An SR-22 form proves to the state that you’re carrying sufficient car insurance, a requirement for motorists who have had severe moving violations. The SR stands for safety responsibility, and the certificate is filed with the state by your insurance company. In Illinois, filing costs are only between $15 and $25, but having an SR-22 can increase insurance costs by 15-40% and limit the number of companies that can provide coverage.
What Do I Do If I Need an SR-22?
The most important step is to follow the traffic court or state requirements in finding appropriate insurance coverage from a company that handles SR-22 endorsements and documentation. When looking to add an SR-22 endorsement to an existing policy or searching for a new insurance policy, be upfront with the insurer about the situation to save time and make sure the policy fits your needs.
Illinois requires drivers to maintain this form for 3 years and keep their insurance policies paid up and in force the entire time. Non-payment of insurance leading to a lapsed policy can result in driver’s license suspension, fees, and vehicle registration being suspended. Insurers are required to report lapsed or canceled insurance policies to the state.
Illinois charges a one-time filing fee of $15-$25 for SR-22s, maintained with the Illinois Secretary of State’s office. Insurance companies pass this fee on to policyholders but don’t charge additional SR-22 filing fees. These insurance policies are higher risk and will cost more, though. Not all insurance companies offer SR-22 services, and some may cancel your policy after serious moving violations or multiple tickets.
Policies likely will cost more per month, and sometimes drivers may need to pay premiums for 6-12 months upfront, depending on their circumstances. Some insurers specialize in high-risk drivers and offer more options for coverage, but you can expect premiums to increase by about 15-40% during the entire SR-22 period. In addition to SR-22 status, driving records, insurance history, and credit reports may affect the premium cost. The driver’s ZIP code also affects insurance rates, as it is used to determine high-risk locations.
When Is an SR-22 Needed?
In Illinois, the state or court may require an SR-22 for a variety of infractions. The state-ordered SR-22 requirements will be noted in a letter from the Secretary of State’s office, while the judge will detail court orders at the hearing. Visitors to a different state may be required to file an SR-22 with that state if they receive a violation. Those who don’t own a car may be required to obtain a non-owner policy in order to retain their driving privileges. Regardless of the source, following SR-22 requirements is essential.
SR-22 forms may be required for a variety of reasons, including:
- Driving without insurance or with insufficient insurance.
- Driving without a valid license.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Having several violations or at-fault accidents.
- Getting too many tickets in a short amount of time.
- Failing to pay court-ordered child support.
- Obtaining a hardship license for essential driving like going to work after suspension.
Regardless of the reason, you’ll be notified if the state requires an SR-22 for you to continue to maintain driving privileges.
What Other Factors Increase Car Insurance Premiums?
While SR-22 status and driving records can increase car insurance rates by showing higher risk, several other factors can cause policies to cost more, including:
- The age of the driver. Young males typically have higher rates.
- The credit rating of the driver. Lower ratings show a higher risk.
- The vehicle itself. Insurance may cost more if the model is valuable, is a fast or muscle-type car, has low safety statistics, or is commonly stolen.
- The driver’s location. Insurers may take into account accident statistics, crime rate, population density, distance from work, and frequency of bad weather.
- Insurance choices. High coverage levels and low deductibles improve coverage but raise policy costs.
What Happens After the SR-22 Requirement Ends?
Typically in force for 3 years, SR-22 certificates are removed by the insurance company after they’re no longer required. Drivers need to notify their insurance company when the requirement is no longer in force. Upon expiration, drivers may qualify for lower-cost insurance coverage, especially since accidents and traffic violations have less effect on policy rates after 3-5 years. Further moving violations or policy lapses may affect the length of the SR-22 requirement.
Just because someone moves to another state doesn’t mean the SR-22 form requirement goes away. The requirement commonly follows motorists who move, and the insured driver needs to follow any orders. As with the SR-22 from the home state, violating the requirements of a new state may result in a driver’s license suspension. Some states require SR-22 certificate holders to maintain the insurance minimums of their home state even if requirements are lower in the driver’s former state.
Are Minimum Insurance Levels Sufficient?
All states require certain levels of liability insurance to cover property damage and medical bills. However, complying with the law doesn’t mean you’re adequately covered to protect yourself in case of an accident. It’s best to have higher liability policy limits in case of a severe accident.
Vehicles with a lien or higher value should have comprehensive insurance to protect the driver from losses incurred in an accident. Lienholders typically require comprehensive insurance to protect them from a loss should the vehicle be damaged or totaled.
Uninsured/underinsured motorist protection covers your injuries if you are in an accident with a driver who doesn’t have any or carries insufficient insurance. This policy add-on can be an inexpensive way to protect yourself in case of an accident with a driver who has no insurance or inadequate insurance. Personal injury protection provisions cover medical bills after an auto accident regardless of fault.
A requirement for an SR-22 form can make it challenging to find auto insurance that meets your needs. American Auto Insurance serves all Illinois drivers regardless of SR-22 requirements or other unique needs. Get a free quote and get back on the road with a policy that fits your budget and provides instant proof of coverage. Give us a call at 800-483-4868 to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today.