What Is an SR22 Bond?

By Joshua Miller

  • Overview

    Laws vary from state to state on the legal requirements one must meet in order to be a licensed driver. In most states, one must carry proof of insurance in order to drive; being caught without proof of insurance carries a stiff penalty. An SR22 is a financial responsibility document that informs the state that a driver has met his or her insurance requirements.
  • Function

    While all states require drivers to be insured in order to legally drive, most states do not require that the state has documentation of said insurance unless the driver is pulled over or otherwise attracts the attention of the Department of Motor Vehicles. In certain cases, however, a driver will need to register his or her insurance with the state, and that is where the SR22 comes in. The SR22 is generally filed by the insurance provider and tells the state that the driver does have the insurance required to be on the road. In the event that the insurance policy is canceled, the provider is likewise required to inform the state that the driver does not have the required coverage.
  • Causes

    There are many reasons a state may require that an SR22 be filed. Most often, a DUI is the cause, but being caught driving without insurance, being in an accident without insurance, repeated traffic violations, or license suspension or revocation may also result in requiring an SR22. Canceling one's insurance during the period that one is required to have an SR22 usually results in license suspension and a longer SR22 requirement period.

  • Considerations

    Sometimes, a person may be required to carry insurance even if he or she does not own a car. In this case, he or she would purchase a non-owners policy. The exact definition of this varies from provider to provider and from state to state, but in general, a non-owners policy does not cover any vehicle that belongs to the driver or anyone in the driver's household.
  • Time Frame

    In most cases, a driver has to have an SR22 for a set amount of time, depending on the nature of the offense. Three years is the usual amount of time for first-time offenders, but repeat offenders will have more time added. Five, ten, or twenty years may be added depending on the severity of the crime, and some drivers will require an SR22 for the rest of their lives.
  • State-to-State Differences

    Some states (Pennsylvania, Delaware, Minnesota, Kentucky, New Mexico, and Oklahoma) never require an SR22, but if a driver required one in his or her previous state, it is still necessary to remain on file with that state; moving from Ohio to Oklahoma will not absolve one of his or her responsibilities towards Ohio. Additionally, if the requirements for insurance are different, the driver must meet the requirements for both states in order to drive legally. Neither New York nor North Carolina, however, require out-of-state SR22 filings.
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