No one wants to have a car wreck, but let’s face it, everyone makes mistakes from time to time that could lead to accidents. In the unfortunate event that your mistake leads to a crash, there could be a lot of costly losses that might result, particularly if the accident is your fault.
At-fault car accidents might not only harm the insured driver, but they might also harm other drivers, pedestrians, property owners or anyone else affected by the driver’s mistakes. In some cases, the driver might face charges in court, too. Some of the resulting penalties might arise from both the court and from their auto insurer. These might include SR-22 penalties.
You might wonder why an accident might demand trigger a requirement for you to get an SR-22, but the fact is that your mistakes merit the need for you to have car insurance. SR-22s are your state’s way of making sure you have coverage.
What is an SR-22?
SR-22s are verification requirements that obligate a driver who commits a significant traffic offense to prove to the state that they have active car insurance. Failure to comply could cause a driver to face a loss of driving privileges, termination of their car insurance and more.
An SR-22 is really nothing more than a verification form that your insurer attaches to your car insurance policy and then forwards to the DMV in your state of residence. For as long as you have the SR-22 attached to your policy, you will provide proof to the state that you have car insurance.
Why do States Require SR-22s?
Driving is a risky business. Car accidents might occur at any time and these might cost a lot of people a lot of money. Car insurance helps drivers afford the many costs that might result.
As a result, most states require drivers to carry car insurance. Drivers who fail to do so break the law and could face penalties if they get caught. One of these penalties is the SR-22 requirement.
But SR-22s are more than just penalties for driving without insurance. States also use them for high-risk drivers to guarantee that they have coverage. Therefore, the more unsafe a driver proves to be behind the wheel, the more likely they are to have to get an SR-22 certificate.
SR-22 penalties usually kick in when someone gets caught committing a traffic offense. Different states require SR-22s in different circumstances. However, they generally result from charges like DUIs, driving without a license or insurance or multiple traffic tickets. Additionally, drivers caught who cause severe accidents might also face this requirement.
Why Might Accidents Trigger SR-22 Penalties?
Car accidents can result from a variety of hazards. In many cases the driver’s actions are primary or contributing factors that caused the wreck. When the driver’s mistakes are the significant factors that led to the wreck, then the accident is the driver’s fault.
Most states obligate drivers who cause accidents to pay for the damage. This could mean covering not only your own accident costs, but also the losses of others. To cover third-party losses like the injuries or property damage of other drivers, you will likely have to use auto liability insurance. That’s why most states require some form of liability insurance from most drivers.
When the accident is your fault, then you prove to both the state and your insurer that you are a high-risk driver. Therefore, not only will they want to guarantee that you can compensate those affected by your mistakes, but they will also want to make sure you always keep coverage in the future.
Because you have had an at-fault accident already, this is an indicator that you might do so in the future. As a result, an SR-22 penalty will help guarantee that you always have the auto coverage in place to protect yourself and others.
The Effect of SR-22 Requirements
SR-22s are clear indicators that a driver has a tendency to make mistakes behind the wheel. Therefore, when you have to file for this certificate with your insurer, they will likely label you as a high-risk driver. As a result, your insurance eligibility might change.
In some cases, you will no longer be able to keep your policy with your current insurer upon receiving an SR-22. Some policy providers simply do not have the ability to assume the cost risk of covering these drivers. In other cases, your auto insurance premium will significantly increase. The higher risk you have demonstrated by being at-fault for a wreck and receiving an SR-22 will likely show your insurer that they will have to charge you more.
Nevertheless, SR-22s are not all bad news. Often, they are only temporary penalties that remain on a driver’s record and insurance policy for two to three years. As long as you don’t commit any further driving offenses and keep active insurance during this time period, the SR-22 will eventually disappear. Therefore, you might soon qualify for more flexible and affordable auto insurance rates.
If you have auto insurance and must get an SR-22 certificate, then your independent agent is happy to help you. We can help you navigate all the ins and outs of these complex penalties to always make sure you minimize the potential negative impact of these losses.
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