There is very little information online about SR 22 Insurance requirements in relation to Texas DWI convictions. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about this subject.
If, after reading this article, you still have more questions about SR 22 Insurance, we invite you to contact us at the Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer for a free consultation. We have assisted many individuals in obtaining SR 22 Insurance throughout Fort Worth.
Simply put, SR 22 Insurance is just a form, which verifies that you have liability insurance. After you have obtained this form, you will forward it to the Department of Public Safety (DPS).
You must obtain SR 22 Insurance if you want to reinstate your driver’s license after revocation or suspension. An SR 22 is also essential if you intend to drive with an ignition interlock device (IID).
Apart from having to file an SR-22 form, there are other penalties for being convicted for DWI in Texas. Generally, the penalties arising from a DWI conviction are severe and have life-altering consequences.
What is SR 22 Insurance?
SR 22 Insurance is not a type of insurance, contrary to what the name suggests. Simply put, it is a form, which verifies that you have liability insurance.
After you have purchased liability insurance, your insurance company will file an SR 22 form with the Texas Department of Public Safety. This way, your insurer will confirm with the DPS that you have met the state’s minimum requirements for auto liability coverage. You can also file the SR-22 form by yourself.
What is the Difference between Regular Car Insurance and SR-22?
If you’ve never taken out SR-22 insurance before, you may be wondering how it differs from regular auto insurance. But, there isn’t any distinct difference between regular car insurance and SR-22.
Texas requires all motorists to have liability insurance. Therefore, regardless of whether or not you have been convicted for DWI, you still need auto insurance to drive legally.
Probably the only difference between SR-22 and regular auto insurance is the cost. The price for SR-22 is usually much higher than that for regular car insurance.
SR-22 works just like a monitoring system. The state utilizes this monitoring system to assess whether DWI convicts and other traffic offenders have complied with its liability auto insurance laws. Unless you prove your compliance by filing an SR-22 form, your driver’s license will remain suspended. After you have met the SR-22 insurance requirements, you will continue with your regular auto insurance policy as before.
Texas SR-22 Insurance Law
The primary law about SR-22 insurance in Texas is in the Transportation Code, section 601. Some attorneys normally refer to this law as the Safety Responsibility Act. According to this law, individuals who have had their drivers’ licenses suspended or revoked due to various reasons should file SR-22 certificates with the DPS.
SR-22 Minimum Liability Insurance Limits
Texas has imposed minimum liability insurance limits for individuals who have SR-22 status. Typically, if you have an SR-22, you will pay a much higher premium. This means that the total cost of auto insurance can be more expensive to you.
According to Texas Insurance Laws, a person who has SR-22 status should carry minimum liability insurance of not less than:
- $30,000 per person for bodily damage
- $60,000 per accident for bodily injury
- $25,000 per accident for property damage
When is SR 22 Insurance Essential?
An SR 22 form is essential in the following situations:
- Your driver's license was revoked or suspended, and you would like to reinstate it
- You would like to drive with an ignition interlock device
Below, we will discuss each of these situations briefly:
Reinstatement of a Revoked or Suspended Driver’s License
Your driver’s license may be revoked or suspended due to various reasons. Some of these reasons include:
- Having a DWI conviction
- Having a criminal conviction for wet reckless
- Being arrested for DWI
- Causing an accident while uninsured
- Losing your DUI DMV hearing
- Failing to request a DUI DMV hearing
- Failing to obey a traffic law while driving
- Not showing proof of insurance when pulled over by a law enforcement officer
- Driving on a suspended or revoked license
Two entities in Texas can suspend or revoke your driver's license: the court and the DPS. The court will only suspend your license upon being convicted for DWI or wet reckless. On the other hand, the DPS can revoke your license under different situations, including being arrested for DWI, losing or failing to request an administrative license revocation(ALR) hearing, or causing an accident while uninsured.
The typical period for court-imposed driver’s license cancellation for DWI is two years. This period can be extended depending on the number of prior DWI convictions.
Remember that the DPS has the power to revoke your license in various situations. For instance, if you have been arrested for DWI, the police officer will notify the DPS about your arrest. Then, the DPS will suspend your driver’s license, unless you request a hearing.
If you lose this hearing, your driver’s license will be automatically canceled. Additionally, you will lose your driving privileges if you fail to request for a DPS hearing after a DWI arrest. You will also have to forfeit your driver’s license if you cause an accident while uninsured or break a particular traffic law.
For you to get back your license, you will have to obtain an SR-22 form. The primary purpose of this form is to notify the DPS that you have liability coverage.
Driving with an Ignition Interlock Device
If the DPS has revoked or suspended your driver’s license, you may consider opting for a restricted license. This restricted license will allow you to drive with an ignition interlock device.
Texan courts customarily place individuals who have been convicted of DWI on probation. During probation, you will be required to abide by certain conditions, including attending a DWI educational program.
Obviously, it will be hard for you to attend this educational program, or commute to and from work, without being able to drive. This is why you may consider a restricted license. You may also feel compelled to obtain a restricted license if your driver’s license was suspended after a DWI arrest, and you failed to request an ALR hearing, or you lost it.
Take note that you will have to cater for the costs of IID installation and maintenance by yourself. A restricted license will permit you to drive to wherever you want, provided that you have had the IID installed. You will require an SR-22 to be granted this privilege.
However, you cannot obtain a restricted license immediately after your driver’s license has been suspended or revoked. There is a 90-day waiting period. Also, the DPS can impose other conditions in addition to having an IID installed, such as enrolling in a DWI educational program and paying license reissue and restriction fees. Take note that you may have difficulty getting a restricted license if you had refused to submit to a DWI breath or blood test.
How to Obtain SR-22 Insurance
If, after you have been arrested for DWI, you are 100% sure that you will plead guilty, you can jumpstart the SR-22 application process by requesting your insurer to file an SR-22 form quickly. Initiating this process as soon as possible, instead of waiting for the DPS to take action, can help you reinstate your driving privileges quickly. Make sure you consult with an experienced Texas DWI attorney to get the best strategy to get back your license as soon as possible, depending on the pertinent facts unique to your situation.
The first step to obtaining SR-22 insurance is to contact your auto insurance company. Unfortunately, after you inform your insurer that you require an SR-22, they will know that something of significance has happened.
Then, your insurance company will access your DPS record to know why you require the form. They can decide to issue you the form or cancel your insurance policy altogether.
If your insurance company issues an SR-22, you should expect to pay a much higher premium. Generally, your insurance company will issue SR-22 by filing an online form with the DPS.
Texas also allows individuals to submit the SR-22 forms by themselves. This means that you can submit this form in person at a designated DPS location, or you can mail it to the DPS headquarters in Austin.
Not all auto insurance providers offer SR-22 coverage. In fact, most of them do not. If your insurer cancels your policy, you will have to seek for SR-22 with another company. You will most likely be required to pay a higher premium, as car insurance providers will view you as ‘high-risk.’
Fortunately, a DWI is not the only consideration factor auto insurance companies look at before deciding whether to raise the value of your premium. Car insurers will also consider your driving experience, driving history, age, marital status, and residence.
The whole process of obtaining SR-22 insurance will take around 21 days. This means that you may not be able to restore your driving privileges as quickly as you would want. This is why you should contact your insurer as soon as possible to jumpstart the process.
The Cost of SR-22 Insurance
There is no fixed price for SR-22 Insurance in Texas. Just like any other auto insurance policy, the cost of SR-22 varies depending on several factors.
Typically, you should expect to pay between $300 - $800 for the policy. This figure varies depending on the number of prior convictions for DWI or wet reckless, why exactly you require the form, and other personal factors, such as your age, marital status, and driving experience.
Additionally, you will pay a higher premium. This is because most insurance companies will view you as high-risk.
Also, you may be charged between $25 - $50 as fees for filing your SR-22. You will also be required to pay the DPS $100 as license reissue/reinstatement fees.
What Will Happen to your Texas SR-22 if you Move to Another State?
A handful of states do not require SR-22 insurance, including Delaware, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Mexico, and New York. If you have been issued an SR-22 in Texas and you move to a state that does not require it, you will still be required to follow the Texas SR-22 guidelines. You will follow these guidelines until the required timeframe lapses. But, you will have to obtain auto liability insurance in your new state.
On the flip side, if you move from a state that does not require SR-22 to Texas and you have a prior DWI conviction, you will be required to obtain SR-22 in Texas. Moreover, you will have to purchase auto liability insurance.
In both situations, the limit of your liability coverage should be equal to your SR-22 policy. Once you have obtained new coverage, the previous state will release your policy.
If you move from Texas to another state requiring SR-22, you will have to obtain SR-22 in the new state. Once you receive it, your new insurer will relay this information to the Texas DPS. Then, the DPS will release your previous SR-22.
You should obtain a new policy before canceling your Texas SR-22. If you do not do so, your DPS record will show a coverage lapse. This may result in another license suspension or revocation.
How Long Should You Maintain SR-22 Status?
You should maintain the SR-22 status for two years from the date when you were convicted. If you don’t, the DPS will cancel your driving privileges.
Once the two-year timeframe has lapsed, you should contact your insurance provider and inform them about it. Unless you contact them, they may continue filing SR-22 insurance for you.
Take note that your insurer will notify the DPS if you cancel your policy or let it expire. Therefore, you cannot avoid maintaining the SR-22 status and keep your driver’s license.
If your insurer drops you or you cancel your coverage before the lapse of the two-year timeframe, you should immediately obtain another SR-22 form with a different auto insurance company. Ultimately, you are required to maintain uninterrupted SR-22 status for the DPS to remove it and restore your license.
You aren’t required to refile the SR-22 form every year. Provided that your insurance company does not drop you or cancel your policy, the SR-22 form will remain with the DPS until it is no longer needed.
However, you should renew your SR-22 policy within 15 days before its expiry date. An insurer may decide not to renew your coverage due to various reasons. In such a situation, there will be a gap in the SR-22 status, and the DPS may suspend your license. To avoid this, you can opt for an insurance agent with numerous companies in his/her portfolio, so that you can quickly renew your policy at an affordable cost if your current insurer chooses not to do so.
If you do not pay your insurance premiums, your insurer may cancel your policy, and then inform the DPS. As a result, the DPS will suspend or revoke your license, unless you obtain another SR-22 form.
When you receive the SR-22 certificate, you should always carry it around when driving. This is because a police officer can pull over and ask you to show him/her the certificate. Just keep it inside your car all the time to stay away from trouble.
Finding the Right Texas SR-22 Insurance Provider
Remember that you can only obtain the SR-22 form from an insurance company. Typically, individuals who require SR-22 certificates are deemed to be ‘high-risk.’ Therefore, SR-22 forms are costly, and not all insurers offer them.
You may have to do some little research to find the right Texas SR-22 insurance provider. You can start by reaching out to The National Association of Insurance Commissioners. This organization will help you find a licensed SR-22 insurance broker or agent within Texas.
Make sure that the SR-22 insurance provider you choose is legally licensed. If you opt for an unlicensed provider, it will not confirm with the DPS that you have SR-22, and you will be unable to reinstate your license.
It’s possible to obtain the SR-22 certificate from an insurer who isn’t your current provider. However, we insist that you first contact your current insurance company. Then, you can opt for a company that has affordable rates.
When speaking to your insurance company, you should disclose all the material facts relevant to your situation. Do not hide anything from them. If you do so, the company may cancel your policy upon discovery of the hidden fact, or it may refuse to incur liability when you cause an accident.
Non-owner SR-22 Insurance
Upon being convicted for DWI, the court may require you to obtain SR-22 insurance, regardless of whether or not you own a car. The primary purpose of non-owner SR-22 insurance is to prove that you will be financially responsible if you cause an accident.
The concept behind non-owner SR-22 insurance is simple. Just as an individual can obtain a driver’s license without owning a car, this also applies to insurance policies.
Getting non-owner SR-22 insurance is quite easy. It is also more affordable in comparison to owner SR-22 insurance. This is because insurance providers view it as less risky. After all, you have much fewer chances of driving.
You will require non-owner SR-22 insurance if you would like to reinstate your driver’s license. Once you obtain it, you will be legally permitted to drive any car you want.
What is the Difference Between SR-22 and FR-44?
Do not confuse between SR-22 and FR-44. Both FR-44 and SR-22 are financial responsibility forms.
FR-44 is not needed in Texas, but other states may require it. Typically, it replaces the requirement for SR-22 insurance.
Just like SR-22, FR-44 will significantly raise the amount of minimum liability insurance. This will make insurance costs more expensive for you.
The process of obtaining FR-44 is similar to that for SR-22. If you reside in Texas, you don't need to worry about getting FR-44 insurance, because it is not required.
Can you get a Secondary Insurance Option?
Yes, you can purchase another insurance policy while having SR-22, provided that you've already met the state's minimum liability requirements. Buying a secondary policy is a cheaper method of obtaining the amount of coverage you require.
However, some insurers may not be willing to provide secondary insurance to individuals who have SR-22 status. If you are not able to find an insurance provider who can cover you, then you should consider high-risk car insurance providers.
High-risk car insurance providers primarily cover DWI convicts, inexperienced drivers, or individuals with poor credit scores. If you opt for high-risk car insurance, you will definitely pay a higher premium.
However, there is no need to worry about being rejected. This is because many auto insurance companies out there offer secondary policies, in addition to SR-22.
What is the Difference Between SR-22 and SR-26?
Your insurance company will file an SR-26 form if you no longer require SR-22 or if, for any other reason, your SR-22 policy has been canceled. The primary difference between SR-22 and SR-26 is that SR-22 informs the DPS that you have minimum liability coverage, while SR-26 lets the DPS know that you do not have SR-22.
If your insurance provider files an SR-26 form, and the required timeframe for filing SR-22 has not ended, you will have to start again filing the SR-22. This means that if you cancel your SR-22 policy early, you must start over again.
Contact an Expert DWI Defense Attorney Near Me
Get in touch with Fort Worth DWI Defense Lawyer if you or your loved one needs help filing SR-22 insurance in Fort Worth. We represent individuals who have been charged with or convicted of DWI. Call us today at 817-470-2128 for a free consultation.