Question: What is a SR 13? I live in the state of Alabama. I was in an accident and the police told me to file a SR 13 on my automobile insurance. Why is that and what will happen?
Answer: Alabama requires those who have been in an accident where there is more than $250 worth of property damage to fill out a SR-13, Safety Responsibility Accident Report. It contains information on the accident and your insurance coverages which AL law mandates that you turn in so they can have on file if there are issues arising from the incident. For other questions about car insurance in Alabama, see our Alabama car insurance page.
According to the information and instructions listed on the form itself, completion of the SR-13 form is required by section 32-7-1 of the Code of Alabama. Completion of this form is required ONLY if a motor vehicle accident occurring in Alabama caused death, personal injury, or property damage to any one owner in excess of $250.
The driver is legally required to file a report on this form with the Department of Public Safety within thirty (30) days after the accident regardless of who is at fault and regardless of whether or not the vehicle involved was covered by liability insurance at the time of the accident. If a driver is physically incapable of making such report, the owner of the motor vehicle involved in such accident, within thirty (30) days after learning of the accident, make such report.
The Alabama DPS has a fact sheet about the SR-13 that lists more information that may help you understand why this form must be filed and how to file it. Some of the information the DPS notes is that the completed form should be mailed to the address located at the top of the front page of the form.
The driver and/or owner are responsible for filing and mailing the SR-13 to DPS. Sometimes your insurance company will assist you in filling out the form, but it is the driver and/or owner's responsibility to ensure that the SR-13 is filed and received by DPS.
It can be confusing to fill out the form due to the front side of the form having two sides. One side says "Your Information" and the other side says "Other Party's Information". The DPS states that you must fill out both sides of the form with as much information as you have available. Any information not provided at the time of the accident will probably be available on the Alabama Uniform Traffic Accident Report (also known as a Crash Report).
If you were in a single car accident, you do not need to fill out an SR-13 unless there is damage to another person's property. Property can include items such as mail boxes, fences, telephone poles, etc. Damage to this property must be greater than $250.00.
You do not need to send the Crash Report that you receive from the police in with your SR13 form. You also do not need to send in damage estimates or any other attachments in with the SR-13 unless the accident occurred on Private Property.
Alabama state law does not require that you file an SR-13 if the accident was on private property; however, if you are hit by an uninsured driver then it would be in your best interest to file an SR-13 with the Vehicle and/or Other Property Damage section filled out. In this situation, it will be necessary to send in with the SR-13 a copy of the Private Property Incident Report so the DPS can establish the at-fault party in the accident.
It is not necessary to file an SR-13 if you hit a deer in the road and there was over $250 worth of damage to your vehicle. If you hit a domestic animal such as a cow or horse there are instances where claims have been submitted against the driver for lost property. In these cases, it would be advisable to submit an SR-13.
In certain situations, a driver's license will be suspended for failure to file an SR-13. Usually, the person who is at-fault in the accident is the only one to get suspended.
People have asked the DPS why they need to file the SR-13 if they were not at fault for the accident and the DPS responded that it is in your best interest to file the SR-13 because the at-fault driver may turn out to be uninsured. DPS can suspend the at-fault party's license until compensation is received by you or your insurance company from the uninsured. DPS can only take this action if an SR-13 has been properly filled out and filed with the department.
It normally takes between 30-45 days to process the SR-13. If the AL DPS does not receive the SR-13 and your insurance information is required, they will mail you a notice requesting your insurance information. You have 30 days to return this information before your license will be suspended.
If you need more information on the SR-13 form that is required in Alabama after most accidents, contact the Alabama Department of Public Safety. You can also choose from different types of car insurance to ensure you have the best type of policy for your needs.