When a driver in Georgia is required to have SR-22 insurance, it actually means they must file an SR-22 certificate with the state. This certificate (official known as a Certificate of Financial Responsibility) provides proof that the driver is insured and that they will stay insured for a certain period of time. Not every driver needs to do this, however. The State of Georgia will send notice to anyone who needs to have SR-22 insurance, and there are very specific circumstances where it’s required.
9 Reasons You May Need SR-22 Car Insurance in Georgia
Most of the time, a driver is required to file an SR-22 certificate if they’ve been penalized for a vehicle violation. The SR-22 is meant to guarantee the motorist will be financially responsible in the future—and there are penalties for failing to have SR-22 insurance when it’s legally required.
Here are the main reasons you might need SR-22 car insurance if you’re a driver in Georgia.
1. License Suspension or Revocation
The most common reason for filing an SR-22 certificate in Georgia is to reinstate a driver’s license or other privileges. If you’ve had your driver’s license suspended or revoked, the Georgia DDS may require the SR-22 form to verify you’ve purchased car insurance, which you need to do before a license can be reinstated.
Auto insurance companies usually require drivers to provide a valid license before purchasing a policy, but they will make an exception if you’re buying coverage to obtain an SR-22 certificate and work towards reinstating your suspended or revoked license. You’ll usually have up to 30 days to provide proof, once you have a valid license.
You also typically need to hold the SR-22 insurance for three years without interruption after a license suspension. If your auto insurance coverage lapses at any point during these years, your insurance company is required to notify the State of Georgia. That would also mean the three year period starts over again, and the state can re-suspend your license.
2. Driving Without Insurance or License
If you are stopped for a traffic violation and can’t provide proof of insurance or your driver’s license, you may be required to obtain the SR-22 certificate. The form is a way of guaranteeing the state you won’t continue driving with insurance coverage or your license.
3. DUI or DWI Conviction
You will definitely need SR-22 car insurance in Georgia if you’ve been convicted of DUI (driving under the influence), DWI (driving while intoxicated), or any serious moving violation. Being convicted of drunk driving also means your car insurance rates will rise, and some companies may cancel your policy because of a DUI conviction.
You’ll want to shop around to compare prices from different insurers before picking one. Also, make sure you choose a carrier who does SR-22 insurance filings. They will need to file the SR-22 certificate immediately after you purchase coverage.
4. Causing a Car Accident While Uninsured
Being stopped without proof of insurance coverage is grounds enough for you to need SR-22 car insurance. So, being at-fault for a car accident when you’re uninsured is even more serious.
5. Too Many Points on Your Driving Record
Points are added to your DMV driving record when you’re convicted of certain traffic violations. In Georgia, a driver’s license is suspended if a driver receives 15 or more points within a 24-month period. If you receive too many points during a certain timeframe, your driver’s license will be suspended or revoked. This could mean you need SR-22 insurance.
6. Repeat Traffic Offenses or Tickets
If you have repeat offenses on your record or you get too many tickets without paying for them, you could get notified that you need an SR-22 certificate.
7. Being a High-Risk Driver
If you’re required to carry SR-22 car insurance, chances are you’ve been classified as a “high-risk driver” in Georgia. This means insurance companies will see you the same way, which means you’ll face higher insurance premium rates. Plus, some insurance companies will not take high-risk drivers.
Only one DUI is enough for a driver to be considered high-risk and require SR-22 insurance. If you need SR-22 insurance because of a high-risk status, compare several insurance quotes and make sure you purchase coverage from a company that will file an SR-22.
8. Being Involved in Child Support or Neglect Cases
Many reasons for needing SR-22 insurance stem from traffic-related violations, but there are a few other reasons someone might need to obtain this form. In Georgia, anyone who fails to meet their child support obligations can have their driver’s license suspended. When child support payments aren’t made, the Georgia DDS is notified and a grace period is given before the suspension goes into effect.
9. Applying for a Hardship License
A hardship license is sometimes issued when a driver’s regular license is suspended or revoked. A hardship license lets you drive only in certain situations, which is usually to and from work. If you’re applying for a hardship license after a suspension, you may be required to have SR-22 insurance.
What to Do If You Need SR-22 Car Insurance
If you need SR-22 insurance, you’ll typically be notified by the courts or the DMV. However, if you’re unsure, you can contact your local DMV office and ask about requirements for SR-22 coverage in Georgia. You should especially know for sure if you’ve experienced any of the reasons above, such as a DUI conviction or driving while uninsured.
Once you know you need the SR-22 form, contact your auto insurance company and ask your agent about SR-22 insurance. Some insurance companies don’t file SR-22 forms, so you’ll need to know for sure if your insurer can do this.
If your insurer does file SR-22 forms, they can file it with the appropriate state department and you’ll be sent a copy. There is a fee, usually of $15-$25, for filing this form. If your current insurance carrier does not file SR-22 forms, you’ll need to find one that does.
If you were injured because of the other driver violated a traffic law, John Foy & Associates can help you seek financial recovery for your damages. For a FREE consultation, call us today at 404-400-4000 or fill out the online form to get started.