Auto Insurance Basics

What Is SR-22 Auto Insurance, and How Does It Work?

Find the Cheapest Insurance Quotes in Your Area

Currently Insured?

SR-22 auto insurance is a document that proves that a driver has the required minimum amount of liability coverage on their insurance policy. Drivers are only required to have an SR-22 form filed in their state when they've committed certain motor vehicle violations. 

Table of Contents

What is SR-22 Car Insurance?

An SR-22 is a Certificate of Financial Responsibility that gets filed when one of the below triggers occurs, and a court orders the form to be filed.

  • Convicted of a DUI or DWI that's alcohol or drug-related
  • Involved in an at-fault accident while driving without auto insurance
  • Convicted of repeat traffic offenses or a high volume of traffic offenses in a short period of time
  • Caught driving with a revoked or restricted license

In Georgia and Texas, the SR-22A is typically used for repeat violators of financial responsibility laws and requires that the policy the form is attached to be a six-month term that is paid in full. In Florida and Virginia there is the FR-44. It is essentially the same the SR-22 but requires that the driver have twice the standard minimum liability coverage in each state

How do You Get a SR-22?

Drivers typically find out that they need to file an SR-22 form when they're at an administrative court hearing, commonly after a license suspension and the beginning of a probationary driving period. The judge presiding over the case will order it from the driver, and drivers are responsible for telling their auto insurance company. Your car insurance company does the actual SR-22 filing on behalf of their policyholders with the state's Department of Motor Vehicles. Getting an SR-22 signifies you are a risky driver however, so your normal car insurance company may drop you. If they drop you, you will have to find another company to file the SR-22 for you. 

How Much Does a SR-22 Cost?

The fee to file an SR-22 differs from state to state. It generally costs around $25 to file an SR-22, but can vary anywhere from $17 to $45 from what we've seen. Typically, auto insurance companies will file it for you, and then pass the fee along to the policyholder as part of their premiums. Anyone ordered to file a SR-22 should contact their auto insurance provider regarding the filing fee and any changes to their policy.

How Long Do You Need to Carry a SR-22

Drivers generally have the certificate of financial responsibility on their records anywhere from three to five years, depending on the state. As long at the policy is active, the SR-22 will remain valid. If a policyholder cancels the policy or it lapses for any reason, their insurance company is required to notify proper state authorities. Once a policyholder no longer requires a SR-22 form, or if the SR-22 period expires, the driver’s auto insurance provider files a SR-26 effectively ending the sponsorship on their behalf. This is good news for a driver who no longer has to file the form with the state and can begin proving they are not as high risk a driver. If a driver allows their policy to expire, they will not legally be permitted to drive and could face additional legal consequences. 

How Does an SR-22 Affect Your Auto Insurance Rates?

The underlying incidents that triggered the SR-22 filing will typically increase your auto insurance rates, and potentially result in getting your coverage dropped after the policy ends. Carriers determine auto insurance quotes based on how risky a driver may be to insure and how likely they are to result in a claim. SR-22 triggers such as being in an accident, driving with gaps in your insurance coverage, traffic violations, or driving while drunk are risky behaviors that will drive rates up.

The actual change in your rates will be based on your driving experience and personal circumstances. Average annual premiums can increase by 32% with a speeding violation, and 135% with a DUI and an accident for the drivers in our high-risk auto insurance analysis. Generally speaking, the impact to your insurance because of a traffic violation SR-22 is going to be less severe than a serious DUI / Accident SR-22. In certain states like Ohio and Texas, we didn't see rates rise that much based on speeding tickets. Here is a directional breakdown of the average cost differential for speeding violations or a DUI and an accident from our sample drivers.

StateAvg Annual RatesSpeeding ViolationDUI + Accident
California $1,830 $3,060 $7,794
Texas 1,230 1,242 2,298
Florida 1,576 2,424 3,384
Illinois 1,320 2,784 2,004
Ohio 824 856 1,848

Who Offers SR-22 Certificates? 

Essentially any auto insurance company licensed in a state can file a SR-22. If your current company drops you, and need to find a new company, you may want to find one that won't heavily penalize you for your conviction. We've found larger companies like GEICO and Progressive tend to penalize drivers heavier for a DUI than smaller, more local companies. Even without a SR-22, shopping for car insurance is incredibly important for finding the best price, but it becomes imperative. You do not want to be stuck paying an extra thousand dollars a year for your insurance. 

Comments and Questions