After a Suspended License: How Much Will It Cost You?
What Is SR22 Insurance?
If you’re in need of an SR22 insurance quote, you may feel like you’re in over your head. Contrary to popular belief, SR22 insurance is not technically an insurance policy. An SR22 is added on to a car insurance policy as a requirement by law to reinstate a suspended driver’s license.
Obtaining an SR22 will permit you to drive on a restricted license.
An SR22 addendum provides proof from your insurance company of your financial responsibility and ability to meet state requirements. This information must be submitted to the DMV in order to reinstate a restricted or suspended license that has been revoked after a traffic offense.
Depending on where you live, an SR22 may also be referred to as a Certificate of Financial Responsibility, or CFR. A CFR in the form of an SR22 will be required by the state to prove that you have valid car insurance liability coverage, i.e. proof of financial responsibility, after a driving infraction.
How do you know when you
need an SR22?
In most cases, you will be well aware that you need an SR22 to regain your license because it will be court ordered.
An SR22 is most often required after a serious traffic violation like:
If you have committed one of the violations listed above, a Certificate of Financial
Responsibility, such as an SR22, will be mandated by court or the DMV in your state.
On average, one person dies in a DUI accident every 53 minutes.
Statistics also estimate that one person is injured in an alcohol-related
crash every minute. Consequently,
one in three people
may be involved in a drunk driving crash in their lifetime.
The unfortunate truth is that driving drunk is a common occurrence
Before being charged, the average drunk driver will have driven under the influence 80 times. Once convicted, 50% to 75% of drunk drivers will continue to drive illegally on a suspended license – without taking the time to complete necessary court requirements and reinstate a license with an SR22 form.
Although most drivers believe that it is perfectly acceptable to have several drinks and drive home, many states take additional precautions beyond set blood alcohol limits. Throughout the US, the legal BAC to drive is under 0.08%. Nonetheless, if a police officer believes that you are too impaired to drive, no matter what your BAC may be, they have the right to arrest you on a DUI charge.
If you have ever made the mistake of driving while intoxicated, you are putting your life and other innocent lives at risk.
At the very least, if you get pulled over and charged for a DUI,
You will face hefty court penalties, a marred driving record, and potential jail time. You will also need an SR22 form before you can legally drive again.
Another popular driving infraction that could land you in a world
of trouble, meriting an SR22, is reckless driving
Hand-in-hand with DUIs, aggressive or reckless driving is a top traffic safety violation throughout the US.
Reckless driving behavior that may result in a traffic charge includes extreme speeding, tailgating, or violating other traffic safety laws. An aggressive or reckless driver exhibiting signs of carelessness or “road rage” may follow too close to a vehicle, change lanes erratically, drive illegally on a sidewalk or shoulder of the road, fail to yield, or neglect to obey traffic signs or zones altogether.
A driver that has been charged with reckless endangerment, aggressive driving, or another related traffic violation will often need an SR22 form to reinstate a suspended or revoked driver’s license.
If your driver’s license has been suspended, you will likely have to appear in court to receive charges and plead your case.
If you are granted the privilege to drive in the future, an SR22 will be necessary to show evidence of financial responsibility. Depending on the charge, your driver’s license may be suspended for a longer period of time and will not be reinstated, even with an SR22. You may also have to prove a need to drive for daily activities, such as for employment or taking your children to school.
Make no mistake
Carrying regular car insurance won’t be enough to reinstate your license after suspension. A separate SR22 form must be filed through your car insurance company. The form will then be submitted directly to the DMV before driving privileges are restored.
What to Do When You Need SR22 Insurance
If your driver’s license has been suspended,
time is of the essence.
It’s important to contact your car insurance company as soon as possible to request an SR22 form. Your insurance agent may submit the form directly to the DMV for you, or you may be required to file it yourself in person.
Many states require that an SR22 form for a suspended license is kept on file for 2 to 3 years on average. Depending on the state, you may have to pay a fee when submitting an SR22. Your SR22 form will need to be updated if you switch insurance companies or move to a different state.
States that don’t require an SR22 form on file with the DMV are:
To file an SR22 certificate efficiently and correctly,
the following steps must be taken:
Contact your insurance company to obtain an SR22
Keep in mind that filing this form through your insurance company qualifies you as a high-risk driver, and your insurance rates will increase accordingly. Some insurance companies may not provide SR22 insurance, meaning that you may need a new insurance provider before you can drive legally again.
Plan to wait a minimum of 30 days
An SR22 form will be issued after it has been paid for through your insurance company. From there, your insurance provider will submit it to the Secretary of the State, which could take up to 30 days to process. Driving privileges will not be reinstated until the SR22 form is processed.
Your SR22 form must be kept in your vehicle
After an SR22 certificate has been submitted and processed through the DMV, you will be required by law to keep it in your car at all times. If you are ever pulled over, you must show the SR22 form to the police officer, along with your proof of insurance.
Your SR22 form must be kept current
Your license will automatically be suspended again if your SR22 insurance lapses or is canceled at any time. If you no longer carry valid SR22 protection, your insurance company must notify the DMV of this infraction by law. Failure to comply with SR22 insurance requirements means a newly suspended license; an SR22 form should be renewed a minimum of 15 days before it expires. Don’t get caught with a lapse in coverage!
In addition to an SR22 form, it is a must to meet minimum state car insurance requirements.
To provide this proof of insurance along with an SR22 certificate to the DMV, you must have bodily injury and property liability car insurance coverage at the least. This insurance coverage must remain current, together with your SR22 form on file.
With the exception of the six states listed above, your state is likely to require an SR22 on file with the DMV or DPS to restore a revoked license after a traffic accident, judgment, or conviction.
In the state of Texas, for example, an SR22 form must be filed with the DPS and kept current for a minimum of two years from the date of conviction. The Texas DPS will not accept a valid insurance card in lieu of an SR22 form.
To reinstate a license that has been revoked, requiring an SR22, you must:
Request an SR22 from your insurance company.
Pay a required reinstatement fee, if applicable.
Submit an SR22 form to the DPS or DMV.
Maintain a valid SR22 with minimum liability insurance.
How Much Will an SR22 Cost You?
Since an SR22 form classifies you as a high-risk driver, it is going to cost you.
A penalty for filing an SR22 could cost as much as $250, depending on the state. If an insurance company does not quote a direct filing fee, the cost may be lumped into your new policy premium. These charges do not account for license reinstatement fees that may start at $25 or more. Last but not least, don’t forget that you will have to pay for court costs associated with your judgment, as well as increased insurance rates.
Unfortunately, the repercussions of requiring an SR22 form can be widespread, beyond just a suspended license. An SR22 form will impact your driving record and can continue to cost you down the road. Insurance policy rates are likely to skyrocket and will not drop again until SR22 restrictions have been lifted. We can provide you with free SR22 insurance quotes.
If you are concerned about steep insurance rates, it may be worth your while to shop around.
A number of car insurance companies specialize in high-risk driving policies that require SR22 forms. You may be able to find more competitive rates from another provider, even after obtaining an SR22 certificate.
Perhaps the most noticeable effect of filing an SR22 is in higher insurance rates. If your insurance company chooses to provide you with an SR22 form, they are taking on your risk as a potentially dangerous driver. As a result, your car insurance rates will increase anywhere from 14%-40% on average.
If your SR22 insurance is canceled at any time, the DMV can revoke your driving privileges.
What Happens When You Drop an SR22?
If you choose not to meet the necessary requirements and file an SR22, or if you allow your coverage to lapse at any time, you could be facing further legal repercussions.
If you opt not to meet state minimum driving and liability
insurance requirements, it may result in:
If you’re trying to cheat the system in any way, it will
come back to bite you.
Yes, filing an SR22 is cumbersome and expensive. It will have long-term repercussions that can affect your driving record, not to mention your insurance rates.
Nonetheless, neglecting to file an SR22 is an even bigger issue.
Driving on a suspended or revoked license without the necessary SR22 insurance is a violation of state law. If you get caught, you will face even stiffer penalties and fines and may have your driver’s license suspended for a longer period of time or revoked altogether.
If you do move out of state within the 2 to 3 year time frame that you require an SR22, you can’t escape your driving record.
Your new state motor vehicle department will be notified, and a new SR22 form must be submitted. If you happen to move to a state that doesn’t require an SR22, such as Delaware or Minnesota, you will still be obligated by law to meet minimum SR22 requirements in the state where your driving infraction occurred.
To avoid any misunderstanding that could result in a suspended license, always communicate with your insurance agent before you move and before your SR22 form expires.