What Is SR-22 Insurance?
SR-22 insurance is coverage for high-risk drivers who are required to verify with the state that they are carrying the minimum amount of car insurance required by law. An SR-22 is not a separate type of insurance, but instead a certificate of financial responsibility that an insurer has to file with the state DMV on a driver’s behalf.
Offenses that might cause a driver to need an SR-22 include DUI, driving without insurance, or any violation that leads to a revoked or suspended license. SR-22 insurance usually costs more than regular coverage because the driver is considered to be high-risk.
Who Needs SR-22 Insurance?
- Drivers who accumulate too many moving violations in a short period of time
- Drivers convicted of DUI, DWI, reckless driving or other serious offenses
- Drivers caught driving without the required amount of insurance
- Drivers who need to get a suspended license reinstated
Learn more about when drivers need an SR-22.
How SR-22 Insurance Works
In states that use the SR-22 form, it is most often required to get a license or registration reinstated after suspension or revocation. The insurance company will file this form on the driver’s behalf, and the policyholder will need to maintain the required amount of insurance for the entire time they have an SR-22 filed.
How to Get SR-22 Insurance
1. Contact your car insurance company to start the filing process
You will be required to certify that you will carry at least the minimum amount of car insurance for the entire period that you must have an SR-22 on file. If you do not have car insurance or you do not have enough coverage to meet state minimums, you will have to first purchase a sufficient amount of coverage before an SR-22 can be filed.
2. Decide what type of SR-22 certificate you need
There are three types of SR-22 certificates available to drivers based on their individual needs. An owner’s certificate only covers cars that you own, while an operator’s certificate (also called a non-owner SR-22) is what you need if you don’t own a car. In most states, you can also get an owner-operator certificate, which covers you when you drive any vehicle, regardless of ownership.
If you own a vehicle but frequently use rented or borrowed cars, the owner-operator certificate is likely the best choice for you.
3. File the SR-22
Your insurer will file the SR-22 with your state’s DMV and charge you a filing fee between $15 and $25. It is important to consistently maintain insurance coverage while you have an SR-22 on file. Should your insurance lapse or be canceled during the mandated period, your insurance provider will alert the state. If you have not obtained insurance from another provider, the state may revoke your driving privileges as a penalty for having a lapse in coverage.
SR-22 Insurance Cost
There are two types of costs associated with filing an SR-22: the SR-22 filing fee and the increased cost of your insurance.
States require a filing fee for the SR-22 form. Although this fee varies by state, it typically ranges from $15-$25. Your insurance provider will file the form with the state and charge you the fee as part of your insurance bill.
Increased insurance cost
Car insurance premiums increase with an SR-22 because your insurance company will usually classify you as a “high-risk” driver. SR-22 insurance costs $742 to $1,465 per year, on average, depending on the insurer and the offense that led to the SR-22 requirement. An SR-22 requirement can raise a driver’s premium by up to 18%.
Learn more about how much SR-22 insurance costs.
Cheapest SR-22 Insurance Companies
- Geico: $556 per year
- USAA: $576 per year
- Grange Insurance: $615 per year
- Progressive: $669 per year
- Mercury: $700 per year
- Travelers: $741 per year
- Wawanesa: $745 per year
- Esurance: $769 per year
- AAA: $795 per year
Check out WalletHub's article on the cheapest SR-22 insurance to find the best company in your state.
SR-22 Requirements By State
Most states require drivers to file an SR-22 for a minimum of three years. So long as you remain violation-free during that time, you will no longer be required to have an SR-22 on file after that period ends. However, if you commit another serious violation, your filing period may be extended. Twelve states do not require either an SR-22 or an FR-44.
*The minimum filing period was set to 0 for states that do not require an SR-22.
SR-22 Insurance Requirements by State
|State||SR-22 Required?||Minimum filing period (in years)|
|District of Columbia||Yes||3|
* Minimum filing periods vary depending on the specific violation.
** The filing period increases with each subsequent offense. After a fourth DWI offense, the filing requirement becomes permanent.
In Massachusetts, an SR-22 is only for drivers who are required to file one in another state. The filing period depends on the state where the driver was convicted.
In Florida and Virginia, drivers are required to file an FR-44 after a DUI rather than an SR-22. An FR-44 is similar to an SR-22 in that it verifies that a driver has insurance, but it requires higher coverage limits than the state minimum.
How Moving States Affects SR-22 Insurance
Moving states can affect your SR-22 insurance since not every state uses the SR-22 form. Each state is different, though, so the most important thing to remember is to follow the requirements of the state in which you originally filed an SR-22.
Common State Requirements When Moving With an SR-22
- Some states may not ask you to file a new SR-22 form; they instead request an affidavit stating that you will keep the SR-22 on file in the original state.
- If you move to a state that does not use SR-22s, you still need to keep your SR-22 on file in the original state for as long as it is required in that state.
- Some states require extra fees, additional insurance, and refiling your SR-22 with them.
Tips for Getting Cheap SR-22 Insurance
Get quotes from your multiple insurance providers, not just your current company.
Figure out how much insurance you really need.
Your state requires a minimum level of insurance, but getting more than that is up to you. You should consider the monthly cost of insurance options against the risk of not having enough insurance to cover expenses in the event of an accident.
Consider non-owner SR-22 insurance.
If you don’t own a car but may still need to drive using rentals or borrowed cars, non-owner insurance is often the cheapest route to getting back on the road with an SR-22.
Continue to compare insurance rates annually.
As time passes, the violation that caused you to need an SR-22 will have less of an impact on your insurance rates. You should compare quotes annually to make sure your current company is still offering you the best deal. If you do switch companies during the time in which you are required to file an SR-22, make sure that your insurance does not lapse.
Know your options if you can’t find a company willing to insure you.
If you are unable to find a company willing to provide the necessary coverage and certification on your own, you may be able to apply for car insurance through your state. Many states have programs that match high-risk drivers to partnering insurers that agree to provide at least the minimum required level of coverage.
Depending on the state, you can apply through a state office or through a local insurer that participates in the program. However, consider using a state program as a last resort, as it will likely be your most expensive option.
Video: SR-22 Insurance Basics
Ask the Experts
To gain more insight about SR-22 insurance, WalletHub posed the following questions to a panel of experts. Click on the experts below to view their bios and answers.
- What can high-risk drivers do to lower their car insurance?
- What makes a driver high risk?
- How much coverage should a high-risk driver carry?
- What can drivers do to become not a high-risk driver?