Drivers who make mistakes can expect to face consequences. These might include small fines, or points on your license. In severe cases, they might lead to an SR-22 penalty.
An SR-22 certificate verifies for the state that you have car insurance. However, for your insurer, it might signal that you have a poor driving record. This could lead to higher premiums – which is something no one wants.
So, how can you avoid an SR-22? There's no single answer. However, a commitment to driving safely will dramatically cut your chances of receiving the SR-22.
What Triggers An SR-22?
SR-22s are certificates that some states require drivers to file after certain offenses. The SR-22 verifies for the state DMV that the offending driver has active car insurance. You'll have to contact your insurer to file the SR-22.
The reason states require the certificate is that they want to know high-risk drivers have financial support. That's because car insurance might become much more critical should a high-risk driver cause damage to themselves, their vehicle or someone else.
Some of the drivers who might have to get an SR-22 certificate include those with:
- DUI or DWI charges
- Repetitive or frequent tickets
- Frequent or severe car accidents
- Incidences of driving on a suspended license or expired registration
- Incidences of driving without car insurance
When your insurer sees that you've been assessed an SR-22 penalty, they'll take it as a sign that you have a higher risk of making mistakes on the road. A higher risk of mistakes also means a higher risk that you have to file an insurance claim. This means you are more of a cost risk to an insurer. As a result, they might raise your premium costs, or even cancel your coverage.
Since SR-22s do not usually spell good news for your insurance coverage, it's a good idea not to get one in the first place. What can you do to avoid them?
1. Brush Up On Your Driving Skills
Drivers who follow the rules of the road are less likely to have accidents or make other mistakes. However, everyone is going to make mistakes from time to time.
While you may feel comfortable behind the wheel, you might make mistakes you don't recognize. Yet, there are ways you can make yourself a better driver.
- Put away your mobile device while driving. Mute notifications, don't text and don't call others while behind the wheel. If you must use your mobile phone, try to use hands-free.
- Obey all traffic signs, including warning lights.
- Do not speed.
- Use your headlights during inclement weather or after dark.
- Never drink alcohol or use illegal drugs while driving.
For those who want additional safety training, multiple outlets offer defensive driving classes. These courses will help you review your techniques and learn new practices to stay safe on the road. In fact, many insurers offer discounts for policyholders who successfully pass these courses.
2. Get A Hearing And Vision Test
At times, impairment might develop simply based on how your body works. For example, poor eyesight or hearing make you less aware of your surroundings. This means you have a greater risk of making driving mistakes that lead to wrecks or other vehicle mishaps.
If you notice that you are having a hard time seeing the road, or hearing common sounds related to driving, it might be time to visit a medical professional. You might need glasses, contacts, or hearing aids might help you safe and fully alert behind the wheel. Other assistive devices might also come in handy.
Let the DMV and your Auto Insurance Discounters agent know when you've gotten these assistive devices. They might need to make changes to your policy or license to ensure you can still drive legally. Do not attempt to drive without carrying these items once you've gotten them.
3. Update Your License, Registration And Insurance
Everyone must have appropriate qualifications to drive. This generally includes having a license, registration and at least the minimum insurance required by your state of residence. If you do not have these documents in your possession, you won't be able to legally drive.
Each item will likely periodically. Car insurance policies usually renew every half year. Registration and driver's licenses can renew every year or few years, depending on the state they're issued in. Therefore, make sure you know when each document is set to expire. These documents will list expiration dates prominently.
Before the deadline arrives, make sure you renew these items. This will likely require some paperwork and a small fee. However, it's your legal duty to obey your state's traffic and driving laws. Driving with the right paperwork greatly reduces your chances obtaining an SR-22 – and the higher insurance rates that come with it. So, failing to renew these items can actually cost you more money.
Avoiding an SR-22 should remain one of your top priorities. But doing so requires you to be proactive. Don't wait when it comes to being a safe driver. Pay more attention the next time you get behind the wheel.