When Should You Consider Auto Insurance with an SR-22 Certificate?
Do you have certain traffic related convictions resulting in high-risk driver status? Possessing an SR-22 certificate means you must purchase auto insurance at certain levels, with added coverage and specific limits, to remain legal on the roads. When is this appropriate for you?
Prior convictions such as implied consent or a DUI for instance, creates a situation where you may be considered a risky, or high-risk, driver when obtaining insurance. Therefore, you must obtain coverage quickly and at levels specified in the SR-22 certificate to have a legal right to continue operating your vehicle.
What is an SR-22 exactly? It is essentially a verification of car insurance required for individuals with serious traffic offenses such as reckless driving, multiple moving violations, driving without insurance, or an alcohol-related offense. It is mandated by the states and is provided by an insurance company who shows the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that you are a responsible driver with a valid auto insurance policy.
If you have one of these dangerous driving offenses on your license, you may be rejected for conventional auto insurance so in this situation, you should consider auto insurance with an SR-22 certificate. This certificate states that you are operating a motor vehicle legally in the state and that you maintain the required car insurance. The SR-22 verifies proof of financial responsibility and must remain on file for 3 to 5 years or until proof of coverage is no longer necessary.
But do you really need it? Unless you legally surrender your license, SR-22 certification is obligatory in certain states. In such cases, the DMV will inform you that you need to be in compliance with the regulations in order to drive legally and your insurance company will provide you with an SR-22 certificate. Once completed, it will be physically mailed or electronically stored with the DMV.
In most cases, having an SR-22 ensures you are appropriately adapting your coverages to comply with state laws. Additionally, and more importantly, it safeguards other drivers and minimizes the risk of you operating on the roads without any form of insurance.
When trying to reduce your insurance rate, increasing your liability insurance coverage to the state minimum requirement typically results in lower premiums. Furthermore, you need to demonstrate to the insurer that you can be a responsible driver on the roads. This could mean paying fines, completing a defensive driving course, or attending a state-sanctioned driving program.
Having an SR-22 continues to raise your premiums even after the required period of time. To offset this expense, you could take preventative steps such as increasing your insurance deductibles, lowering mileage usage, or investing in devices such as anti-theft mechanisms.
In the event you cannot find an insurer to provide coverage or one that charges unreasonably high rates for your SR-22, you may be eligible for an assigned risk plan. The assigned risk plan allows high risk drivers to receive coverage at specific levels of coverage at a pre-determined rate.
Though acquiring an SR-22 certificate requires extra time and effort and can be expensive, it is advisable to shop for insurance well in advance of you needing to file for an SR-22. Researching multiple insurers, including a dedicated specialist, can help you to find competitive rates while ensuring you have the necessary coverage ages to remain legally insured.
When considering auto insurance with an SR-22 certificate, it is important to ask if your state requires it and to which minimum liability limits it must be filed. Additionally, you should speak with your insurance company to see if you can customize your coverages to accommodate your needs and determine whether SR-22 coverage needs to be continuous or if you can have it cancelled when no longer required.
Next you must understand the consequences of not filing an SR-22, as failure to do so can result in the suspension of your license and vehicle registration and possibly lead to fines, jail time, or more serious punishments.
Following that, you should know your correspondence and insurance status will be monitored. If you are late on a payment, cancel your insurance policy, or if your insurance company notifies the DMV that you have ceased their coverage, your license can be suspended again until you are able to provide verification that the SR-22 certification is filed and in good standing.
Lastly, you should know that finding cheap auto insurance with an SR-22 can be difficult and cost more than if your record had fewer infractions, but it is not impossible. With many states now allowing certain convictions to be expunged from your driving record as the years progress, you can work towards lowering your premiums while driving legally and responsibly.
The following sections explore: the cost of car insurance inform of an SR-22 certificate, required coverages for an SR-22 policy, what to do after filing an SR-22 certificate, and different types of SR-22 certificates.
When talking about the cost of auto insurance when an SR-22 certificate is involved, you should know that your premiums would be higher than conventional insurance policies. Note that the SR-22 involved is an extra filing fee so the cost of an SR-22 policy will depend on the insurance company and the kind of policy you need. Depending on the policy and your driving record, your premiums could increase by up to 10 times your original rate.
Regarding the required coverages for an SR-22 policy, you should be aware that the coverage must be equal to or greater than your state’s minimum auto insurance liability requirements. In most cases, you will be required to secure Bodily Injury Liability (BIL) and Property Damage Liability (PDL) with minimum coverage limits.
When it comes to what to do after filing your SR-22 certificate, it is important to understand that you must maintain continuous coverage for the duration prescribed or you risk having your license suspension renewed. You should notify your insurer when you are no longer in need of an SR-22 certificate or you switch to a different carrier to make sure that your old insurer files the appropriate paperwork with the DMV.
Finally, when looking into different types of SR-22 certificates, you will want to consider an operator, owner or operator/owner certificate. An operator policy insures you while you operate any non-owned vehicle; an owner policy covers you and any vehicle owned by you; and an operator/owner policy covers you while operating any non-owned vehicle, as well as any vehicle you own.
When you are a high-risk driver, SR-22 insurance may be the only option for you. When considering auto insurance with an SR-22 certificate, make sure to research the costs and coverages you need to remain a legal driver and also review the type of SR-22 certificate you need to purchase. You should also be aware of both what to do after filing an SR-22 and what the consequences are for not maintaining a valid policy. Ultimately, the filing is a necessary but expensive process that will help you remain a legal driver in your state.