People who are required to file an SR-22 or an SR-44 usually have questions about what exactly these terms mean, what is involved in filing them, how much these certificates will cost them, and how long the certificates will stay on file. Here is an overview of the forms and some answers to common questions regarding filing these documents to help ensure compliance with the law.
Though it's usually referred to as SR-22 insurance, an SR-22 form is not actually an insurance policy. Instead, it is a certificate of financial responsibility that verifies that a particular individual has insurance coverage. An insurance company files this certificate with the state. It certifies that the individual has the amount of liability coverage that the state requires that person to have. When a person is legally obligated to file an SR-22, a judge will usually tell the individual. In some cases, the state licensing agency provides the notification. Being required to file is usually related to traffic violations of various types. The most common violations include:
SR-44 is similar to an SR-22, but only two states use the SR-44 certificate: Florida and Virginia. Like an SR-22, an SR-44 is not an insurance policy. It is a certificate proving that the filer has the legally required amount of insurance coverage.
For a person who already has car insurance, filing these certificates requires notifying the insurance company to make sure the company is authorized to file these forms. If the insurer is not able to, they will usually recommend a different insurer. The insurance company takes care of the actual filing. Many insurance companies will require the person being insured to pay for the full term of the policy when they file one of these forms. This is to eliminate the risk of cancellation due to nonpayment. Filing both types of certificates involves the same process.
Filing either certificate is relatively inexpensive. The fee associated with filing an SR-22 is normally around $25. However, insurance rates are likely to increase as a result of filing either form. A person who already had insurance will notice an increased premium. A person getting insurance at the time of filing can expect to pay a higher premium than other drivers. The premiums will remain higher until the certificate is no longer on file. Insurers usually require the premium to be paid in full. They are not likely to accept monthly payments from someone who is filing an SR-22.