When it comes down to filing with your insurance company for an SR-22 form, it isn’t actually that complicated. Many things about car insurance are complicated, but this form is relatively straightforward once you talk to your insurance company about getting one.
What is complicated, though, is finding reliable information about this form, when it is needed, how to get one, and why it even exists. If you are curious about the SR-22 and car insurance rules related to it, you’ve come to the right place for all of the detailed information you seek.
Today, we’ll introduce the SR-22 form, explain what areas it is used in, and get into all of the other back stories about this form’s uses.
Before We Get Into the Details
There’s one more thing that we want to mention before we get too far into the specific details of the SR-22 and car insurance rules. The SR-22 can differ from state to state.
Generally speaking, the overall purpose of this form is the same in all states where it is used. Most of the information in today’s article will apply to all states, but your insurance provider will be able to give you accurate information about how your specific state handles this form.
What Is the SR-22?
The SR-22, also known as SR-22 insurance or an SR-22 bond is an official Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR for short). The CFR is not insurance itself, but it is proof of insurance. When your insurance company files an SR-22, it lets the state know that your insurance policy covers the amount of liability coverage that is required in your state.
When Is an SR-22 Needed?
Not every driver needs to deal with the SR-22. If you need to file one, officials in your state will let you know. For example, you may get a letter in the mail that requests the SR-22 as proof that you are following insurance laws.
The most common reasons for needing to file this form are as follows:
- Repeated DUI or DWI offenses
- Reckless driving offense
- Repeated traffic infractions
- Found guilty of driving with a revoked or suspended license
- Found liable in an accident while driving without insurance
Those are not the only reasons that state authorities can request an SR-22, but they are the most frequent.
Why Is the SR-22 Requested?
Now that you know more about why the SR-22 may be requested, you may be wondering why it is a necessary form in these situations.
First, let’s start with some back story. Every state has a legal minimum amount of liability insurance that you must carry on your vehicle. If you get into an accident and you are found at fault, that liability insurance will be used to cover any other cars, properties, or people that or who you harm during the accident.
So, how does the SR-22 come into play?
When a driver is caught driving dangerously, the risk of them causing harm to property, cars, or people becomes apparent. And when this is apparent, state authorities consider it their responsibility to ensure that these dangerous drivers have the proper insurance in place. After all, their driving record shows that they are more likely to need it!
That is why the SR-22 is used to confirm that drivers who have shown themselves to be reckless have the proper insurance in place. Not only does it protect their vehicles, but it also protects anyone who may be injured if they drive recklessly again.
How to File for an SR-22?
If your state requests proof that you are carrying the proper insurance, you cannot simply send them a copy of your statements. Instead, your insurance company will need to file the SR-22 directly on your behalf.
As with the other sections of this article, the specific rules for filing an SR-22 may vary by state; these general guidelines should still help you get a better understanding of the process.
Here’s how the process usually goes:
- A court or other state office informs you that you need an SR-22.
- Contact your insurance provider, and just let them know that you need an SR-22.
- If you do not have insurance, you will need to buy a policy before you can continue. If you buy a new policy directly before requesting an SR-22, you may need to pay for the insurance term in full to guarantee that you won’t take the form and then never pay for your coverage.
- Pay to file your SR-22. Usually, the cost is between $20 and $35.
- Once filed, the DMV or state office that requested the document will receive a copy of it. You do not need to carry your own copy of the document with you.
How Does the SR-22 Affect the Driver?
If you are required to file for an SR-22 due to reckless driving behavior, there may be some other changes that happen to your insurance after filing the form. In a way, the SR-22 tells the insurance company that you are a risky driver.
As such, they can increase your rates to combat that risk. In order to avoid this or get your rates back down to their usual level, you would need to keep a clean driving record for a prolonged period.
Can You Change Insurance with an SR-22 on File?
It’s normal to want to shop around for auto insurance. After all, searching all of your options is the only way to find the best prices. When you have an SR-22 on file with the state, though, you need to be smart about making any changes to your insurance without notifying the government. You might not even be able to change your policy.
When filing an SR-22, many insurance companies require that you pay the policy term in full to guarantee that you will really be covered for as long as the form says you will be covered. If you do cancel your insurance to change to another provider, the insurer will report to the state that they no longer cover you. They will communicate with the reporting officer that you are changing insurance companies to avoid any issues with your license.
Simple, Yet Complex
The SR-22 and car insurance rules related to it are not overly complex, but there can still be some complications that arise while you are figuring out how to file for this form. The filing itself is simple because the insurance company does the work for you, but covering your policy term all at once or facing a hike in your insurance cost can be confusing.
Hopefully, today’s guide to SR-22 forms has given you more insight about this form, when it is used, and how to file for it in times of need.