UPDATED: Jan 25, 2019
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The requirement for an SR-22 is given to drivers as the result of certain violations; there are a variety of situations where filing an SR-22 is a requirement of keeping your license.
Whatever the reason for the SR-22, it can make insurance a little more complicated in some cases. While most insurance companies are capable of filing an SR-22 on your behalf, it usually means you will be considered a high-risk driver. That leads to higher rates and in some cases to non-renewal of your insurance policy. Whether you need to shop around because your rates have gone up or because your current insurer is unable to cover you anymore, you do have options.
Basics of SR-22 Insurance
An SR-22 may also be called a certificate of insurance or a financial responsibility filing. It is not a type of insurance, but it is simply a certificate filed by your insurance company to provide evidence that you are meeting your obligation to the state’s financial responsibility law.
Being required to file an SR-22 does not change the coverage you need to carry on your policy. You must carry a policy that meets the state’s legal minimums, and if you have a loan, you will also need to meet your lender’s requirements for coverage.
Most insurance companies can file an SR-22 for you, although there are some that do not provide this service. It is fairly likely that your current insurance company can file it.
What needing an SR-22 means to your insurance company is that you are a higher-risk driver. That is because filings are usually required as the result of a major violation or of repeated minor violations. Some of the situations that might result in an SR-22 are driving without insurance, DUI, being found at fault in a serious accident, or repeated minor violations like multiple speeding tickets.
Higher-risk drivers do pay higher insurance rates, and in some cases, they mean the insurance company will make the decision that the risk is too high, and they will no longer provide coverage. With or without an SR-22, major violations or multiple minor ones can lead to this same result.
Specifics of SR-22 Insurance
While there is nothing special about the insurance policy itself, the SR-22 does have a few specific requirements.
First of all, there is a filing fee, usually, this fee is about $25. Only your insurance company can file the SR-22 for you – it is not something you can do yourself. Simply showing proof of insurance to the DMV does not meet the requirements.
There are some insurance companies that focus on providing coverage to those who need an SR-22. These companies are often a last-ditch choice for high-risk drivers who are not able to get coverage in the standard market and are referred to as non-standard insurers. Bear in mind that an SR-22 does not automatically mean you will not be able to get standard insurance – it really depends on your driving record.
Our first step to choosing the best insurance companies for an SR-22 was to acknowledge that some drivers will be able to get coverage from a standard insurance company and others will not. We, therefore, chose companies that represent both options.
We also looked at the company’s reputation. Unfortunately, many non-standard insurance companies suffer from a poor customer service experience, but there are some solid companies out there. All of our top picks have a good reputation for handling claims.
Rates are always a concern when it comes to needing an SR-22 filing. The bottom line is that if you need an SR-22, odds are good you have something on your record that is going to hike up your rates. We chose our top picks based on companies with good rates, and also looked for companies where discounts could help bring those rates down.
We also chose companies that will handle your SR-22 filing quickly and efficiently, so there is not a delay.
As always, we chose companies whose products are widely available; our selections do not have specific eligibility requirements for obtaining insurance (such as USAA which is only offered to military members), and they are available nationwide.
Our Top Recommendations
We chose two standard companies and one non-standard insurance company to round out our top three picks.
Foremost is our pick for SR-22 drivers needing non-standard auto insurance thanks to a good reputation and position as a part of the Farmers Insurance Group of companies. That connection gives them a solid financial backing, and also means customers can take advantage of multi-policy discounts with Farmers products as well as Foremost products.
Foremost does not offer online quoting for rate comparisons, but we would not expect them to be the least expensive option. They do, however, have an extensive list of discounts that are even available to higher risk drivers.
With fast, efficient, online systems, Esurance will get you covered and get your SR-22 filed quickly and with little effort on your part. They have a good reputation and insure a wide variety of drivers.
Esurance is also one of the more affordable choices in the market and has a list of discounts available even to high-risk drivers including a paid in full discount, online purchase discount, and a discount for switching your insurance, as long as you do not have any lapses. All of that can help bring rates down further.
Progressive offers insurance even to drivers with some problems on their driving record, including those requiring an SR-22. They are also one of the top insurance companies in the country and known for competitive rates.
Progressive handles SR-22 filings quickly and will file electronically as soon as your policy is issued. They are also good to have at your back in the event of a claim, with a strong reputation and solid customer service record.
Shopping for SR-22 Insurance
If you already have multiple insurance policies with one company and are not going to be non-renewed for the violations associated with the SR-22, you might want to stay put. Your multi-policy discounts, longevity discounts, and other deals with the current company may well make up for the increased cost of your auto insurance due to the SR-22. Remember that the SR-22 is only for three years, and the rate increase for the violation(s) will drop each year. You might want to hang tight rather than give up the relationship and discount list you have built.
That said, it’s a good idea to get some quotes and make sure you get quotes for moving all of your insurance in order to take advantage of multi-policy discounts. Every company weighs violations differently, so while one company may really ding you on rates, another may be able to help you save a lot of money.
When obtaining quotes, it is vital, to be honest about your driving record and SR-22 needs. Leaving anything off on the quote is going to result in inaccurate rates, which will increase the minute the company pulls your driving record. Getting accurate rates lets you make an informed decision.
Finally, make sure you research any company’s reputation. At times, smaller sized local companies may be able to do better for you on an SR-22 filing than even the major national insurers. However, it is important to be certain you are getting good coverage from a reputable company.
The Bottom Line
Having to file an SR-22 means you have something on your driving record that’s going to kick up your premiums, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you need to switch to a high-risk insurance company. Check with your current insurance company, and then shop around to compare some rates.
You are going to pay more for your insurance for a while, but the rate hikes is temporary, and with some discounts and careful driving in the future, your rates will be back to normal in a few years.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.