We’re all human, and we might all make mistakes behind the wheel from time to time. Still, those of us who get caught committing driving offenses must face the consequences, and at the times these penalties might include filing for an SR-22 certificate.
An SR-22 is used as a mechanism to force high-risk drivers to carry car insurance. It’s essential to helping them protect both themselves and others on the road. Therefore, if you have an SR-22 on your record, then you have to carry car insurance for as long as you have the penalty.
It’s also imperative to focus on being as safe a driver as possible. If you continue to rack up driving offenses while you have an SR-22, then you might face further penalties. What can you do, instead, to recommit to being as safe a driver as possible?
An SR-22 is nothing more than a piece of paper. However, it functions as a legal penalty that you must receive from your auto insurer and attach to your existing policy. The SR-22 forces the recipient to carry minimum levels of auto insurance (usually in line with their state’s minimum coverage requirement). It is then filed with the state’s DMV.
For as long as the driver has the SR-22, they must maintain active auto insurance. They must also avoid further driving penalties as best they can. If they ever let their auto policy lapse or receive additional charges, the DMV and their insurer will know. This could lead to significant further penalties.
All drivers in most states must carry car insurance. However, only certain people have to carry SR-22s. The reason they might have to do so is because they have clearly demonstrated driving habits that make them high-risk operators.
SR-22 penalties might arise out of a variety of driving offenses, depending on the laws of the state where you commit the offense. Some of the triggers of SR-22s might include:
- Driving without insurance
- Driving without a valid license or registration
- Receiving multiple speeding tickets
- Causing at-fault accidents
- Committing DUI or DWI offenses
- Committing hit-and-runs
You can probably guess why these offenses might make you more at-risk of causing harm to others. Therefore, to protect you, other drivers and the insurance companies themselves, states rigorously enforce SR-22 penalties.
Avoiding Further Offenses After SR-22s
Once you receive an SR-22 penalty, you will have to contact your Auto Insurance Discounters agent to file the form. We’ll help you adjust your policy as necessary to accommodate the SR-22, and a nominal filing fee might apply. Afterwords, you will receive verification that your form has been appropriately filed, or advised on any next steps to take. Barring any other restrictions, you can resume driving normally.
After the SR-22 is activated, it will remain attached to the policy for about 2 - 3 years, depending on the instructions attached to your driving charge. While you can return to the road at this time, you are not permitted to drive however you please. The SR-22 is a driving penalty, and as a result, your state will closely monitor your driving habits for the duration of the penalty.
If you commit further driving offenses, you can expect more severe penalties because you are now classified as a habitual high-risk driver.
- In many cases, you might have to start your SR-22 period over again from the beginning.
- Further offenses might lead to the suspension of your driving privileges.
- Insurance companies might significantly raise your premium going forward. The SR-22 itself might have triggered a higher premium in the beginning. Therefore, you don’t want to face yet another penalty and the risk of even higher premiums.
To be a responsible driver, you must avoid making future mistakes behind the wheel. Here are just a few ways to do so:
- First, the point of the SR-22 is to make you carry car insurance. So, if you ever let your coverage lapse, then the penalty will lapse too.
- Pay your premiums on time. If you qualify for automatic payments, take advantage of them. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about sending a check every month.
- If you want to pay your premium in-full at signing, that will ensure your policy remains active for its entire term.
- Sign up to auto-renew your policy. Many insurers offer this option to SR-22 recipients.
- If you move, buy a new car or need to make changes to your policy, immediately notify your agent. They will need to update your policy.
- Always make sure your policy contains all coverage mandated by the SR-22.
Second, don’t forget to take practical steps to keep yourself safe while driving. For instance, take a safe-driving course. It can help you reacquaint yourself with practices that can help you avoid mistakes. Passing the course might also qualify you for an insurance discount, too.