Find out how an SR-22 certificate of financial responsibility relates to your car insurance policy.

Written by Ryan Lowell on January 4, 2012 & Posted in Insurance

I was convicted of driving under the influence (DUI). To get my driver's license reinstated, I need to obtain an SR-22. What is an SR-22 and why is it needed?

Jim B., Medford, Ore.

Jim,

You're not alone in wondering about an SR-22 and how it relates to car insurance. Most drivers are unfamiliar with the term, unless a situation arises where they are notified by the state that they need it.

The SR-22 is an actual form your auto insurance company files with the state that certifies you have a car insurance policy in force with the state-mandated coverages and limits.

The reasons the SR-22 must be carried vary by state (and not all states require it), but it's usually due to a serious situation such as:

  • Failing to provide the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) with proof of car insurance.
  • Getting into an accident while uninsured.
  • Being convicted of driving without insurance.
  • Being convicted of a DUI and needing to reinstate your license after a suspension.
  • Applying for a hardship license.

If you're being required to carry an SR-22, it means your state now wants to keep a better eye on you. The state wants to be assured that you have car insurance coverage when driving so that you will be financially responsible (e.g., covered by your insurance policy) if you damage others.

When the SR-22 is required, you must inform your insurance company and find out if it can file it on your behalf with the state. If your insurer doesn't issue SR-22s, you will have to shop around for new auto insurance coverage with an insurance provider that does.

The SR-22 itself is usually filed electronically and isn't very expensive; it may come with a small filing fee of around $25. Your car insurance rates, however, will be higher now because of your DUI conviction, which is seen as a major offense to auto insurance providers.

In fact, your rates may double. So it may be time to shop around for auto insurance quotes and find the coverage and rates right for you.

Just make sure you get the required coverage and SR-22 filed, because your driving record now has a notation that you must carry it. So, you won't be able to reinstate your license without it. Once reinstated, you must continue to carry the SR-22 for the state-mandated time period.

The required time to carry an SR-22 varies but typically is three years, which is the case in your home state of Oregon. If you cancel the SR-22 at any time, your insurance company will send in a cancellation form (SR-26). If your time limit for the SR-22 isn't up when the state receives the SR-26, your driving privileges will be taken away.

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