay a slightly higher premium and a special SR 22 certificate fee each month, and many will file the SR 22 certificate with your DMV automatically, saving you the headache of accidentally forgetting that and getting your license suspended.
(A tip: Confirm that your insurance company files the certificate automatically. You don’t want to violate the terms of your DUI because you forgot to file the certificate, even if you were paying for it.)
The term FR 44 is used in two states (Virginia and Florida), according to Breath Easy Insurance, and for the most part, it is the same as SR 22, except FR 44 drivers are required to carry double the state’s minimum liability coverage.
How much does SR22 insurance cost a month?
An SR-22 is essentially a guarantee from your auto insurance carrier to the state that you have the legally required coverage. SR22 insurance costs vary from one insurer to another but generally speaking, SR 22 insurance premiums may not be significantly higher than ordinary coverage, depending on what kind of policy and liability limits you choose. According to a pricing analysis by CarInsurance.com, a policy with an SR-22 filing for one DUI conviction costs roughly $230 per month or $2,760 per year.
The cheapest option would be to get only liability insurance which covers bodily injury claims against you, and no other types of damages. This means that if someone gets seriously injured by your vehicle, and you are at fault, then you could potentially end up having to foot the bill for their medical expenses and you’ll pay out of pocket for your own vehicle’s repairs. If you are financing a vehicle, cheap liability coverage alone may not be an option and you may be required by your auto lender to maintain high levels of coverage, or even full coverage.
How do you get SR22 insurance?
If you already have car insurance, call your insurance company. They will likely provide SR 22 insurance. In addition, it is a smart practice to call around to a few other insurance companies, as each insurance company treats SR 22 and serious driving offenses differently in terms of rates. Your insurance company might rate jack you, whereas another might only raise your premium by a small amount.
Take close note also of how long you are required to maintain the coverage. For many states, it is three years. And insurance companies, of course, will not voluntarily turn off the SR22 coverage or its fees once that time is up — you will likely have to call your insurance company and remind them once you are sure you have fulfilled the state’s mandatory SR22 term.
Who is required to get SR22 insurance?
SR 22 insurance is typically only required for people who have committed a serious driving offense. In most states, this includes driving under the influence (drunk driving or drugged driving), reckless driving, or driving without insurance. In some states, getting into an accident while uninsured is another category of a driver who is required to provide an SR 22.
What if I need SR22 insurance and don’t have a car?
If you do not have a car and do not have car insurance, your head is probably spinning and you’re wondering where to start. Fair enough. According to Progressive Insurance, you’ll need a “Named Non-Owner Coverage Endorsement” with an SR-22, meaning you’ll be covered under your state’s liability requirements whenever you drive a vehicle.
A DUI conviction is stressful enough on its own. You will be dealing with the criminal court fallout, fines, probation, and a likely driver’s license suspension. You may also have to deal with an ignition interlock device requirement. While SR 22 insurance may seem like one more major obstacle to getting back on the road, it will probably be the smallest item on your checklist to get back to driving.