Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for CarInsuranceCompanies.com with a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Oct 8, 2020

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Key takeaways...

  • Rates associated with SR-22 car insurance coverage will be substantially higher than traditional coverage
  • Not all insurance companies issue SR-22 certificates or offer SR-22 car insurance coverage
  • The length of time that an individual is required to carry an SR-22 varies by state

Certain drivers of motor vehicles are required by law to carry what is known as SR-22 car insurance coverage. Many people assume that the term refers to the actual insurance policy itself.

In reality, the term SR-22 refers to a form filed by a car insurance company as proof that a particular individual has purchased the insurance coverage needed to legally operate a motor vehicle in the state.

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Table of Contents

Common Reasons for Requiring SR-22 Insurance

States might require an individual to obtain an SR-22 statement of financial responsibility for multiple reasons.

Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Conviction for driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI).
  • Conviction for driving with a suspended license
  • Conviction for driving without valid insurance
  • Being involved in a major accident without car insurance
  • Too many moving violations or being a habitual traffic offender.

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Process for Obtaining SR-22 Insurance

Individuals who are required to obtain an SR-22 certificate by a state court or by the state Department of Motor Vehicles will need to ask their insurance company to file the form on their behalf.

The form is mailed to, or filed electronically with, the state DMV.

The form will basically state that the individual in question has obtained at least the state-mandated minimum car insurance coverage for operating a vehicle.

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High Premiums

In most cases, the rates associated with SR-22 car insurance coverage will be substantially higher than the rates associated with regular insurance coverage.

That’s because the only drivers who require SR-22 coverage are individuals who have already been identified as high-risk drivers.

Not all insurance companies issue SR-22 certificates or offer SR-22 car insurance coverage.

Most insurance companies that do agree to file SR-22 forms, charge a one-time fee of between $15 and $25 to file the form.

Different Types of SR-22 Insurance

An SR-22 insurance policy can be an operator’s policy, an owner’s policy or an operator-and-owner policy. An operator’s policy covers individuals operating non-owned vehicles.

An owner’s policy covers individuals operating their own vehicles while an operator-owner policy covers the operation of all owned and non-owed vehicles.

An operator-only policy is designed specifically for individuals who are licensed to drive but do not own a vehicle.

In such situations, a state might require the individual to maintain an SR-22 as long as the individual holds a valid driver’s license in that state.

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Minimum Liability Requirements

The minimum liability limits for SR-22 coverage varies by state. For instance, in Florida, a motorist needs to purchase bodily injury liability of at least $10,000 per person and $20,000 per accident in order to meet SR-22 requirements.

In addition, they need to maintain a minimum property damage liability of $10,000.

The minimum required coverage in Illinois meanwhile, is $20,000 for bodily injury, $40,000 per accident and $15,000 in property damage liability.

States Which Do Not Require SR-22 Insurance

States require SR-22’s in order to ensure that high-risk drivers have insurance coverage. Though a vast majority of states have SR-22 requirements, some states still do not require the form.

The following states do not yet require problem drivers to obtain an SR-22:

  • Kentucky
  • Minnesota
  • Delaware
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • New Mexico
  • Pennsylvania.
The fact that they do not require SR-22 might have something to do with the fact that none of these states are in the top 10 most expensive states for car insurance.

Moving to a Different State

If a motorist moves to one of these states, they will not be required to file an SR-22 form.

However, they will still be required to file an SR-22 in the state from which they moved.

In some cases, a motorist might move to a state with a higher insurance coverage requirement for SR-22 drivers.

In such situations, the operator will be required to maintain and file SR-22 in their new state as well as the one they moved from.

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Minimum Required Period

The length of time that an individual is required to carry an SR-22 varies by state.

Some states require it for as little as one year, while others require drivers to carry an SR-22 for a period of up to five years.

If an individual cancels an SR-22 car insurance policy before the mandated period expires, the insurance company is required by law to report the cancellation to the state DMV.

Steps to Obtain SR-22 car Insurance

State DMV’s typically suspend the license of motorists who are required to obtain SR-22 car insurance.

In order to reinstate the license, the operator needs to take the following steps:

  • Inform their insurance company about the license suspension and the SR-22 requirement. Only an insurance company can issue an SR-22 certificate. So the motorist will have to work with an insurance company to get the license reinstated
  • Obtain a revised quote from the insurance company. The revised rate typically will be substantially higher than what the motorist was paying before the license suspension
  • Decide whether to purchase operators insurance, owner’s insurance, or combined insurance
  • Purchase the minimum mandated insurance coverage
  • Have the insurance company either mail or electronically transmit a filled-out SR-22 form to the state DMV
  • Get the license reinstated
  • Maintain the required insurance covered for the minimum mandated period

Drivers who are required to obtain SR-22 car insurance often have a hard time finding an insurance company willing to insure them. Companies that are willing to offer insurance can sometimes charge exorbitantly high premiums for such coverage.

As a result, individuals may need to do quite a bit of car insurance comparison shopping to find insurance coverage at an affordable rate.

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References:

  1. http://www.dmv.pa.gov/VEHICLE-SERVICES/Title-Registration/Pages/default.aspx
  2. https://www.directgeneral.com/learning-center/explaining-auto-insurance/high-risk-auto-insurance
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SR-22_(insurance)
  4. https://www.allstate.com/tools-and-resources/car-insurance/property-damage-liability-insurance.aspx
  5. https://www.thebalance.com/understanding-minimum-car-insurance-requirements-2645473