DWI in Texas

 

SR 22 Insurance

What is SR22 insurance

What is commonly known as SR 22 Insurance or simply SR22, actually refers to a 'certificate of insurance' issued by an insurance company which notifies the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) that a driver has automobile liability insurance coverage and are in compliance with the state's minimum auto insurance requirements. The company must also inform the State any time a policy lapses, terminates or is cancelled by filing a Form SR-26. So "SR 22 insurance" is really not a type of insurance itself but the name of a form that needs to be filed by an insurance company.

Who needs SR-22 insurance

While a drunk driving conviction, ie. a DWI or DUI, is a common reason for needing to have a SR22 filing, it can also be required for other traffic violations such as:

  • failing to maintain auto insurance
  • multiple traffic offenses
  • at fault in an accident while driving without auto insurance and
  • reckless driving which endangers other drivers and pedestrians

If you are convicted of a DWI in Texas, you need to contact an insurance company or agent who is authorized to issue SR22 insurance for the State of Texas and purchase such insurance right away. The minimum liability coverage amounts required by the Texas Financial Responsibility Law are currently $30,000 for each injured person, up to $60,000 per accident and $25,000 for property damage (30/60/25).

Non Owner SR22 Insurance

You do not need to own a car in your own name in order to purchase such insurance and if this is the case, you need to get a non-owner SR22 policy, sometimes called a named driver policy, and ask for an SR22 endorsement form.

Lapsed, expired or cancelled SR22 insurance

If your SR22 car insurance policy expires, lapses or is cancelled, the insurance company must send an SR26 filing to the state who may then suspend or revoke your driving license. It is that this serious situation is avoided because having to go back to an insurer to get another policy and file another SR22 to get your driver's license re-instated will be expensive. In very serious cases, you may not be able to drive at all.

How to get an SR-22

The best and fastest way to get an SR-22 is to call your existing insurance company and ask if they are licensed to provide an SR-22 filing service in Texas. Some insurers may consider you to represent too high a risk and may simply decline to provide coverage for anyone who needs an SR22. In that case, simply move on to the next insurance company. It is extremely unlikely that you will not get a company who will offer you an insurance quote and file an SR22, no matter whay your record may be.

How much does SR22 insurance cost

A SR 22 filing is usually required because of high-risk behavior behind the wheel but will not by itself cause your insurance rates to go up. But besides the modest filing fee of only about $15 or $20, the cost of a policy will depend on your driving record. It is extremely important to understand that every insurance company measures and values its risk premiums differently based on their own acutarial records and insurance claim experience. This simply means that different companies will have different insurance premiums for the same risk and it is very much worth your while to take the time and shop around for the cheapest policy you can find. You may end up saving hundreds of dollars each year.  So even if your existing insurance company or agent offers to provide SR22 services, don't accept the offer without looking elsewhere for insurance quotes first.

Is my SR-22 insurance valid in all states

Your SR22 filing is valid only for the state that you filed in, so the answer is "no". If you move to another state, you should find out what that state's requirements are with your record and transfer your insurance to the new state. Almost all states require the SR22 and the requirements vary from state to state. Only Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania don't require the SR22 but if you move to one of these states, you still have to meet the original state's requirements until the probation expires. So if you have an SR22 for Texas and move to Alaska and get an Alaska policy, you still have to meet the probationary period for Texas until it expires in three years.

Do I need to file a seperate SR-22 for every automobile I own

No. Your SR-22 filing shows the state that you have the minimum in liability coverage and it doesn't require you to have a seperate policy for every vehicle you own.

For the most current information on SR 22 insurance requirements, please visit the Texas Department of Insurance  and the Texas Department of Public Safety.

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