If you need an SR-22, it isn't the end of the world. The cost of an SR-22 itself isn't much, nor is the process to get one. But pain will come in the insurance rates you'll face for whatever issue brought you to the point of needing an SR-22 form.

What is an SR-22?

The SR-22 is a type of "financial responsibility filing" that proves you have car insurance. In some states it's called an FR-44. A state might require an SR-22 for drivers who have certain problems on their driving records, such as a DUI or driving without insurance. Your insurance company will have to file the form before you can legally drive again.

Here are important things to know about an SR-22:

  • SR-22s are not a type of insurance, although people use the term "SR-22 insurance." It's simply a form that proves you have auto insurance.
  • Not all car insurance companies offer SR-22 forms. If yours doesn't, you'll need to change insurance companies if you need an SR-22.
  • Your state might require that you prove you have car insurance even if you no longer have a car.

Compare rates: Cheap car insurance

You'll most likely find out that you need an SR-22 either through a court order from a judge or from your state's DMV.

Common reasons for SR-22s

DUI Might be required for the state to remove a license suspension
Caught driving without insurance, or caused an accident without insurance Proves that you have auto insurance
Caught driving without a license or with a suspended license Used to reinstate a license
Frequent traffic violations Might be required to reinstate a license

Not all states use SR-22s. According to Nolo, states that don't have SR-22s are:

  • Delaware
  • Kentucky
  • Minnesota
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania

If you're moving from a state that required an SR-22 to a state that doesn't, you may be able to appeal the requirement with your former state.

Non-owner SR-22 insurance

In some cases, you may be required to file an SR-22 even if you don't own a car. A non-owner car insurance policy lets you fulfill the insurance requirement without having a vehicle. Non-owner insurance is a liability policy that will cover others' medical bills and property damage if you cause a car accident.

How to get an SR-22

Here's how to get an SR-22 depending on your current insurance situation:

  • If you already have car insurance and your insurance company offers SR-22s, you'll just need to request it from your insurer.
  • If your insurer doesn't offer SR-22s you'll need to switch to one that does.
  • If you don't have auto insurance you'll need to seek out an insurer that offers SR-22s.

Many insurers offer SR-22s, including Geico, The General, Progressive and State Farm.

Compare: Allstate vs. Geico vs. Progressive vs. State Farm

SR-22 insurance cost

The price for an SR-22 certificate itself is small. It's generally an administrative fee between $15 and $25, depending on the insurer and state.

The real cost of needing an SR-22 will be in your rates. You can expect an insurance increase based on the new violations that are on your driving record. You might even need to buy coverage from a high-risk car insurance company. 

Even if you need an SR-22 you can shop around for the best quotes possible.

How long does an SR-22 last?

Most states require an SR-22 to stay in effect for three years but the time period varies.

When the requirement is over, call your insurer to have the SR-22 removed.