In Virginia, drivers convicted of serious driving violations are usually required to file an SR-22 with the state. This form provides proof of insurance coverage to the state and assures the relevant authorities that such a driver carries an insurance policy that meets the minimum requirements of Virginia.
Some of the offences that may require the filing of an SR-22 in Virginia are:
Similar to an SR-22, an FR-44 filing is required from Virginia drivers as proof of insurance coverage. However, the major difference between the two is that an FR-44 is required as a result of a conviction for serious drug and alcohol related offences.
According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, the following offences require the filing of an FR-44 form with the state:
An FR-44 filing is required for more serious offences and as a result classifies a driving as being of a higher risk that the SR-22 forms. Due to this, the liability coverage requirements mandated by an FR-44 filing are double that of an SR-22. Such requirements are:
Though the liability coverage requirements are different for an SR-22 and an FR-44, the process of filing the form with the state is the same. Both forms are also required to be filed by an insurance provider on behalf of the driver needing them.
Once filed, the FR-44 may be required to be maintained for a minimum of three years but the time could be longer depending on specific restrictions related to the particular conviction and other violations that may be committed during the period of filing and maintenance. For instance, during the maintenance of the original filing, any lapse in coverage would result in another license suspension, additional fees, expensive insurance rates and could result in an extended period of maintenance.
Just like an FR-44, an SR-22 form results in higher insurance premiums having to be paid by a driver. This increased cost is due to the implicit high risk classification assigned to a driver by the filing of such forms. However, the insurance liability coverage requirements of an SR-22 are half those of an FR-44 and consequently make the insurance policies attached to the SR-22 cheaper.
Not to worry though. The fact that different policy providers employ different methods and formulas for driver evaluation means that the premiums payable by driver on similar policies are bound to vary. Hence, drivers can get cheaper insurance for good value by considering all alternatives before settling with any provider.
It’s also not a bad idea to inquire about potential discount opportunities as insurers may offer discounts based on the type of vehicle that is operated by a driver and whatever defensive driver courses they might have taken.
In Virginia, a driver who has no car or who is in the process of reinstating a suspended license would still be required to file for an SR-22 or FR-44 as is needed. If such drivers have access to cars they can drive and wish to drive legally with the state, they must file the necessary forms and purchase a car insurance policy that meets the legal liability coverage requirements of the state. The most suitable policy for drivers in this situation is a non owner policy that meets the state requirements but is cheaper than a standard auto insurance policy.
Filing for an SR-22 in Virginia must be done by an authorized insurance provider on behalf of a driver needing it. Hence, if your insurance provider does not offer the filing of the form as part of their services, you would need to find a provider that does.
The insurance provider or company doing the filing should charge a one-time filing fee of between $20 and $50. This filing fee must be paid and an insurance policy must be purchased before the filing can be completed. For the insurance policy being purchased to be valid under state law, it must meet the following requirements:
Once the policy has been purchased and the filing fee has been paid, the insurance provider can then file the form with the state. After the filing, the driver involved is expected to wait till confirmation from the state before getting behind a wheel.
In the event that a driver having an SR-22 of FR-44 filing in Virginia were to move to another state, such a driver would still be required to maintain the filing for the determined period of time otherwise the failure to maintain the filing would be treated as any other lapse in coverage.
The same applies for an out-state-filing. If you already possess one before moving to Virginia, you would still be required to maintain it while driving in Virginia. While doing so, your insurance policy must also meet the minimum requirements of Virginia.
The state of Virginia requires that a driver maintain their SR-22 filing for a minimum of three years though this time could be extended if any other serious driving violations are committed or if there is a lapse in coverage during the period of filing.
What to do if the SR-22 lapses
An insurance provider is legally obligated to report any lapse in coverage to the state and, once notified, the state could suspend your license again until the policy is renewed and whatever fees are required have been paid. Along with these, it is also possible that clock would be reset on your SR-22 filing mandate.
This sort of situation can be avoided by cultivating the habit of renewing your insurance policy days or weeks in advance of the expiry date.
How to go about cancelling my filing when I no longer need SR-22 coverage
After the court-mandated filing period for an SR-22 has been completed, the form is no longer required by a driver and can be gotten rid off. The safest way to do so is by contacting the DMV and confirming the completion of the mandate before directing your insurance provider to cancel the filing on your behalf. Once the cancellation is done, your insurance rates should be adjusted accordingly.