SR-22 forms: Who needs them and why?

By Barbara Marquand on February 8th, 2012

If you've been convicted of DUI, driving without insurance or reckless driving, you might need to ask for an SR-22 from a car insurance company.

SR-22 isn't a special type of car insurance. Instead, it's a form that a car insurance company files with the state to prove that you bought at least the minimum amount of car insurance required by state law. You can't get the form unless you buy car insurance.

You don't need an SR-22 if you have a clean driving record. The form is required only if you've been convicted of certain serious offenses, such as driving under the influence. The triggering offenses vary by state.

Most states require SR-22 forms for drivers who fall into certain categories. You need to have the SR-22 for three years in most states and up to five in others. The length of time can also vary according to the violation.

States that do not require an SR-22 form are Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania.

Florida and Virginia require SR-22 forms, but use a form called FR-44 for alcohol-related offenses. Drivers required to have FR-44 forms must carry liability insurance with higher limits than those required for other drivers.

What will it cost me?

A car insurance company will charge a fee, usually about $25, to file the SR-22 form. It's not the form that will drive up your car insurance rates; it's the violation that triggered the requirement for the SR-22.

Car insurance quotes will be higher for drivers who have DUI, reckless driving and other serious convictions. In fact, some car insurance companies don't sell policies to drivers who are required to have SR-22 forms.

You can't hide the SR-22 requirement. You must tell a car insurance company when you buy coverage so it can file the form, or you must notify your current insurance carrier about the requirement. If your insurer doesn't file SR-22s, you'll have to shop for a new policy from a company that does.

Once the SR-22 form is filed, the insurance company is required by law to inform the state if you cancel the insurance. The state then can come after you and take your driver's license or vehicle registration.

Shop around for coverage. Insurance companies vary in how they rate drivers for offenses, so it pays to compare car insurance quotes from several carriers.

 

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