What is SR22 insurance?

The SR-22 is a form that the insurance company files with the state on behalf of an insured driver. An SR22 insurance form is usually required after a driver has received a ticket for being at fault in an accident while not having insurance, or after a DUI or DWI conviction for drunk or impaired driving.

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The SR22 insurance form informs the state that the driver has adequate insurance to cover any damages or expenses that might arise from an accident. For public safety, this is considered especially important for drivers who have had a DUI conviction or been found at fault in an accident without insurance. State governments makes no allowances for details surrounding an accident or conviction, and each states' rules for who needs to file an SR22 are inflexible -- as they say, justice is blind.

Once an insurance policy is in place, the insurance company sends the SR22 insurance form to the state agency that manages driver licenses and car registration. In most states, this agency is called the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), but the name does vary in some states. If the car insurance policy ever lapses, the insurance company will immediately notify the DMV or other state agency and, in most cases, the DMV will revoke the driver's license.

SR22 insurance can be more expensive than other insurance, simply because of the perceived risk involved in insuring drivers for whom an SR22 form is required. Additionally, depending on laws in your state, there will likely be extra fees involved for filing the SR22 form. Drivers may be able to choose between paying these fees to the insurance company, directly to the DMV, or paying on an installment plan by adding the fee amount to their insurance premium payments.

Drivers for whom an SR22 form has been filed must be mindful of moving from one state to another. Again, this is an area where individual state laws can become complex. In general, drivers must maintain their SR22 insurance in the state they previously lived in, as well as their new state of residence, at least for a short period of time.

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While most states require an SR22 insurance form after a DUI or other serious offense, there are exceptions. North Carolina and New York do not require an SR22 insurance form. This can cause difficulties when dealing with an SR22 offense and moving to or from these states from another state. It is reportedly very challenging to obtain affordable insurance coverage in New York after a serious driving offense.

There are a few other states that don't require an SR22 form: Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. However, unlike North Carolina or New York, these five states require that SR22-insured drivers who move from another state must maintain their SR22 status in their former state of residence.

One final note: since the DMV (or similar state agency) is responsible for managing SR22 forms and enforcing the SR22 insurance requirements, it is the DMV that enforces SR22 laws. If a driver's SR22 status lapses, he or she will not be actively pursued by police. However, police may check SR22 status during a traffic stop, which could result in the driver's arrest and impounding of their vehicle.