SR-22 Filings – What Does That Mean?

If you have been charged with a DUI, reckless driving, or driving without insurance, you have likely heard a police officer mention SR-22 filings. This legal requirement can have a substantial impact on your driving record and insurance costs. The guide below explains what SR-22 is and how it affects you.

What Is SR-22?

SR-22, otherwise known as State Requirement 22 or a Certificate of Financial Responsibility, is a form proving that you are carrying at least the state-legislated amount of liability coverage. The purpose of the filing to is guarantee to the state that you have the financial capacity to pay for (through insurance) any future damages or injuries your driving behavior may cause.

Common reasons for needing an SR-22 include the following: failure to show proof of insurance, driving or causing an accident without insurance, serious moving violations, too many violations and/or points during a certain time period, DUI or DWI arrests, and license reinstatement after a DUI suspension.

The states of Florida and Virginia use FR-44, which is similar to the SR-22 form but typically requires higher insurance coverage. Seven states do not legislate SR-22 filings but may require new residents to continue filings in their previous state: Delaware, New York, North Carolina, Kentucky, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and New Mexico.

How Do I Get a Financial Responsibility Form?

When you are ordered by a court or mandated by law to provide an SR-22, you must contact your insurance company, which will then mail, fax, or electronically submit the required documentation to the state department of motor vehicles. If you do not provide form SR-22 by the time it is due, you risk a license suspension or other penalties.

In Colorado and several other states, an individual can obtain an SR-22 form directly from the agent at the time liability insurance is purchased. The insured person can take the physical form to the state department of motor vehicles in order to fulfill the SR-22 requirement instantly. The insurance company then takes over handling any future filings.

For online auto insurance purchases, very few insurers give drivers an actual form to carry around with them. Instead, the insurance company communicates directly with the state agency, and the status of whether or not an SR-22 form has been filed shows on a individual’s motor vehicles record. Law enforcement personnel can access the record during traffic stops.

Insurance companies such as GEICO, Progressive, and Safeco allow new customers to purchase SR-22 insurance by selecting an option during the free online quote. Existing customers can call the customer service phone number and request assistance with a filing. Most insurance companies not only take care of the initial SR-22 paperwork but also file the request to remove an SR-22 status when the probationary period is over. Filing fees vary by state and by insurance company. For instance, Viking Insurance does not charge an extra fee for an SR-22 filing, whereas 21st Century charges $10. Average fees range from $15 to $25.

What Happens After I File an SR-22?

After an insurance company is notified of the need for an SR-22 form, the company may raise rates due to riskier driving behavior, choose not to renew a policy, or maintain premium levels because you have purchased specific SR-22 coverage.

For example, premium drivers who get a DUI with State Farm Mutual Insurance Co. may be moved to the State Farm Fire & Casualty subsidiary for standard and high-risk drivers. Companies like The General specialize in high risk drivers, so premiums usually remain stable before and after an SR-22 filing.

Depending on state laws, your insurance company may have to file an SR-22 for up to three years. When the SR-22 filing period ends, the motor vehicles status is removed but the risky driving behavior may keep insurance premiums high for several more years.

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