How to Save on Car Insurance After Getting an SR-22 in Seattle
Maybe you’ve gotten a letter in the mail that’s left you confused and concerned. It says you have to obtain an SR-22 before you can legally drive in Seattle. You’re wondering what that is, why you have to get one, and what it will cost you in terms of what you pay for car insurance.
All good questions.
The bad news first: Your premiums will go up. That’s just about unavoidable. The good news is that the increase doesn’t have to be a permanent situation. You can eventually bring the costs of coverage down and may even end up paying less than you were charged before your Seattle DMV reached out with your unwelcome news.
Let’s start by answering a couple of your very basic questions.
What Is an SR-22?
If you had your license suspended for any reason or are considered a high-risk driver, you must provide proof of financial responsibility by filing an SR-22. An SR-22 is a legal document stating that you have the minimum liability coverage required per state law. In Washington, that equates to:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death to one person
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death to two or more people
- $10,000 for property damage
Your car insurer will file the SR-22 certificate on your behalf. Just know that you can’t legally drive without this coverage if the state of Washington requires it of you.
Why Did I Get One?
There are several reasons you might need an SR-22. One of the more common reasons is a driving under the influence (DUI) violation, but there are other reasons as well.
You might have been convicted of a serious driving charge. You could also have gotten into several car accidents or have multiple moving violations on your record over a short period of time.
Whatever your circumstances, it means the state has declared you a high-risk driver. As a result, Washington doesn’t want to take the chance that you’ll get into an at-fault accident and not have the financial ability to pay for the damages. Therefore, you must have at least liability insurance, which helps pay for the costs of others resulting from an accident that’s your fault. The SR-22 is proof of such coverage.
Washington drivers typically need to have proof of this coverage for a period of at least three years. You could pick up fines and even jail time if you get caught driving without it, so be sure you get an SR-22 on file as required.
How Do I Bring My Car Insurance Premiums Down After Getting an SR-22?
As mentioned, your car insurance rates will rise after your tangle with the state’s judicial system. High-risk drivers always pay more for their Seattle car insurance because the companies see an increased chance that these drivers will get into accidents that cost the insurers.
Fortunately, there are ways to minimize those rates and even bring down the cost of your auto insurance in the long run. Here are a few.
Go Shopping and Compare Insurance Companies
While there’s no avoiding the rise in your rates after getting an SR-22, there’s no set amount of increase from all the insurers in Seattle or Washington state. That’s another way of saying that some companies are more motivated to give you a better deal than others.
So all you have to do is get on the phone and call up dozens of insurance companies, explain your situation, ask for a cost quote from each of them, and then compare all those rates. We never said it was simple.
Actually, there is an easier way to go insurance shopping.
Reach Out to an Independent Insurance Agent
The problem with the usual way of contacting insurance agents directly is that each can only provide you with rates from their own companies. That makes it a slow and tedious process of contacting every company that might (or might not) provide high-risk auto insurance at rates you can afford. A better way is to place just one call — to an independent broker.
That’s because an independent broker does business with multiple carriers of insurance products, not just one. This means this person places all those phone calls instead of you. You’ll be presented with a list of options that meet your criteria.
Independent agents typically do a lot of business on behalf of many SR-22 drivers, so they know the process. They can file your paperwork, answer all your questions, and quickly and easily get you the most affordable rates for Seattle car insurance.
Change Your Driving Ways and Save a Lot
As mentioned earlier, your higher rates for auto insurance aren’t necessarily permanent. Your driving record can actually, in effect, heal itself. By driving slower and safer, your driving violations will, over time, drop off your record.
When that happens, auto insurers will take notice and start to offer you lower rates on coverage. When you’re no longer considered a high risk, you’re much more desirable as a customer.
Start by taking a serious look at how you drive. Is your foot heavy on the accelerator? Do you drive aggressively, taking too many chances behind the wheel? Do you drink and drive? Whatever you’re doing, it’s costing you money in terms of moving violation tickets, fines, higher insurance costs, and maybe even jail time and lawyer costs.
Change your ways now, and you’ll see real savings over time.
Find Affordable SR-22 Insurance in Seattle, WA Today
We’ve helped countless Seattle drivers obtain affordable SR-22 coverage, and get their unrestricted driving privileges back at lower insurance rates. Call us at (800) 455-8276 or get a quick online quote. You can also find a Vern Fonk agent at a Seattle office near you.
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