What Is SR-22 Insurance in South Carolina?

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  • What Is SR-22 Insurance in South Carolina?

All drivers with vehicles registered in the Palmetto State must have an active auto insurance policy that meets the state’s minimum coverage requirements. Those who don’t comply with the state’s compulsory auto insurance laws or act recklessly behind the wheel may be assigned an SR-22 form to be filed on their behalf. 

An SR-22 is a form an insurer files with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) on behalf of a high-risk driver to certify the driver has an active and adequate South Carolina auto insurance policy. Those who have been pulled over for driving while intoxicated or without sufficient insurance coverage are the most likely drivers to require an SR-22.

When it comes to SR-22 insurance, South Carolina residents will want to know what it is and what to do with one on file. Let’s check out exactly what SR-22 insurance is, what classifies one as a high-risk driver, and how drivers with SR-22s can still get excellent car insurance coverage in the Palmetto state.

SR-22 Insurance in South Carolina Explained

An SR-22 isn’t a specific type of policy or car insurance in South Carolina but rather a document an insurer may file on behalf of a high-risk driver. By filing this document, an insurer certifies with the state that a high-risk driver has an active and adequate insurance policy that’s up to par with the state’s minimum coverage requirements. Typically, a driver who has committed a traffic violation that led to their license or registration being suspended is issued this form. Once one’s licenses and registration are reinstated, one may be required to have this form filed when binding a policy. 

The minimum legal amount of coverage all South Carolinians must have on their policies is $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 in bodily injury liability per accident, $25,000 in property damage liability per accident (25/50/25 liability coverage), and the same 25/50/25 limit of uninsured motorist coverage (UM). Those who lease or finance their vehicles may be required to carry collision and comprehensive coverages as a stipulation of their legally binding contract.

In the Palmetto State, drivers have the option to pay an annual fee of $600 to drive uninsured. Failing to renew one’s policy or pay one’s premiums isn’t the same as legally opting out of the insurance system. To have permission to drive uninsured, one must sign the uninsured motorist forms and pay the annual fee.

Failure to maintain adequate coverage can lead to pricey fines, license and registration suspension, jail time, or any combination of these penalties. The costs associated with driving uninsured are typically higher than the fee for opting out of the insurance system or for a minimum coverage policy. It’s generally more cost-effective and much safer to follow the laws than to forgo coverage illegally.

What Is SR-22 Insurance in South Carolina?

SR-22 car insurance in South Carolina isn’t a specific type of coverage or policy but rather a document an insurer will file on behalf of a high-risk policyholder. Typically, the policyholder will have had their license or registration suspended and require an SR-22 to be filed upon reinstatement. The form itself certifies with the state that the policyholder has an active and sufficient policy under state law. 

Those with an SR-22 on file may find that carrying a full coverage policy is too expensive and may opt for a minimum coverage one instead. While the cost of a full coverage policy for a high-risk driver can be double or triple the average price, the investment in one’s safety is often worth the price.

A full coverage policy offers a wide range of coverage, which can be especially important for high-risk drivers with a history of at-fault accidents or driving uninsured. With a full coverage policy with coverages like underinsured motorist coverage (UIM), medical payments coverage (MedPay), collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage, drivers can get behind the wheel with a greater sense of safety.

A minimum coverage policy in the Palmetto State has minimal coverage to protect the policyholder and their passengers, as liability coverage protects other drivers on the road if the policyholder causes an accident. A full coverage policy offers far more protection for the policyholder, their passengers, and other drivers on the road. 

What Are the South Carolina SR-22 Insurance Requirements?

SR-22 insurance in South Carolina isn’t a policy but rather a form that an insurer files on behalf of a high-risk driver to certify with the state that the driver has an active and sufficient auto insurance policy. If a driver has an active SR-22, they must maintain a policy with at least the minimum amount of coverage required by state law and pay their premiums on time to avoid any lapses in coverage.

An SR-22 acts as physical proof that a driver will maintain financial responsibility for paying their insurance premiums on time and for any expenses they may owe in the event of an accident. Drivers who fail to pay their premiums on time or let their policies lapse while an SR-22 is on file may face penalties like having their license and registration revoked or re-filing for an SR-22. 

Typically, drivers will have an SR-22 on file for about three years if they don’t have any other major traffic violations or insurance lapses in this period. If a driver with an SR-22 on file has an at-fault accident or an insurance lapse, they will require the form for an additional three years.

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What’s the Average Cost of SR-22 Insurance in South Carolina?

A South Carolina SR-22 itself doesn’t cost much to file, as processing fees typically cost about $25 in total. However, the real expense is the price of high-risk auto insurance in South Carolina. Having an SR-22 on file signals to insurers that a driver makes poor choices behind the wheel or has a history of driving without insurance. Drivers with a poor driving record or insurance history typically pay higher-than-average premiums. 

In South Carolina, the average cost of a full coverage premium is about $1,640 annually, on par with the national average of $1,670. A high-risk driver or a policyholder with an SR-22 on file may expect to pay about double or triple $1,640 for a full coverage policy or somewhere between $3,280 and $4,920 annually. 

It’s crucial to remember that premiums vary from driver to driver, policy to policy, and insurer to insurer. Insurers use unique methods to determine one’s premiums, so policies from different insurers are likely to vary in cost. However, many insurers factor in one’s age, gender, and ZIP code, among several other factors, when determining premiums. These factors help insurers assess a policyholder’s likelihood of filing a claim. If a driver is at higher risk of filing a claim, their insurer may categorize them as high-risk. High-risk drivers typically pay higher than average premiums.

How Much Is SR-22 Insurance in South Carolina?

The cost of one’s insurance policy is subjective, varying based on the driver, type of policy, and insurer. For example, non-owner SR-22 insurance in South Carolina may be more expensive than SR-22 insurance for a driver that owns the car they insure. 

Premium costs can vary even among high-risk drivers based on their unique characteristics. For example, drivers who live in densely populated ZIP codes are at a higher-than-average risk of getting into accidents and filing claims than those in rural or suburban areas. Thus, city drivers typically pay higher premiums to make up for this risk. 

While premiums vary over time, it can be difficult for a driver with a poor driving record or history or driving without insurance to get their premiums to stabilize at the average rate. Let’s check out how high-risk drivers and those with active SR-22s may be able to save on their policies. 

What’s the Cheapest SR-22 Insurance in South Carolina?

Cheap SR-22 insurance in South Carolina can be tricky to find, but not impossible. The cheapest SR-22 policy will be a minimum coverage policy with only 25/50/25 liability and UM coverage. A minimum coverage policy will always be the cheapest for any type of driver, not just a high-risk one.

While a minimum coverage policy may be the cheapest policy in the state, it may not be the safest. Drivers are much more protected with a full coverage policy, as such a policy offers a broad range of coverage for even the worst-case accident scenario. While it can be costly, it’s far easier to budget for a full coverage policy than for potential financial ruin with a minimum coverage policy or forgoing coverage entirely. Plus, drivers can lower their premiums on a full coverage policy in a few ways.

Many of the state’s top insurers offer lower-than-average base rates for full coverage policies, even for high-risk drivers or those with SR-22s on file. Reputable insurers with a national reach often have a wide range of stackable discounts which policyholders can use to further reduce their premiums.

Discounts are a great way for high-risk drivers to lower their premiums without sacrificing coverage. Many insurers offer discounts that typically fall into two categories: criteria-based and enrollment-based. Criteria-based discounts are the most common and the easiest to apply to one’s premiums, as they only require a policyholder to meet a set of standards. For example, many insurers offer discounts for those who insure multiple cars on one policy, bundle several insurance products with the same insurer, or for those who have anti-theft and other safety devices on their vehicles. 

Enrollment-based discounts require drivers to take a more active role in their savings, as they typically require a driver to participate in a program or a class to cash in on their savings. These discounts usually offer more significant savings, some of which may save policyholders up to 20% on their premiums. 

Some insurers offer a pay-per-mile program for those who drive under the national average of 12,000 miles annually. Many insurers also offer a usage-based discount for those who consent to use a telematics device to track and send their driving data to their insurer to receive a discount based on their good choices behind the wheel. 

How To Get SR-22 Insurance Quotes in South Carolina

If you’re on the hunt for short-term insurance in South Carolina or are looking for the best deal on a policy while you have an active SR-22 form on your record, getting and comparing quotes online is the best way to start your search. By getting and comparing quotes from several insurers, you can see all the different coverages and prices insurers in your area have to offer. 

Luckily, you don’t have to go much further to get your quotes. Here at Clovered, we have a free quoting tool you can use to find the best policy for your needs in minutes. If you need to chat with a professional about your quote, you can contact one of our licensed agents at 833-255-4117 or agent@clovered.com for further assistance.

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The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.

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