If you’ve had your license suspended for driving under the influence (DUI) or other reckless driving violations, been convicted of a DUI or other reckless driving violations, been in an accident in which you had no car insurance or proof of financial responsibility, or you’ve been required by a court order to maintain car insurance, you will need to provide your state a SR-22 or a FR-44 to continue driving.  SR-22 or FR-44 are not a type of car insurance, but a certificate of insurance or financial responsibility a driver is required to provided to the state requiring the certification. The “SR” stands for “state requirement” and the “FR” for “Financial Responsibility.”

The SR-22 or FR-44 certificate is provided by your insurance company directly to the state. Generally, when such a certificate is required, it will be for a period of 2-3 years (or longer.) Each state will have a different requirement – or no requirement for a SR-22 or FR-44.  (See your state’s requirements regarding SR-22/FR-44 certifications.)  This type of certificate does not require that you increase your car insurance policy limits beyond that your state requires for any driver under your state’s law (Learn more about the different types of car insurance, and Car Insurance for High Risk Drivers for more information on reasons why you should get more than the minimum insurance required by your state.)

The how does the SR-22 or FR-44 differ from what is normally required for proof of car insurance/financial responsibility in your state?

If you are a driver required to provide a SR-22 or FR-44 to your state, it means that if you fail to have proof of insurance of financial responsibility at any time you are required to show proof of car insurance, your license will be suspended automatically.  A regular proof of insurance or financial responsibility is simply something you keep proof of in your car in case you are in an accident. However, if you are required to have SR-22 or FR-44 certification, that certification is reported directly to the state driving agency and to the police as part of your moving violation record. Once you contact your car insurance company about your need for a SR-22 or FR-44 certification, your car insurance company will report that your are properly insured to your state on your behalf, which is your proof of insurance or financial responsibility. Your car insurance company may charge you a fee to make the SR-22 or FR-44 certification ($15-30 per person required to provide the SR-22 or FR-44 certificate.)  You will still be required to provide proof of car insurance if you are in an accident or if requested by a police officer so continue to keep a copy of your car insurance coverage in your car or with you if you are driving someone else’s car.

If you fail to pay your car insurance premium, your car insurance company is required to notify the state of your loss of car insurance.  If you lose your SR-22 or FR-44 and have no other proof of insurance, you may automatically lose your driving privileges.  Driving on a revoked or suspended license will bring further criminal consequences in your state.

If you are required to have a SR-22 or FR-44, here some information and tips to get you through the period required:

  • If you move to another state, your SR-22 or FR-44 requirement do not necessarily go away. You will likely be required to continue to report to your former state requiring the SR-22 or FR-44 certificate. However, be sure to check with your new state of residence.  There are some states that will require you to provide a copy of your SR-22 or FR-44 certificate if you were required to have a SR-22 or FR-44 certificate in your former state.  If your new state has higher minimum policy limits, you may be required to get a SR-22 or FR-44 certificate showing you meet those new minimum limits.  (See you state’s requirements regarding minimum insurance or financial responsibility requirements.)
  • Most insurance companies will refuse to issue month to month car insurance policies when you are required to maintain a SR-22 or FR-44 certificate with any state.  You may need to go to a minimum 6 month policy in order to purchase car insurance.  With a longer term car insurance policy, there is less risk of insurance lapse which would trigger an automatic driver’s license suspension.  However, as a side benefit, your overall car insurance costs will decrease if you purchase your car insurance for a longer term, such as a year. By purchasing a longer term policy, you will avoid higher premiums and financing fees for month to month car insurance policies.
  • Work on your driving record – It may take 3 years (depending on the state) for moving violations and 7-10 years for a DUI to drop off your driving record. By avoiding new tickets and following your state’s driving restrictions and other requirements, you are clearing the slate so that you can eventually qualify for car insurance rate reflecting your improved driving habits.