Table of contents
Being found guilty of a serious driving offense will have a lot of ramifications, both personally and professionally. Even so, for most people it is still necessary to get back behind the wheel in order to return to normality and keep up with their day to day obligations.
This is where SR22 insurance comes into play. It enables drivers with convictions on their records to get cover, and is a legal requirement in most states.
Let’s uncover what SR22 insurance involves, and why it is the key to helping you to start driving again even if your motoring past is patchy at best.
What is SR22 insurance?
To get a little technical, SR22 doesn’t describe a specific kind of car insurance, but rather refers to the form you’ll need to apply for if you have a driving offense to your name and you want to get approved to own and operate a car in your state.
The SR22 form is state-issued, and yet you’ll need your insurer to apply for it for you, because it is a document which proves you have actually got cover for your car.
It is essentially a way for the state’s transport department to check that drivers who have been convicted of certain felonies and misdemeanors are adequately insured, so that other road users are also protected in the event that an accident occurs in future and claims need to be made.
Requiring SR22 insurance makes your cover more expensive
It should be no surprise that drivers who are convicted of offenses will be charged more for their insurance than those who have cleaner histories.
Insurance premiums are calculated on the risk that each customer presents, and the more serious the crime, the higher the price of subsequent policies.
You are therefore incentivized to look for the lowest SR22 insurance rates by comparing the packages from rival providers and getting as many quotes as possible.
Even if you don’t need an SR22 form in your specific circumstances or your state, it is still vital to carry out this comparison of car insurance packages, otherwise you will be paying over the odds unnecessarily.
Not everyone needs SR22 insurance
As mentioned, SR22 forms are a requisite for drivers who have been found guilty of offenses at the more serious end of the spectrum. This includes things like DUIs and reckless driving, as well as driving without insurance.
That means that more minor offenses might not be beholden to the same rules and regulations, and not everyone will have to apply for an SR22 form as a result.
Of course there are state-to-state differences in how automotive laws are handled, so don’t make any assumptions, and always check what standards you have to meet and rules you have to abide by where you live.
Most drivers with convictions will be told by the authorities about the next steps they need to take to start driving again, including whether or not an SR22 form is needed. If in doubt, double check this, as there are lots of variables at play.
Buying a policy is a requirement before applying for an SR22 form
You might think that you can only get insurance after the state has issued an SR22 form, but it’s actually the opposite way around; you need to buy this type of policy from an insurer, then file the application to receive the form.
This is because the form is your proof of insurance, and a document which shows that the state is aware of your status.
Obviously you need to let your insurer know that you are applying for car insurance with an SR22 provision within it, because you have to give a full and honest account of your background, motoring history and any criminal convictions that are hanging over you.
There is no point attempting any subterfuge at this point in the hope of making savings, because it will only lead to additional costs, as well as the potential for further criminal charges, in the future.
Your insurer should do the admin for you
Letting your insurer know that you need an SR22 policy is the most arduous part of the process, as it is then the provider’s responsibility to take charge of the application process.
There will usually be a fee associated with this, which has to be paid in addition to any costs that your state applies for processing the SR22 form.
Once all of this has been run through the wheels of bureaucracy, and you have received your SR22 form, you can then start driving again, safe in the knowledge that you are in full compliance with the law.