Need SR22 in Illinois? Which Form of Financial Responsibility Do You Really Need?


by Ed Sneneh, Chicago Car Insurance Agent

SR22 insurance, in Illinois called "Financial Responsibility Insurance" refers to the coverage for individuals who had breached some road traffic  laws.  In the event that you received a request from the State that you must to file an SR22, you need to know what you have to do, the specifications you need to have ready and the extent of SR22.

There are a variety of grounds why one will be requested to have SR22 Insurance, some of which are enumerated below:
1.   DWI, or driving a vehicle while intoxicated or illegal drug. Any motorist who gets caught operating a vehicle while intoxicated will be expected to have an financial responsibility certificate filed to be able to fix his/ her driving privilege;
2.   DUIs, or driving an auto while under influence of alcohol or forbidden drugs;
3.   Being involved in a motor vehicle crash while your vehicle is uninsured, and a decision was issued against you without you satisfying the judgment;
4.   Getting too many tickets in a very short period of time (unsafe driver);
5.   Conviction of operating a motor vehicle with revoked or suspended license;

If you made any of the above infractions of traffic rules, it would lead to the suspension of your driving privileges, and an SR22 will be needed.

Do you need a financial responsibility filing?
Only your state officials can tell if and when you need or do not need SR22 filing. In Illinois, the Secretary of State will tell you of the requirement to have an SR22 certificate filed or not. Also, they will let you know when you do not need a financial responsibility. Once filed, the SR22 must be kept unless instructed otherwise by the Secretary of State that the certificate is not needed.

What to file
When you are required to have SR22, you need to file a document evidencing your financial responsibility.  The certificate must be filed with the Department of Motor Vehicle or DMV.  This filing will in effect take away the suspension of your license granting you to operate a car again, providing that you fulfilled all other requirements set forth by the State.

In the State of Illinois, SR22 may consist one of the following certificates by the insurance company which shall be directly filed with the Secretary of State:

-Operator's Certificate: A  document that you will use to prove that you are insured when you drive any particular car with the expressed approval of the actual owner, in the event that you do not own the automobile you will be driving. Remember that the vehicle itself needs to be insured as well. This type of insurance is referred to as Non-Owner SR22 Insurance. People who obtain this coverage are those who do not own any car but get this coverage to comply with the SR22 requirements. Operator's Certificate is the least expensive type of financial responsibility insurance.
-Owner's Certificate: The driver covered here is also the owner of the vehicle. In other words, you own a vehicle, and you get liability insurance on that auto which has to be listed on the policy, and ask your insurance company to file your policy with the Secretary of State as a Financial Responsibility Certificate.
-Operators/Owners Certificate: This certification is issued covering any and all autos either owned or not owned by the operator. This is not a commonly used form, and is used mostly in connection with established entities. This is the most expensive type of financial responsibility.

What is required?
It is required that you have an auto liability insurance coverage before you file for SR22.  Your coverage should provide at least the minimum state mandatory limits, which is:

Bodily injury (BI) of $20,000 per individual;
Bodily injury of $40,000 per accident;
Property damage (PD) per accident of $15,000;
Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UM BI) per person of $20,000;
Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UM BI) per accident of $40,000.

If you decide to cancel your insurance, forgot to make a payment, or simply overlooked to renew it where it was compulsory to keep; then your insurance company will give a notice of this fact to the state. In that case the Secretary of State will re-suspend or revoke your license.

Who will file the SR22
Neither you nor your insurance agent are authorized to file the SR22 with the state. You need to get evidence of financial responsibility and have the insurance company file it directly with the state. Few years ago the procedure of filing was hand operated and was done by regular mail. Now the process is automated, and is performed by using the internet infrastructure. It takes about three business days between the time you buy the SR22 and the time it gets filed with the state.
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