Being convicted of a serious driving offense such as a DUI or DWI can have several unforeseen consequences, one of those being the need for SR22 insurance. The following offers an in-depth explanation of SR22 insurance, including how it works, how long you'll need it and the impact it can have on your auto insurance costs.

SR22 Insurance Explained

The term "SR22 insurance" is a bit of a misnomer since it's not an insurance policy in its own right. Instead, it's the commonly known alternative name for a document known as a "Certificate of Financial Responsibility." This certificate works as a guarantee of sorts, requiring anyone who is issued one to carry at least the minimum liability coverage required for your state for a specific length of time.

In other words, a CFR is a tool used by many states to make sure that those convicted of serious driving offenses maintain the liability coverage to protect themselves and other drivers in the event of an accident. It's also a mandatory requirement if you want to reinstate your license following a conviction for DUI or driving without insurance.

Only your auto insurance provider can issue a CFR on your behalf and only if there's an actual need for one. Once you have one, you won't be able to cancel or let your insurance coverage lapse without suffering a variety of penalties, including the suspension or revocation of your driver's license.

How It Can Impact Your Rates

The need for SR22 insurance can come with a variety of bitter surprises, including a significant increase in your auto insurance premiums. A recent analysis found that a typical auto insurance policy increased by 18 percent after one moving violation. It's not unusual for an auto insurance policy to double or even triple in cost after a serious driving offense that also required a CFR on file.

Having a conviction for a serious driving offense on your driving record makes you stand out as a higher-risk driver in the eyes of your auto insurance provider. Having a CFR on file simply drives that point even further. In some cases, your current auto insurance provider may refuse to file a CFR on your behalf, meaning that you'll have to switch providers and accept much higher monthly premiums.

How Long It Lasts

The need for SR22 insurance may seem like a lifelong sentence, but you won't need it for as long as you'd think. In most states, you'll only need to maintain continuous auto insurance coverage for a three-year period in order to fulfill your SR22 or CFR. But if you decide to cancel or allow your insurance policy to lapse before the end of that three-year period, the clock starts over and you'll have to maintain that coverage for yet another three-year period. To learn more, contact a company like Angel Auto Insurance.