Answers to the Nine Most Commonly Asked Questions Regarding SR-22s and FR-44s


 
Q. What is an SR-22 and why do I need one?
A. An SR-22 is nothing more than a certification issued by your insurance company to the DMV, confirming that you have an active automobile liability insurance policy. Once your insurance company has issued an SR-22, the company is obligated to notify the DMV of any lapse in liability coverage. A lapse in coverage will result in the immediate suspension of your privilege to drive any vehicle, whether registered to you (including those jointly owned with someone else) or not. The suspension of driving and registration privileges will continue until you have completed both of the following:
 
  • Obtained a New Liability Policy or Reinstated Your Old One
 
  • Paid the DMV a Reinstatement Fee
 
Failure to complete either of these requirements will prolong your suspension and subject you to possible arrest and/or incarceration, as well as additional fines and court costs if you are caught driving under a suspension order.
Q. What do these people want and why are they harassing me?
If you are required to file an SR-22 by the DMV, it is not because they wish to punish you. The DMV is complying with a public law that requires them to monitor the status of your liability insurance. They are enforcing Virginia Code 46.2-316, which was passed by the state legislature and have no choice in the matter.
Q. What does an SR-22 cover?
A. An SR-22 does not cover anything. It is a certificate that proves to the DMV that you have a valid liability insurance policy in force and nothing more.
Q. I filed an SR-22 two years ago. Why are they after me now?
A. Your old insurance company complied with the law and notified the DMV that your policy was cancelled. You no longer have an SR-22 filed with the DMV. Your license and registration were suspended the day your old policy expired. You can reinstate your privileges by obtaining new liability coverage, filing a new SR-22, and paying the required reinstatement fee to the DMV.
Q. What if I don't even own a vehicle any longer?
A. Not owning a vehicle doesn't eliminate the SR-22 requirement that the DMV is enforcing. You must obtain an operator's (commonly called a non-owner's) policy and have an SR-22 filed in order to maintain your privilege to drive any motor vehicle.
Q. Can I buy an operator's policy and have it cover anything I drive?
A. An operator's policy will cover you only when you drive a vehicle that does not have another valid and collectable policy covering it. The vehicle cannot belong to you.
Q. What is an SR-22 and why do I need one?
A. An SR-22 is nothing more than a certification issued by your insurance company to the DMV, confirming that you have an active automobile liability insurance policy. Once your insurance company has issued an SR-22, the company is obligated to notify the DMV of any lapse in liability coverage. A lapse in coverage will result in the immediate suspension of your privilege to drive any vehicle, whether registered to you (including those jointly owned with someone else) or not. The suspension of driving and registration privileges will continue until you have completed both of the following:
Q. Can I save myself money by putting my car in someone else's name, such as a wife, girlfriend, or parent?
A. You might save a few dollars but unless you are listed as a driver on that person's policy, you are putting them at risk of losing their policy or worse. A few years ago, a well-known insurance company was allowed (by the court) to deny coverage for serious injuries when they found that an insured had deliberately failed to declare a known driver. In this particular case, the driver's girlfriend was declared uninsured by the court and she became personally responsible for all damages. She lost her license and had to file an SR-22 on top of her other troubles.
Q. My company says that they do not (or will not) file SR-22s. Is that unusual?
A. Not all companies will file SR-22s. More will than won't, but that does not mean that the company will renew your policy when it comes up for renewal.

Many of the well-known companies will become deliberately difficult to deal with when an SR-22 filing is requested. These companies do not wish to have the added expense of notifying the DMV of a policy lapse included in their rating base and will often refuse to accept a late payment. Other companies have geared their operations specifically to handle such situations and some will not even charge a premium for doing so.

If your insurance agent works for only one company, chances are that he does not file a lot of SR-22s and is not adequately equipped to handle your need inexpensively. You will need to find someone who specializes in this type of insurance in much the same way you would consult a medical doctor for a specific condition. You wouldn't go to a general practitioner for a serious back injury, would you?
Q. How long must I keep an SR-22 filing? It's got to end sometime!
A. The typical length of time is three years. The DMV will notify you when your control date expires.
 

Q. Do the same questions and answers apply to FR-44?
A. Yes
Contact Affiliated Insurance Agencies for more information or to request a quote.