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SR22 Basics: Keeping Your License After A Serious Traffic Violation

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Even if you are a safe driver and take precautions when you are behind the wheel, you can make mistakes or lose control of your vehicle during stressful situations. If you get cited for a serious traffic violation, your state may mandate that you purchase a certificate of financial responsibility, also known as an SR-22, to ensure that you meet state insurance requirements.

In addition, because you have incurred a violation on your driving record, your insurance rate will most likely increase. Consequently, when you contact your insurance company about obtaining an SR-22, there are a few things you should know about the process.

Filing Your SR-22

Unlike some types of state-issued documents for citizens, you cannot apply for an SR-22 on your own. The document can only be filed through an insurance company. Even if you do not own a car but want to keep your driving privileges, you may be required to obtain an SR-22.

As soon as you find out from your state's department of motor vehicles that you need an SR-22, contact your insurance company. Generally, the document can be filed electronically so you will not have to wait more than a day or two to have the SR-22 designation added to your driving record. In addition, your state may also mandate that you carry an additional amount of liability insurance.

Changing Insurance Companies and Moving Out of State

The total cost of the SR-22 filing plus the additional insurance you need will vary based on your state and your insurance company's rates. If you find out that you can get cheaper insurance rates from another car insurer, you need to make sure that your SR-22 designation remains on record with the state while you change policies. Contact you new insurance company before you cancel your old policy to make sure that they file for an SR-22 before your previous coverage ends.

If you plan on moving to a new state, make sure to find out if you need an SR-22 in your new locale before you relocate. States share driver's license record information, and the department of motor vehicles in your new locale may require you to obtain an SR-22 based on your previous driving record. Your insurance agent should be able to help you obtain another SR-22 and insurance coverage that meets state laws in your new home.

SR-22 Time Frames and Lapsed Insurance

Each state has its own requirements on how long you need to keep on SR-22 on file. Usually, it is just a few years. For example, in Oregon, the requirement is three years and begins 60 days after you receive a letter stating that you need an SR-22.

Whatever you do, do not let your vehicle insurance expire during this period. Your insurance company will inform the state, and your driving privileges will be suspended immediately. For more information on SR-22 insurance, contact an insurance agency like Able Insurance Agency.