Why and when you need SR-22 and SR-50 insurance in Indiana

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Why you may need SR-22 or SR-50 insurance and the differences between them

Although a common misunderstanding, an SR-22 is not actually a type of insurance premium but just a certificate showing proof of future financial responsibility. The certificate is just a document your insurance company sends to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles to prove that an individual has an insurance policy that will be able to pay for at least the minimum amount damages that may be caused while driving.
So when would you actually need an SR-22 sent to the BMV? Most often we see people asking about SR-22 insurance as part of their requirements to be granted a specialized driving privilege or hardship license. Other typical incidents one may be requires to show a proof of future financial responsibility include:

  • An operating a vehicle while intoxicated conviction;
  • Criminal recklessness as a felony involving the operation of a motor vehicle;
  • Leaving the scene of an accident;
  • Driving without insurance and/or without a license;
  • Driving while suspended;
  • Failing to provide proof of financial responsibility; and
  • Reckless driving, among others.

If the SR-22 is ordered through a court due to a pending case, you will likely be notified by the presiding judge at the time a ruling is entered against you. If it is ordered by the BMV due to excessive points or some other administrative suspension, you will receive a notice of the requirement to file an SR-22 from the BMV through mail. Therefore it is important you keep your addresses and contact information up to date. Additionally, it is your responsibility to contact your insurance company so they can file the SR-22.
If you don’t have insurance at the time of your incident, you are going to be required to get insurance as well as an SR-22 to get your license reinstated.  The insurance premium may be pretty pricey depending on a variety of factors including:

  • Your driving record;
  • Age;
  • Gender;
  • Credit score;
  • Type of car to be insured.

However, the SR-22 is not typically expensive itself although it likely varies by which insurance company you are with. The Indiana BMV requires individuals to maintain proof of future responsibility (SR-22) for a minimum of three or five year period depending on the conviction. Essentially, you must purchase and obtain proof of insurance throughout the entire period in order to satisfy the requirement. For the purposes of a specialized driving privilege, you must show proof of insurance for a minimum of two years. You also must keep up with the policy until the end of that required period. If you stop paying the premium or cancel the policy, the insurance company will send a SR-26 which alerts the BMV that the policy reported on by your original SR-22 has been canceled and the BMV can suspended your license again.
Finally, what is an SR-50 and why would you need one. An SR-50 provides proof of current insurance to the BMV. It shows the BMV that you had insurance at a time an incident occurred. For instance, say you got into an accident that was reported to the BMV and officers were present. They asked you for your license, registration, and proof of insurance but you did not have any insurance paperwork with you. Instead of getting hit with a suspension for getting into an accident without insurance, you can provide the BMV an SR-50 to show you did indeed have insurance at the time of the accident. Additionally, if you are cited for a moving violation and the BMV is notified of it, which they almost always are, you generally have 40 days from the date of the accident to submit an SR-50 to the BMV in order to avoid an additional suspension.
At Banks & Brower, our attorneys are former prosecutors. This gives our clients a unique perspective for their cases. We have extensive experience in traffic courts around the state and now we use our understanding of traffic law to help defend our clients’ rights. We can do the same for you. Please call us if you need any help or guidance with a traffic or insurance issue for your case. Our team is here for you—no matter what charges you might be facing.