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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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How to Comply with the Law for an SR22 Filing
In almost every state there is a law requiring people to have an SR22 filing with the Department
of Motor Vehicles for car insurance infractions. This requirement does not take much work on your
part and is not very expensive. The problems come into play when you are supposed to file an SR22
and fail to do so.
What is an SR22 Filing Anyway?
Simply put, SR22 filings are forms filled out by your insurance company that they send to
the DMV verifying that you carry at least the minimum required insurance coverage for your
automobiles. They do this to make sure that “high-risk” drivers are able to meet any financial
obligations that may arise if they are at fault in an automobile accident. If you have a lapse
in insurance coverage for even one day the company will send a notice of the lapse to the DMV.
This will also negate the SR22 and put your driving license in jeopardy.
Do all States Require SR22 Filings?
No, drivers in Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania are not
required to have an SR22 filing for their driving record within the state. If, however, you move
to one of these states from a state where you did need an SR22 form filed, you will still need to
meet the time requirement in the other state. It will be up to you to check with both states and
make sure you stay in compliance.
In other words, you were required to have an SR22 filing in Texas for three years. During the
second year you moved to Kentucky. When you change your car’s registration to Kentucky you will need
to have proof of insurance for the vehicle in Kentucky. Your insurance company will not have to file
an SR22 document with the Kentucky DMV, but will still have to file one in Texas until the three
years have passed.
New York and North Carolina also do not have an SR22 filing requirement. Some insurance companies
cannot provide SR22 documentation for out of state filings if you move to either of these states. Be
sure to check with your company if you are moving there, you may end up having to change companies to
be able to file an SR22 out of state.
What are the Reasons an SR22 Filing may be Required?
If you are required to carry SR22 insurance it means that you are in a high risk category in regards
to your automobile insurance. You will be considered high risk if you fail to maintain adequate coverage
for your vehicles. This means that if you do not make an insurance payment on time you will be flagged and
have to have the company submit SR22 documentation when you get your policy reinstated. In many states you
will also have to go to the DMV, and pay a fine. Your car’s registration and your driving license may be
suspended until you show proof of insurance, and have the SR22 filed.
Other reasons you will be required to have an SR22 filing will vary from state to state. There are
some states that allow motorists that are able to show proof of financial responsibility instead of
maintaining insurance. If you are at fault in an accident and do not pay the ensuing obligations for
that accident, you will be required to have an SR22 filed. You will also need to maintain insurance
from that point on.
Most states that have SR22 filing requirements will also require them if you prove to be an unsafe
driver. A conviction for driving under the influence is good proof. If you somehow manage to receive
numerous moving violations in a short period of time you could end up needing an SR22. Any time you have
done something that warrants the suspension of your driving privileges it is a good bet they will consider
you unsafe behind the wheel of a moving vehicle.
Will You Need SR22 Filings Forever?
While it may seem like forever, the truth is you will only need to have your insurance company do an SR22
filing for three years. Unless, of course, you somehow manage to have it extended due to some infraction. It
is important to keep in mind that SR22 filings are done for a state. Even though you may move from that state
and no longer have a vehicle registered there, you will still need to have the SR22 documents on file with that
state for the full three years.
What Does it Take to get an SR22 Filing?
The good news about needing an SR22 with your DMV is that it doesn’t take much time or effort on your part.
Quite literally, it is a form your insurance company sends to the DMV. You simply need to let your agent know
that you need one. Another bit of good news is your insurance company often can tell you if you will need them
to file it. You may not be aware you need one until they check your driving record, or after an accident. In
some cases there is no charge for them to do the filing. If your insurance company does charge a fee for this
it is minimal.
When you first find out that you need to have an SR22 filed you may be concerned at just what it means and
will entail. Relax; the SR22 isn’t hard or costly at all. Whatever it is that you did to require an SR22 filing
is a different story. Most, if not all, the infractions that will require you to have an SR22 document filed on
your behalf with the Department of Motor Vehicles will also mean you can expect an increase in your insurance
premiums. As long as you keep your insurance policy current, don’t drink and drive, and drive carefully you
should never have to worry about asking your insurance company to complete an SR22 filing.