A Financial Responsibility Insurance Certificate (SR-22) is required by the Texas Transportation Code to verify that you are maintaining motor vehicle liability insurance. You might be required to have an SR-22 if you have been convicted of DUI, DWI or another serious moving violation; you have caused an accident while driving without insurance; or you have received too many traffic tickets in a short period of time.
An SR-22 is ordered by a court or your state. If it is court ordered, the judge will notify you at the hearing. If it is state ordered, you will usually get a letter from the department of motor vehicles. An SR-22 is not a “type” of insurance, but a form filed with your state. This certificate of financial responsibility is proof that your auto policy meets the minimum liability coverage required by state law.
There is really no difference between a regular insurance policy and an SR-22 Insurance policy except that the insurance company will keep the state informed of the status of your insurance policy. An insurance provider will automatically notify the state when a SR-22 is cancelled, terminated or lapses. SR-22 Insurance is simply car insurance with a Certificate of Financial Responsibility filing added.
SR-22 insurance covers any car that you drive if you file for an owner-operator SR-22 certificate. An owner-operator certificate, which is available in most states, is a type of SR-22 form that covers you when you drive any vehicle, regardless of who owns it. You must maintain a valid SR-22 for two years from the date of your most recent conviction, or the date that a judgement has been rendered against you. Failure to maintain an SR-22 for two years without a lapse in coverage can result in additional enforcement actions and/or reinstatement fees. If you fail to file a new SR-22 after cancellation or nonrenewal, your license and registration can be suspended again. Then, you will not only have to purchase a new auto insurance policy, but you will also have to pay the reinstatement fee a second time.
To file for an SR-22 certificate with the Texas Department of Public Safety, follow these steps:
- Find an authorized insurer or contact your current provider. Some insurers do not provide SR-22 coverage, so confirm with your provider if it will file the form on your behalf.
- Pay the appropriate SR-22 fee. Your insurer may charge a flat fee to file the form on your behalf. To get your driver’s license reinstated, you must first pay a reinstatement fee before submitting an SR-22 form to the Texas DPS in Austin.
- Have an insurer file proof of insurance or file directly to the Texas DPS. You can either mail the SR-22 insurance certificate to the DPS or deliver it in person. Otherwise, your insurer can file it electronically on your behalf for a fee. If you want to file the form yourself, you will need to first ask your insurer for the certificate.
- Once the fees are paid and SR-22 documents sent in, you can check your driver eligibility status online via the Texas DPS website. Your status will be updated to “eligible” from “ineligible” after your documents have been processed.
An SR-22 insurance policy will cost more than your previous coverage, primarily due to whatever violations caused you to need an SR-22 filing. Each insurer in Texas determines SR-22 rates using different methods. Once you have maintained an SR-22 policy for the period required by court order, it is your responsibility to notify your insurer that the form no longer needs to be filed. Otherwise, your insurance company will continue filing the SR-22 with the Texas DPS.