How do traffic and DUI violations impact the cost of carrying an SR22 compared to a regular non-owner auto insurance policy?

Traffic and DUI violations significantly impact the cost of carrying an SR-22 compared to a regular non-owner auto insurance policy. The SR-22 itself is not insurance but a certificate your insurance company files with the state to prove you have the minimum required liability coverage. It’s required for drivers considered high-risk due to violations such as DUIs, driving without insurance, reckless driving, or other serious infractions.

Impact on Insurance Costs

  1. Higher Premiums: When you’re required to carry an SR-22, insurance companies see you as a higher risk. This perception increases your insurance premiums significantly compared to a regular non-owner policy. DUIs, in particular, can cause premiums to skyrocket because they indicate risky behavior that could lead to expensive claims for the insurer.
  2. Filing Fees: Besides higher premiums, there’s usually a fee to file an SR-22 certificate, which varies by state but can add an additional one-time cost to your policy. This fee is relatively small compared to the overall increase in your premium but is an added expense not associated with standard policies.
  3. Limited Options: After a serious violation like a DUI, not all insurance companies may be willing to insure you, or they may offer very high rates. This limitation can force you to choose from a smaller pool of insurers, potentially at a higher cost than if you had access to a broader market.
  4. Duration of Increased Rates: The length of time you’re required to maintain an SR-22 can vary by state but typically ranges from 3 to 5 years. During this period, your insurance rates will be higher than those for a standard non-owner policy. Even after the SR-22 requirement is lifted, your driving record will still influence your insurance rates until violations no longer appear on your record.

Minimizing Costs

  • Shop Around: It’s crucial to compare quotes from multiple insurers. Some companies specialize in high-risk drivers and might offer more competitive rates for SR-22 coverage.
  • Maintain a Clean Record: Any additional violations can further increase your rates. Keeping a clean driving record while you have an SR-22 can help manage costs and improve your insurance options in the future.
  • Consider Coverage Limits: While you must meet minimum liability requirements, carefully consider if you need any additional coverage. Opting for higher deductibles can also help lower your premiums, but you should balance this with the risk of having to pay more out-of-pocket in the event of a claim.

Overall, the impact of traffic and DUI violations on the cost of carrying an SR-22 compared to a regular non-owner auto insurance policy is substantial. Drivers facing an SR-22 requirement should be prepared for higher costs and take steps to minimize their premiums over time.