SR22 And You: Does Your State Use It? Find Out More
You got busted drinking and driving. Ouch. Even if you hire a lawyer and attempt to get the punitive measures erased, the judge may order that you get and carry SR22 insurance through a place like Able Insurance Agency. Most people have never heard of this, so you probably have not heard of it either--until now. This is not really insurance, but because it is a product carried by automotive insurance companies, the word "insurance" is attached. Here is more on this insurance product, as well as states that never use it and unusual rules attached to SR22 in some states.
States That NEVER Use SR22 Insurance
Eight states do not require or use SR22. These states have their own ways of dealing with drunk drivers that are harsher, and thus the "slap on the wrist" of an SR22 is deemed unnecessary. While you may not see the expense and responsibility of carrying SR22 with your regular automobile insurance as a slap on the wrist, when compared to what these eight states would do instead, you may welcome the SR22.
Those eight states include:
- New York
- North Carolina
- New Mexico
Getting busted as a drunk or buzzed driver in these states often equals jail time and/or very steep fines for the first offense. Revocation of your license for a few months is a common first-time punishment as well. ALL other states, including Hawaii and Alaska, use the SR22 insurance in an attempt to encourage first-timers to choose sobriety while driving.
Different Rules and Regulations Attached to SR22
Because each state operates driving laws a little differently, there is, of course, going to be some differences in the SR22 requirements. In Wisconsin, for example, it is not just drunk driving convictions that will require you to carry SR22. It is also several other offenses for which a person's license is either suspended or revoked. Inattentive driving, reckless driving, and even driving without the minimum required insurance by Wisconsin law is cause to carry SR22.
Hawaii is another strange set of SR22 rules. Instead of carrying the SR22 for only three years following a DUI conviction, drivers have to carry it for five years. They have to be responsible to carry it the full, continuous five years and renew it annually, or lose all driving privileges. Even if you do not have a car, you must continue your insurance during this time. If you forget to renew, your license is suspended/revoked until the D.O.T. receives an SR26 from your insurance company that states you have renewed your SR22. Harsh.
Be sure to check with your current home state to find out what special rules apply. Your insurance agent will let you know when you buy the product the level of responsibility attached to it. He or she will also alert you to the punitive measures that will occur if you allow the SR22 to lapse.
Pick the Right Insurance Group
Perhaps even more surprising than finding out that you have to purchase SR22 insurance is finding out that not all insurance groups and companies can file this document for you. Thankfully, many of the larger insurance groups can. If your personal insurance agent for car insurance is not one of the groups or companies that can file the SR22 for you, you will need to transfer your auto insurance to another group/company, since the SR22 has to be through the same agent that you purchased auto insurance from.
Finally, a Word on Keeping Your Nose Clean
Since you received an order from the judge to carry SR22, you should know that a second offense will not be taken so lightly. Most reasonable people do very well with keeping their proverbial noses clean so that they can be rid of the SR22 after the time constraint is up. Those that do not lose driving privileges for however long the judge deems fit within the confinements of state law.