If you are considered a high-risk driver, such as one who has been convicted of multiple traffic violations or received a DUI ticket, you will probably need to familiarize yourself with an SR-22. What is an SR-22? An SR-22 is a certificate of financial responsibility required for some drivers by court or state order. It serves as proof that the driver has purchased the minimum auto coverage required in the state. Depending on your situation and the state you live in, an FR-44 may replace the SR-22.
How does an SR-22 work?
You should have a pretty good idea of when you'll need an SR-22. Typically, you will receive a court order requiring this certificate as a result of a traffic violation. Your state's Department of Motor Vehicles can also tell you if you need to get an SR-22 1 .
It is up to your auto insurance company to file an SR-22 form for you. You may be able to add this to an existing policy, but keep in mind that not all auto insurers are willing to provide SR-22 insurance. In this case, you will have to look for a new policy. two
Unfortunately, an SR-22 and the violation that requires it will incur a lot of immediate expense. First, you may be charged a one-time fee from your insurer for filing the SR-22 itself. Then, once you've solidified your coverage, you should be prepared to pay your insurer a fee or a good chunk of your annual premium up front 2,3 .
Why is an SR-22 required?
While the laws governing SR-22s vary from state to state, many of the circumstances in which you'll need one are generally the same. Here are some of the common reasons an SR-22 2.3 is required :
- Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) or intoxicated (DWI) or other serious infraction with the car in motion.
- Various traffic violations in a short period of time.
- Driving without insurance for convicted persons or having an accident without adequate insurance.
- Not having auto insurance on a registered vehicle.
- Fall behind in paying child support.
SR-22s are also required to reinstate a revoked or suspended license. In addition, filing an SR-22 is a key step in obtaining a probationary or hardship license 3 .
How long should you have it for?
In most states, an SR-22 is required for three years, but you should contact your state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to find out exactly how long you'll need it for. It's important to note that if you cancel your auto insurance policy before the required SR-22 term ends, your insurer must notify traffic authorities of this. This could result in the suspension or revocation of your driver's license. You may even have to start the SR-22 process all over again.
Also, you should try to understand any other parameters that govern your SR-22. For example, you may want to know if your SR-22 period begins on the date of your traffic violation, the date your license was suspended, the date you reinstated your license, or another date 3 .
When your SR-22 period ends, be sure to tell your insurance company that you no longer need it. You can even start looking for cheaper auto insurance rates now because premiums can go down once three years have passed for a major traffic violation 2 .
FR-44 vs. SR-22
FR-44s are only required in Florida and Virginia and are mostly reserved for drivers with convictions related to driving while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Drivers who need an FR-44 must obtain more comprehensive liability coverage than the minimum required in their state 3 .
The SR-22 and FR-44 filing procedures are similar in many ways. Some of the main aspects they have in common include the following 4,5,6 :
- FR-44s are usually required through court order or you can check if you need one by contacting your local DMV.
- Your auto insurance company will file your FR-44 on your behalf with the state motor vehicle authority.
- You will need to have an FR-44 for three years, but certain factors and penalties can affect the total duration.
FR-44 in Virginia
According to an FR-44 is required if you are convicted of any of the following:
- Injure or injure others while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Driving with your driver's license pledged by a conviction.
In Virginia, the FR-44 liability coverage requirements are double the minimum:
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death of one person.
- $100,000 for bodily injury or death of multiple persons.
- $40,000 for property damage.
FR-44 in Florida
In Florida , FR-44 insurance is required for those convicted of driving under a DUI or DWI. The FR-44 liability coverage requirements in this state are as follows 6 :
- $100,000 bodily injury liability per person.
- $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident.
- $50,000 property damage liability.
Please note that these amounts are significantly higher than Florida's minimum requirements. For context, the minimum liability coverage for a typical driver is only $10,000 for bodily injury or death to one person 7 .
Where to get an SR-22
If you think you need an SR-22, check with an insurance agent. This professional will be able to guide you through the entire SR-22 filing process and make sure you comply with your state's insurance regulations.
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