SR-22 Insurance: What Is It and How Does It Work?(USA)

By Jennifer Brozic 10/26/2021 8:00am

Insurance policy cancelled

Some people must file an SR-22 car insurance form after certain types of driving infractions. But it’s not a requirement for everyone. If you’ve heard the term SR-22 insurance and are wondering what it is and if you need it, here’s what you need to know.

What Is SR-22 Insurance?

SR-22 isn’t insurance. It’s a form your insurance company files on your behalf that shows you have the minimum amount of liability coverage your state requires. It’s also known as a certificate of financial responsibility. But not everyone who has a license needs to file an SR-22.

Typically, a court or the state only requires people who have serious driving infractions, such as reckless driving or a DUI, to file the form. If you have a suspended license, your insurance company may need to file an SR-22 form on your behalf before the state reinstates it.

In addition to the SR-22 form, Florida and Virginia also have an FR-44 form, similar to the SR-22. However, unlike the SR-22 form, an FR-44 shows that you have more than the state’s minimum liability requirements. Both states require the form after a DUI or DWI.

If you must file an FR-44 in Virginia, your liability limits must double the state’s minimum requirement. In Florida, you must have the state’s highest available liability limits.

What Are the Types of SR-22s?

There are three types of SR-22 certificates you can file.

  1. Owner. If you only drive vehicles you own, you need to have your insurance company submit this type of certificate.
  2. Non-owner or operator. Just because you don’t own a car doesn’t mean you won’t need to file an SR-22 form if you drive irresponsibly. If you only drive cars you don’t own (e.g., rentals), you need a non-owner or operator certificate.
  3. Owner-operator. This type of certificate is for people who own a vehicle and sometimes drive cars they don’t own.

Who Needs an SR-22 or FR-44?

The requirements for filing an SR-22 or FR-44 may vary, depending on where you live. Regardless, you’ll probably need to file one if you have:

  • Unpaid judgments
  • Too many tickets within a certain amount of time
  • Too many at-fault accidents
  • Been convicted of a DUI or DWI
  • Serious driving infractions such as reckless driving
  • A suspended or revoked license
  • Been caught driving without your state’s minimum insurance requirements

Even if you don’t own a vehicle, you may still need to file an SR-22 or FR-44 if you drive. The court or your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles will notify you if you need one.

How Do You Obtain an SR-22 or FR-44?

If a court or the state requires you to file an SR-22 or FR-44 form, your insurance carrier will file it on your behalf. You can’t get one without insurance. But not all insurance companies file these forms for their policyholders. If your current insurer doesn’t file them and you’re required to have one, you’ll need to get a new policy. Some insurance companies that offer this service include Allstate, Erie, GEICO, Progressive, Farmers, State Farm, American Family, and USAA.

How Much Does It Cost?

It depends on the insurer. Some insurance companies may file an SR-22 or FR-44 for free, while others may charge a filing fee. The filing fee typically ranges from $15 to $50, depending on the insurance company and where you live.

Will My Insurance Rates Go Up?

Yes. If you need to file an SR-22 or FR-44 form, your rates will increase. How much depends on the insurer and why you need to file the form. According to The Zebra, rates may increase from about $350 to more than $1,200 per year, depending on the infraction.

How Long Does it Last?

In general, if you need to file an SR-22 or FR-44 form, it will most likely need to stay in place for three years. But the exact amount of time may vary based on the driving infraction and state where you live. If you need to file an SR-22, you’ll receive a notification, which will tell you how long it must remain in effect.

Before removing the SR-22 or FR-44, it’s crucial that you confirm with the local court or state that you no longer need it. If you don’t need it anymore, call your insurance company to let them know, and they will file an SR-26 form to remove it.

What Happens If My Insurance Policy Gets Canceled?

If you cancel your policy, it lapses, or the insurance company terminates it for any reason, your carrier must notify the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state that you no longer have insurance. If this happens, the state may suspend or revoke your license, charge a fine, or impose additional penalties. So, it’s important to keep your policy active.