If your license has been suspended in the state of Ohio for having 12 points on your driving record, getting your license back is a slow process. However there are certain steps you can take to make the process as simple and as painless as possible. This article will explain how to do that and also answer some of your commonly asked questions. We will especially focus on the SR22 bond requirement, because that's where the confusion lies and most mistakes are made.
To help you better understand the reinstatement process from start to finish. We will go over each step one by one and help you better understand those steps as we go along.
Steps in the reinstatement process:
As you can see, three of the four steps are very simple and cut and dry. It's the SR22 filing that gets a lot of people confused. So I have compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding both the SR 22 filing process and also questions about how to save the most money. So let's get started with some FAQ's:
What is SR22 Bond Insurance?
An SR22 really isn't a bond or insurance at all. An SR22 is simply a state filing that attaches onto some type of auto insurance policy. The easy way to understand this is to think of an SR22 as what I call a "tattletale attachment". When you buy a type of auto insurance policy that has an SR22 attached to it, the Ohio BMV gets notified that you've taken out auto insurance coverage that carries at least the state minimum liability insurance with it. As long as you keep this coverage active, you will be fine.
But once any type of auto insurance policy with an SR22 attached to it cancels, lapses or expires, the insurance company is required by law to tattle on you, and report to the Ohio BMV that your policy cancelled. Once that happens your drivers license is once again suspended and will not be reinstated until you either reinstate this policy, or start some type of new auto insurance policy with an SR22.
What are the different types of auto insurance policies and which one should I attach my SR22 filing to?
This is real simple:
How long am my required to carry this SR22 filing?
Usually in Ohio, the requirement is three years. However, that can vary up or down, especially if a judge has ordered it. But for most SR22 requirements three years is the standard.
For those who do not own a vehicle, what are the differences between a financial responsibility bond and a named operators policy?
The main differences are:
I own a vehicle and carry regular auto insurance coverage on it through a separate policy. Can I take out just a financial responsibility bond or a named operator policy just to satisfy the SR22 requirement?
Yes, you can do this. But 9 times out of 10 that is usually not the cheaper option. In most cases, it's simply cheaper just to attach the SR22 on your auto insurance policy versus taking out and paying for two separate policies. However, there are exceptions. Sometimes it comes out cheaper that way to pay for two separate policies but not very often.
I own a vehicle but do not carry any other type of auto insurance. Is it good enough just to carry a financial responsibility bond with the SR22 attached? or a named operators policy with the SR22 attached?
Let me start with the second one. In the case of a named operators policy, absolutely not! Named Operator Policies do not cover you driving vehicles you own!
In the case of a financial responsibility bond, yes it is legal to carry just to financial responsibility bond with an SR22 attached even if you own a vehicle. That's because financial responsibility bonds cover both owned and non-owned vehicles. However, this is something I highly do not recommend! All that is offered is state minimum liability coverage and nothing else. That is really lousy coverage for someone who owns a vehicle. The second major downside to doing this that like named operator policies, financial responsibility bonds only cover the person on the policy driving. So no one else besides you can ever drive your vehicle. If all you're carrying is a financial responsibility bond and someone borrows your vehicle and gets pulled over or wrecks, you will on the hook and in trouble!
Once I buy one of these auto insurance policies with an SR22, what do I need to do to submit it to the Ohio BMV?
Nothing! Once you buy this policy, the insurance company will file it electronically with the Ohio BMV. It's just a matter of the BMV getting to it and processing it. Usually this whole process takes about 1 business day, 2 days tops, from the moment you buy the policy.
Another option that is available is to take the SR22 paperwork yourself to the BMV and have it processed in person. This isn't necessary for you to do, but it is an option that saves time in the processing. Of course, I realize some of you have long waiting lines, and sometimes long drive times.
I need paper a paper copy of my SR22 to take with me for court. Is that a problem?
No problem at all! Once you buy the policy, the paperwork is available right away. Any agent would be happy to print this out for you, and email or fax it if need be. It only takes minutes!
What are the biggest mistakes drivers make when buying an SR22?
There are three mistakes I constantly see:
1. Buying the wrong type of policy. I have already addressed this earlier. See above.
2. Not knowing accurately what's on your driving record (or flat out lying about it). This one can be a huge time waster for both you and the agent. An agent can not finish the sale until they check your driving record, as any company requires that nowadays. So if you gave inaccurate information, your quote will not be accurate either. Also, try to be as close as possible on the dates that any violations or accidents occurred.
***NOTE: the Ohio BMV only goes back 2 years in counting violation points. Auto insurance companies go back 3 years for violations, and some go as many as 5 years for at fault accidents.
3. Not looking at the right places for these type of SR22 auto insurance policies. I talk about that in the next question.
***TIP: if you have violations or accidents that happened on the the same day (Example: you caused an accident and received a failure to yield as a result of it) ..... make sure you let your agent know that, as it will save you money! For each calendar day, only the more severe charge is counted against your insurance rate.
Where do I find the cheapest rate for the SR22 auto insurance policy I need?
With that many points on your license, your best bet is to find an independent insurance agent that specializes in "high risk auto insurance" / "non-standard auto insurance" / "SR22 auto insurance" (I've heard all three terms but they all mean the same thing). An independent agent has multiple companies that they sell, which gives you a better chance of finding a lower rate. Most independent agents who specialize in this high risk auto insurance like I do tend to carry the companies that go the easiest on drivers who have dings on their record.
Get an Ohio SR22 Auto Insurance Quote
Get an Ohio SR22 Financial Responsibility Bond Quote
Get an Ohio SR22 Named Operator Quote
Video: Ohio BMV Random Letter Auto Insurance Check
10 Keys to Buying Auto Insurance in the Portsmouth Ohio area with a bad driving record
What is an Ohio SR22 Bond?
Ohio BMV Random Letter Selection Auto Insurance Check: FAQs
Dan Lyles is an Independent Insurance Agent serving Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia..