Agent’s Corner: How long do I need to have a SR-22 auto insurance form?
Editor’s Note: This is the first article in a new series we’ll be publishing called “Agent’s Corner” where you’ll get advice directly from one of our agents on the call center floor. This week, we’re hearing about SR-22’s from Charles Stark.
I receive a lot of questions about an SR-22. An SR-22 is simply a financial responsibility form proving that you have insurance coverage. The insurance company files this form with the state on your behalf when you set up your insurance policy. Make sure you notify the insurance company that you need an SR-22, because not all companies provide this service.
When an SR-22 is required, it is usually required for three consecutive years. This can vary by state, and for the reason it was required. You will want to check with your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to confirm how long it is required for your specific case.
An SR-22 requirement can be issued by the state or a judge. There are a variety of reasons that they can become required. Two of the most common times they are required is after receiving a ticket for DUI/DWI or driving without insurance.
Another version of the SR-22 is an FR-44. This serves the same function as the SR-22 but it requires the driver to obtain a higher level of insurance coverage. The FR-44 is usually required in cases where a driver has not kept up their SR-22 requirement.
What many people do not know is that when you cancel an insurance policy, that company will immediately notify the state that you are no longer covered and your SR-22 form will be rescinded. It is critical that if you are cancelling your policy because you are changing insurance companies, that you set up the new policy with an SR-22 before canceling your previous policy. Otherwise, your three year requirement starts from the beginning.
For example: After two years of being with the same company that has an SR-22 filed on your behalf, you decide to switch companies. You let your policy lapse on a Tuesday and set up a new policy on Wednesday with an SR-22, that one day lapse in coverage can cause your three years start over from the beginning. Most states will not “give you credit” for the previous two years. If you need an SR-22, find out for sure how long you are required to have it. If you change insurance companies make sure that you set up the new policy with an SR-22 before canceling your previous policy.
March 30, 2012