If you have ever made mistakes behind the wheel, you might had to face the penalties. In many states, this have meant getting an SR-22 certificate.
SR-22s essentially force you to carry car insurance. As long as you have the SR-22, it is important that you focus on being a safer driver than before you got it. If you don't, you might face further penalties. What can you do to avoid additional mistakes?
An SR-22 is a form, imposed by many states, that attaches to a driver's car insurance policy. The policy forces the driver to carry certain amounts of car insurance — usually, their state's minimum liability insurance coverage or more. The form also goes on file with your state's DMV or highway patrol authority. So long as it is on file, the driver who carries it must maintain active car insurance. They also must try to avoid driving penalties.
All drivers in most states must carry car insurance. However, only certain people have to carry SR-22s. Those who qualify are drivers who have demonstrated driving practices that make them high-risk operators.
So, while your state expects you to carry car insurance, they will trust you to do so as long as you don't commit driving offenses. However, if you do commit offenses, then they will both require you to get covered and monitor you once you do so. The SR-22 is their way of doing so.
SR-22s might arise from a variety of driving penalties, depending on where you live. These might include:
- Driving without insurance
- Driving without a valid license or registration
- Receiving multiple speeding tickets
- Causing at-fault accidents
- DUI or DWI offenses
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.
To file for the SR-22, you will likely have to contact your Auto Insurance Discounters agent. Your agent can help you file the SR-22 form and adjust your policy as necessary. A nominal fee might apply. Either you or the agent will send the form to the state, and — barring any other penalties — you can resume driving normally.
Avoiding Further Offenses After SR-22s
After you file the SR-22, it will remain on your driving record and insurance policy for a few years (generally two to three years). You might be able to return to the road after getting an SR-22. However, that doesn't mean you are free to drive however you please. The SR-22 is a penalty; as such, your state will have their eye on you during the SR-22 period.
If you commit further driving offenses, during the SR-22 period, it serves to lengthen your list of offenses. You can expect more severe penalties because you are a habitual high-risk driver.
- In many cases, you might have to start your SR-22 period over again from the beginning. Even if you commit an offense on the very last day of the SR-22, you might have to go all the way back to square one.
- 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 penalty in the beginning. Therefore, you don't want to face yet another penalty.
As a result, you must avoid taking unnecessary risks behind the wheel during the penalty. Here are just a few ways to do so.
First, always keep your car insurance active. 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.
Second, don't forget to take practical steps to keep your coverage up-to-date, and keep yourself safe while driving.
- 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.
- 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.
Finally, don't forget the basics of driving. Pay attention, watch your speed, and share the road. As long as you avoid further penalties, you can likely wipe the SR-22 off your record and get on with your life. With just a little proactive planning, you will make yourself a safer driver.