A drunk-driving conviction can be a life-changing event in more ways than one. It can also change the way you purchase auto insurance coverage. Many states require those convicted of a DUI or DWI offense to carry an SR-22 along with their normal auto insurance coverage. Failure to do so could result in a suspended or revoked license, as well as other potential penalties. Find out what you need to know about SR-22 auto insurance.
Contrary to Popular Belief, It's Not Insurance
"SR-22 Insurance" isn't a separate form of auto insurance. It's actually a "Certificate of Financial Responsibility" (or CFR for short), which merely verifies that the driver in possession of such a certificate actually has auto insurance coverage with the proper liability limits. To curtail potential fraud, SR-22 certificates must be requested and filed through your auto insurance provider.
In essence, an SR-22 ensures that those who need auto insurance coverage the most, such as those convicted of DWI or other serious driving offenses, actually have coverage. If you refuse to carry an SR-22 certificate or decide to cancel your insurance coverage altogether, you could end up losing your driver's license and face an assortment of other penalties depending on your state's statutes.
How Long It Lasts Depends On Your State's Statutes
Several states have different time limits for maintaining an SR-22 certificate alongside your current auto insurance coverage. Most states require that you maintain your present coverage with an SR-22 on file for at least 3 consecutive years.
The state of Alaska, on the other hand, requires drivers with their first DWI conviction to maintain insurance coverage with an SR-22 for 5 years and those convicted of a second DWI offense to maintain their coverage for 10 consecutive years. Some states may even require drivers convicted of multiple DWI offenses to carry insurance with an SR-22 for the rest of their life.
You May End Up With Higher Premiums for a While
Although there's little difference between having normal auto insurance coverage and coverage with an SR-22 certificate attached, you may end up having to pay a bit more for your coverage. As it turns out, the fact that you have an SR-22 represents a significant risk to auto insurance providers that are typically risk-averse. While some providers won't ding you just for having an SR-22, they will definitely ding you for the risky behavior that led up to it.
As a result, your provider could reclassify you as a risky driver and charge you more for the privilege of having insurance. In a few rare cases, your provider could refuse to deal with drivers who need SR-22 certificates and drop your coverage altogether.
You'll Need It Even If You Don't Have a Car
As long as you want to keep your driver's license active, you'll need to maintain an SR-22 on your auto insurance records throughout the probationary period. This applies even if you're not driving or don't have a car to drive.
Many insurance companies offer special policies for those who don't own their own car. Such policies let you have continuous coverage for less money than a typical auto insurance policy. In addition, you'll be able to maintain your state-mandated liability coverage whenever you borrow a friend or relative's wheels or get a vehicle from a rental agency.
You'll Need It No Matter Where You Move
If you think you can get rid of your SR-22 insurance requirements by moving out of state, then you might want to think again. Not only must you maintain an SR-22 in your new state of residence, but you'll also have to maintain the liability insurance limits of your previous state, even if the limits of your new state are lower than those of your original state of residence. The only way you can have your SR-22 requirement dropped is by waiting the allotted time mandated by your original state. For more information, consider websites like http://www.greatnortherninsuranceagency.com.