Traffic violations that result in you having your driver’s license suspended are a matter that the city of Chicago takes seriously. To get your license back, you will likely be required by Chicago to file an SR-22 with the state.
An SR-22, also known as SR-22 insurance or proof of insurance, assures the state of Illinois that you are abiding by its insurance laws. Having to get a Chicago SR-22 Insurance in Illinois is fairly common in the insurance world but should still be taken seriously. If filed improperly, you can face greater penalties from the city of Chicago.
What is SR-22 Insurance?
SR-22 insurance isn’t a type of insurance coverage but a certificate that proves to the state of Illinois you carry the proper amount of insurance required for all drivers.
An SR-22 certificate, also commonly referred to as a certificate of financial responsibility, is required for Illinois drivers who have had their license suspended and been deemed high-risk following a major traffic violation. As high-risk drivers are a cause for concern, the state will want to ensure that you have insurance and can pay for damages you may cause in a future collision. Filing an SR-22 is just one of the many steps you will need to take to get your driver’s license reinstated in the city of Chicago.
Types of SR-22 Insurance
There is a couple of different types of SR-22 forms you can get in Illinois. Which kind of SR-22 form you need will depend on your car ownership status. Consulting with your insurance agent will help you determine the best form for your situation. The types of SR-22 forms for Illinois drivers are:
- Operator’s SR-22 Certificate – Also known as non-owner SR-22 insurance, the operator’s certificate is intended for people who do not own a car but frequently borrow or rent someone else’s.
- Owner’s SR-22 Certificate – The SR-22 owner’s certificate covers drivers when driving a vehicle they own. With this type of form, you can only drive the car in your name. Your SR-22 will not be valid should you be pulled over while driving someone else’s car.
- Operators/Owners SR-22 Certificate – This SR-22 certificate combines the first two. If you get this certificate, your SR-22 will be valid when you drive any vehicle. It applies to borrowed cars and ones that you own. It should also be noted this is the most expensive option.
Illinois Car Insurance Requirements
The purpose of an SR-22 certificate is to prove to the state of Illinois that you are abiding by their insurance laws and carrying at least the mandatory minimum amount of coverage. You must meet the Illinois minimums to file your SR-22 successfully. Failure to do so can result in serious penalties.
Coverage required when filing an SR-22 Certificate
- $25,000 for bodily injury liability per person
- $50,000 for bodily injury liability per accident
- $20,000 for property damage
Who Needs an SR-22 Certificate?
An Illinois driver may be required to get SR-22 Coverage for a variety of reasons. If you maintain a clean, safe driving record, you will never need to file proof of auto insurance for the state of Illinois. An SR-22 is mandatory for drivers who are convicted of a major traffic violation and have had their driver’s license suspended.
You might need an SR-22 Form If:
- DUI/DWI conviction
- Driving without insurance
- Causing an accident while uninsured
- Driving with an expired license plate
- Multiple minor traffic offenses
How to Get an SR-22 in Chicago
Obtaining an SR-22 in Chicago is pretty much the same process as purchasing a regular auto insurance policy. Many people find that their insurance company has dropped them after their license suspension, and the process to get a new policy can be hectic. If your insurance provider has not canceled your coverage, you can ask your agent about adding SR-22 insurance.
If your car insurance has been canceled, you can obtain new coverage and SR-22 insurance by doing the following:
- Find an authorized insurance provider – Not all insurance companies in Chicago offer SR-22 insurance, so you will need to do some research when shopping for coverage. Generally, when you get an insurance quote, there will be an option to identify if you need an SR-22 or not. Many insurance companies will also advertise that they off SR-22 certificates. Local Illinois providers are more likely to offer SR-22s than national companies.
- Pay the SR-22 filing fee – There will be a small filing fee you will be expected to pay. Prices range depending on the insurance company, but the fee can be as little as $15. However, the real cost of SR-22 insurance hits when it is time to pay your insurance premiums.
- Have your new insurance company file the SR-22 form – After you get your new coverage, your insurance provider will be able to send the SR-22 form to the state of Illinois. You cannot file this form yourself; everything has to be done through your insurance company. It can take up to 30 days for the form to be processed. Once it is done, you can get your drivers license’s reinstated, assuming you have handled the other requirements outlined by the Illinois Secretary of State.
- Receive confirmation – Once everything has been processed, you should get a filing confirmation from the state of Illinois. However, if you do not hear anything or have any questions, you can always contact the Illinois Driver Services Department to find out the status of your SR-22. If everything is good to go, they will inform you your license has been reinstated, and you can start driving in Illinois again.
Cost of SR-22 Insurance in Chicago
Filing for SR-22 Insurance in Illinois will not cost you very much. Depending on your insurance provider, you may be charged a $15-$25 filing fee for them to process your SR-22 insurance. Where the real costs come in is when it comes to your Illinois auto insurance premiums. Since you have committed a traffic violation and needed to file for SR-22 insurance, you will be considered a high-risk driver in Illinois. Insurance companies are not always too keen on providing coverage for high-risk drivers.
To offset the risk, they will charge you higher premiums. It also does not help that you live in Chicago, which is one of the most populated cities in the country. Chicago drivers see some pretty expensive insurance premiums because they live in a city with numerous drivers. More drivers mean a higher chance of accidents. For all these reasons and more, you may be paying as high as $2,700 per year for car insurance after an SR-22 requirement. Personal factors and the circumstances of your violation will ultimately determine what your insurance premiums are, but it is safe to say they will be much higher than what you were paying before the SR-22 requirement.
When Does an SR-22 Expire in Illinois?
You will not need to carry SR-22 insurance in Illinois forever. Every SR-22 requirement comes with an expiration date. Once the date arrives, it is your responsibility to contact your insurance provider and inform them that you need your SR-22 canceled. They will then notify the state. In Illinois, you will typically need to carry an SR-22 for a minimum of three years. However, this can vary based on the circumstances of your offense. If your insurance policy lapses or you cancel your SR-22 too early, your insurance provider will inform the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicle, and this can result in your license being suspended again. There will likely be other legal penalties you will have to face. Make sure you fully understand your insurance requirements and confirm your maintenance period with the Illinois Secretary of State. You maintain your SR-22 by staying on top of your regular car insurance payments.
Insurance Alternatives in Illinois
If you don’t want to get SR-22 insurance, there is an alternative that Illinois offers drivers. However, it should be noted that it is quite costly. As an alternative to SR-22 insurance, drivers can deposit $70,000 via cash, securities, a surety bond, or a real estate bond. This works as a type of guarantee and may be used in the event of a collision. If you are moving out of state, you also have the chance to get your SR-22 requirement waived. Upon moving, you can file an affidavit that will waive your SR-22 filing responsibility in the state of Illinois. However, if the state you are moving to utilizes SR-22s, this may not be accepted, and you will need to repurchase the coverage in your new state.