So what is this mysterious SR-22 insurance?
SR-22 insurance, sometimes called “financial responsibility insurance,” is a state program to reduce the number of uninsured drivers on the road by requiring SR-22 certificates from drivers who have repeatedly violated mandatory insurance laws. SR-22 laws and processes vary from state to state, but in Illinois anyone who has three insurance violations (i.e. ticketed for driving without insurance) can be required to carry SR-22 insurance.
The SR-22 insurance itself is a certificate that is kept on file with the state, rather than just between you and the insurance company like your typical insurance would be documented. An insurance company who is authorized to write SR-22 policies will set up your auto insurance and accept your premium payments, but will then send your SR-22 certificate directly to your state’s motor vehicle division (or the office of the Secretary of State in Illinois). The certificate will show that you are maintaining at least the state minimum coverage on your auto insurance.
Typical insurance coverage can be started or renewed instantly, but SR-22 insurance requires a little more work on your part. It must be renewed early to avoid suspension of your driving privileges. Since you carry this special insurance because you do not have a good track record with maintaining coverage, the state will start to suspend your privileges once your expiration date is fifteen days away. Renewing early is important since your insurance paperwork, including the renewed certificate, must be received and processed by the appropriate office of the state — and we all know that takes time!
Anyone who requires SR-22 must cover all the vehicles they own as well as all the vehicles they drive with this insurance. You can be insured as only owner, if you don’t plan to drive the car; as only operator, if you drive your parents’ or someone else’s car; or you can be insured as both owner and operator of your own car. These three options may change the cost of your SR-22 insurance.
If you have been required by the state to carry SR-22 insurance, the only way out of this predicament is to have a bond for at least $55,000 (varies by state) showing you have the cash to pay for an accident. There are some special circumstances where drivers go this route. But since you lapsed on your coverage in the first place, it is not likely that you have the funds to buy a bond.
You must keep your SR-22 insurance current for the length of the penalty term you were given. Minor infractions can disappear from your record in as little as three years, but major violations such as a DUI can cause you to carry SR-22 for ten years or more, and may never disappear from your driving record.
The best way to prevent having to deal with the expense, inconvenience, and future fallout from carrying SR-22 insurance is to keep your insurance current and avoid criminal driving infractions such as DUIs.
This information has been brought to you by SaveALot Auto Insurance, offering affordable Illinois auto insurance and SR-22 coverage.