An SR-22, or safety responsibility certificate, isn’t an insurance policy, but it’s proof of sufficient coverage maintained with the state. This type of insurance covers property damage and liability stemming from an accident but typically doesn’t pay for the driver’s vehicle damage. It’s required for motorists in many states, including Illinois, to keep or reinstate driving privileges after severe infractions like driving under the influence or uninsured accidents.

Motorists receive SR-22 requirements from either the state or traffic court, and motorists need to maintain them for three years in Illinois.

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Imagevia Flickr by Chris Yarzab Licensed CC BY 2.0

Who Needs SR-22?

An SR-22 form is required to keep or reinstate a revoked or suspended driver’s license. It’s maintained with the state to confirm minimum insurance coverage is in force. Situations leading to SR-22 requirement may include the following:

  • Driving without a valid license.
  • Driving under the influence.
  • Uninsured accidents.
  • Accumulating too many tickets in a short period.

Illinois requires this type of coverage for three years; insurance companies must inform the state if a policy is canceled or expires due to nonpayment. Letting a policy lapse by nonpayment will lead to a driver’s license suspension, as well as vehicle registration suspension and other fees.

Drivers are notified by either the state or the traffic court if they must maintain SR-22. In some cases, individuals must maintain an SR-22 for failure to pay child support, which may affect their driver’s license status. SR-22 requirements may follow drivers who move to another state; confirming SR-22 requirements after a move is the driver’s responsibility.

While SR-22 certificates require minimum insurance coverage, some states have other criteria. Florida and Virginia have a form FR-44 that requires insurance that exceeds state minimums. Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania do not require drivers to maintain an SR-22 filing.

How Do You Obtain an SR-22 Certificate and Coverage?

Drivers who are notified of this requirement by the state or traffic court need to obtain an insurance policy that meets the requirements and an insurer that handles SR-22 forms. Not all insurance companies provide this service. States charge a one-time filing fee of about $25 for SR-22 coverage. Illinois charges $15 to $25 for filing the certificate with the Illinois Secretary of State.

Drivers will pay higher premiums for this higher-risk type of insurance. Sometimes they may have to pay the entire premium upfront, typically a period of six or 12 months. Illinois residents may also deposit $55,000 in cash or securities with the State Treasurer, file a surety bond, or file a real estate bond approved by a court of record instead of an SR-22.

How Long Is an SR-22 Required?

Illinois and many other states require motorists to maintain SR-22 certificates for three years. This requirement goes away if the driver keeps insurance and stays clear of moving violations and other infractions. Some states may require proof of insurance for a more extended period of up to five years.

Insurance companies are required to report canceled or lapsed insurance policies to the state, resulting in the suspension of driving privileges and vehicle registration. Drivers who reach the end of this requirement period need to notify their insurance company, which will remove the form. Drivers may qualify for lower-cost insurance options after the requirement lifts. Insurance premiums also generally are lower three to five years after an accident or traffic infraction.

SR-22 requirements may follow drivers who move before this requirement expires, depending on the laws in their new state. States that don’t have SR-22 requirements may mandate those transferring from another state with an SR-22 requirement to keep the certificate.

Should You Have Coverage Above Minimums?

SR-22 requirements mandate liability coverage that meets state minimums to protect others in the event of an accident. Liability insurance covers property loss and injuries of others, but it doesn’t cover your vehicle and may not provide sufficient uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.

People with SR-22 requirements should consider insurance options that aren’t required but offer protection. Vehicles with a lien may need comprehensive coverage to protect the lienholder in the case of an accident. Higher-value vehicles should have comprehensive coverage to protect the owners from repairing or replacing them if an accident occurs.

Uninsured or underinsured motorist protection covers your injuries if you’re involved in an accident with another driver who doesn’t have any insurance coverage or carries insufficient insurance. Personal injury protection covers your injuries regardless of who’s at fault.

Is SR-22 Coverage Needed for Those Without a Car?

Drivers who no longer own a vehicle but face an SR-22 requirement must get a non-owner policy reported to the state to keep or reinstate their driver’s licenses. Non-owner policies cover the drivers if they borrow or rent a vehicle. Non-owner policies can also help drivers avoid a coverage gap.

Such policies have liability coverage for injuries and damage caused while using a borrowed or rented car. Still, these policies don’t cover the borrowed or the rented vehicle itself or injuries to the driver. Non-owner policies often provide minimum coverage, but the limits can usually increase. Non-owner policies may also offer uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection.

While a non-owner policy doesn’t cover damage to a borrowed or rented vehicle, damage to the car in operation is covered by the owner’s policy or through additional insurance purchased from the car rental company. The liability protection provided by non-owner policies typically does not have a deductible. Non-owner policies may not be appropriate for vehicles borrowed by a household member. These policies may require adding the driver’s name.

An SR-22 insurance requirement can come at a difficult time and can require you to search for car insurance that meets this requirement and fits your budget. Find out more details about SR-22 insurance in Illinois and how you can reinstate car insurance that meets this requirement. Once you’re familiar with your options, get a free quote and get back on the road safely with peace of mind.


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