Guide to SR-22 & FR-44 Insurance: Cost & Quote Comparison, State Info
Certificate of Financial Responsibility (SR-22)
States ensure that risky drivers carry at least the minimum auto insurance required by having them file a certificate of financial responsibility called an SR-22 (or in some cases, an FR-44). This is important since high-risk drivers may be more likely to commit other violations in the future. Although sometimes referred to as “SR-22 insurance” or an “SR-22 bond” it is actually just a form filed with the state on the driver’s behalf by the car insurance provider that verifies state insurance requirements have been met.
If you drive safely and carry sufficient insurance, you may never have to bother with an SR-22. For the most part, only high-risk drivers who have committed serious traffic violations will have this requirement. Violations triggering an SR-22 may include:
- A conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI);
- A conviction for a traffic offense, or being at-fault in an accident, while not carrying enough auto insurance to meet state minimums;
- Having an excessive amount of tickets or violation points on your driving record within a given time period; or
- An offense that results in a revoked or suspended driver's license.
An SR-22 certificate must be on file in order for a driver with these violations to have his or her driving privileges reinstated.
Unlike other states, Virginia and Florida have two types of Certifications of Financial Responsibility—an SR-22 and an FR-44. More serious offenses such as a DUI or driving with a suspended license will trigger an FR-44, while lesser violations will require an SR-22 in these states. Virginia or Florida drivers required to file an FR-44 instead of an SR-22 must carry more than the minimum insurance coverage usually required by state law.
Each state has its own specific requirements regarding who must obtain an SR-22 and how long the SR-22 must remain on file. See the sections below for more information on how to get an SR-22, how much an SR-22 costs, tips on the cheapest SR-22 options, and specific requirements for your state. You can also compare quotes from major insurance providers.
How to Get an SR-22
If you have been convicted of an offense that requires the filing of an SR-22 in your state, you will be notified by the court or by a state office, such as the Department of Motor Vehicles or the Secretary of State, of your responsibility to obtain an SR-22 certification. You likely had your driving privileges suspended or revoked as a result of your violation, and have to file the SR-22 as part of the process of having your license reinstated.
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 to meet state minimums, you will have to first purchase a sufficient amount of coverage before an SR-22 will be filed and your driving privileges will be reinstated.
There are three types of SR-22 certificates to choose from, depending on your insurance needs. You can consult with your insurance provider about which of these options is most appropriate for your situation.
- Operator’s Certificate: Sometimes called a non-owner SR-22, this option will cover you if you need to drive but do not own a car. Your insurance costs will often be less expensive than if you file other SR-22 forms because drivers who do not own a car tend to drive less than those who do.
- Owner’s Certificate: This type of SR-22 covers you when driving any car you own.
- Owner-Operator Certificate: This is the most comprehensive type of SR-22 and will cover you when you drive any vehicle, regardless of ownership.
Once you have identified the proper type of SR-22 certificate for your needs and have purchased insurance, the SR-22 must be filed with the state by your insurer. 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: (1) the SR-22 filing fee and (2) the increased cost of your insurance to have at least the minimum amount of coverage required by your state.
To compare SR-22 insurance quotes with major insurance companies, use the WalletHub Car Insurance Quote Generator, and input the violation that has caused you to need an SR-22 certificate along with the other required information.
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. This is a one-time fee that will be paid upon the initial SR-22 filing. No additional fees will be required when the SR-22 is renewed annually.
Increased insurance cost
While the filing fee is nominal, the real cost is the increase in the cost of your car insurance that may result from your insurance company considering you a “high-risk” driver. Your insurance may cost significantly more than what a safe driver would pay for the same insurance package. In addition, some insurers will require you to pay for the policy in full up-front to avoid any risk of non-payment or lapse in coverage.
The chart below illustrates how a driver’s monthly liability insurance costs can increase after a recent DUI conviction. This driver from California has purchased slightly more than the minimum required amount of insurance, and will pay over $81 more per month (or $977 more per year) for her car insurance – a 148% increase.
148% increase in monthly insurance costs after DUI conviction
Chart Assumptions: Average of monthly quotes received from 9 major insurance companies for a single female driver from zip code 94561, age 37, with a 2008 Honda Accord LX. This driver is assumed to drive 12,000-15,000 miles annually and purchased liability coverage of $25,000 bodily injury coverage per person, $50,000 bodily injury coverage per accident, and $10,000 property damage coverage per accident.
It is possible that you will not be able to find a company that is 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 who participates in the program. However, consider using a state program a last resort, as it will likely be your most expensive option.
How an FR-44 Is Different
In Florida and Virginia only, there is a separate FR-44 certification for drivers convicted of more serious infractions. In Florida, an FR-44 is required if a driver is guilty of a DUI. Virginia requires drivers to file an FR-44 if they are convicted of a DUI, injuring another party as a result of the DUI, driving with a license that was revoked due to a previous conviction, or violating a similar federal law or the law of another state.
Both states require drivers needing an FR-44 to purchase well above the minimum liability car insurance coverage normally required. This liability insurance covers other parties and damage to their property if you cause an accident. Other than this added requirement, FR-44 certification works exactly like SR-22 certification.
The normal minimum liability coverage requirements and that required for drivers filing an FR-44 are outlined in the table below:
|Normal requirements (including SR-22 drivers)||FR-44 requirements|
|Bodily injury liability coverage (per person/per accident)||Property damage liability coverage||Bodily injury liability coverage (per person/per accident)||Property damage liability coverage|
Tips on Getting a Cheap SR-22 Insurance Quote
While your car insurance may be relatively expensive while you are required to file an SR-22, here are a few tips to get the cheapest quote possible:
- Shop around. 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 a non-owners SR-22 certificate. As explained above, there are three types of SR-22 certificates you can obtain. The Operator’s (non-owners) certificate is likely your cheapest option and can be used if you need to drive, but do not own a car.
- 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 there your insurance does not lapse.
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. Eight states do not require either an SR-22 or an FR-44.
*Minimum filing period was set to 0, for the states which do not require an SR-22.
Minimum filing period (in years)
|District of Columbia||Yes||3|
* Minimum filing periods vary depending on specific violation
**Florida and Virginia have an additional Certificate of Financial Responsibility form called an FR-44 that is required for those drivers with the most serious offenses. Drivers required to file an FR-44 instead of an SR-22 in these states must keep this form on file for a minimum of 3 years in Florida and 3-4 years in Virginia and must carry twice the normal minimum insurance coverage required.
The patchwork of state requirements can lead to some complications if you move between states during the SR-22 filing period, but the rule of thumb is that you must follow the requirements of the state that first required you to file an SR-22.
Your new state will typically become aware of your SR-22 when you try to get a driver’s license. As part of that process, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in your new state may check a national database and see information related to your previous violations and SR-22 requirements. Some states will not require you to file a new SR-22 when you become a new resident, but you will have to fill out an affidavit stating that you will continue to have an SR-22 on file in your previous state. Other states have special SR-22 requirements, including paying additional fees, meeting additional requirements, or filing an SR-22 in your new state.
If you move to a state that does not require an SR-22, such as New York or North Carolina, you still need to maintain your SR-22 with the state that originally required you to file.
To make this process as seamless as possible, don’t wait until you need to get a license in your new state. Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles or other relevant office that handle SR-22s in both states before your move to ensure that all requirements are met without any interruptions.
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