What Is SR-22 Insurance and How Does It Work?
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An SR-22 is a certificate confirming that a high-risk driver meets their state’s minimum auto insurance requirements. It’s often necessary after serious traffic offenses like DUIs, driving without insurance, or multiple tickets in a short amount of time. The average cost for coverage with an SR-22 is around $206 per month, according to Compare.com data, with USAA frequently offering the cheapest rates.
Whether you’re newly navigating the SR-22 requirements or looking to reduce your policy costs, we’ve got you covered. This article explains what it is, how it works, who needs it, and where to get it. You’ll also learn practical tips for securing the most cost-effective policy that meets your needs.
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What Is an SR-22?
An SR-22 certificate is a specialized proof of insurance. Unlike the standard insurance card you keep in your glove box, an SR-22 is a formal certificate of financial responsibility that your insurance company sends directly to your state’s department of motor vehicles (DMV). It’s a guarantee that you have the necessary insurance coverage.
It’s important to note that an SR-22 isn’t a type of insurance policy — it’s a term that describes the proof of insurance sent to the state. While you have SR-22 coverage, your insurance company must notify the DMV of any changes to your policy. For instance, the company will notify the DMV if you cancel your policy or let it lapse.
Who Needs an SR-22?
The circumstances that require drivers to get an SR-22 vary by state. Generally, drivers who have committed certain driving offenses, such as driving under the influence (DUI), driving without insurance, or multiple traffic violations within a short period of time, need an SR-22.
The certificate is a way for the state to monitor and make sure high-risk drivers maintain coverage that meets the minimum car insurance laws. You may need an SR-22 to retain your driving privileges in some cases. For example, if you have a suspended license, the state may require you to file an SR-22 to get back on the road.
Which States Require SR-22s?
Each state has different SR-22 requirements. While most states have SR-22 laws, a few — such as New York, Pennsylvania, and others — don’t require SR-22 filings. If you’re unsure about your state’s SR-22 requirements, it’s best to check with your DMV or ask your insurance company.
Remember, the driving violations that can lead to needing an SR-22 can vary. You can get specific information about required coverage and the process for meeting legal requirements by checking with your state.
How to Get an SR-22
Getting an SR-22 can seem daunting, but it’s a straightforward process once you know the steps. Essentially, it’s about proving to the state that you meet the necessary insurance requirements. If you need to file an SR-22 or are looking for a cheaper insurance policy, here’s how.
- Contact your insurance company: Start by reaching out to your current car insurance company. Let them know that you need an SR-22 certificate. Not all insurers offer SR-22 coverage, so this may determine whether you can stay with your current insurer or need to switch.
- Review policy quotes: If you need to find a new insurance company or are looking for cheaper rates, get quotes from multiple auto insurance companies. Premiums vary from one insurer to the next, and you’ll want to get at least three quotes to find the best car insurance company for your SR-22 policy.
- Pay the SR-22 filing fee: Your insurance company may charge a fee for filing the SR-22 proof of insurance with the state. It usually costs around $25. Some insurers include the fee in your insurance quote, but it may be a separate charge.
You must maintain SR-22 coverage without any lapses as long as the state requires you to have a certificate on file. If you cancel your auto insurance policy or let it lapse, your insurer will notify the DMV, which could lead to further legal consequences.
How long do you need to have an SR-22?
The length of time you need an SR-22 depends on the circumstances that led to the requirement. You may only need this specialized proof of insurance for a few years, but the duration can differ from state to state.
However, you must keep coverage throughout the entire mandated period. If there’s any interruption in your policy, you could face license suspension or an extension of your SR-22 requirement.
What’s the difference between SR-22 and FR-44?
SR-22 and FR-44 are very similar. They’re both types of financial responsibility forms that require high-risk drivers to file proof of coverage with the state. The main difference is that an FR-44 can require higher liability limits. FR-44s are much less common and only needed in Florida and Virginia, while SR-22s are more widely used across various states.
How to have an SR-22 removed
Removing the SR-22 status from your policy is possible, but only after the required period is over. Once it’s no longer needed, the SR-22 won’t automatically fall off your policy. You must reach out to your insurance agent to ask them to remove it. Your insurer will sort everything out and update your policy.
Where to Get SR-22 Insurance
If you have a new court order to file for an SR-22 or already have an SR-22 requirement, you may wonder where to find affordable SR-22 insurance. You can start by checking with your existing insurance company. But keep in mind that not all companies offer SR-22 filing, so it’s important to know where to look.
Which companies offer SR-22 insurance?
An SR-22 mandate puts you in a class of “high-risk” drivers. It’s a unique situation that requires specialized attention, and finding a reputable insurance company has become more crucial than ever. The right company can file the necessary documents on your behalf and help you navigate the complexities of maintaining the necessary insurance coverage.
Here are some well-known companies that currently offer SR-22 coverage:
How Much Does SR-22 Insurance Cost?
Cost is a major concern for anyone who finds themselves in need of SR-22 insurance. Whether you’re looking for an SR-22 for the first time or need to find cheaper car insurance after a recent rate hike, understanding how to find a better deal is essential. But it’s not easy — premiums can vary based on several factors, including age, driving record, location, and the insurer you choose.
An SR-22 is typically a requirement for high-risk drivers, so you may see higher premiums than a friend or family member who has a clean driving record. However, despite higher premiums, it’s still possible to find affordable SR-22 insurance by comparing quotes from multiple insurance companies and taking advantage of any available discounts.
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Cost of filing an SR-22
The filing fee for an SR-22 is the amount a company charges to file the document on your behalf. Fortunately, it’s a relatively low cost. The General and Progressive charge $25 to file the certificate with the state, while Dairyland does it for free.
For companies that charge a fee, it’s often a separate charge on top of the cost of your SR-22 policy premiums. It may also be a per-person fee. For example, if you and your spouse both require an SR-22, your insurer will charge you two filing fees.
Average cost of SR-22 insurance
Filing the SR-22 certificate usually has a small fee, but your overall car insurance premiums can be a shocker — the real hit to your wallet comes from the incidents that led to needing one in the first place.
Let’s look at some numbers to give you a better idea of how much you might pay to have an SR-22 form on file. Here’s a table showing the average monthly car insurance premiums for drivers with various driving records.
|Average Monthly Premium
|1 at-fault accident
|Multiple at-fault accidents
If you look at the data, a speeding ticket can increase your insurance costs by about $43 per month (that adds up to over $500 per year). More severe offenses, such as a DUI or multiple at-fault accidents, can nearly double your premiums.
States usually require SR-22s for drivers who have accumulated multiple infractions or have a DUI conviction. The financial consequences of needing an SR-22 can have a substantial long-term impact on insurance costs compared to having a squeaky-clean record.
Average cost of SR-22 insurance by state
SR-22 insurance rates can fluctuate dramatically from state to state. These differences are due to local insurance laws, the frequency of claims in the area, medical care and car repair costs, and weather trends.
The price difference across state lines can significantly affect car insurance premiums, as you’ll see in the table below. It provides a clear picture of what drivers who’ve had accidents or DUIs — two common reasons for needing an SR-22 — might expect to pay for an SR-22 policy. The table also highlights the company with the most affordable premiums for each state.
|Average Monthly Premium
|Georgia Farm Bureau
|Virginia Farm Bureau
It’s easy to see that some states, like Maine and Vermont, have the cheapest rates for SR-22 drivers. The decreased premiums are likely due to lower population density and fewer uninsured drivers. Still, these rates are substantially higher than what the average driver pays.
Interestingly, companies like State Farm and USAA offer the lowest rates across multiple states. This could be due to their large customer base and financial stability, which allows them to provide more competitive rates. Whatever the reason, the variation in rates between insurers underscores the importance of shopping around to find the best deal.
Cheapest companies for SR-22 insurance
You’ll find different SR-22 requirements depending on the state. Drivers needing an SR-22 usually pay higher premiums since they pose an increased risk to the insurance company. Still, car insurance rates can also vary greatly from one insurer to the next. Each company has its own method of evaluating risk, considering factors like driving history and the specifics of the incidents.
This variability means that SR-22 insurance costs can be quite different depending on where you live and the insurer you choose. Let’s take a look at the five cheapest companies for high-risk drivers, based on data from Compare.com.
Looking at the average premiums, you’ll notice that USAA typically has the cheapest rates, whether you’re looking for a liability policy or one with full coverage. State Farm also stands out for offering competitive prices, particularly for full-coverage SR-22 insurance. Evaluating your options can help you find the best and most affordable insurance for your specific needs.
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Shopping for SR-22 coverage can come with a lot of questions. Whether you’re looking for your first SR-22 policy or want something more affordable, here are answers to frequently asked questions to help you on your journey.
What do you do if you’re required to have an SR-22 but don’t own a car?
You can still fulfill the SR-22 requirement even if you don’t own a car. In this case, you’ll likely need an operator’s certificate. Also called non-owner SR-22 insurance, it shows you have car insurance that aligns with the law’s requirements. But since requirements vary by state, check with your local DMV first.
How much will an SR-22 increase your premium?
An SR-22 can cause your premiums to jump at least 87% compared to a driver with a clean record. On average, that can add about $112 per month to your insurance costs. However, the amount can vary widely depending on your driving record, the reason for needing the SR-22, and the insurance company you choose.
How much is an SR-22 in California?
In California, the average cost of an SR-22 is $206 per month, but how much you pay depends on the insurance company and the details of your driving record. Factors like the severity of your traffic violations and overall driving history are key in determining your SR-22 premiums.
How long is an SR-22 required in Virginia?
Drivers who need SR-22 or FR-44 insurance in Virginia can expect to have to maintain it for three years. Additionally, the state can also impose statutory and reinstatement fees, both essential for reinstating driving and vehicle registration privileges.
Why are you getting denied for SR-22 car insurance?
Insurers may deny SR-22 car insurance if they view you as too high-risk due to severe traffic violations or multiple accidents. State-specific regulations and inaccuracies in your application can also lead to denial. Contacting multiple insurers, especially those specializing in high-risk coverage, can help.
Data scientists at Compare.com analyzed more than 50 million real-time auto insurance rates from more than 75 partner insurance providers in order to compile the quotes and statistics seen in this article. Compare.com’s auto insurance data includes coverage analysis and details on drivers’ vehicles, driving records, insurance histories, and demographic information.
All the quotes listed in this article have been gathered from a combination of real Compare.com quotes and external insurance rate data gathered in collaboration with Quadrant Information Services. Compare.com uses these observations to provide drivers with insight into how auto insurance companies determine their premiums.
- NOLO, “SR-22 Insurance: What It Is and When It’s Required,” accessed January 2, 2024.
- State of Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, “FR (4) Cases – Increased BIL/PDL limits for DUI Cases,” accessed January 2, 2024.
- Insurance Information Institute, “What determines the price of an auto insurance policy?,” accessed January 2, 2024.
- U.S. Census Bureau, “Population Density of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico: 1910 to 2020,” accessed January 2, 2024.
- Insurance Research Council, “Uninsured Motorists 2017–2022,” accessed January 2, 2024.
- Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, “Insurance Requirements,” accessed January 2, 2024.
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