The Truth Regarding SR22 Insurance in Idaho

What does SR22 stand for?

Several things came clear to me as I prepared to write this article about SR22 insurance in the state of Idaho. The very first was “SR22” is not an acronym for anything. Unlike “PD” standing for property damage, “MED” for medical insurance, “BI”for bodily injury, and “HO3” for homeowner form 3 for examples, SR22 simply somewhere in the evolution of insurance terms was the quasi acronym attached to the certificate required by a state Department of Transportation showing a driver was meeting the financial requirement necessary to get a suspended drivers license reinstated.

It is thought perhaps to have come from some legislative article like a “Senate Resolution” numbered 22, or a name for showing safety responsibility, or an insurance term for special recognition of a person being in the category of “high risk.” It’s real creation is lost in the antiquity of time, but it strikes fear into the hearts of those who become subject to its demands.

What is SR22 insurance?

The SR22 form is not an insurance policy per se. It is simply the form used by an insurance company to inform the Department of Transportation an insurance policy has been issued and is in force for the amount required by the state to show a person is meeting the financial responsibility limits for the privilege of driving. It is attached to the insurance policy and is filed with the State Department of Transportation for a period of no less than 3 years of uninterrupted coverage.

Some insurance companies look at individuals needing SR22 filings as being “high risk;” and since they represent additional costs to them, they choose not to write policies requiring SR22 filings. Fees do vary from company to company, so it is to your best interest to shop around if you ever need to have the SR 22 filing.

Who needs SR22 in Idaho

As a sobering narrative of an SR22 being required, you may want to visit the insuranceguidelocal.com/true-story-I-never-meant-to-hurt-anyone. You’ll read a firsthand experience of one of the circumstances which requires the SR22 filing.

According the Idaho Department of Transportation website, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) determines who needs SR22 filing, and it appears it is closely linked to the suspension of a driver license and its subsequent reinstatement. Here are some of the events which will trigger license suspension and reinstatement requirements:

  • Aggravated DUI (felony) carries a one- to three-year suspension and requires drivers to maintain their SR22 insurance for the duration of the suspension.
  • Reckless driving convictions requires a one- to three-year license suspension and drivers must maintain the form for the duration of the suspension.
  • Uninsured motorist driving suspensions last for one- to three years and drivers must maintain the insurance the entire length of the suspension.
  • CDL disqualifications require a one- to three-year suspension and motorists are required to maintain the insurance the entire length of the suspension.
  • Failure to pay child support and outstanding debt where license has been suspended will also trigger SR22 and length of time for the SR22 will be determined by the Court.
  • Driving without insurance can also trigger SR22 requirements.

It is interesting to note you are not required to notify your insurance company of your driving record, but you are obligated when asked by your insurance company about your driving record to be truthful with them. Most insurance companies keep a pretty close eye on driving records so they can determine appropriate premiums to be charged and to make sure they are not exposing their book of business to drivers who present an adverse risk to them. They do this by requesting a motor vehicle record kept by the Motor Vehicle Department of your state. Most states share this information so if you get a citation out of your state it will still show up on your record. It’s one of those you-can- run-but-you-can’t-hide situations.

Another point of interest is if during the three years you are required to have an SR22 filing you don’t own a vehicle, you must still maintain a non owned vehicle SR22 so you have uninterrupted coverage. If you choose to let it lapse and then purchase a vehicle, your three years will start all over again.

How do you know if SR22 is required?

Most of the time you will become aware of your need for SR22 by the judge when your license is suspended at your court hearing or through the mail when the Department of Motor Vehicle has received court action and notifies you of license suspension.
Sometimes you may become aware of the requirement when your insurance company completes its underwriting requirement and they discover your license has been suspended. They will notify you of policy non renewing due to driving record and what options are available to you.

Upon your paying additional premiums and fees, the insurance company will add SR22 to your policy and will notify the DMV of that action.

A point worth noting, once an insurance company has issued your SR22, it is wise to maintain it through them for duration of 3 year period because if you do go with another company, the original issuer will notify the DMV your SR22 has been canceled and you will become subject to another three years of additional costs. Choose your horse wisely because you will need to ride it for three years.

When you have completed your SR22 requirements successfully, you will want to fill out a reinstatement application form for the state and pay your applicable fees. Upon receiving your license, you can request your insurance company to review your driving records to see if you are now eligible for better rates. This now may be the time to do your shopping around because in the time frame of your SR 22 insurance rates may have changed dramatically.

Just a point of interest, I found in my 42 years of insurance sales that the majority of those who had to go with an SR22 policy, after completing the requirements, made excellent clients due to their experiencing the costs associated with high risk insurance– and knowing if the next step were required it would be an assigned risk policy which would only making their insurance costs higher. That’s a whole new story.

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