If you are a young driver who is still covered on your parent's auto insurance policy but are looking to purchase your own car insurance soon, you may find the process confusing. This is especially true if you have friends who need SR-22 insurance and they try to tell you that you need it too. You may be wondering if this is something you really need to purchase and how it differs from traditional automobile insurance. Find out what it is and how to tell if you need to buy it before you begin shopping for your own auto insurance.
What is SR-22 insurance?
What many people refer to as SR-22 insurance is actually a combination of insurance and a Statement of Responsibility from your auto insurance company. The insurance company will issue an official document, called a SR-22, to prove you have adequate auto insurance once you purchase an insurance policy from them. Your insurance company will file the form with your state's Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to verify your purchase of auto insurance.
Does everyone need SR-22 insurance?
No. Regulations vary from state to state, but as a rule, only people who meet the following criteria are required to provide a SR-22 to the state to prove they have sufficient auto insurance.
- Committed multiple traffic violations in a short period. This may include speeding tickets or other moving violations, like running a red light, not wearing a seat belt or failing to use your directional signals.
- Convicted of DUI or DWI: The term your state uses for driving under the influence may vary, but it often carries a stiff penalty which includes suspension of your driver's license.
- Had your drivers license suspended. The reason for the suspension may be taken into account, but many states require drivers whose license has been suspended to provide a SR-22 before the license will be re-instated.
How do you know if you need SR-22 insurance?
Your state department of motor vehicles will typically notify you in writing of the need to provide a SR-22 to prove you have insurance. You may also be informed by the court. If the circumstances above do not apply to you and you have not received a notice from the court or the DMV, you likely don't have anything to worry about. It is important to note that getting one speeding ticket or traffic violation generally doesn't mean you will need SR-22 insurance either. Each state interprets the term "within a short period" differently, but you will be notified if your violations meet the requirements for SR-22 insurance.
What if you can't afford the SR-22 and insurance?
Not being able to afford the insurance is no excuse in the eyes of the law. The best thing you can do is to shop around for the best deal. Keep in mind that not all insurance companies offer SR-22 insurance and prices vary between insurance companies. The fee for filing the SR-22 form is nominal, but your insurance rates may not be. The insurance company will consider your driving record, age and gender and assess your risk before calculating the cost of your insurance policy.
What happens if you don't get SR-22 insurance?
If you do not purchase insurance and provide the Statement of Responsibility, your department of motor vehicles will not issue or reinstate your driver's license. If you drive without reinstating your license, you will be charged with operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license if you get stopped or are in an accident. This will only make it harder for you to get and keep your license in the future.
Purchasing your own insurance policy is important regardless of if you need SR-22 insurance or not. Some states require proof of auto insurance when registering a vehicle, getting your vehicle inspected or when you are stopped by the authorities. Some states do not require providing proof of insurance when you are stopped, but require it if you are in an accident. The amount of required coverage also varies from state to state. Check your state's requirements to determine how much coverage you must purchase.
For more information, talk with an insurance provider or visit websites like http://www.greatnortherninsuranceagency.com.