What is it?
SR22 Insurance is a type of insurance policy requiring the insurance agency to send proof of insurance to the Department of Licensing (DOL) and to notify them if you drop your policy. If you drop it, in most cases the DOL will send you a notice indicating your license will be suspended unless you reinstate the policy. This differs from regular insurance in that if you were to drop your normal policy, the DOL would not be notified.
This type of insurance is defined under RCW 46.29.270 as “proof of financial responsibility for the future,” meaning that you are in a position to be able to respond in damages for liability. SR22 insurance is commonly referred to as “high-risk” insurance, meaning it is a policy that requires individuals with driving-related incidents to have and keep insurance. In some cases, it can be more expensive than a regular insurance policy, so we recommend shopping around until you find an agency that is right for you.
When Do You Need SR22 Insurance?
You will need SR22 Insurance if you receive a license suspension from something other than unpaid traffic tickets. If your license is suspended due to unpaid tickets, typically, you can get it reinstated by paying off the fines and possibly a reissuance fee.
Several types of situations could result in you being required to obtain SR22 insurance. The most common situation we see is if you have been charged with a DUI. Other situations include, but are not limited to, a reckless driving conviction, a hit and run attended conviction, and occasionally, if you are involved in an uninsured vehicle accident.
The typical requirement of SR22 insurance is to keep the policy for 3 years, but it can vary. If you are unsure of the status of your license, you can check on the DOL website by accessing your License eXpress account.
Pitfalls to Avoid:
One common mistake we see people make is not shopping around for the best rate. Often, clients pay too much for this policy because they retained the first agency they came across. It is important to do your research and see all your options or contact your attorney to guide you.
Another pitfall we commonly see is driving too soon. Sometimes, it can take days or weeks for the DOL to receive and process the proof of insurance. If you drive before the DOL has updated your licensing status, you could face repercussions or additional charges. Verify if your license is valid by checking your licensing eXpress account often.
The final mistake we would like to cover is dropping the insurance policy too soon. If the DOL gets word of you dropping the policy before the requirement expires, it can cause your license to be suspended. We recommend contacting your attorney or the DOL directly to verify when it is okay to drop the insurance policy.
Contact Us to Represent You
Being accused of a crime is a difficult thing. However, it is not a hopeless situation. If you take the right steps now, jail time and convictions can often be avoided. If you are in need of help, please give our office a call. We can be reached at (425) 224-7075. We will listen to what happened, identify a way forward and do whatever is possible to get you the result you need and deserve The Law Offices of Lance Fryrear has more than 20 years of defending this type of situation all throughout Washington State. Give us a call and we will be there for you.