What Car Insurance Coverage Do I Need?

Decide how much liability coverage is enough for similar type of drivers.


The SR-22 is also referred to as a "Certificate of Insurance" or a "Financial Responsibility Filing". It is a document of vehicle liability insurance that is legally required by most states in the USA from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office, for insurance policies that are high in risk. By high risk, it is referring to those people who have committed some offense on the road while driving. The offense could be anything from driving under influence to driving without insurance.

Although many people may refer to the SR-22 as an "insurance", in reality, this is not insurance. It is a certificate that your auto insurance company files for you, to vouch for you on your behalf that they can verify that you have the required coverage. You only need the SR-22 insurance if the law requires you to; it does not require everyone to obtain this certificate, only those who may have done certain violations of road safety or traffic laws. If you already have an insurance policy and then you are required to obtain the SR-22 certificate, then you can simply add it to your policy. If you do not have a policy already then you would have to get one from an auto insurance company.

How Do I Get a Form?

An SR-22 form can be easily obtained from a car insurance company because the reason or purpose of getting that form is to show that you have gotten and that you will maintain, a certain level of insurance coverage. In order to get the SR-22 you need to buy a car insurance policy first, there is no other way of obtaining this form.

The SR-22 is a form of a certificate of financial responsibility that shows that you have the required insurance coverage and the required insurance limits that you have mandated to carry. It should be filled and kept with the state. You also get to keep a copy of this form, which is sent to you by your car insurance company in case you get asked for it. This shows proof that you have the required insurance in place. A lot of states in the USA also have stored these forms electronically in their database with the law enforcement agencies or with the Department of Motor Vehicles. This way, you also get to keep a copy with yourself as proof and another one is maintained with the state electronically.

As already mentioned, in order to get the SR-22 form, you have to consult an auto insurance company that files for such policies, as many auto insurers do not. You then need to buy a policy for yourself with the minimum limits possible, which the state requires you to carry. Once this is filed, you then need to keep related insurance coverage for the period of time prescribed by the state. Most of the time it is for three years, but it can also vary.

How Much Does It Cost?

StateAvg Annual RatesSpeeding ViolationDUI + Accident
California $1,830 $3,060 $7,794
Texas 1,230 1,242 2,298
Florida 1,576 2,424 3,384
Illinois 1,320 2,784 2,004
Ohio 824 856 1,848

If you are filing the SR-22 form through an auto insurance company, they may charge you a fee, which is one time of anything between the price tag of $15 to $50; although on average, they take around $25. The cost of an auto insurance policy that is associated with SR-22 however differs. There is no set premium for the SR-22 policy. It may be calculated according to the standard rating factors, which may be, the type of vehicle that you drive, your driving record, or your geographical location. If however, you are considered as a risky driver according to your driving record, your premium payments can be higher in that case whether or not SR-22 is required. One way of finding out what exactly will be your SR-22insurance quotes, you will need to get a personalized car insurance quote for yourself. Most auto insurance companies will estimate a different premium as all these companies have a different way of looking at factors such as DUI, for example. So you can get quotes from different insurance companies and go for the cheapest SR- 22 insurance.

Why Do I Need It?

Most of the states in the USA require anyone who is driving to obtain this SR-22 form. There are many reasons the state may want you to acquire this form. A few reasons can be:

  • If you do not have liability insurance on your vehicle
  • If you get convicted of driving without insurance
  • If you were driving uninsured and got into a car accident
  • Any major alcohol offense
  • If you get convicted for reckless driving
  • If you are considered as a habitual offender of traffic rules
  • If you want to reinstate your license after it has been revoked or suspended
  • If you are applying for probationary permit

Different states might have different reasons for encouraging drivers to obtain the SR-22 form. If you want to what are the reasons your specific state requires you to keep one, you can contact the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for more information.

How Long Do I Need It?

The length of time that you may be required to carry the SR-22 insurance form can be anything from one year to five years. In most states, however, you are required to carry it for three years at least. In other states, the period for carrying the form may vary according to the offense you may have committed. How long you need to keep it also depends upon when you were required to obtain it, that is the "start" date and from there onwards the state may count your time. The "start" date, however, varies by state as well. Some states may want you to carry it according to your offense, which may be suspension date or offense date.

It is not a permanent requirement; you do not need to carry the SR-22 form with you for the rest of your life. In about three years, or maybe a little less or a little more (that varies from state to state) you will not need to carry the SR-22 form with you. By that time, you should call your auto insurance company and check with them to have it removed from your policy. It is always good to double-check whether it has really expired or not before jumping the gun and canceling it altogether. It usually does take about three years in order to clean up your driving record. So if there would have been some violations in your record, that would also be cleared by three years' time.

You better not cancel your SR-22 before your time is up, that is your filing period has ended, or else the state will get to know about it and penalize you for it. If however you have canceled or removed your car insurance that was associated with your SR-22, then you need to inform the state about it and file another form, SR-26, in which the insurer will inform the state about the cancellation. The state may then take some action against you, which may be in the form of revoking your driver's license or your car's registration.

What If I Do Not Own a Car?

Whether or not you have a car, you would still be required to carry an SR-22 form. If you do not own a car of your own, in that case, you will have to get non-owner SR-22 insurance to fulfill the SR-22 filing requirement.

In a regular SR-22 policy, you obviously own and insure that vehicle. But in a non-owners policy, you do not have a vehicle of your own that you can insure or have any access to a vehicle that you can insure by yourself. If however, you do have a vehicle registered to you, or you have one in your household, or even if somebody provides you a car for your frequent or regular usage, in that case, you will not be eligible for the non-owners policy for coverage. If however, none of the above factors apply to you, then you can get a non-owners policy that is in agreement with your SR-22 requirement.

It must be noted here that if at any point in time during your insurance policy, you do become a car owner from a non-owner and decide to buy a car for yourself, you would need to inform and alert your car insurance company. The company will then change your policy from non-owners policy to the owner's policy. If you forget to inform your insurance company about buying a new car and then you get into a car accident, then the coverage that you may be entitled to otherwise would be denied in the non-owners policy.

Take These Precautions And Stay Safe

You can avoid the complications and the expenses that are involved with the SR-22 insurance by simply practicing safe driving and maintaining the insurance of your car. There are a few basic tips that you may follow in order to stay away from the SR-22 form.

  • Do not drink and drive. One of the most common reasons why people get these certificates is due to the reason of DUI and DWI.
  • Drive safe. Not only can too many moving violations result in an SR-22, but they can also significantly increase your car insurance premiums.
  • Obey the traffic rules and be careful of different rules in different states. Mostly it is moving violations that cause the need to obtain the SR-22 certificate. Not only that, but too many violations will also result in an increase in your insurance premiums.
  • If you do not have any insurance, then it is better not to drive. If you do not have any kind of car insurance and you get pulled over while driving a car, you would be required to show insurance, the lack of which would result in you having to get SR-22 insurance.

To conclude, it can be said that this SR-22 form actually helps to keep the car drivers in check and the bottom line is, you should always drive carefully and obey the traffic laws and rules and you should always stay insured and that way, you would never need to know any of these details again!

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