After a driver’s license suspension, you must get auto insurance and file an SR-22. An SR-22 isn’t insurance — it’s a certificate of financial responsibility required for some drivers by their state or court order. The SR-22 certificate or form, filed with your state, proves that your auto insurance policy meets the minimum liability coverage required by state law.

You may ask yourself: Do I need an SR-22 to reinstate my license? Can I get SR-22 insurance without a vehicle? Can I get SR-22 insurance without car insurance? We’ve assembled this helpful guide to answer these and other questions.

Key Highlights
  • You are considered a high-risk driver, so you can expect to pay the insurer an SR-22 filing fee and high car insurance premiums.
  • Shop around for SR-22 car insurance from at least five companies.
  • SR-22 laws vary by state, so check with your insurance company and DMV on your state-specific laws.
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Written by:
Erik Martin
Contributing Researcher
Erik J. Martin is a Chicago area-based freelance writer whose articles have been published by AARP The Magazine, The Motley Fool, The Costco Connection, USAA, US Chamber of Commerce, Bankrate, The Chicago Tribune, and other publications. He often writes on topics related to insurance, real estate, personal finance, business, technology, health care, and entertainment. Erik also hosts a podcast and publishes several blogs, including Martinspiration.com and Cineversegroup.com.
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Edited by:
Laura Longero
Executive Editor
Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.
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Reviewed by:
Dr. James C. Brau
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Industry Expert
Dr. Brau teaches finance principles, entrepreneurial finance, financial planning, and corporate finance at Brigham Young University’s School of Business. His research includes issues related to initial public offerings, financial education, real estate, and entrepreneurial finance.

Who needs an SR-22?

If you’ve received a DUI or other serious driving violation, you’ll receive a court order or notice from your Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) that you need an SR-22. If you’re categorized as a high-risk driver because of DUIs or severe driving violations, your state might require you to obtain a certificate of financial responsibility –SR-22 or FR-44.

Discover how to determine if you still require an SR-22

Can you get SR-22 insurance without a license?

Yes. While auto insurance companies typically require policyholders to have a valid driver’s license to obtain a car insurance policy, they make exceptions because there are situations when getting a license depends on insurance.

Car insurance companies filing an SR-22 know that the state often must receive this certificate of financial responsibility before a license is reinstated. For this reason, they will allow you to start your policy and give you time to reinstate your license.

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, your car insurance policy will be canceled, and you would have to restart the process.

Check out our detailed guide on SR-22 insurance

Shop for SR-22 car insurance after a license suspension

The best advice when finding 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.

The days of cheap car insurance are over, at least for a while. Expect your car insurance rates to increase dramatically after a moving violation requiring an SR-22.

Contact five different insurers for quotes and compare apples to apples regarding 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 price

Be honest with your insurance company about the SR-22

It never pays to mislead an insurer regarding your driving record. It will discover what you are trying to hide when they pull your driving record and write you off as dishonest.

Let your car insurance company know immediately that you will need an SR-22 since it must be filed with your state. Many states have moved to all electronic systems when filing an SR-22, which can speed up the process.

Widen your car insurance company search when you have an SR-22

Consider insurance companies that may not be as well-known as major nationwide insurers. Second-tier insurers tend to work with drivers with imperfect driving records, many of which are owned by large national insurance companies.

In addition to major carriers, you should consider smaller car insurance companies specializing in high-risk or non-standard coverage. This isn’t a complete list, but it will give you a springboard if you research 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 about discounts

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

Ask your insurer to file your SR-22

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

Get your driver’s license reinstated by the DMV

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, you must show up in person to get your license back in most cases. Bring proof of your policy and the SR-22.

Tip iconTip

After a license reinstatement, check with your car insurance company to ensure they have received the information showing your license is now valid. Otherwise, your policy and SR-22 may get canceled, resulting in your license being suspended again.

Pay your auto insurance policy premiums on time

If you want to keep your license, pay your premium on time. Suppose your car insurance policy is canceled due to non-payment or another issue during the required SR-22 period (typically three years). In that case, 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 more difficult.

Shop your auto insurance coverage at the one-year mark after you are required to carry an SR-22 and every year afterward to ensure you get 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?

What are the other requirements for getting SR-22 insurance?

The requirements around SR-22 insurance vary from state to state. In several states, having an SR-22 is required for at least three years, although it’s recommended to contact your state’s DMV to obtain precise details.

Note that if you cancel your auto insurance policy before the mandated SR-22 period concludes, your carrier must promptly notify your local DMV. This action may result in the suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, potentially prompting a restart of the SR-22 process.

When your SR-22 expires, remember to inform your insurance provider that it’s no longer required. This is a good time to shop around for cheaper auto insurance coverage because premiums frequently decrease after three years have elapsed since a significant traffic violation.

Furthermore, being aware of any supplementary conditions governing your SR-22 is crucial. For example, it’s vital to determine if the SR-22 period begins from the date of your driving offense, license suspension, license reinstatement or another pivotal moment.

“Thirty-eight states and Washington D.C., currently require an SR-22 certificate for high-risk drivers. The exceptions are Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and West Virginia,” says Mark Friedlander, director of corporate communications for the Insurance Information Institute, based in St. Johns, Florida. “Two states – Florida and Virginia – require an FR-44 filing for a serious infraction like a DUI or reckless driving.”

What if I have a driver’s license but not a car?

You cannot purchase car insurance without a valid driver’s license. But if you don’t have a vehicle yet and must file an SR-22, you can purchase a non-owner SR-22 insurance policy, per Friedlander.

“This type of policy is offered by most national and regional insurers. When you buy the policy, inform the insurer that you will need an SR-22 and they will file the form on your behalf with the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles,” he says.

FAQ: How to get an SR-22 without a license

Can you drive with an SR-22 on a suspended license?

While an SR-22 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 drive legally in all states.

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

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

Can I get a motorcycle license with a suspended driver’s license?

No. A motorcycle license is an endorsement on your standard-issue driver’s license. It is not a separate license; if it’s suspended, so is your motorcycle license.

Do I need an SR-22 to reinstate my 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, your license will likely 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 reinstate your license after your suspension period has ended.

Once my driver’s license has been reinstated, do I have to get an SR-22?

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

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

Do I need an SR-22 if I received a DWI/DUI?

While it will vary by state, the answer is yes in most cases. 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 specific limits of bodily injury liability and property damage liability at the time of your DWI.

Do I need an SR-22 for an essential-needs (hardship) license?

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, the odds are that you will need an SR-22 before a hardship license is approved.

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

The bottom line

The good news is that you can still get an SR-22 without a valid driver’s license if your carrier allows it and gives you time to have your license reinstated. But remember: An SR-22 is not an insurance policy. It’s a document. If you’ve been ordered to get an SR-22, which proves that you meet your state’s minimum auto liability insurance requirements, take it seriously.

Follow all the rules and steps involved, and work hard to demonstrate that you can be responsible behind the wheel when considered a high-risk driver.

Laura Longero

Ask the Insurance Expert

Laura Longero

Executive Editor

Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

John McCormick

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John McCormick

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John is the editorial director for CarInsurance.com, Insurance.com and Insure.com. Before joining QuinStreet, John was a deputy editor at The Wall Street Journal and had been an editor and reporter at a number of other media outlets where he covered insurance, personal finance, and technology.

Leslie Kasperowicz

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Leslie Kasperowicz

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Leslie Kasperowicz is an insurance educator and content creation professional with nearly two decades of experience first directly in the insurance industry at Farmers Insurance and then as a writer, researcher, and educator for insurance shoppers writing for sites like ExpertInsuranceReviews.com and InsuranceHotline.com and managing content, now at CarInsurance.com.

Nupur Gambhir

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Nupur Gambhir

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Nupur Gambhir is a content editor and licensed life, health, and disability insurance expert. She has extensive experience bringing brands to life and has built award-nominated campaigns for travel and tech. Her insurance expertise has been featured in Bloomberg News, Forbes Advisor, CNET, Fortune, Slate, Real Simple, Lifehacker, The Financial Gym, and the end-of-life planning service.

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Contributing Researcher

Erik J. Martin is a Chicago area-based freelance writer whose articles have been published by AARP The Magazine, The Motley Fool, The Costco Connection, USAA, US Chamber of Commerce, Bankrate, The Chicago Tribune, and other publications. He often writes on topics related to insurance, real estate, personal finance, business, technology, health care, and entertainment. Erik also hosts a podcast and publishes several blogs, including Martinspiration.com and Cineversegroup.com.