Caught driving without insurance is risky. In addition to putting you in financial jeopardy and risk losing your driving privileges, you may also be issued an SR50 in Indiana if you drive without auto insurance.

Auto insurance companies issue SR50 certificates to prove that you carry the minimum liability insurance coverage required.

Having an SR50 form will also likely mean higher auto insurance rates.

Learn the facts about SR50 car insurance matters and how this certificate can affect you and your ability to drive.

What is SR50 insurance in Indiana?

An SR50 certificate is an affidavit of current insurance. It's not a car insurance policy. An SR50 certificate of compliance validates that you carry the minimum liability coverage required in Indiana.

Brian Martucci, the Minneapolis-based finance editor for Money Crashers, says you can be required to file an SR50 certificate if you’re:

  • Caught driving without minimum auto insurance coverage in Indiana
  • Involved in an auto accident reported to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV)
  • A recipient of three moving violations within 12 months
  • Charged with a driving-related crime (misdemeanor or felony)
  • Charged with a moving violation while driving with a license suspension for lack of proof of financial responsibility.

"In most cases, an SR50 certificate filing is necessary only if you receive a notification from the state informing you of this requirement," says Mark Friedlander, director of Corporate Communications for the Insurance Information Institute in St. Johns, Florida.

He adds that Indiana is the only state that requires the filing of an SR50 form (with the SR standing for "safety responsibility").

SR-50 insurance requirements in Indiana

If Indiana requires you to file an SR50 document, it must be attached to your current auto insurance policy and filed by your auto insurance company on your behalf with the BMV. The document indicates your insurance policy’s effective and expiration dates.

"An SR50 is typically only required for the current insurance period -- which usually means six months, at minimum. But the length an SR50 is required to stay in effect is at the discretion of the BMV," adds Friedlander.

The filing of an SR50 is a one-time event. You don't need to re-file it every year or over a certain number of years.

"But you will need to file it again if you are involved in another situation that requires it -- such as being charged with a different or repeat driving violation," Martucci says.

You must have a current valid automobile insurance policy with sufficient coverage limits to drive legally after being notified that you must file an SR50 form. The required liability coverage limits, which are the same for other drivers in Indiana, are:

  • $25,000 per person for bodily injury
  • $50,000 per accident for bodily injury
  • $25,000 per accident for property damage

While there is no cost to file an SR50 form, you may be obligated to pay a reinstatement fee of $150 to $300 to have your driving privileges restored by Indiana.

SR50 auto insurance quotes

If you’re required to file an SR50 certificate, you will be classified as a high-risk driver. High-risk auto insurance is more costly.

"Your insurance rates will be much higher than standard auto insurance rates: potentially 50 percent higher or more," cautions Friedlander.

The good news is that Indiana has one of the lowest average car insurance rates. The average car insurance cost in Indiana is $1,266 for full coverage and $430 for minimum coverage. 

Many factors can affect auto insurance costs. Several factors apply to SR50 drivers, so Martucci says it's impossible to determine how an SR50 filing will increase your premiums.

The bottom line? High-risk auto insurance costs more. That's why it's a smart idea to shop around and request coverage quotes from different carriers after you’re notified that you need to file an SR-50 certificate.

"Shopping for auto insurance with an SR50 certificate requirement is no different than seeking coverage without it. You can speak with any licensed insurance agent in Indiana about obtaining necessary coverage," Friedlander advises.

"Many national and regional carriers offer insurance for SR-50 drivers. The Insurance Information Institute recommends obtaining at least three quotes to see who offers the best coverage at the most affordable price."

To help reduce your premium costs, ask about possible discounts, which may be available if you. Here are some tips: 

  • Bundle home and auto coverage with the same insurance company
  • Increase your deductible
  • Decline optional collision and comprehensive coverage on older vehicles
  • Complete a virtual driver safety program
  • Use telematics apps/devices that allow your carrier to monitor your driving habits

Differences between SR22, SR 16 and SR50

An SR-50 isn't the only document issued by Indiana to certain drivers. 

Two others include SR22 and SR16. Here are the differences:

SR22:

An SR22 certificate serves as proof of insurance with the legal minimum amount of coverage for a specific period into the future (typically three years). 

An SR22 filing is required when you’re:

  • Convicted for driving under the influence/driving while intoxicated (DUI/DWI) or driving without insurance
  • Being involved in an accident without insurance
  • Being involved in too many at-fault accidents or violations

SR16:

An SR16 certificate is used by the courts to notify the Indiana BMV that a driver has been convicted of, failed to appear for or failed to pay a citation for violating a motor vehicle law. This document also notifies the BMV if any of these orders have been rescinded.

"The SR50 and SR22 certificates are similar. The biggest difference is that the SR22 filing requirement is ongoing -- usually for three years -- whereas the SR50 filing requirement is a one-time occurrence," Martucci explains.

The BMV can request both an SR50 and an SR22 from a driver.

"The failure to provide either or both of these certificates could result in the suspension or revocation of your driving privileges.

If you are convicted of a violation and don't have proper insurance, you will likely have your driver's license and registration suspended for one year and be subject to a fine up to $300," says Friedlander.

Also, not owning a vehicle could make it more difficult to file an SR50. That's because you'll need to furnish proof of insurance to earn the certificate.

"If you don't own a car but want to drive, you should apply for a non-owners auto insurance policy before filing for an SR50," Friedlander suggests. "Non-owners car insurance typically costs less than a standard policy because it does not provide protection for physical damage to your vehicle."