January 11, 2022

What Is an SR-22, and Do I Need One?

And how it affects insurance rates

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If you’ve never heard of an SR-22 before, consider yourself lucky. In a nutshell, an SR-22 is a certificate proving that you have liability insurance for your car. However, you’ll need to get it only in specific instances where you broke the law, and the requirements vary by state. In this guide, we’ll tell you what an SR-22 is, what the closely related FR-44 is, and how they can affect the cost of your auto insurance.

What is an SR-22?

Let’s start by defining the term.

Definition

An SR-22 is a certificate of financial responsibility that verifies that you have motor vehicle liability insurance. It signifies high-risk drivers with a poor driving record. Note that an SR-22 is not the same thing as the insurance policy itself; rather, it’s just proof of insurance, and you’ll need a separate liability insurance policy in order to obtain an SR-22.

Typical Terms

Most states require you to have an SR-22 after you’ve been convicted of a DUI, reckless driving, driving without insurance, etc. Here are some instances where you could be legally required to get an SR-22:

  • You’ve given false proof of insurance.
  • You’ve had your driver’s license or vehicle registration suspended.
  • You’ve been convicted of DWI (driving while intoxicated).
  • You have an unsatisfied judgment.
  • You’ve been declared a habitual violator.
  • You haven’t provided insurance at all.
  • You’ve been convicted of DUI (driving under the influence).
  • You refused to submit to a breathalyzer test after being stopped for suspicion of DUI.
  • You left the scene of an accident resulting in an injury or death.
  • You’ve had mandatory insurance supervisions.
  • You’ve been convicted of negligent homicide while driving.
  • You’ve been found at fault for an uninsured accident.
  • You had bad conduct after an accident.
  • You had a reckless operation conviction.
  • You’ve refused information on your driving record.
  • You’re applying for a probationary/hardship permit.
  • You’ve had a civil judgment filed against you.
  • You’ve been convicted of falsifying insurance certification.
  • You’ve been convicted for voluntary or involuntary manslaughter.

Typically, you’ll have to carry the SR-22 for three years after your license is reinstated, but again, each state has different laws surrounding SR-22s (and some states don’t require them at all). Check your state’s department of motor vehicles website for more information.

NOTE

SR-22s aren’t required in Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania.

How Does an SR-22 Work?

The requirements for filing an SR-22 vary by state. For example, you could have gotten a DUI, which meant that your license will be suspended. Regardless of the reason, you’ll be notified of a letter that you need to get an SR-22, after your driver’s license has been reinstated.

You’ll get your SR-22 from your car insurance company, which will put it on your policy for the required amount of time. You’ll have to pay a filing fee for the SR-22 insurance, usually just $25. See what your company offers in terms of fees for filing an SR-22.

If your SR-22 has been canceled or terminated, or has lapsed, the provider will notify the state1. That means that if you’re required to have motor vehicle liability insurance and you let your policy lapse, you could receive additional penalties, fines, or even jail time.

What is an FR-44?

The FR-44 is the little-known cousin of the SR-22 and is available only in Virginia and Florida (although Virginia has SR-22s for certain convictions).

Definition

An FR-44 is a form that provides proof of motor vehicle liability insurance, much like an SR-22. The major difference is that while an SR-22 requires only the state’s minimum liability requirements, an FR-44 requires additional coverage as mandated by the state and is used for more serious convictions.

For example, in Virginia, you will have to get an SR-22 if you have falsified your insurance certification. But if you were convicted of a more serious crime like a DUI, you’ll have to get an FR-44, which indicates double the minimum coverage in the state.

Typical Terms

In Florida, an FR-44 means that you have to have liability coverage for $10,000/$20,000/$10,0000, i.e bodily injury liability per person/ bodily injury liability per accident/ property damage liability for DUI convictions on or before October 1, 2007. For convictions after this date, the requirements are even higher at $100,000/$300,000/$50,000. This is much more than minimum car insurance in Florida, where bodily injury liability isn’t required and only $10,000 worth of property damage liability is required.

In Virginia, people must have $50,000/$100,000/$40,000 worth of liability coverage, twice as much as the state minimum coverage.

How Does an FR-44 Work?

In Virginia, you’ll be required to get an FR-44 if you are convicted of:

  • Maiming someone while under the influence
  • Driving while under the influence of drugs or intoxicants
  • Driving while your license has been forfeited for a conviction; if you’re a juvenile, you’ve been found “not innocent”
  • Violating a federal law or the law of any other state or local ordinance similar to the above crimes

Even if you live outside of Virginia currently, you’ll still need an FR-44 from your insurance provider proving that you meet double the minimum requirements. You’ll have to submit a letter to the DMV on your insurance company’s letterhead stating your coverage that’s double the minimum.2

In Florida, if you have a DUI conviction, you’ll be required to get an FR-44 for three years after the date your license is reinstated and your driving privileges are restored.3 This applies to both in-state and out-of-state drivers.

SR-22 vs. FR-44

Aren’t these basically the same thing? Not really. Let us explain.

Similarities

  • Both prove that the person has liability insurance.
  • Both are required by law under certain circumstances.
  • Both last three years, typically.

Differences

  • While an SR-22 means that the person needs to meet state requirement minimums only, FR-44s mean that the person needs to buy more insurance than the state requires.
  • Most states have SR-22s, while only Florida and Virginia offer FR-44s.

TIP

Having trouble finding insurance after an SR-22? Learn how to get car insurance with a suspended license or find the best auto insurance for DUIs.

Recap

There’s no doubt that if your state requires you to get an SR-22 or an FR-44, your insurance rates will rise. However, once your SR-22/FR-44 is over, your premium will go back down. It’s best to comply with state requirements so that you can get back on track and find cheap auto insurance coverage. Learn more information in our auto insurance FAQs.

Citations

  1. Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate (SR-22). Texas Department of Public Safety. (2021).
    https://www.dps.texas.gov/section/driver-license/financial-responsibility-insurance-certificate-sr-22

  2. SR-22/SR26 Financial Responsibility Certification. Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. (2021).
    https://www.dmv.virginia.gov/commercial/#insurance/certifications.asp

  3. DUI Frequently Asked Questions. FLHSMV. (2022).
    https://www.flhsmv.gov/driver-licenses-id-cards/education-courses/dui-and-iid/dui-faqs/