I Need an SR-22. What Does That Mean?

An SR-22 is a type of coverage required of drivers too high-risk to qualify for standard insurance. An SR-22 is not a type of auto insurance but, rather a guarantee from an insurance provider that the driver is covered with the minimum coverage he or she requires. SR-22’s are required to reinstate the licenses of drivers who have been convicted of serious traffic violations, including DUI.


Also known as a “certificate of financial responsibility", an SR-22 certifies that a driver meets state minimum auto insurance requirements and will continue to do so until the end of the necessary, usually three year, term. In contrast, the insurance ID card issued with a standard auto insurance policy only indicates that the holder is currently insured, not that they are insured to at least the minimum standard.
If you must have an SR-22, you will face requirements not needed with a standard form of insurance.

“SR-22” and “SR-22 Insurance". What’s the Difference?

Again, an SR-22 is not insurance, but it is still referred to regularly as “SR-22 insurance”. This is likely because the filing of the certificate is handled by insurance providers. Since the process of acquiring an SR-22 is similar to the process of getting a regular policy, the term probably arose out of ease of use. In some cases, insurance providers may even advertise their certificate filing service as “SR-22 insurance."

Why Might a Driver Need an SR-22?

The filing of an SR-22 is often a required step to reinstate the license of a driver who has committed one of the following traffic violations:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI).
  • Driving without car insurance.
  • Driver is at fault in a serious car accident.
  • After the revocation or suspension of a driver's license.
  • Accumulation of an excessive amount of violation points on a driving record.

How Long Might an SR-22 be Required?

The majority of states require SR-22 certificates to be filed for 3 years. If after three years you have had no other violations, you will not be required to refile an SR-22 after the expiration of your term. Conversely, commission of another violation that will typically result in the requirement of subsequent filings.

How Do I File for an SR-22?

States that require an SR-22 also require that it be filed directly through your auto insurance provider. This is to make certain that you are not fabricating your auto insurance status. If you are required to file an SR-22, immediately contact your auto insurance agent or representative.

What Will an SR-22 Cost Me?

The requirement of an SR-22 indicates that a violation was egregious enough that the driver can no longer qualify for even high-risk insurance. When a driver has gone beyond the most expensive level of auto insurance, it is certain he will be paying even more for an SR-22. In some cases, an insurance company may refuse to file an SR-22 for one of their own policyholders and the former policyholder can add finding a new provider to the other inconveniences of an SR-22.