When you've committed certain traffic violations, your state of residence may require you to carry an SR-22. If you have bad credit, it may be hard to get the car insurance you need to file an SR-22, however. It's difficult, but not impossible. You don't have to give up on driving completely if you have bad credit and require an SR-22.
When Does Someone Need An SR-22?
Most SR-22s are issued due to traffic violations — such as DUIs, DWIs, driving without a license, and so on. Other causes may include not paying court-ordered child support or receiving a lot of tickets in a short amount of time. These violations cause a court or state to see you as a risky driver. In these instances, the authorities want to ensure that you have enough coverage to pay for other victims if you get into a car accident. Having bad credit doesn't cause you to need an SR-22, but it does make it harder to fill the requirements of one.
How To Get Car Insurance With Bad Credit
To fill your SR-22 obligations, you must have car insurance. If you have bad credit, you may want to consider these steps when insurance shopping.
- Consider multiple carriers. Consider all your options. Insurance rates are not the same everywhere, so be sure to check rates specifically in your area. For example, Travelers has the lowest average premium per year in Texas while USAA carries the cheapest average premium in Louisiana.
- Check out insurance companies that offer "no credit check" auto insurance. Some insurance companies either have more forgiveness when it comes to credit, while others have no credit check at all. Be sure to verify the insurance carrier and make sure you can get the right amount of coverage needed for the SR-22.
- Look for discounts. Discounts are available — even to drivers with bad credit. Speak with your Auto Insurance Discounters agent to find out what discounts they can provide to lower your insurance cost.
- Boost your credit. Paying bills on time, lowering your credit card balance and maintaining your credit report can all help in improving your credit score.
How Can I Have An SR-22 Without A Car?
You may still be required to have an SR-22 even if you don't own a vehicle. Purchasing non-owner car insurance will provide the right amount of coverage if you're borrowing a car. And it can also prevent a gap in your SR-22.
What Happens To My Current Insurance With An SR-22?
In some cases, an insurer may drop you if you've been convicted of a DUI. If you switch carriers, you must file a new SR-22 form. SR-22 form requirements vary by state, but most require you to carry an SR-22 form for three years. If you violate the SR-22 within those years, your insurance company must notify the court or state. This may lead to more restrictions — such as suspending your driving privileges — and you may be dropped from your carrier.
How Long Will My SR-22 Affect My Insurance?
An SR-22 is not responsible for raising your insurance cost, but the violation resulting in an SR-22 requirement which makes your insurance premiums higher. Different violations will affect your record for varying lengths of time. For example, a speeding ticket in Missouri typically remains on your record for 3 years, while a DUI can remain for 10 years or more. Your driving record and credit record don't typically overlap, and some insurance companies will only choose to look at your driving record. Consider your options when looking for auto insurance for an SR-22.