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?

Sounds like a tough situation, right? Well, take a breath of relief because car insurance companies aren't new to SR22 needs and many will make exceptions to help you get what you need.

Key Highlights
  • Insurance companies often make exceptions to the “no insurance without a valid license” rule, for those with SR22 requirements.
  • Expect to pay an SR22 filing fee to the insurer and higher than average car insurance premiums due to being considered a high-risk driver.
  • Shop around for SR22 car insurance from at least five companies.
  • SR22 laws vary by state, so be sure to check with your insurance company and DMV on your state-specific laws.

Can I get SR22 insurance without a license?

In general, the answer to the question, "Can you get a SR22 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 start the process over 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.

Learn more about the details of SR22 insurance.

How to get SR22 car insurance without a license

Not sure how to put an SR22 without a license in place? 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 your coverage

The best piece of advice when trying to find insurance after a license suspension is to shop around. 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 which makes shopping your coverage absolutely necessary.

Contact at least five different insurers for quotes and make sure you are comparing apples to apples when it comes to coverage levels and deductibles.

Be honest

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 now, they think you are prone to lying.

Let them know immediately you will need an SR22 as they will have to file it along with your insurance coverage with the state. Many states have moved to all electronic systems when it comes to filing an SR22 which can speed up the process and get you back out on the road quicker.

Widen your 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:

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

Ask your insurer for help

Be sure to ask for all the discounts you are qualified to receive. Even small discounts can help when you are looking at a sky-high premium.

Purchase a car insurance policy and pay your fee

The majority of insurers charge a small fee to file the SR22. It varies by the insurer but $25 is fairly common. Once you have purchased the policy your insurer should file the SR22 with the state after putting your policy in place. You are now ready for a trip to the DMV. Be sure you have proof of your policy as well as the SR22, just in case.

Get your license back

Once you have proof of insurance and your insurer has filed the SR22 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.

You should confirm with your car insurance company after the reinstatement that they have received in 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…no matter what

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

The DMV will be notified you are no longer insured, and they will resuspend your license. If this happens, finding another insurer to take a gamble on you will get much harder.

Shop your SR22 insurance often

You should shop your auto insurance coverage on a regular basis, especially as milestones approach. Shop your policy 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 get slightly better each year.

Frequently Asked Questions

The quick answer is no, an SR22 is not a license to drive, nor will it make you completely legal out on the streets just by itself. An SR22 is simply a document that 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.

The SR-22 certificate of financial responsibility does not give you the right to drive on a suspended license but is typically something you must obtain in order to get your license reinstated or at least get a hardship license until you can regain your full driving privileges.

Driving with a suspended license usually comes with severe penalties, which can include large fines and even jail time, making it a horrible idea. Instead, do what is necessary to get your license reinstated, which will most likely include getting insurance and an SR-22 filed by your agent for you.

If the state is not ready to give back your full license you can apply for a hardship license which allows you to drive only for specific reasons. A hardship license can be obtained in many states if you cannot get your full license privileges back yet but only allows you to commute between home and work.

If you are caught driving to a location not approved, the hardship license will be revoked, and your normal suspension may be extended.

It may be possible in some states, but in most, the answer is no. A motorcycle "license" is typically just an endorsement on your normal driver's license, it is not a separate license. This means that if your driver's license is suspended, so is your motorcycle license. In most cases, the best way to deal with your lack of transportation during a license suspension is to get a hardship license if possible.

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 SR22 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 SR22 attached to your insurance policy for a set amount of time depending on the infraction.

As an example, in Colorado, you are required to have an SR22 in place for three years after a DUI while the minimum license suspension is 9 months so you may need to have an SR22 in place for 2 years and 3 months after you get your license. The takeaway here is that most likely you will have to keep an SR22 in place long after your license has been reinstated.

You will need to check with your state's Department of Motor Vehicles as to the SR22 requirement for your specific violation.

While it will vary by state, in most cases the answer is yes. If you were carrying full coverage at the time of the DUI, it is possible that you will not be required to have an SR22 in place, it will depend on what your local DMV requires or the judge that deals with your case. Chances are your state will be looking to see if you were covered for certain limits of bodily injury liability and property damage liability at the time of your DWI.

"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 are almost never required coverages.

Collision insurance covers damage to your car caused by a collision with another object. Comprehensive insurance covers damage to your automobile from vandalism, theft, flooding and hail and animal strikes.

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 SR22 in place before a hardship license will be approved.