SR22 Bonds Explained

January 27, 2012

What Is an SR22 Bond?
SR22 bonds, also known as SR22 policies, are a special type of non-standard car insurance often required for problem drivers, such as those convicted of a DUI. This high risk car insurance allows problem drivers to meet minimum insurance requirements. If a license was suspended as a result of a DUI or DWI, an SR22 form will be required in order for the license to be reinstated.

Basically, an SR22 bond is designed to protect the people who might encounter trouble from a problem driver. Potential victims will be able to collect compensation promptly, as SR22 bonds allow them to collect directly from the insurance company rather than wait for the problem driver to file a claim.

In most cases if you've had a DUI, excessive tickets, or have been driving without insurance you will have to maintain a SR22 bond. The bright side is that as long as you pay your premiums the state will allow you to keep your license. If you've been ordered to ensure SR22 insurance, this should be seen as a second chance, and not a hassle. Without this option, you may lose your license all together, which is much more of a detriment than getting a simple SR22 bond.

Where SR22 Is Not Required
In some states the courts won't order SR22, but it may be an option for you. These states are Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. If you are in one of these states then you may be given the option to get SR22 to keep your license. If you are in a state that requires it and you move to one of these states, then you will need to go ahead and fulfill your prior obligations by getting the SR22 bond and have it filed. If you were ordered to maintain the bond for three years, then even moving doesn't break that requirement.

Where It's Not Offered
If you live in New York or North Carolina then you won't ever be required to file SR22 bonds. These states don't even offer the option. If you live in another state and move to North Carolina or New York, you may have an issue if you need to maintain an SR22 bond. Most insurance companies won't offer the filing for these states. If you find yourself in this predicament, you will need to file an appeal with the state that issued the order for SR22. This process can be lengthy, but just moving out of state won't negate the order.

Check with Your DMV to Understand SR22 Requirements
SR22 bond requirements will vary based on the state and the courts order. If you have been ordered to obtain an SR22 bond, you need to understand what the court has ordered. You will also want to check with the DMV in your state to find out if there is anything special you need to know. In most cases you will be required to carry the insurance for a minimum of three years, but depending on your driving record and what infractions caused you to need it to begin with, the length of time may be longer.

It's important to know whether or not you need to carry the SR22 bond. Without one, you may lose your driving privileges.

Cost Disadvantages of an SR22 Bond

Once you've been required to have a SR22 bond you may as well get used to paying higher rates on your insurance. As soon as you ask for a SR22 bond the insurance company will see you as a risk, and the rates can go up. In some cases the premiums can double over what you were paying. Even though this doesn't sound promising, it's a necessary expense if you want to keep your driving privileges.

SR22 Bonds and Coverage Limitations
In most cases, a SR22 bond will only cover you at the very basic and state minimum levels. This means if you enjoyed having higher coverage amounts in the past, you will need to understand that the coverage won't be as extensive. This usually isn't a problem unless you have a lot invested in your car. If this is the case, you may want to set aside the current car and drive a less expensive one for the time you need the SR22 bond.

Time Frames for SR22 Bonds
A SR22 bond will usually be required for a certain amount of time. In most cases it's three years, but can be more depending on the state you live in and the problems you've had with your license in the past. This can seem like a long time to pay inflated rates for.

No Leniency When Paying Insurance Dues
In most cases you have a few days or even a week or more to pay on your insurance premiums beyond the due date. In other words, you usually have a grace period before your policy is cancelled. With a SR22 bond in place, you will likely not have the same benefit. If your policy is due on the 3rd, it needs to be paid on the 3rd, or the state can be notified of your failure to pay. This can result in your license being suspended and your driving privileges revoked. If you have to maintain a SR22 bond, you need to ensure you are setting up either automatic draft payments, or that your payments will always be made on time to avoid this hassle. Once the insurance has lapsed, you may not be able to find another policy, assuming you are even able to keep your driving privileges.

Though, don't let the disadvantages discourage you. If anything, the SR22 bond puts limitations on privileges one once had. Fulfill the terms of carrying the SR22 and maintain a clean driving record, and your driving privileges can be restored overtime.

The Insurance Follows You
With a SR22 bond you are usually covered no matter what vehicle you drive. The insurance follows you as a risk, and not the car. Keep in mind that the coverage levels are generally at state minimum, and will only cover damages to others property and not the vehicle you're in. But this means that you aren't stuck driving only your car. If you borrow a friend's car, the SR22 bond follows you as you drive this one as well.

The Insurance Company Usually Does the Work
In most cases, once you ask for an SR22 bond, the insurance company will prepare the paperwork for you and file it with the state on your behalf. This will depend on the state you are in, but in all cases the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) will need to have a copy of the bond on file. If the state wants proof of certification down the road, they will usually contact the insurance company directly. As long as you continue to pay your premiums you won't have to worry about any of the paperwork. It's a seamless transaction behind the scenes.

Filing for SR-22 car insurance isn't that complex. Your insurance agent can help you, although you will also be able to do it yourself. You will need:

  • SR-22 Filing Form
  • Proof of Insurance

2 Easy Steps to Filing for SR22 Bond Yourself:

  1. Request the SR-22 form from your state DMV.
  2. Once you have it, fill it out and return it to the DMV with your proof of insurance.

It will take a few weeks, but you'll have your new license in the mail. In most states, you'll need to have an SR-22 for 3 years, although this minimum term can vary from state to state. You'll need to check to determine the period where you live.

How to Find Cheap SR22 Insurance Quotes

SR22 insurance quotes will give you an idea of how much you'll need to pay to procure an SR22 insurance document. To find cheap Insurance quotes:

  1. Contact Your Insurance Provider. Your insurance provider will be the source affirming that you possess the state required minimum insurance, so they may also be able to issue you an SR22 form. Ask your insurance provider about the cost of obtaining such a form directly from them, and make a note of the price. Also ask if there's any cost to get documents which prove you have insurance-not an official form, just a record of the insurance you possess. If there is, note it.
  2. Contact Local Traffic Schools. DMV approved traffic schools may also be able to get you an SR22 form, provided you can supply the necessary proof of insurance. Check the phonebook or online for a list of traffic schools near you and contact them to inquire about the cost of an SR22. Make notes of these prices as well for quick comparison later. You will need to add the cost of getting the insurance records mentioned in step 1, if applicable.
  3. Compare. You can now compare the prices offered to you by your insurance provider and various traffic schools to choose the lowest price you've been offered.

Using these steps will help you find the cheapest quote available to get your SR22 insurance document.

Discounts and Lower Rate Tips
There are tons of discounts out there available to all people, not just those with SR22 insurance. You should try to capitalize on as many as you can. Every little bit counts and some of these discounts are quite large. Listed below are discounts as well as tips to lower your rates.

  • Defensive driving courses are the highest reductions you can get. Taking this one time course for a quick five hours can get you as much as 20% off of your insurance rates, which can drastically lower your high premiums.
  • Your car choice is important in the amount of insurance you will pay. If you have an expensive car, you will be paying more than someone with an older, used car. It is a smart idea to switch to an older, used car so you can get the lowest rate. These cars are cheaper to fix compared to luxury cars, so in turn you get a lower rate.
  • Buying multiple plans for different things such as your home can lower your overall rates.
  • Staying clean is the number one way to keep them down. No accidents and no more convictions can only help. A DUI and DWI stay on your record for a long time. Getting another one will be no help to you.
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