SR-22 Insurance: What It Is and When It’s Required

The details of how SR-22 insurance works and why a driver might need to get it.

In all states, a driver's license can be suspended for many different reasons, including driving under the influence, racking up too many traffic tickets, and the like. Once the driver completes the suspension period, there are normally license reinstatement requirements. Generally, the driver will have to pay a reinstatement fee and, in certain circumstances, might have to complete some sort of safe driving classes or other educational courses.

In many instances, obtaining an "SR-22" is also a condition of license reinstatement. Put simply, an SR-22 is just a special type of proof of insurance and normally isn't very difficult to obtain. This article explains the basics of SR-22 insurance, when an SR-22 may be required, and other helpful information about this proof of insurance.

Basics About SR-22 Insurance

"SR-22" is just a technical term for proof of insurance. Whereas normal proof of auto insurance comes in the form of an insurance card, an SR-22 is a certificate sent from the insurance company directly to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The SR-22 provides the DMV with verification that the driver has the necessary insurance coverage.

SR-22s generally come in three different types:

  • operator's certificates
  • owner's certificates, and
  • owner-operator certificates.

An operator's certificate is an SR-22 showing that the driver is properly insured. An owner's certificate is an SR-22 showing that the vehicle is properly insured. And, an owner-operator certificate is an SR-22 that proves the driver and the vehicle are both properly insured.

When an SR-22 is issued, the insurance company is then obligated to provide continued information to the DMV. If the policy ever terminates or lapses, the insurance company must notify the DMV of the policy cancellation.

When Drivers are Required to Get an SR-22

An SR-22 is most often required for drivers seeking to reinstate a driver's license or vehicle registration following suspension or revocation. Here are some of the common specific circumstances where a driver might need to get SR-22 insurance:

  • Suspended drivers. As mentioned above, a driver can face license suspension for a variety of reasons. Following a suspension, the drivers are often required to obtain an SR-22 and maintain the policy for a period of time (typically up to a few years).
  • Vehicle owners. Though not as common as license revocation, it's also possible for vehicle owners to face vehicle registration revocation. For example, a vehicle owner who allows someone else to operate the vehicle knowing there's no insurance might face registration revocation. In order to reinstate the registration, the owner might be required to provide an SR-22 owner's certificate for a year or two.
  • Permit applicants. In many states, drivers who can show a substantial need can obtain a "restricted" or "hardship" license to drive to and from places like work and school during a suspension or revocation. Drivers who are seeking a restricted or hardship license might also be required to show proof of insurance with an SR-22. The driver would then need to maintain the SR-22 for the duration of the hardship license.
  • Vehicle accidents. An uninsured owner or driver involved in a vehicle accident can also, in some instances, be required to obtain SR-22 insurance. Generally, the SR-22 requirement would be in effect for a year or two or until the owner or a driver has paid the accident damages.

However, SR-22 requirements vary by state and the particular circumstances. So, to get the specifics, it's best to get in contact with a local attorney who is familiar with the requirements in your area.

Costs of SR-22s

The costs of an SR-22 certificate are in addition to what you need to pay for your insurance policy. Typically, this additional cost is around $25. However, the insurance policy itself is likely to be expensive given that the driver recently lost driving privileges or had his or her registration revoked. The reinstatement fees for a driver's license or vehicle registration might also be $100 to $300, depending on where you live.

Failure to Maintain SR-22 Insurance Coverage

For drivers and vehicle owners who are required to maintain an SR-22, failure to do so generally results in the license or registration revocation.

Talk to a Lawyer

Need a lawyer? Start here.

How it Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you
Get Professional Help

Talk to a Traffic Ticket attorney.

How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
  2. Provide your contact information
  3. Choose attorneys to contact you