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Texas drivers may be required to obtain SR-22 insurance if they've committed certain traffic or moving violations, such as driving while intoxicated. Having an SR-22 form, which provides proof that your policy complies with Texas' liability insurance requirements, is typically necessary in order to reinstate your license. If you don't own a car, you can still meet this requirement by purchasing non-owners SR-22 insurance, which is typically cheaper than an owners policy.
- SR-22 Insurance in Texas
- Filing an SR-22 with the Texas DPS
- What is SR-22A Insurance?
- Non-Owner SR-22 Insurance
- Cost of SR-22 Insurance
SR-22 Insurance in Texas
If you've been convicted of certain moving violations in Texas, such as driving under the influence, or you have committed too many traffic offenses within a period of time, the state may require you to file an SR22 form with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). This can also be called “getting SR-22 insurance,” and it is often mandatory to reinstate your license if it has been suspended due to high-risk violations. SR22 insurance may also be required if you've refused to consent to a blood-alcohol test.
An SR-22 insurance policy is simply an auto insurance policy that complies with Texas' minimum liability insurance requirements. But the insurer also provides a certificate indicating your policy complies with Texas' financial responsibility laws, and the certificate needs to be filed directly with the state. Though an SR-22 form is essentially proof of coverage, the state won't accept your insurance card or your policy as alternatives.
In order to meet Texas' liability insurance requirements, your SR-22 insurance must have limits of at least:
- $30,000 of bodily injury coverage per person injured in an accident
- $60,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident
- $25,000 of property damage coverage per accident
The period of time you'll need to maintain SR-22 insurance can vary but typically extends for two years after the date of your conviction in Texas. If your policy lapses or is canceled during this period, the insurer is required to notify the state. And without another SR-22 filing submitted to the DPS, your license and registration can be suspended again. You'll not only have to purchase a new auto insurance policy, but you’ll also have to pay the reinstatement fees a second time, so it's important not to have a gap in coverage.
Once you've maintained an SR-22 policy for the period required by court order, it's your responsibility to notify your insurer that the form no longer needs to be filed. Otherwise, your insurance company will continue filing the SR-22 with the Texas DPS.
Filing an SR22 with the Texas DPS
In order to get your drivers license reinstated, you first need to pay a reinstatement fee before submitting an SR-22 form to the Texas DPS in Austin. You may also need to show proof that you've completed a repeat-offender DWI program if you were found guilty of driving while intoxicated and this was required by the court. The license reinstatement fee varies depending on the reason your license was suspended, but it is typically around $100.
You can either file the SR-22 insurance certificate yourself—by sending it to the DPS by mail or delivering in person, or your insurer can file it electronically on your behalf for a small fee. If you want to file the form yourself, you'll need to first ask your insurer for the certificate, as you can't complete it yourself.
Once the fees have been paid and SR-22 documents have been sent in, you can check your driver eligibility status online via the Texas DPS website. Your status will be updated to "eligible" from "ineligible" after your documents have been processed by the state. If there are any changes to your license status, the DPS will notify you by mail, so make sure they have your current mailing address on file. Otherwise, a filing issue could lead you to drive without being appropriately licensed.
What is SR-22A Insurance?
Instead of an SR-22, you might be required by the court to obtain SR-22A insurance in order to reinstate your license. SR-22A insurance is only required in a few states, including Texas, and it is essentially the same as SR-22 insurance. The primary difference is that SR-22A insurance cannot be paid for on a month-to-month basis; instead it needs to be paid for at least six months at a time.
An SR-22A requirement is typically only imposed if you have been caught driving without insurance and in violation of Texas' financial responsibility law multiple times.
Non-Owner SR-22 Insurance in Texas
If you need an SR-22 filing to reinstate your license, but you don't have a vehicle registered in your name, you can obtain a nonowners SR-22 insurance policy to meet the state's requirement. Non-owner SR-22 insurance in Texas provides liability coverage that meets the state's requirements, similar to an owners SR-22 policy, and it provides coverage whenever you drive a car belonging to someone else.
Since it's limited to liability coverage, and you presumably drive less regularly if you don't own a car, nonowner SR-22 insurance tends to have much lower rates than owners SR-22 insurance.
How to Get Cheap SR-22 Insurance in Texas
SR-22 insurance in Texas doesn't inherently cost more than other auto insurance policies. The only additional charge tied to the SR-22 form is if you have the insurer file it on your behalf, in which case the insurers generally charge a fee between $15 and $50.
The reason an SR-22 insurance policy will cost more than your previous coverage is primarily due to whatever violations caused you to need an SR-22 filing, such as getting a DUI. Our analysis has found that the average cost of auto insurance in Texas is $1,620 per year and that rates in the state typically increase by 49% after a DUI. So, for this example driver, their rates would increase to $2,414 per year after a DUI that required them to obtain an SR-22 insurance policy.
To get cheaper rates for SR-22 insurance in Texas, we recommend starting by comparing quotes for multiple insurers. Each insurance company evaluates drivers differently, so by getting competing quotes you can help ensure you get the best rates. Also, when getting an SR-22 insurance quote, make sure to ask about and check all discounts an insurer offers. There are some that you can only qualify for based on your vehicle or driving record, but others, such as defensive driver course discounts, you can obtain by completing some simple steps.