Whether you've been cited for driving under the influence or even driving without proper insurance coverage, you may be ordered by the courts to obtain an SR-22 before you can get your driver's license back. For those new to having an SR-22, the process can be confusing. Add to that the misinformation available, and it's no wonder it's difficult to navigate this process. Here are a few key facts you should know about SR-22 certifications before you call your insurance company.
It's Not Actually Insurance
Despite the fact that it's often called "SR-22 Insurance," the fact is that an SR-22 is not insurance at all. It's just a certificate that's filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles that confirms the existence of your car insurance coverage. You'll have to have an auto insurance policy in addition to the SR-22 certificate. Your insurance company will file the certificate with the state on your behalf, and they are then required to notify the state if your insurance policy is terminated or lapses for any reason.
It Isn't Extremely Expensive
The SR-22 has a reputation for being prohibitively expensive. This isn't actually the case. The SR-22 certificate itself is usually only about $25. That fee is the filing fee charged by the insurance company to process the certificate.
The reason why SR-22s have the reputation for being so costly is because of the convictions that usually necessitate obtaining one. You have to carry auto insurance to be issued an SR-22, and in many cases, the violation that triggered the SR-22 is what ends up costing you. Your insurance company will factor that violation into your premiums, which means your insurance premium is what ends up costing you more.
You Can Get An SR-22 Without A Car
Many people mistakenly believe that you can't get car insurance without having a car. However, the truth is that you can get a non-owner insurance policy, and that coverage is perfectly acceptable for your SR-22. The point of the SR-22 certification is to show that you have sufficient liability coverage in the event of an accident.
Just remember that a non-owner policy will NOT cover you for any vehicle that's registered to you, registered in your household, or is regularly made available to you for your use. It will only cover you for non-owned cars you only use occasionally, including rental cars or your friend's car. It's important to remember, though, that if the car you're driving is insured by its owner, your non-owner coverage will be considered as secondary to the owner's insurance policy. In addition, your policy will only cover liabilities up to the limits of the policy declaration.
You Won't Have To Keep The SR-22 Forever
You might feel like the SR-22 order is a lifelong sentence, but the truth is that you'll only have to carry it for the length of the order itself. The length of the SR-22 order will be dependent on your state's laws and the violation that led to its mandate. In most states, you'll only have to carry it for 3 to 5 years. This can be longer, however, for more serious or repeated offenses.
When you reach the end of the order period, the SR-22 won't just automatically go away. Once you are no longer required to carry it, you can call your insurance company and ask to have it lifted. You may also want to request a review of your policy premiums at that time. They'll pull your driving record again, and you may find that you're outside of the rating period for whichever violation landed you with the SR-22. In that case, you might even get a reduction in your policy premiums.
To learn more, contact an insurance agency like Able Insurance Agency.