In Plain English

An SR-22 is an extra certification proving that your policy meets your state’s minimum car insurance requirements.

Posted on: Jun 03, 2015

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You don’t need us to tell you how big a mistake you made if you need an SR-22 form. Instead, what you need is a clear explanation of the steps you need to take to get yourself back on track. Lucky for you, we’ve got your back.

What is an SR-22 form?

Simply put, an SR-22 is a document that makes it very clear To Those It May Concern that you do indeed carry the minimum car insurance required by your state.  It’s normally a requirement to have a suspension lifted from your license due to a violation.  Though you may have heard an SR-22 referred to as “SR-22 insurance,” it isn’t insurance.  To make matters even more confusing, some insurance companies will even use the phrase “SR-22 insurance” as shorthand, even though, pinky-swear, it isn’t insurance.  Instead, an SR-22 is a certificate (literally just a piece paper or electronic document) that your insurance company files on your behalf with the state after your license has been suspended.  That’s it!

Now, as you may have guessed, not everyone needs an SR-22.  If you’ve had a serious traffic violation though, you’re in the running.  But don’t worry—we are here to explain what that means for you and your insurance plan.

Do you need an SR-22?

Did a judge tell you that you must have an SR-22? Then you need one!  It’s that simple.

If you aren’t sure whether you need an SR-22, but you have a nagging feeling you might, these are the reasons the DMV lists for which one is usually required:

  • DUI or DWI conviction
  • Ticket for driving without insurance
  • Serious car accident
  • Suspended or revoked license
  • Too many points on your license

You need an SR-22.  Now what?

First the good news: Most states only require an SR-22 for three years, as long as you remain major-violation-free during that time.  So remember, this too shall pass.

If you already have car insurance and you now must carry an SR-22, simply call your representative and ask them to file it for you. Most states require your car insurance company to file the SR-22 directly. If you find that your current car insurance company can’t file the SR-22 for you, then you’ll have to find a new carrier (and for that, The Zebra is at your service).  

If you’re shopping for car insurance, be aware that your insurance policy will likely need to meet some extra requirements. Depending on which carrier you choose, you may need to pay an additional fee for the insurance company to file the SR-22. 


What states don’t require an SR-22?

Most states require an SR-22, with the exceptions being Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. If you move from a state that requires an SR-22 to a state that does not, you will typically still need to follow the requirements of the state that first required you to file an SR-22.

What happens if I have a lapse of coverage?

In states that require SR-22s, you will need to maintain continuous insurance coverage with an SR-22 for two to five years depending on the state you reside in and the reason for the SR-22. If you have a lapse of coverage of any kind, your insurer is legally obligated to notify the DMV and your license will be suspended.

How much does an SR-22 form cost?

When it comes to an SR-22, you’ll only need to pay a nominal fee (often around $25) for your insurance company to file the form. While the fee itself is small, the unfortunate reality is an SR-22 may increase the overall cost of your car insurance. If you need to shop for a lower quote than your current carrier can offer, we have you covered: See quotes from hundreds of carriers in seconds at

What if I don't own a vehicle but still need an SR22?

You might find yourself in a situation where you don't own a vehicle but the state is still requiring that you have an SR22. No need to worry! The answer is a Non-Owners Insurance policy and an SR22 can be attached to it just like a regular policy. Regular auto insurance follows the vehicle, but a non-owners policy is just like a basic state minimum policy that covers you to legally drive any vehicle. Not all companies offer this type of policy but rest assured that there are plenty of carriers that do.