The most common reasons for being required by the court to provide an SR-22 are being convicted of driving while intoxicated (DUI), being found guilty of multiple traffic violations, or being involved in an accident where you are at fault while you are driving without insurance. Following are four things you should know about SR-22s if you have been ordered by the court to provide one:
The SR-22 is Not Actual Insurance
The SR-22 is simply proof you have insurance and you are current on payments. Basically, if you fail to meet your insurance obligations, the insurance company will report you to the state. The state will then take action against you, which will likely result in your driving privileges being revoked. Fortunately, filing an SR-22 is not prohibitively expensive for most people -- the average cost is $50.
However, even though SR-22s are not actual insurance, they are still a service insurance companies offer -- but not every insurance company provides this service. It's common, for instance, for insurers to automatically cancel the policies of those who have been convicted of DUI or who have multiple traffic offenses resulting in being required by the court to file an SR-22.
Fortunately, there are insurance companies willing to work with you in these situations so you can retain your driving privileges provided you keep current on your insurance premiums.
Not All States Require SR-22s
Although not all states require SR-22s, the situation can get tricky if are required to provide one in one state and consequently relocate to a state that does not have a law pertaining to SR-22s. You may still required to carry an SR-22 by some states, but depending on the state, you may be able to appeal this. If you move to the state of Illinois, you will have the option of filing an affidavit that states you are no longer a resident of the state that required the SR-22, thereby freeing you of that particular financial responsibility.
State Laws Regarding SR-22s Vary Widely
Because insurance laws are determined by individual state statutes, they have the potential to change each time the legislature holds a session -- which is every two years in most states. Significant variation in state laws concerning concerning SR-22s also exist.
For instance, the average time a driver is required to provide the courts with an SR-22 is three years, although some states require a five year filing period. If you have been required to file an SR-22, it's important you obtain the assistance of an insurance agent who keeps current on applicable state laws, such as an agent who works for an insurance company that specializes in hard-to-insure cases.
You Can Be Required to File an SR-22 Even if You Don't Own a Car
While you are legally able to obtain and keep a license to drive in all 50 states without having to provide proof of insurance if you do not own a vehicle, some states will require you to file an SR-22 even if you don't have a car in your name.
While this can certainly be a frustrating situation, the reason behind it is to ensure you will be covered if you are driving someone else's vehicle. For instance, if you are going to be driving your mother's car, it's likely her policy does not cover other drivers who have been convicted of the types of offenses that result in the court ordering the driver to provide an SR-22.
Like most people who are faced with filing an SR-22, you are probably apprehensive concerning the process. A skilled insurance agent will be an invaluable asset for you and others in this situation.
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