UPDATED: Aug 5, 2013
We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn't influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
You may have come across the term “SR-22” while shopping for auto insurance. You may also become familiar with it after an auto accident, DUI or traffic violation. An SR-22 is a proof of insurance form. Most people don’t think about this form until it’s required by the DMV, at which point its necessity can become a point of panic. There’s no need to worry, though; obtaining an SR-22 is as easy as buying an insurance policy or having your existing insurer send the form on your behalf.
What is an SR-22?
In order to drive legally, you need to carry auto insurance. In most cases, this is easy to prove: You simply provide your proof of insurance to the DMV when registering your vehicle. Sometimes, however, insurance policies can lapse. If you’re caught with a lapsed policy, an SR-22 form can be sent to the DMV to prove that you’ve corrected the problem.
There are a few other occasions when an SR-22 becomes necessary. If you run into trouble with the law due to DUIs or other serious driving infractions, you may be required to submit a regular SR-22 for a certain amount of time to prove that you are maintaining insurance on your vehicle. Additionally, you may be required to submit an SR-22 if you’re involved in an accident and unable to provide proof of insurance at the scene of the accident.
Sometimes you will see insurance companies website “SR-22 insurance” on their website or the windows of the agency. This is not a specific type of insurance policy. It simply means that the insurer is willing to provide an insurance policy that can be used to fulfill an SR-22 obligation quickly. In most cases, the companies that advertise this are those that tend to cater to a demographic of drivers who may be currently uninsured and need convenient and affordable insurance. But all insurance companies can provide an SR-22 once you carry a policy through them.
How Do You Get One?
If you already have auto insurance, filling out the SR-22 form is quite simple. You merely need to contact your agent or insurance representative to get the form. Your insurance company may even fill it out on your behalf. From there, it simply needs to be submitted to the DMV to fulfill your legal obligation.
If you do not already have an insurance policy, you will need to purchase one before receiving an SR-22. Once you’ve obtained the policy, the insurance company will automatically notify the DMV, but it’s not a bad idea to follow up to ensure that all the paperwork is accurate and filed appropriately.