Financial Responsibility Insurance (SR-22) is the mechanism in Illinois to monitor the insurance of problem drivers and authorize the Secretary of State to suspend upon cancellation (SR-26) or expiration. Through the SR-22 and SR-26 process, mandatory insurance is enforced in the most efficient way. Through the S&FR law, Illinois citizens are protected from uninsured motorists.
Financial Responsibility Insurance is required in Illinois by individuals with safety responsibility suspensions (Type Action 04), unsatisfied judgment suspensions (Type Action 06), revocations (Type Action 01 and 02) mandatory insurance supervisions and individuals who receive three or more convictions for mandatory insurance violations.
The insurance must be submitted on a Financial Responsibility Certificate (SR-22) from the home office of the insurance company. The issuing insurance company must be authorized to write financial responsibility insurance in Illinois and have a “power of attorney” on file in Illinois. Our office maintains a listing of authorized agents and companies.
What is the SR-22?
An SR-22 is a certificate of insurance filed by the home office of an insurance company directly to the Secretary of State. The SR-22 certificate is issued in one of the following forms:
- Operator’s Certificate – This policy covers the motorist in the operation of any non-owned vehicle. If the motorist does not own a vehicle, the financial responsibility requirement can be met through the Operator’s Certificate.
- Owner’s Certificate – This policy covers vehicles owned by the driver. The type of vehicle must be listed on the SR-22 or may be issued for “All owned vehicles”.
- Operators-Owners Certificate – This certificate covers all vehicles owned or non-owned by the driver.
Minimum Liability Limits
The SR-22 policy must meet the minimum liability requirement for Illinois. The minimum amount of coverage must be issued for at least $20,000 for one person killed or injured, $40,000 for two or more persons killed or injured and $15,000 for property damage.
How The SR-22 Process Works
An SR-22 may be obtained by contacting an insurance company that is authorized to write SR-22 policies for Illinois. When payment is made to an insurance agency, the agent will submit a request for an SR-22 certificate to the central office. The SR-22 certificate will then be sent directly to the Secretary of State in Springfield. This process may take up to 30 days. Upon acceptance, the individual will receive a copy of the SR-22 from the insurance company and a letter from the Secretary of State.
Once the insurance is accepted, it must be maintained for a period of 36 months. If the SR-22 expires or is cancelled, the insurance company is required by law to notify the Safety and Financial Responsibility Section by a SR-26 Cancellation Certificate. Upon receipt, S&FR will then load a Type Action 05 suspension on the driving record. This suspension cannot be removed until the insurance filing has been reinstated.
Avoiding Future SR-22 Cancellation Suspensions
Future insurance related suspensions could be avoided if SR-22 insurance is renewed a minimum of 45 days in advance. If the insurance agency does not receive a renewal 15 days before the insurance expiration, they are required by law to notify the Secretary of State. At that time, we will start the suspension process. By renewing early, the insurance company will have time to notify our office of your renewal and the suspension is avoided.
Under Public Act 94-0224 out-of-state residents may request that their proof of financial responsibility for Illinois be waived. An Affidavit must be completed to request the waiver. Please note that the Affidavit will only waive the SR-22 Insurance requirement for Illinois. You will be subject to the insurance requirements of your new home state once you become a resident. All other Illinois reinstatement requirements must be met prior to license reinstatement. In the event you move back to Illinois within three years from acceptance of the insurance waiver, your SR-22 requirement for Illinois would be reinstated.
Alternate Methods of Filing Proof
Alternate methods of filing proof of financial responsibility are available. Instead of the SR-22 Certificate, the individual may deposit $55,000 in cash or securities with the State Treasurer, file a surety bond, or file a real estate bond approved by a court of record.
(Source of information: http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com)