What Is an SR22?

By Anton Behr

  • Overview

    If you have recently violated any traffic laws or had your license revoked or suspended, you may be required to have an SR-22 on file. Depending on where you live, you may be breaking the law if you drive without one. Read on to learn who needs to file an SR-22 and how it affects your driving record.
  • Function

    The details of an SR-22 vary state-by-state, but generally, the court requires you to have an SR-22 when his your license has been suspended or revoked or if you have been in an accident or violated certain traffic laws. The SR-22 is filed by the insurance company as proof that a driver is covered by liability insurance and meets the requirements set by the state.
  • Misconceptions

    An SR-22 form should not be mistaken for car insurance. Rather, it is proof of insurance. However, an SR-22 is not required to be kept in the vehicle while driving in addition to the standard proof of automobile insurance. In order to obtain an SR-22, you must already have basic liability auto insurance. The SR-22 shows your state that your policy is active.

  • State Laws

    The particular requirements and laws concerning SR-22 filings varies by state. Some states, such as Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma do not require SR-22 filings. Most states will require an SR-22 filing for violations involving driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and at-fault accidents. However, some states, such as California, will require SR-22 filings for other violations, such as uninsured accidents, unpaid parking violations or too many moving violations. You will likely be notified of your SR-22 requirements when you appear in traffic court, but be sure to stay abreast of changing laws and requirements. As with any insurance policy, you must disclose any incidents or violations when applying for automotive coverage. The limitations and increased premiums from your previous accidents will likely carry over to your new policy, even if you move to a different state.
  • Getting SR-22 Insurance

    Insurance companies will be familiar with the SR-22 requirements in your state and often have special pricing and policies for those that require SR-22 filings. Consult with an agent and discuss your situation to make sure that you are able to drive legally in the state. For more information regarding state law, consult your state department of motor vehicles or department of transportation.
  • Time Frame

    Ideally, the SR-22 process culminates in the full reinstatement of your license. How long you are required to keep an SR-22 depends on state law and the reason for your revocation or limitations. For example, in Illinois, the SR-22 must be kept on file for 36 months. In other states, you must also pay a fine to reinstate your license. Check with your state agency to find out what your requirements are.
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