If you drive, you need to follow the rules. Cars are extremely dangerous if you don't use them correctly. It takes specialized and ongoing training to remain safe behind the wheel. You also need to have car insurance to protect both yourself and others in the event you make mistakes that lead to wrecks or other mishaps. For the drivers who are most-prone to making driving mistakes, your state might require you to file for an SR-22 certificate. Let's take a closer look at some of the most-frequent driving mistakes that lead to SR-22 requirements.
What's An SR-22?
Nearly all states require drivers to carry car insurance. Most require liability coverage; this coverage helps a driver compensate other parties — such as other drivers, passengers or pedestrians — in the event the insured driver causes a wreck. Therefore, it makes sense that those drivers who are most at-risk of causing wrecks or committing other driving infractions are the ones who need this coverage the most.
To make doubly sure that high-risk drivers get this coverage, some states require them to file for an SR-22. The SR-22 is a certificate or electronic form that you apply for with your car insurer. The insurer then sends your form to your state's DMV, and the form serves as round-the-clock proof that you have car insurance that's both valid and active. If you ever let your coverage lapse, the state can penalize you for doing so. They require you to have car insurance; the SR-22 is the mechanism in place to make sure you do.
SR-22s are not for everyone. Only drivers who commit serious breaches of driving law are likely to have to get this form. So, what can you expect to lead to an SR-22?
Mistakes That Lead to SR-22s
If you have to get an SR-22, it's probably because you committed a severe breach of driving law. Since these mistakes are likely to prove to the state that you have a higher likelihood of making other mistakes in the future, the SR-22 serves as a guarantee that you'll have car insurance behind you in the event problems ever arise. Consider just a few of the infractions that might lead to these requirements:
- At-Fault Car Wrecks: When a car wreck is deemed your fault, it means that you directly contributed to the cause and effects of the accident. A significant mistake likely triggered the wreck. Therefore, you need the SR-22 to guarantee that you can respond to the results of your mistakes.
- Multiple Driving Infractions: A single speeding ticket is not likely to trigger an SR-22 requirement. It is when these infractions begin to mount that you are likely to have to file. Multiple driving infractions show both insurance companies and the DMV that you are a significant risk behind the wheel. Therefore, you are one of the people who is most likely to need, and perhaps make use of, car insurance.
- Driving Uninsured: It’s the law to carry car insurance. So, driving without it is likely to trigger the SR-22 penalty. If you have to carry it and neglect to do so, then you are more likely to have to take extra steps to prove that you have it in the future.
- DUIs: Driving under the influence of alcohol is extremely dangerous, and those who make the choice to do so are putting themselves and others at risk. The SR-22 is likely a way of providing an extra level of protection not only for offenders, but also others on the road.
The good news is that SR-22 requirements don't last forever — they usually only last about three years. However, drivers who continue to make driving offenses are less likely to be able to get let the certificate expire on its anticipated end date. Still, if you take practical steps to reduce or eliminate driving infractions, then you are much more likely to be able to get rid of the SR-22 and keep your car insurance rates stable.