Traffic violations are a very serious matter in Arizona, especially when they result in your driver’s license being suspended. To reobtain your license, you may be required by the state of Arizona to carry SR-22 insurance.
SR-22 insurance is a certificate that proves you are complying with Arizona insurance laws. Being asked to file an SR-22 is not an uncommon occurrence in the insurance world, but it should still be taken seriously.
You do not want to be hit with any more penalties if you end up filing your Arizona SR-22 improperly. The insurance guide below can help you learn about SR-22s in Arizona and how to fulfill your auto insurance responsibilities.
What is SR-22 Insurance in Arizona?
After major traffic violations, the state of Arizona may require drivers to maintain what is known as SR-22 insurance.
SR-22 insurance, also referred to in Arizona as Future Financial Responsibility, is a certificate that proves to the state you carry at least the mandatory minimum amount of car insurance.
You can be required to carry this proof of insurance in Arizona if you are convicted of a traffic violation that has resulted in your driver’s license being suspended. To reobtain your license, you will need to file an SR-22 successfully.
SR-22s are filed through your insurance provider at your request; then, your insurer will notify the state of your filing. To keep your SR-22 insurance active, you simply have to stay on top of your regular car insurance premiums.
Arizona Insurance Options
There are two paths you can take to fulfilling your proof of insurance responsibility in Arizona.
The first way is by obtaining an SR-22 with your auto insurance provider. This is the standard route most people take and, as outlined in the previous section, is fairly easy. You will have to contact your insurance company and inform them of your SR-22 requirement.
So long as they handle that kind of insurance and provide coverage for high-risk drivers, they will complete the form and pass the information along to the state of Arizona. You then have to maintain the SR-22 insurance for as long as you are required by the courts.
The second option you have is to make a $40,000 deposit to the Arizona Office of Treasurer. This deposit will then be used to cover the damage you cause in a collision.
Making this deposit proves to the state that you have financial coverage in a car accident. However, while this seems like a fairly easy way to go about fulfilling your proof of insurance requirement, it may not fully cover you in an accident.
If severe enough, one collision can easily exceed $40,000 in damage. What isn’t covered by this deposit is most likely going to have to come out of your pocket. $40,000 is also a lot of money to just have available in the bank making this route not a viable one for the average driver. We recommend sticking with car insurance and finding a reputable provider to purchase a policy from.
Arizona Car Insurance Minimums
The purpose of an SR-22 is to prove that you at least meet the car insurance minimums required for every driver in Arizona. While it is always recommended that you purchase higher coverage limits, you only need basic liability coverage to fulfill your SR-22 requirement.
The minimum levels of auto insurance required for drivers in Arizona are:
- $25,000 bodily injury to one person
- $50,000 bodily injury per accident
- $15,000 property damage liability
Every Arizona driver needs to meet these liability insurance requirements. However, it should be noted that liability insurance does not offer you any protection. It only covers the other driver in a collision. In order to protect yourself and your car, you will need to expand your coverage.
You can do this by utilizing auto policy add-ons like collision coverage and personal injury protection (PIP). These types of insurance will cover damage to your car and any injuries you sustain, no matter who was at fault for the accident. It would also be wise to increase your liability coverage limits when shopping for a policy, so you are not stuck paying for anything out of pocket.
Reasons for SR-22 Insurance in Arizona
Thankfully, if you have never gotten into an accident or received any traffic tickets, you probably will never have to get SR-22 insurance. But drivers are human, and humans make mistakes.
There are a number of reasons you may be required to file an SR-22. Mostly the mandate comes after your license has been suspended.
Some common reasons Arizona requires you to carry SR-22 insurance include:
- DUI or DWI
- Driving without insurance
- Repeated smaller offenses (ex. speeding tickets)
- Driving with a suspended/revoked license
- Other major traffic offenses
How Much Does SR-22 Insurance Cost in Arizona?
Upon informing your insurance provider of your SR-22 requirement, they will likely charge you a filing fee. This fee may be anywhere from $15-$35, depending on your insurance company.
However, the filing fee will not be the only cost. Due to your traffic violation and SR-22 requirement, you are bound to see your auto insurance premiums skyrocket. How much they will increase depends on a number of factors, like how severe your violation is and what insurance company you are with.
DUI conviction is one of the most common reasons a driver needs SR-22 insurance. On average, drivers pay around $2,200 per year for insurance after a DUI conviction in Arizona. Meanwhile, the average driver with no convictions in Arizona pays about $1,400 per year for insurance.
That’s a pretty big increase in rates you will have to budget for. A positive side to all this is that since your SR-22 insurance isn’t required forever, you may see your insurance rates decrease slightly once you cancel the form.
If you are struggling to get cheap auto insurance in Arizona, consider taking some time to shop around for coverage and get quotes from a wide variety of insurance providers. Make sure you look both locally in Arizona and nationally to get a good idea of what insurance policies are on the market.
Insurance companies typically offer free quotes online and over the phone, making shopping for coverage fairly easy and accessible for everyone. As you are shopping, be sure to analyze every policy you come across to find coverage that fits not only your needs but also your budget.
You never want to sign onto an insurance policy just because the price is attractive. You need to make sure you are getting substantial coverage. Skimping on insurance can be detrimental to your financial status.
If you feel you already have the lowest insurance rates possible, given your driving profile, ask your insurance agent about any policy discounts you may qualify for. Policy discounts are a quick and easy way to save a couple of extra bucks.
How Long Must You Carry SR-22 Insurance For in Arizona?
SR-22 insurance in Arizona comes with an expiration date. If this is your first traffic offense, you can practice better driving habits and not have to deal with SR-22s once your maintenance period has expired.
In Arizona, on average, you will be required to carry SR-22 insurance for three years. However, depending on the severity of your conviction, you could be asked to carry it for longer.
For example, if you are convicted of a DUI, you may have to maintain an SR-22 in Arizona for five years. Once your designated period of time comes, it is your responsibility to inform your insurance provider. They will then cancel the SR-22 and inform the state.
Failure to maintain an SR-22 for the mandatory number of years will be detrimental to your driving record. If you let your insurance coverage lapse, your driver’s license and registration will be suspended until proof of insurance is re-established.
You may also have to restart your SR-22 filing period along with paying any associated fines. Letting your coverage lapse is very damaging for your insurance history, and trying to find a new provider will be challenging. You are considered a high-risk driver, and few insurance providers want to take the risk of providing you with coverage.
It is highly advised that you keep up with your insurance premiums to avoid being dropped by your insurer. You should also be mindful of when your SR-22 insurance expires. Canceling it too early can also get you in trouble with the state of Arizona all over again.
Non-Owner SR-22 Car Insurance
Even if you do not own a car, you can still receive an SR-22 requirement and have to provide proof of coverage to the state of Arizona. Not owning a car does not mean you can skip out on car insurance.
To fulfill your SR-22 insurance requirement, you will need to purchase non-owner SR-22 insurance. Non-owner car insurance offers drivers the required liability insurance, which successfully fulfills SR-22 responsibilities.
This type of insurance policy is praised as being one of the most affordable on the market, but that is greatly due to its qualifications. Non-owner insurance is not available if you own a car or have regular access to one.
For example, if you are a college student who does not own a car but can use your parent’s car when home for break, non-owner insurance is not available for you. A non-owner auto policy is typically recommended for people who frequently borrow or rent cars.
Remember that everyone on the road, whether they own the car or not, needs to have car insurance. Do not wait until you receive an SR-22 requirement to start shopping for coverage.
Driving Under The Influence (DUI) in Arizona
Arizona is said to have some of the most strict drunk driving laws in the country, making SR-22 just a portion of your worries after a DUI.
After only your first offense, you will be jailed for a minimum of 10 days and fined at least $1,250. You will also be required to undergo alcohol screening/education/treatment, counseling, community service, and a requirement to equip your car with a certified ignition interlock device. Your license will then be suspended for a minimum of 90 days.
If this is not your first offense, jail time minimum and fines increase. Penalties will also increase if your blood alcohol concentration is 0.15 or higher, no matter your number of previous offenses. To reinstate driving privileges, you will have to pay reinstatement fees and file an SR-22.
Ignition Interlock Device (IID) Requirements For Arizona
DUI convictions will result in you having to equip your car with an ignition interlock device preventing you from driving if you refuse to give a breath test or if you fail it.
In certain cases, you may be eligible for a Special Ignition Interlock Restricted Driver License (SIIRDL) in Arizona. This is a license that goes hand-in-hand with the IID and allows you to continue driving your car during the penalty period with restrictions.
Filing SR22 Insurance Arizona is part of the qualifications for a SIIRDL.