No one wants to be required to have an NH SR-22; however the filing is a common requirement in order to continue driving on New Hampshire roads. The HPM Insurance blog answers the common questions we frequently receive from drivers about an SR-22 including what it is, the cost and how to get one.
What is an SR-22?
According to the NH Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), "an SR-22 is a certificate of 'proof of liability insurance' which must be submitted by an insurance company licensed to do business in New Hampshire. New Hampshire DMV requires the certificate be either for Owner or Non Owner."
In other words, it is a NH auto insurance policy that has a filing attached that goes to the state of New Hampshire proving a policy is in place.
Why would someone need an SR-22?
The most common reason why one would need an SR-22 is for a DUI conviction. You may also be required to file one with the state of NH if you are involved in an accident that resulted in death, injury or property damage exceeding $1000 and did not have an active car insurance policy in effect. You may also need one if you are deemed a habitual offender. For more specifics about when you are required to have an SR-22, visit the NH DMV website.
What if you don't have NH car insurance and need a SR-22 filing?
As an SR-22 filing is essentially telling the state you have liability insurance while driving a car, you would need to buy a car insurance policy. If you need to get the filing to Concord right away contact a local agent, such as HPM Insurance, as they can typically hand you the SR-22 filing to bring to Concord.
If you have a little time, you may be able activate the insurance policy over the phone and have the insurance agent or company send the SR-22 filing to the state so it is already there when you are ready to get your license back.
What if you already have a New Hampshire auto policy but need an SR-22 filing?
Contact your insurance agent or company immediately. Most insurance companies will mail the SR-22 to Concord but it can take several days. According to the NH Department of Insurance, a company is not required to offer SR-22s so you may need time to find another company who does offer the filing.
Is an SR-22 expensive?
The SR-22 itself is typically not expensive, but the reason for the SR-22 filing is a major factor when rating a policy. A DUI charge is considered a major violation that can remain on your driving history for rating purposes for upwards of three to five years depending on the insurance company.
We have seen a few clients choose not to keep their NH license and hence not drive for many years. This does not mean that they will not need an SR-22 filing once they reapply for their license, but if they do not drive for three to five years following a conviction, the charge may not be figured into the premium.
How do I get an SR-22?
SR-22s can be tricky and there is a lot of misinformation out there. To ensure your filing is handled correctly and you are able to get your license back quickly, contact a New Hampshire insurance agent. A local insurance agent, like HPM Insurance with offices in Amherst, Bedford, Bristol, Franconia and Laconia is best informed about New Hampshire SR-22s. A large national company may not readily know what needs to be done to help you.