You can face severe penalties for reckless driving, driving without insurance or a suspended license or operating a vehicle while intoxicated. One repercussion is that you can lose your driving privileges. If caught driving in Georgia under any of the previously mentioned scenarios, you may be required to file an SR-22A.
An SR-22A certificate proves that you have sufficient liability insurance in place.
After an SR-22A form is filed in Georgia, you will almost certainly pay higher auto insurance premiums. But you may be able to reduce your insurance rates by shopping around for coverage from different car insurance companies.
The average car insurance rate in Georgia for full coverage is $1,555 and $684 for minimum coverage. You will likely have to pay much more if you have an SR-22A.
Find out what an SR-22A filing involves, its consequences and how this document can impact you and your ability to drive.
What is SR-22A insurance in Georgia?
An SR-22A certificate isn’t an insurance policy. It’s known as a Safety Responsibility insurance certificate that indicates you have the minimum insurance liability coverage required by Georgia regulations.
Darren Tobin, an Atlanta-based attorney, says you can be required by court order to file an SR-22A if:
- You’re caught driving without minimum auto insurance coverage and/or without a license in Georgia
- You have too many traffic offenses/moving violations that result in forfeiture of driving privileges (usually three or more in 12 months)
- You have been convicted of driving while under the influence or driving while intoxicated (DUI/DWI)
- You’re involved in an auto accident reported to the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS)
- You’re charged with a driving-related crime (misdemeanor or felony)
“An SR-22A certificate provides proof of your financial responsibility and is triggered by a serious driving citation.
It is often required to be filed for repeat offenders of financial responsibility laws,” says Mark Friedlander, director of corporate communications for the Insurance Information Institute in St. Johns, Florida.
“Additionally, this document must be filed to reinstate your suspended driver’s license after two or more ‘no liability insurance’ infractions.”
A judge appointed to your SR-22A court case usually administers the verdict for these types of infractions, adds Tobin.
Georgia and Texas are the only states that require an SR-22A filing.
SR-22A requirements in Georgia
A judge usually determines if you need to file an SR-22A. If this is the court’s decision, the judge will indicate how long it needs to remain intact. The cost to file an SR-22A form usually ranges between $15 and $35.
“Usually, it remains in place until you have fulfilled your probation or sentence period,” Tobin says. Tobin says the typical period lasts one to three years.
If you’re required to file an SR-22A document, your car insurance carrier provides that information to the Department of Driver Services (DDS). The certificate will indicate your policy’s effective and expiration dates.
To drive legally after being notified that you must file an SR-22A form, you must have a valid automobile policy with minimum coverage limits. The required liability coverage limits are:
- $25,000 in property damage liability
- $25,000 per person per accident
- $50,000 for more than one person per accident
“If you were to cancel your insurance policy before the mandated end date the state has given you to carry an SR22A certificate, your insurer will be obligated to file an SR26 form with the DDS notifying them that you no longer have the required insurance,” Friedlander says.
“This would result in your SR22A certificate being canceled, which means you would also lose your driver’s license.”
Where can you find cheap SR-22A car insurance in Georgia?
While the filing fee is inexpensive, an SR-22A can increase your car insurance premiums significantly.
“Since this certificate is evidence that you are considered a high-risk driver, you can expect your insurance premiums to increase,” says Darl Champion, a personal injury attorney in Marietta, Georgia.
Rates could run at least 75 percent higher than standard car insurance coverage, Friedlander cautions.
You don’t have to accept the higher premium quoted by your existing insurance company. Instead, you can shop around and ask for price quotes from different car insurance companies after being notified that you must file an SR-22A.
“It’s best to shop around for the best rate just like you would if you weren’t required to have an SR-22A form,” suggests Champion. “Insurance companies like Allstate, The General and Kemper offer insurance for SR-22A drivers in Georgia that may be less expensive.”
Tobin recommends searching for SR-22A auto insurance online and an insurance agent in your local area.
“Smaller independent agencies, in particular, are well-versed in this type of insurance and may get your paperwork filed more quickly,” he explains.
The Insurance Information Institute advises requesting a minimum of three quotes. Getting at least three insurance quotes lets you compare carriers to find the best coverage at the most affordable price for your situation.
How is SR-22A different from SR-22 in Georgia?
Georgia issues two somewhat similar yet different documents that need to be filed, depending on the driving infraction:
“An SR-22 certificate is primarily for low-level driving offenders, such as those not carrying the state’s minimum liability coverage. It is sometimes referred to as a Financial Responsibility for the Future certificate,” explains Friedlander.
An SR-22A, on the other hand, “is a proof of financial responsibility certificate that’s triggered by a more serious driving citation which may have resulted in a misdemeanor or felony, such as a DUI/DWI or an at-fault accident, driving with a suspended license or accumulating too many points on your motor vehicle record,” he adds.
Champion notes that an SR-22A is required for drivers who have frequently violated traffic laws in Georgia, especially within five years.
You’ll pay more for auto insurance when you’re required to file an SR-22A than you would for an SR-22.
Last, be aware that not owning a vehicle may make it more difficult to obtain an SR-22A document. That’s because you’ll need to furnish proof of insurance to earn this certificate.
“If you want to drive but don’t own a vehicle, you should apply for a non-owners auto insurance policy before filing for an SR-22A. Non-owner car insurance usually is cheaper than a standard policy, as it does not include protection for physical damage to your vehicle,” says Friedlander.