A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. Through her years working in th...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert Melanie Musson

UPDATED: Sep 9, 2020

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The SR-22 form is a document you must file with the state Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) proving that you carry financial responsibility for any damage you cause with your vehicle.

Usually, you are required to provide an SR-22 form in any instance when your insurance status is called into question. Remember: you can find affordable car insurance even with an SR-22 form.

If you are pulled over, for example, and fail to provide proof of insurance, the state will require you to provide an SR-22 form.

The most common reason for needing an SR-22 form is if you are involved in an auto accident; you will need to provide proof that you are financially able to cover the damage that you cause.

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Where do I obtain the SR-22 form?

You can obtain the SR-22 form from your car insurance company or download it on the DMV website. In some cases, you may be able to fill out the form online. Otherwise, you will need to print a copy and mail it to the DMV.

The form will require you to fill out information about yourself and your insurance company.

The primary purpose of the form is to prove that you carry enough liability insurance on your auto policy to cover damage that you cause. If you do not have insurance, you will not be able to return the SR-22 form until you obtain coverage.

If an accident occurred, you will also need to answer some specific information about the accident, such as where it occurred and what exactly happened in the collision.

If a police report was filed, you may not need to fill out all of this information, but it’s always a good idea to complete the form as fully as possible.

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When do I need to file the SR-22 form?

There are several occasions that could prompt needing to file an SR-22:

  • If you are pulled over and fail to provide proof of insurance
  • If your coverage drops below the state minimum requirements and your insurance company reports this to the state
  • If you leave the scene of an accident
  • If you are responsible for damage in an accident where no police report is filed
  • If you are unable to provide proof of insurance at an accident
  • If your license is suspended for any reason and you are trying to reinstate it

Different states will require the form to be returned within different time frames. Most states have a 30 day time limit, but some have 10 day limits. The form itself should provide instructions on when it must be returned and where to send it to.

Failure to complete the SR-22 form within a timely manner could cause your license to be suspended until the form has been received. If your license is suspended, you may need to pursue extra steps in order to reinstate the license.

If you are uncertain what to do with the form or have any questions on how to fill it out, you can contact your insurance company. Your agent will be happy to go over the information with you to assure that you fill it out correctly. He may even be able to mail it for you.

Can I get an SR-22 without a license or buying car insurance?

If you already have an active car insurance policy, you can provide those details on your SR-22 form. You will need to provide proof of insurance, and may need to answer some questions about your policy such as how much coverage you carry.

If you do not have insurance, however, you will need to obtain car insurance before filing your SR-22 form.

The only situation in which you do not need to have insurance prior to filing the SR-22 is if you are self-insured; this means that you have the money to meet the state’s financial liability requirements out of pocket and can prove as much.

Otherwise, you will need to purchase an auto policy in time to return the form. Depending on the situation, this may take longer than the deadline to return the form.

This means that your driver’s license may expire, and you will not be able to legally operate your vehicle until the car insurance is purchased and the SR-22 is filled out.

Since it can sometimes be difficult to purchase auto insurance with an expired license, it’s extremely important to avoid this situation if at all possible.

Always maintain your car insurance policy with the correct amount of liability insurance, and carry your proof of insurance in your car at all times.

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