Busting Two Misconceptions About The SR22 Insurance Requirement
If you find yourself in traffic court because of too many tickets, a DUI, or not having auto insurance, there's a good chance the judge in the case will require you to obtain an SR22. There are many misconceptions about this requirement that could lead you to paying more than you need for insurance and other problems. Here's the truth behind two of those myths to help you make the best decisions in your case.
Myth #1 – SR22 Is Insurance
One of the most common misconceptions about SR22 is that it is an auto insurance product that will cover you if you get into an accident. However, nothing can be further from the truth. An SR22 is essentially a note from the insurance company verifying that you do, in fact, have an insurance policy. Almost all states require drivers to be insured and, if the court is concerned you won't have coverage, it will put an SR22 restriction on your license to ensure you buy a policy.
It's a little understandable why people would be confused about whether SR22 was an insurance product or not, because having this requirement on your license flags you as a high-risk driver. As a result, insurance companies will typically charge you higher premiums until the requirement expires from your record. If you don't already have insurance, you will be charged for insurance plus the $15 to $25 for the SR22 note.
Myth #2 – You Don't Need an SR22 If You Don't Have a Vehicle
Another common myth about SR22 is that you don't need to get one if you don't own a vehicle. This is actually partially true and depends on where you live. Some states require driver's license holders to obtain non-owner vehicle insurance even though they don't own a car or truck. This is because they want to ensure people are covered for accidents they may cause in vehicles owned by others.
If you live in one of these states, you will have to obtain a non-owner policy and have the insurance company issue an SR22 you can submit to the DMV.
In states that don't require non-owner insurance policies, you may be able to get away with not having to get an SR22 if you don't own a vehicle. Be aware, though, that some states will keep the requirement on your driver's license until you have "served your time," i.e. you've had a valid policy for the requisite number of years. So if you hope to outwit the court by getting rid of your vehicle and just taking the bus for three (or more) years, you should first check the laws in your state to see how SR22 requirements are handled for people without cars.
For more information about SR22s or to obtain one to satisfy a court requirement, contact a local insurance broker like those found at Matlack & Company.