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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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An SR22 form is a state required form that proves a driver has insurance or is financially able to pay for damage through other means. The state requires you to be able to pay for any damage that you cause, whether through insurance or out of your own pocket. Because most people are not able to afford being self-insured, they purchase policies through car insurance companies.
In order to register your vehicle, you will need to provide proof of insurance. Unfortunately, some individuals drop their insurance coverage afterward or do not maintain enough coverage to pay for damage that they cause. To counteract this phenomenon, individuals must prove that they have insurance any time they are involved in a situation that either causes damage or could lead to an accident.
Whenever you are deemed to be a high-risk driver, you will need to provide proof of your insurance to the DMV. This is the purpose of the SR22 form: proving that you carry sufficient insurance to cover your legal responsibility. There are several occasions when an SR22 form may be necessary:
- If you are charged with a DUI
- If you have your license suspended and need to reinstate it
- If you cause damage to another person’s property without proving you have insurance
- If you receive a citation for not having proof of insurance
- If your insurance is canceled or not renewed
- If you fail to maintain the minimum coverage required by the state
- If you hit a vehicle and run or otherwise are found responsible for an accident without filing a claim
Whenever your policy is canceled or your coverage drops below the state minimum, your insurance company may contact the Department of State to advise them that you are not insured. In this situation you may be requested to file an SR22 form even if you are not aware that there are any problems with your policy.
If you do not fill out the SR22 form and return it, you may have your license suspended or face other legal action. This is why it’s important not only to maintain auto insurance on your vehicle at all times, but also to prove that insurance is active.
Where do I obtain an SR22 form?
You can only obtain the form by contacting an insurance agent or insurance company. If you are involved in an auto accident, your insurance company will usually send you the form automatically. You can fill it out and return it to the appropriate authorities at that point.
If you are required to send in the SR22 form due to a non-accident cause, such as being convicted of a DUI or not carrying proof of insurance, then you can contact your insurance company to request a copy of the form. You can contact your customer service department over the phone, or call your local agent to have the form sent to you.
Of course, if you don’t already have insurance you will need to purchase it before the SR22 form can be sent. In this case your license may be revoked until you are able to provide proof of insurance. Depending on your situation, obtaining insurance may be difficult; if you have a DUI conviction or other serious traffic infraction, you might have to purchase an expensive high-risk auto policy.
Once your SR22 form is filled out, your insurance company will forward it to the Department of State. Until that form is received and processed, you may have your license revoked or be fined for not having insurance. If you do receive a citation for failure to provide insurance, or if you are taken to court for damage you cause to property, you can bring proof of insurance to your court date and overturn the judgment.
The easiest way to avoid ever needing to fill out your SR22 form is to maintain the proper amount of insurance coverage at all time. If you never allow your policy to lapse or be canceled, you will not be at risk of causing damage your insurance cannot pay for. Additionally, maintaining safe driving habits, never driving under the influence and always carrying proof of insurance can help you to avoid needing to file the SR22.