You've settled down and mellowed a bit, but your driving record still haunts you. If your youthful indiscretions include being caught for utterly irresponsible, devil-may-care driving escapades, you will need an SR-22 insurance certificate. Your car insurance company issues this badge of past dishonor. It informs the Department of Motor Vehicles in your state that you have become a law-abiding driver who carries car insurance according to its rules.
Driving without insurance is the most common way to get into the SR-22 program. Drivers whose licenses have been suspended or revoked also need SR-22 certificates before they can hit the road again. It also applies to anyone convicted of alcohol-related offenses, or someone who caused an accident through reckless driving.
Most states require drivers to carry an SR-22 certificate for three years after they find out they need one. If you're living in Alaska or a few other states, you'll need your certificate for five years for alcohol-related offenses. You'll wind up needing an SR-22 for life if you manage to achieve five drunken-driving offenses in Alaska. Texas gives bad drivers a bit of a break, as its irresponsible drivers carry an SR-22 for only two years.
Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania do not require high-risk drivers to file SR-22 certificates with their motor vehicle departments. However, a driver with an SR-22 from another state isn't off the hook if he moves to one of these states. He must keep the SR-22 from his former state until the end of the mandated period. Only drivers who commit offenses while residing in these states get away without an SR-22.
Contact your insurance company as soon as you can drive again after a period of license suspension or other offense. That company has to the send the SR-22 certificate to your state's motor vehicle department. If you switch insurance companies, let the new company or your broker know you need an SR-22. Most companies ask you this when you apply for a new policy. Otherwise, you are liable because your old company cancels your SR-22 along with your old policy.
- Progressive Insurance: SR-22: What You Need To Know
- Texas Department of Public Safety: Form SR-22 Insurance Certificate
- Alaska Department of Administration: State Department of Motor Vehicles: SR-22 Insurance Information
- Nebraska DMV: SR-22 For Revocations/Suspensions
- Carinsurance.com: What states mandate the sr22?