We all like to think we are great drivers. But unfortunately, mistakes happen and sometimes poor decisions are made that have lasting effects. For instance, if you are charged with a DUI, you may need to file form SR-22 through your car insurance company.

But wait, what is an SR-22? Those who aren’t familiar with this form sometimes think it is a car insurance policy, but that isn’t quite correct. Instead, an SR-22, also called a certificate of financial responsibility (CFR), lets your state know you have the required auto insurance coverage. If you have a squeaky-clean driving record, don’t worry—only those who have been charged with certain offenses have to file an SR-22.

Key Takeaways

  • An SR-22 is required in the case of certain convictions, such as a DUI or reckless driving.
  • An SR-22 is not an insurance policy. It is a form that lets your state know you have at least the minimum level of coverage.
  • Convictions that require an SR-22 result in a 31% to 375% increase in insurance premiums.
  • Farmers and Progressive have the lowest rates nationally for drivers requiring an SR-22.

What is an SR-22?

An SR-22 is your insurer’s guarantee to your state that you have the legally required car insurance coverage. If you’ve never heard of an SR-22, you probably don’t need one; they are only required when drivers face certain convictions. That usually means a DUI, moving violation, or reckless driving. But sit tight, because there are lots of other violations that might result in the need for an SR-22, which we’ll cover shortly.

SR 22 insurance

For now, it’s important to note that anyone who needs an SR-22 must contact their auto insurance company about the form. That is the only way to get an SR-22; if you are uninsured, you’ll have to address that first.

Who needs an SR-22?

Not everyone needs an SR-22. If you have no violations on your driving record, you won’t have to worry about this form at all. But if you have ever had a major violation, there is a good chance you’ll have to let your state know you are still insured. Some of the violations that require an SR-22 include:

  • DUI, DWI, or other serious moving violations
  • Causing an accident while driving without insurances
  • Having too many DMV points
  • Having a high number of traffic tickets in a short period of time
  • Having to apply for a hardship or probationary permit (while your license is suspended)
  • Reinstating your license after a suspension or revocation

Some states require an SR-22 and then some:

  • Florida: requires SR-22 and FR-44
  • Maryland: requires SR-22 and FR-19
  • Virginia: requires SR-22 and FR-4

How do you get an SR-22 certificate of financial responsibility?

If you need an SR22 certificate of financial responsibility, the court or your state department of motor vehicles will notify you of the requirement, says Loretta L. Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute.

"A person should notify the insurer providing his or her insurance that an SR-22 is needed," Worters says. "Once the (insurance) purchase is completed, the insurer will begin the process of filing the certificate on the behalf of the policyholder."

Before you start dialing your insurance company’s number, there are eight states that don’t require an SR-22:

  • Delaware (requires FR-19)
  • Kentucky
  • Minnesota
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania

If you happen to be moving to one of these states in the future, you might be excited to potentially have lower premiums. But hold on, because you still have to meet the minimum requirements for the SR-22 as long as it is in effect, even if you move. And according to Worters, your insurance policy in your new state must have the liability limit minimums required in your former state.

New York and North Carolina don't require SR-22 filings. Now, here’s the good news: if you have an SR-22 and move to one of those places, you don’t have to follow your former state’s requirements. That is because most companies don't offer out-of-state SR-22 filings for those states.

As usual, you can expect to pay a $25 one-time fee to file an SR-22. You also have to pay the fee if you allow your policy to lapse and the SR-22 has to be re-filed. Plus, a filing fee is charged for each individual SR-22 filed. For example, if you and your spouse need SR-22s, you’ll pay the fee twice, Worters says.

How long do I need SR-22 car insurance?

How long the SR-22 filings are required can vary by state and the severity of the offense, but it’s typically three to five years, Worters says.

How much is SR22 insurance?

A policy along with one DUI conviction has an average cost of about $230 per month or $2,760 per year. That’s according to expert analysis from Insure.com. Costs vary, but you can expect an increase in your monthly insurance premiums if you have to file an SR-22.

Also, don’t forget the processing fee, which can run from $15 to $50. The typical cost is $25, and you pay that fee for the insurance company to process the form for you. Just what you need: another fee. On the plus side, this is a one-time fee you won’t have to pay again.

You might be wondering just how much premiums usually increase when you file an SR-22. Again, there is a lot of variation. Insure.com’s analysis found that the average increase is 89%. But on the high end, premiums increased by 375%; the lowest increase was 31%.

That being the case, there is no set premium increase for those who need SR-22 insurance. Where you live in addition to your driving record and the type of vehicle you drive all affect the increase you’ll see in your rates. Of course, violations that indicate risky behavior, such as a DUI, mean your rate increase will be steeper. Even if an SR-22 isn’t required in your state, you can expect a substantial increase in that case.

Unfortunately, the answer to the question of rate increases will never be the same for everyone. You will need a personalized SR-22 insurance quote to really know what kind of increase you are facing.

SR-22 insurance rates by company

No one likes when their car insurance rates increase, but that will likely be the case if you need an SR-22. That’s why we’ve provided some cheap SR-22 insurance rates for you here. Farmers and Progressive have some of the best high-risk auto insurance rates.

CompanyAverage base rateRate with SR-22 with DUIAverage increase
Geico$1,016$2,982194%
Nationwide$1,628$3,364107%
Farmers$1,666$2,72764%
State Farm$1,186$1,88959%
Allstate$1,898$2,93154%
Progressive$1,156$2,24648%

How to remove or cancel SR22

If for some reason you must cancel your policy prior to the termination date, your insurance company will file an SR-26 to let the state know. Since insurance is a requirement, the state will want to be aware of these changes.

But how do you know your insurer will file the form? As it turns out, some insurers can’t be bothered to do this. Also, many auto insurance companies don't want the hassle of filing SR22s with states -- and also filing SR-26s when policies lapse, says Alex Hageli, director of personal lines policy with the Property Casualty Insurers Association America, an industry trade group.

"And there are companies that decide that people who require SR-22s are not the type that fits their profile of someone they will underwrite," Hageli adds.

Still, if you have to remove or cancel an SR-22, you should contact your insurer. They filed the SR-22, and now, they will have to file an SR-26. Makes sense, doesn’t it?

The difference between SR-22 and FR-44

The FR-44 is a separate form that is only used in Florida and Virginia; these states dared to be different. There, the FR-44 is used instead of an SR-22 for drivers convicted of certain alcohol-related violations. Like the SR-22, the FR-44 also shows proof of financial liability, but it has higher liability limits. The FR-44 must remain in effect for three years, which is the same as the SR-22 in many states.

Frequently asked questions

How much does SR22 insurance cost a month?

A policy along with one DUI conviction has an average cost of about $230 per month or $2,760 per year. That’s according to expert analysis from Insure.com. Costs vary, but you can expect an increase in your monthly insurance premiums if you have to file an SR-22.

What does SR 22 insurance cover?

SR-22 covers the minimum that is required by state law. In many states, this is only liability protection; some states require higher levels of protection. Of course, you can opt for more coverage, but if you need an SR-22, there is a certain level of coverage that will be required.

How does SR 22 insurance work?

SR-22 insurance is just like any other insurance policy. If you meet the minimum requirements for your state, congrats: your insurer will file an SR-22 to let the state know. The SR-22 remains in effect for three the five years, depending on your state. Ask your insurer if you aren’t sure how long the SR-22 will be in effect.

How do I know if I still need an SR 22?

There are many where an SR-22 may be required, such as when you are charged with a DUI or reckless driving. If you are cited for anything other than the most minor of incidents, such as littering from a vehicle, contact your insurance provider. They file the form and will know if one is necessary for you.

What does SR 22 stand for?

SR stands for safety responsibility and 22 is simply the number of that particular form.

Why is SR 22 insurance so expensive?

If you've been required to file an SR-22, it generally means you are considered a high-risk driver. Car insurance rates are assessed back on various risk factors that ultimately help the car insurance company determine how risky you are as a driver. The riskier you are, the higher your auto insurance rates will be.

How can I avoid filing an SR 22?

The only way to avoid filing an SR-22 in a state that requires the form is to avoid traffic violations and convictions that result in the need for the form. Practice safe driving, enroll in a traffic course and strive to avoid any violations on the road.