Get SR-22 Without Valid License

Consider this scenario: Your license is suspended. You’ve been told that to reinstate it, you need to get auto insurance and file an SR-22 form. But, you’re wondering how to get an SR-22 without a valid license. How can you reinstate your driver's license without insurance when you have to have car insurance to reinstate your license?

The good news is that car insurance companies aren't new to SR22 needs, and many will make exceptions to help you.

Key Highlights
  • Car insurance companies often make exceptions to the “no insurance without a valid license” rule for those with SR-22 requirements.
  • Expect to pay an SR-22 filing fee to the insurer and higher than average car insurance premiums due to being considered a high-risk driver.
  • Shop around for SR-22 car insurance from at least five companies.
  • SR-22 laws vary by state, so be sure to check with your insurance company and DMV on your state-specific laws.

Can I get SR-22 car insurance without a license?

In general, the answer to the question, "Can you get a SR-22 with a suspended license?” is yes.

While auto insurance companies normally require policyholders to have a valid driver's license in order to obtain a car insurance policy, they do make exceptions because there are situations when getting a license is dependent upon having insurance.

Car insurance companies that will file an SR-22 are aware that many times the state must receive this certificate of financial responsibility before a license will be reinstated. For this reason, they will allow you to start up your policy and give you time to get your license reinstated.

Typically, car insurance companies will allow up to 30 days to provide proof that you now have a valid license. If you fail to get your license reinstated within the given time frame, then your car insurance policy will be canceled.

You would then have to restart the process by obtaining a new auto insurance policy and having a new SR-22 filed so that you can try again to get your license reinstated within the given time frame.

Check out our detailed guide on SR-22 insurance.

How do you get SR-22 auto insurance without a license?

Not sure how to get an SR22 without a driver's license?

Here is a quick primer on what you need to do and a few tips on how to keep your costs as affordable as possible:

Shop for a new car insurance company

The best piece of advice when trying to find insurance after a license suspension is to shop around. Auto insurance companies rate risk differently and this can result in dramatic differences in premium quotes.

It is important to remember that the days of cheap car insurance are over, at least for a while. Expect your car insurance rates to go up dramatically after a moving violation that requires an SR-22.

Contact at least five different insurers for quotes and compare apples to apples when it comes to coverage levels and deductibles. If you purchase a new policy, don’t forget to cancel your old SR-22 policy after your new policy goes into effect.

Compare auto insurance quotes to find out which company offers the best quotes.

Be honest with your insurance company

It never pays to mislead an insurer regarding your driving record. They will find out whatever you are trying to hide when they pull your driving record and they’ll write you off as dishonest.

Let your car insurance company know immediately you will need an SR-22 as they will have to file it with your insurance policy with your state. Many states have moved to all electronic systems when it comes to filing an SR-22, which can speed up the process.

Widen your car insurance company search

Consider insurance companies that may not be as well-known as major nationwide insurers. Second-tier insurers tend to work with drivers who have less than stellar driving records and many of them are owned by large national insurance companies.

In addition to major carriers, you should also consider smaller car insurance companies that specialize in high-risk or non-standard coverage.

This isn’t a complete list but will give you a springboard if you are researching SR-22 insurance companies.

Here is a list of some well-known insurers to consider:

  • Allstate
  • Dairyland
  • Direct
  • Geico
  • The General
  • Infinity
  • Nationwide
  • Progressive
  • Safe Auto
  • State Farm

Ask your auto insurer for help

Be sure to ask your insurance company about any discounts you are qualified for – even small discounts can help when you are looking at a sky-high premium.

Purchase a car insurance policy

The majority of insurers charge a small fee to file an SR-22. It varies by insurer, but $25 is fairly common. Once you have purchased the policy, your car insurance company should file the SR-22 with the state.

Get your driver’s license back

Once you have proof of insurance and your insurer has filed the SR-22, it is time to head to the DMV. While it varies by state, in most cases you will have to show up in person to get your license back: Bring proof of your policy and the SR-22.

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Check with your car insurance company after the reinstatement that they have received the information showing your license is now valid, or else your policy and SR-22 may cancel out, which would result in your license being suspended again.

Pay your auto insurance policy premiums on time

If you want to keep your license, make sure you pay your premium on time. If your car insurance policy is canceled due to non-payment or another issue during the required SR-22 period (typically three years), your car insurance company will file an SR-26 that shows the cancellation.

Then, the DMV will be notified you are no longer insured and they will re-suspend your license. If this happens, finding car insurance companies to insure you will be much more difficult.

Shop your auto insurance coverage at the one-year mark of being required to carry an SR22 and every year afterward to make sure you are getting the best rate. Your rates should improve each year.

Check out our guide: What to do if you need an SR-22 but don't own a car?

FAQ: SR-22 without a license

Neither is an SR-22 a license to drive nor will it make you legal out on the streets by itself. An SR22 proves you are carrying the proper car insurance coverage. In some cases, it is called a Certificate of Financial Responsibility, or CFR.

While an SR22 is one component of getting legal out on the road and is often necessary to get your license back, you must have a valid (not suspended) license to legally drive in all states.

Insurance companies will often allow you to obtain an SR-22 as long as you get your driver's license reinstated within 30 days of your insurance policy's inception date, or as long as you acquire a hardship driver's license within that same time frame.

Driving with a suspended license comes with severe penalties, such as fines and jail time. Instead, get your license reinstated, get insurance and an SR-22 filed by your agent.

Typically not. A motorcycle license is an endorsement on your standard-issue driver's license, it is not a separate license so if it’s suspended, so is your motorcycle license. In most cases, the best way to deal with a license suspension is to get a hardship license.

Read more: Can I get insurance with a suspended license?

It varies by state and the exact nature of your driving infraction. When you are convicted of an offense, such as DUI, reckless driving or driving without insurance (these are just a few examples, not a definitive list) it is almost a certainty that your license will be suspended and you will need to file an SR-22 to get it reinstated.

In most cases, the judgment against you or your local DMV will notify you of the requirements you must meet to get your license reinstated after your suspension period has ended.

It varies depending on the state you live in. Some states require an SR-22 when a license is reinstated while others will not. In most states, you are required to have an SR-22 attached to your insurance policy for a set amount of time depending on the infraction.

In Texas, for example, you are required to have an SR-22 in place for two years from the date of the crash, date of conviction or the date the judgment was rendered. The takeaway? You likely will have to keep an SR22 in place long after your license has been reinstated.

Check with your state's Department of Motor Vehicles for its SR-22 requirements.

While it will vary by state, in most cases the answer is yes. If you were carrying full coverage auto insurance at the time of the DUI, you might not be required to obtain an SR-22 – it will depend on what your local DMV requires or the judge who deals with your case.

Chances are, your state will see if you were covered for certain limits of bodily injury liability and property damage liability at the time of your DWI.

But you’ll be paying a lot more than you were previously. A policy with an SR-22 for a DUI conviction costs an average of $230 a month – $2,760 per year.

Full coverage refers to physical damage coverage you were carrying at the time of your arrest. While liability coverage is required in almost all states, collision and comprehensive coverage are almost never required.

An "essential needs" license is typically called a "hardship" or "right to work" license.

While the requirements to get a hardship license vary from state to state, odds are that you will need an SR-22 in place before a hardship license will be approved.

A hardship license allows you to drive only for specific reasons, such as commuting back and forth to work. A hardship license can be obtained in many states if you cannot get your full license privileges back yet, but if you are caught driving to an excluded location, the hardship license will be revoked and your suspension may be extended.

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Mark Vallet
Contributing Researcher

Mark Vallet is a professional freelance writer who specializes in automotive and insurance writing and regularly contributes to CarInsurance.com. He lives in Colorado with his wife and children.