Car insurance with SR22 is an ordinary policy with liability limits that meet or exceed the minimum financial responsibly requirements of the State where it is issued. For a wide variety of reasons, many drivers are required to demonstrate proof of insurance to their State authority to reinstate and maintain driving privileges. The SR22 provides proof of such required insurance. The SR22 Form (document) is completed by the insurance company, and they File (submit) the Form to the appropriate authority monitoring compliance. Companies are required to notify them of any cancellation or lapse in coverage throughout the policy period.
Drivers needing car insurance with SR22 are generally identified as high risk drivers due to one or a combination of specific reasons. Naturally, people who are required to obtain the SR22 believe they are good drivers and not more of a risk than anyone else. Often times, the reason for a suspension has nothing to do with how a person drives. Failure to pay parking tickets is one example of why a safe driver may need to carry an SR22. Multiple moving violations may be cause for another driver. To characterize all who require car insurance with SR22 as high risk drivers is simply not accurate.
Sometimes the initial cause for the SR22 may actually motivate drivers to be more cautious. For many, it can be an effective “wake up” call to stop unsafe driving habits before something more serious happens. Some of the safest drivers, as evidenced by their very low loss ratios, are those that have been cited for drinking and driving. Most people, after the unpleasant and expensive ordeal of having their license suspended for a DUI or DWI, become careful about driving in the future. Such behavior became evident in our insurance agency when Florida began to separate DUI drivers by mandating FR44 insurance policies for them. These FR44 policies are only for drivers with a DUI, while SR22 policies encompass a wide variety of infractions. In fact, drivers with prior alcohol related citations have become sought after customers for many companies. Separating DUI drivers with FR44 insurance is a successful and well received program in both Florida and Virgina. Texas may be next to replace SR22 with FR44 insurance due to them having the highest amount of DWI drivers in the country.
One common trait in both FR44 and SR22 car insurance policyholders is that they acted irresponsibly at one time or another. Going forward, some people will adjust their behavior and become more responsible drivers. This fluctuation in behavior is difficult to predict and quantify, and therefore presents a challenge for companies to determine adequate premiums when rating. There are a wide variety of responses between companies and those drivers that require a filing. For example, some companies will cancel an existing policy, while others will charge a very high premium. Shopping around before purchasing car insurance with SR22 or FR44 filings is a necessity in order to secure the best rate possible.
Learning the minimum state requirements of where you reside is a logical first step in the process of securing affordable car insurance. Find companies with lower rates by comparing quotes for the same types of coverage. A smart practice is to compare prices again, prior to renewal, for any changes that may benefit you. Keep in mind the infraction causing suspension in the first place has a diminishing impact on rates over time. An experienced independent agent can be a great advocate by offering quotes and purchase options from many different companies. In your comparison, include quotes from captive agent companies, such as Allstate, and from direct writers, such as Geico. Unlike fines and fees for reinstatement, paying too much for car insurance with SR22 is easy to steer clear of.
After a policy is purchased, the company will file the SR22 in accordance with state procedure. Commonly this is completed electronically, as is required in Florida, allowing for quick updated Motor Vehicle Reports. Some Florida drivers have presented a “hard copy” of the SR22 certificate, to the right clerk at the DMV, and got their license reinstated immediately. It is not uncommon that various clerks at the same DMV location will handle the SR22 reinstatement differently, by accepting and reinstating a license with a “hard copy” of the Florida SR22 filing form. Even though they are no longer supposed to accept them in person, you might get lucky and walk away with your license too. Failure to continue insurance during the entire mandated time period will result in additional suspensions and increased fines, while discounts for prior continuous insurance will be forfeited.
Florida and Texas, the second and third largest marketplace for car insurance, have more SR22 filings than anywhere else in the country. Florida SR22 is mandated for three years and requires a policy to have liability limits of at least 10/20/10. The SR22 is electronically filed with the Florida Bureau of Financial Responsibility and drivers can typically reinstate their license the following day. Texas SR22 is mandated for two years and requires liability limits of 30/60/25. The SR22 is filed with the Texas Department of Public Safety and a copy may be physically brought to the Department of Motor Vehicles by the applicant for immediate license reinstatement. Florida FR44 insurance, exclusively for DUI drivers, requires liability limits of 100/300/50 and is processed the same way as Florida SR22 insurance. These are two good examples of how states require different coverage to satisfy the SR22 or FR44 mandate.
Understanding basic SR22 information is important when searching for a policy. State specific details will determine the exact type required. Just like any car insurance policy, the cost for SR22 insurance is determined by many different factors. Policyholders basically pay the same for their policy regardless of an SR22 requirement. A small additional administrative fee to process the SR22 is common.