Many people don’t quite understand what SR-22 is and what it isn't. Some people who do know something about SR-22 may have some preconceived notions that aren't quite right because the laws regarding it aren't the same in every state. Here is what you need to know about SR-22 insurance so you can make the right choice if you need it now or in the future.
1. SR-22 Isn't Insurance
You may see SR-22 called SR-22 insurance or high-risk insurance, but SR-22 isn't an insurance policy. SR-22 represents a certification that you have the state's minimum amount of insurance coverage. Your insurance company will file the SR-22 with the Colorado DMV as an assurance that you have valid insurance.
If you drop your insurance coverage or don't keep your SR-22 status current, the insurer must then let the state know. If this occurs, the state will suspend your driver's license.
If you change your insurance company, you must file a new SR-22 form. Additionally, if you let your insurance lapse because of missed payments, the insurance company will cancel your SR-22 along with your policy.
2. SR-22 Doesn't Require a New Insurance Plan
When looking for SR-22 coverage, you may think you need a whole new insurance plan that includes it. This isn't always the case. If you already have auto insurance, you can ask your insurance company about adding SR-22 to your plan. In some cases, you can even save some money this way.
3. SR-22 Isn't Always a Punishment for What You Think
Many people know that a DUI conviction can lead to an SR-22 requirement. However, several things that lead to license revocation or suspension can also lead to you needing to obtain an SR-22 before you can reinstate your license. In the state of Colorado, these things can include:
- Driving without insurance
- Repeat traffic violations
- Uninsured car accidents
- Driving without a valid license
You may not know you need SR-22 insurance until you start the process of reinstating your license or driving privileges. If you're not sure, you should definitely contact the DMV to find out before you do anything else. If you obtain insurance without fulfilling the SR-22 requirement, you can lose your driving privileges all over again.
4. SR-22 Doesn't Always Require You to Own a Vehicle
In some cases, you may need SR-22 even if you don't own a car. For example, if you routinely drive someone else's car or drive for an employer, you will need to file an SR-22 certificate. Even if you don't plan to drive at all but want your license reinstated, you must fulfill the SR-22 requirement.
If an insurance company offers SR-22, they typically also offer these types of non-owner policies. If you purchase or take ownership of a vehicle, you will have to change to a different SR-22 certificate type. Some insurers offer a universal SR-22 certificate that covers any car you drive.
5. SR-22 Isn't Always Expensive
One large misconception people have about SR-22 plans is that they're prohibitively expensive. Often, the insurance costs do go up when adding SR-22 to a policy, but those costs aren't always as high as people think.
You're still shopping for car insurance, with everything that entails. This means you still have the opportunity to comparison shop, look for deals, take advantage of offers, and bundle plans.
Often, some of the added costs of SR-22 aren’t because of the certificate itself. The need for SR-22 creates a red flag for insurance companies. Drivers who need SR-22 coverage tend to also have a high-risk label.
Receiving that high-risk label is no different from what can happen if you accumulate tickets or hold fault in an accident. Insurance premiums will go up because of that high-risk designation.
Nevertheless, even when considered high risk, you still have the power to compare quotes, negotiate, and look for all the ways you can save money on car insurance. A few things that can help lower costs include:
- Taking defensive driving classes
- Fully owning your vehicle
- Paying for six months or more of coverage at once
In addition, you should speak to an insurance company that specifically advertises SR-22 insurance and understands the process. This is an important consideration because many insurance companies charge a high premium for SR-22 coverage simply because they either don't want to deal with the process or aren't familiar with it.
By contrast, an insurer that knows the process and routinely deals with it may offer better pricing. Since the insurer has to keep the DMV aware of your insurance status, you wouldn't want to work with a group that files incorrectly or takes too long to submit your form.
At L.A. Insurance in Colorado, we offer SR-22 solutions to those who need them. Contact us for a quote or more information on obtaining auto insurance with an SR-22 certificate.