The biggest challenge for drivers needing an SR-22 or FR-44 form isn't always the extra cost. It's finding good information, including what the form is, what it entails, and why it may be needed.
To help bridge the information gap, we've created this practical guide to SR-22s and related FR-44s. And if you need to request one for yourself or someone on your policy, give us a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262).
what is an SR-22?
Though the details of the form may vary from state to state, an SR-22 (aka SR-22 insurance or SR-22 bond) is a Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR) and not insurance itself.
An SR-22 is filed with your state by your insurance company and certifies that you carry the state-mandated amount of liability coverage on your car insurance policy.
Esurance can file this form only in the state your policy's issued in.
Who needs an SR-22?
Your state's licensing authority will let you know if you need one. Drivers who need to file SR-22s with their state DMVs often committed one or more major traffic violations.
Common reasons for needing an SR-22 include:
- DUI or DWI offenses
- Other major moving violations like reckless driving
- Several traffic infractions in a short period of time
- Being found at-fault in an accident while driving uninsured
- Driving with a suspended or revoked license
how to file an SR-22
The filing requirements and the process of filing an SR-22 can vary widely by state. Your insurer can explain how it works where you live, but here's a general idea of how the process could work.
When a court or the state informs you that you need an SR-22, you'll typically need to contact your insurance provider. If you're not currently insured, you'll likely need to buy a policy before your driving privileges are reinstated.
In some cases, drivers who need to buy a new policy to file an SR-22 are required to pay for a policy term in full. This way the insurer can certify that drivers meet state requirements for the term's duration without the risk of a non-payment policy cancellation.
If you plan on obtaining an SR-22 from your current insurer, check to make sure they're authorized to file this document. Not all insurers have the ability to file an SR-22.
The cost to file is typically around $25, and the document will be on file with the DMV or state traffic authority. There's no need to carry a copy once the form's been filed.
Insurance costs after an SR-22 is filed
Having an SR-22 on record can indicate you're a riskier driver to insure, which can have an impact on your car insurance rates. The best way to combat an increase in rates is to drive safely for an extended period. In other words, prove to your insurer that you're not a risky driver.
How long the SR-22 is required
The length required varies from state to state and is often tied to the severity of the offense. Generally, drivers can expect an SR-22 to stay on file for 1 to 5 years, with 2 to 3 years being the norm.
Canceling insurance while an SR-22 is on file
The SR-22 requires that drivers maintain the state-mandated amount of liability insurance for the complete term. Because you're required to pay in full ahead of the policy term, you typically won't be able to cancel your coverage mid-term (you've already paid for it, after all).
But if your policy is canceled for any reason, your insurer needs to alert the state within a couple of weeks. Once the state learns that your insurance has been canceled, your driving privileges could be suspended or revoked.
after your probationary term is over: filing an SR-26
When your SR-22 expires, your insurer will file another form, usually an SR-26, with your state DMV. This document may also be filed if your insurance is canceled.
If this form is filed before your policy term and probationary period are over — which suggests that you may be driving without financial responsibility in place — the state may revoke your driving privileges.
Drivers in certain states, such as Maryland and Delaware, may be required to file an FR-19 form, which certifies that that you'll carry the state's required minimum liability coverage on a registered vehicle.
the differences between an FR-44 and an SR-22
The FR-44 is another proof of financial responsibility form, similar to the SR-22, that's used only in Florida and Virginia. Unlike the SR-22, which only requires that drivers meet the minimum amount of car insurance required by their state, the FR-44 requires that your liability coverage limits are significantly higher than state minimums.
Individuals convicted of the following violations may be required to carry an FR-44:
- DUI (with or without injury)
- Driving on a suspended license
The state lets drivers know which form is required and for how long.
The financial costs of an FR-44
The financial penalty to drivers required to carry an FR-44 can be hefty.
For example, in Florida, drivers without an FR-44 requirement are required to carry $10,000 of bodily injury and property damage coverage. Drivers who do need to file an FR-44 are required to carry a minimum of $100,000/$300,000 for bodily injury coverage and $50,000 for property damage coverage. And in general, the higher the limits, the more you can expect to pay for the coverage.
Esurance requires FR-44 drivers to pay for their policies in full to guarantee the policy won't be canceled mid-term, which the states don't allow.
Once you have successfully completed your probationary term, an FR-46 form will be filed by your insurer. The FR-46 performs the same function as the SR-26.
requesting an SR-22 or FR-44
If you're an Esurance customer looking for more information on filing an SR-22 or an FR-44, call 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262). We're here to help at these times.
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