When you’re out on the roads, there are specific responsibilities you’re obligated to. Getting your car insured is one of them. But many motorists aren’t aware of the SR-22 car insurance policy and what it means. This can be a huge mistake since you’d most likely require it at one point in time.
In this article, our Ohio car accident lawyers explain what SR-22 car insurance is and when you should get one for yourself.
What is SR-22 Car Insurance?
SR-22 car insurance is not exactly an insurance policy. It doesn’t cover you from damages or financial liabilities. It’s only a document or certificate that asserts the fact that you meet your state’s vehicle insurance requirements. Hence it’s an add-on or a filing, to be precise, that is added on top of your automobile insurance liability.
By looking at this document, anyone concerned will realize that you carry car insurance. Commonly SR-22 is also referred to as a “Certificate of Financial Responsibility.”
There are three different types of SR-22 car insurance issued. These are:
- Operator SR-22 – For those who’re driving a rented car
- Owner SR-22 – For those who own the car and drive it
- Operator/Owner SR-22 – A combination of both
SR-22 vs. FR-44
Different states have different regulations in place for vehicles on roads. When you’re in Florida or Virginia, the state government will ask for an FR-44. But it’s the same document with different names. If you’re in any other state besides Florida or Virginia, you’ll get an SR-22 issued.
Who Needs an SR-22 Car Insurance?
So the big question is who needs SR-22 insurance and at what time. SR-22 or FR-44, if you’re in Virginia or Florida, is a document that certifies that you meet all the insurance obligations. Not everyone should carry this document. But there are times where it gets necessary for you to have this with you when driving down the road.
Every driver must have some form of vehicle insurance as part of the “Compulsory Auto Insurance” law. If not, their driving license will be restricted for a certain amount of time. To get this reinstated, an SR-22 document will be necessary. Since the form verifies that you meet all the insurance requirements and financial responsibilities, you can only get this document if you have completed all the insurance requirements.
The next instance where you’d need an SR-22 is when you were involved in a vehicle accident or fatality, and your license was revoked. If the court finds you guilty or partly guilty for the accident, your license will be revoked temporarily or suspended.
To get back on the road driving, you must first prove that you can cover the damages. This is known as taking up financial responsibility. You must get into an agreement with the other person that you’ll be paying for the damages. You can purchase this financial responsibility insurance from a carrier known as SR-22.
Therefore, you’d need an SR-22 only when you want to maintain or reinstate your auto insurance for the following reasons:
- You’re involved in a significant conviction like reckless driving
- You were driving without insurance in the first place
- You’re involved in an at-fault accident and must cover the cost of damage
- You were driving under alcohol influence, which resulted in your license revocation
How To Get SR-22 Insurance?
SR-22 is challenging to get as opposed to an auto insurance policy. Not every insurance carrier or agent offers it. This is because the people applying for SR-22 (or FR-44 in Virginia or Florida) are considered high-risk policyholders. They just got involved in an accident or an act of irresponsible driving. Therefore, the company could end up paying more in damages than the actual cost.
To get an SR-22, you should first check with your existing insurance carrier. Since you already have a relationship with them, they’ll most likely issue an SR-22 if they’re offering it. If not, then you must find a carrier that is offering SR-22. To get speedy approval, you may wish to switch your auto insurance policy. This will speed up the approval process.
Once issued, you must maintain the SR-22 coverage along with the insurance for about three years from the date of issuance. The insurance company is also required to keep the State DMV updated regarding your car insurance policy renewals and cancellations.
If you fail to make the payments on time or your SR-22 lapses for some reason, this will open up bigger problems. Therefore, if you’re taking up SR-22, prioritize clearing the payments on time.
To understand SR-22 car insurance in detail, and if you should get one, contact us today.