What Happens If I Let My SR22 Car Insurance Cancel?

Frustrated Driver
••• Getty Images/Dave and Les Jacobs

If you’ve recently gotten into an uninsured car accident or were convicted of a serious driving offense such as driving while drinking, you know that it comes with serious penalties. In addition to points on your driving record, serious fines, and potentially jail time, if you wanted or needed to still drive your car legally on public roads, you may have had to file an SR-22, a vehicle liability insurance document for high-risk drivers.

Because of the severity of the crime, drivers are generally required to have an SR-22 for 3 to 5 years.

So what happens if you let your SR-22 lapse or expire?

Let's be honest, SR22 car insurance is for drivers who have gotten into at least some semi-serious trouble. A very simple definition of SR22 insurance is that it allows the state to monitor your car insurance status, kind of like a babysitter. The state wants to know every minute of every day you are driving with the proper state required minimum coverage at the very least. So exactly what happens if your SR22 car insurance policy is canceled or paid late?

Every State Has Its Own Set of Rules

It is quite difficult to tell you the exact penalties you will incur from letting your policy cancel due to the variety of laws set in place for each state in the US. I can give you a good idea of what could happen.

·Driver's License Suspension: Your driver's license is in definite jeopardy if you let your car insurance cancel when you have filed an SR22.

·Vehicle Registration Suspension: No insurance usually means no registration if the state knows you have a lapse in coverage.

·Fees, Fees, and More Fees: The fees are going to set you back so far it is going to be very hard to get back on track. Fees for reinstating your license, reinstating your registration, and insurance companies make you start from scratch.

Meaning a large down payment will be required and it is going to take longer to get out of high-risk status.

Paying Car Insurance Late

It is not just letting your car insurance policy cancel that can lead to trouble. Paying late can cause a lot of problems too. When you have requested an SR22 filing, your car insurance is responsible for keeping the state notified of your policy status. Paying late can trigger a notice saying your policy is in jeopardy of being canceled or sometimes it may even say it is canceled when you could be in a grace period of coverage. The frustration involved with late payments will be huge. Waiting in line at the DMV, proving coverage, and dealing with avoidable fees will all be in your future if you get behind on your car insurance payments.

Best Advice For SR22 Filings

Sign up for electronic funds transfer or EFT withdraw. Having your car insurance payment taken directly out of your bank account is usually the most effective way of making your payment. Many insurance companies give you a discount for signing up, plus you will never pay a late fee. Obviously, you must have the appropriate amount of money in your bank account to cover the payments. If not, you could be looking at additional fees from your bank and insurance carrier.

Ask Your Car Insurance Agent for Help

It never hurts to ask for help. The worst that could happen is you are told there is nothing they can do to help. It is not unheard of for an agent to give you an extension on your payment due date. They can also get you a proof of insurance immediately in case you need to take it directly to the department of motor vehicles.

Knowing how the system works is your best bet for success. Fully understanding your car insurance policy can save you time and money. Keep your SR 22 filing intact for the required amount of time, which can be anywhere from 6 months to 3 years. Once you make it past your filing start searching for a cheaper car insurance rate. Keep your policy active and your driving record clean to obtain the best car insurance rates.