You need car insurance. It’s the law in most states, including Georgia. Driving without coverage could get you slapped with penalties, including the SR-22 certificate. And, when you get penalties, that could mean you pay more for your insurance. Let’s discuss why you should not let your coverage lapse. Then we can explore some of the ways you can guarantee your coverage always stays active.
Car insurance is one of the most important financial support cushions in anyone’s life. Making sure you always have it will prove beneficial to your overall solvency.
Why States Require Insurance
Driving is a financial risk. Simply put, you operate a piece of heavy machinery on roads filled with others in their own machines. Should accidents happen, vehicle damage, injuries or lawsuits could cost a lot of money for everyone affected. Most states consider auto insurance a vital form of personal safety. So, most of them require almost all drivers to carry a policy.
Georgia requires what’s called liability insurance. It’s coverage for the losses you might cause if you cause an accident, vehicle damage or injury. In that regard, it protects both you and other drivers.
The following coverage is the state's minimum requirement:
- Bodily Injury Liability Coverage Per Person: $25,000
- Bodily Injury Liability Coverage Per Accident: $50,000
- Property Damage Liability Coverage Per Person: $25,000
This coverage makes it easier for you to repay others in case you cause an accident. So, it’s personal financial security. Not only that, by enhancing your coverage with protection like collision or comprehensive insurance, you’ll be able to afford your own vehicle repairs following accidents, theft, fire or other hazards. That’s even more protection to your benefit.
Furthermore, if others can get help for the losses for which they are not at fault, that’s protection for them. They can recover easier, face less financial strain and even have a lower chance of suing you.
So, at the end of the day, auto insurance is consumer protection. Going without it, therefore, equals more cost risk to others. If you ever drive without a policy, you put yourself and others in harm’s way.
Why do car insurance policies lapse?
Most car insurance lapses due to lack of payment. Coverage is something you pay for. If you don’t keep up with your bills, your policy will likely lapse. That means that you will no longer have protection, and that’s risky.
Other cases for lapses exist as well. If you commit certain driving offenses, some insurers refuse to continue coverage. Therefore, you’ll need to secure new coverage before you continue to drive.
The Penalties of Lapses
If you let your policy lapse, you’ll likely see consequences. At least, you can usually expect the premiums on your next policy to rise. That’s because you have already let coverage lapse once. Future insurers, therefore, will likely see you as more of a cost risk. People who don't pay in the first place, therefore, usually pay more later.
Other penalties can arise as well. These might include license suspensions, tickets or the SR-22 penalty. Among these, the SR-22 tends to have the furthest-reaching consequences. In itself, it can create extra insurance costs. Don’t let this simple piece of paper confuse you. Avoid it at all costs.
The Georgia SR-22
The SR-22 is a simple form that your auto insurer will provide the state DMV. It will verify for the state that you have active auto insurance. Because you let your coverage lapse once, consider the SR-22 a state's way of making you prove coverage. It will remain attached to your policy for a period of time, usually around 2-3 years.
SR-22 signal to both the state and your insurance provider that you are a high risk to insure. After all, you didn’t carry coverage. What’s to say you won’t do it again? So, if you have to file for an SR-22, your insurer will likely increase your policy prices. You might even have to switch coverage altogether.
That’s not the only penalty created by the SR-22. It’s there to make sure you always carry car insurance. So, if you let your policy lapse for any reason during the penalty, that may mean further problems. The penalty term might start over. You might face other charges from the state, like license suspensions. While you can get rid of the form over time, not getting one at all is a better choice.
Keeping Your Policy Active
One way to avoid an SR-22 is to always keep active car insurance. How can you do that?
- Pay your premium on time. You can often enroll in auto-payments to make sure it always stay paid.
- Renew your policy before the expiration date. Auto-renewal might be an option.
- If you move, change your name or buy a new car, update your policy.
- If you receive any driving charges, contact your insurer to see how you can rectify the problem.
Following an SR-22, your agent is here to help you out. Yet, avoiding the penalty in the first place is a better idea. Start by getting targeted car insurance. Then, always keep your policy up and running.