Why do I have to carry an SR-22?
California may require a driver to obtain an SR-22.
Some of the reasons California may require an SR-22 certificate of financial responsibility include, but aren’t limited to, the following:
- Failure to carry liability insurance on your vehicle
- Conviction for driving without insurance
- Driving uninsured and being involved in a motor vehicle accident
- DUI, DWI or other major alcohol offense convictions
- Serious moving violation (such as reckless driving) convictions
- Accumulating too many DMV points
- Being termed a habitual traffic offender
- Needing to apply for a hardship or probationary permit (while license is suspended)
- Reinstating your license after a suspension or revocation
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How do I get an SR-22 Certificate?
If you need an SR-22, you can only get it from an insurance company. The purpose of the certificate is to show that you’ve obtained and will maintain certain insurance coverage. There is no other way to get the SR-22; you can’t get the form without buying an auto insurance policy.
To obtain an SR-22, you must go through an auto insurance company that offers the filing (not all do) and buy a policy with at least the minimum limits that the state notified to carry. Once you have the certificate filed, you’ll need to maintain the related insurance coverage for the state-mandated period. The time period varies, but most commonly, it’s for three years.
The certificate must be filed with the state as a certificate of financial responsibility to verify that you have the mandated insurance coverage and limits. Your insurance company sends you a copy of the certificate to keep as proof. However, most states have it stored electronically in their records so that law enforcement or the Department of Motor Vehicles can look it up if needed.
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Are there different types of SR-22 forms?
There are three main types of SR-22 certificates and your insurance company can help you determine which one you need.
- Owner certificate: covers cars you own
- Owner-operator certificate: covers any car you drive, regardless of the owner
- Non-owner certificate: covers you when you do not own a car but are required to have an SR-22
What will happen if I do not carry SR-22 insurance?
If you do not carry the required insurance coverage for an SR-22, the insurance company is required to notify the state Department of Motor Vehicles.
The motor vehicle department will suspend or revoke your license which will remove your driving privileges and you may be required to pay fines or penalties depending on your state.
If you made a mistake and failed to pay your insurance renewal on time and your policy lapses, contact your insurance agent immediately to resolve the issue.
Yes, you must tell your current insurance company about the need for the form so that it can file it for you. Even if you already have coverage that meets or exceeds state-mandated coverage, the state can still require you to file an SR22.
This allows the state to make certain you will maintain your car insurance coverage for the specified time period.
You can’t skip telling your insurance company about the need for an SR22, keep your current insurance coverage in place and then buy a separate one for an SR22. That type of duplicate car insurance coverage isn’t allowed.
If your present insurer doesn’t file SR-22s, you need to cancel your current policy and purchase a car insurance policy with an insurance company that will file the form for you.
You need to purchase insurance coverage that the state mandates. This requirement varies by state. It may be your state’s minimum liability coverage or higher liability coverage (especially if you need an FR-44 instead of an SR-22).
The car insurance coverage purchased that is associated with the SR-22 form will be rated according to all the factors that normally go into rating a policy, regardless of the SR-22 form filing. The rates don’t depend on whether you are getting an SR-22.
Your driving record is a rating factor in auto insurance costs. The reason that you’re required to acquire and maintain the SR-22, such as reinstating your license after a DUI suspension, may affect your rates; however, the SR-22 form itself doesn’t beyond the filing fee.
If your license was suspended due to a DUI or too many points, it will increase your liability insurance rates.
If you carry an SR-22 in one state but move to another state, you must fulfill the SR-22 requirement for your former state, even though you no longer reside there. To do this, you usually need an insurance carrier authorized to do business and file SR-22s in both states.
Your car insurance policy in your new state must have coverage and limits that at least meet the SR-22 minimums required by your former state. If the new state’s requirements are higher, you will need those even higher limits on your policy.
If you’re moving to a state that doesn’t require SR-22s, you will need to discuss with the state requiring the SR-22 what you will need to do to comply with its SR-22 mandate.