SR-22 Insurance in Illinois

Last Updated on September 9, 2023

SR-22 requires high-risk drivers to buy Financial Responsibility Insurance, also known as an SR-22.

The Illinois DMV uses the SR-22 system to monitor the insurance of high-risk drivers. When you submit an SR-22 certificate to the Illinois DMV, you’re verifying you are carrying valid car insurance to meet minimum requirements in Illinois.

Most insurance companies in Illinois offer SR-22 insurance. You can buy SR-22 insurance through large companies – like GEICO or Nationwide – or through smaller insurers – like specialty insurers specializing in insuring high-risk drivers.

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about SR-22 insurance in Illinois and how it works.

Key Takeaways:

  1. The SR-22 is a certificate used in Illinois to verify that high-risk drivers have valid insurance coverage, not an actual insurance policy.
  2. After obtaining SR-22 insurance, the insurer submits the certificate to the Illinois Secretary of State, and drivers must maintain it for three years.
  3. Illinois offers three types of SR-22 certificates: Operator’s, Owner’s, and Operators-owners, each catering to different driving needs.
  4. While SR-22 insurance tends to be more expensive due to the high-risk status of the driver, comparing rates and adjusting coverage can help reduce costs.

How SR-22 Insurance Works in Illinois

Illinois uses an SR-22 system to manage high-risk drivers.

The SR-22 is not technically insurance; instead, it’s a certificate verifying you have valid insurance coverage.

An insurer in Illinois submits the SR-22 certificate to the Illinois Secretary of State (effectively, the DMV) on your behalf. You buy insurance from the insurer as you normally would, and the insurer submits an SR-22 certificate to the Secretary of State to reinstate your license or driving privileges.

After your insurer submits the SR-22 certificate to the Secretary of State’s office, it can take up to 30 days to process the certificate. Then, you receive a copy of the SR-22 from your insurance company and a letter from the Secretary of State’s office.

You must carry SR-22 insurance for three years. If you cancel insurance within this period, your insurer will notify the Illinois Secretary of State via an SR-26 cancellation certificate. If you drop SR-22 insurance before the three-year window, the Secretary of State will suspend your driving privileges until you reinstate your SR-22 insurance.

Illinois accepts one of three types of SR-22 certificates, including:

  • Operator’s certificate with an SR-22 certificate, which covers the motorist in the operation of any non-owned vehicle. It works similarly to non-owner car insurance. If you want to reinstate your driving privileges but do not own a vehicle, then you would submit an SR-22 certificate with an operator’s certificate. This certificate allows you to drive rental cars, borrow a friend’s vehicle, or occasionally use someone else’s vehicle while remaining legally insured.
  • Owner’s certificate with an SR-22 certificate, which covers vehicles owned by the driver. This is a standard car insurance policy that protects you when driving your own vehicle.
  • Operators-owners certificate with an SR-22 certificate, which covers all vehicles owned or non-owned by the driver. This is a combination certificate that covers you when driving vehicles you own, as well as vehicles you do not own.

How to Get SR-22 Insurance in Illinois

You get SR-22 insurance in Illinois via the following steps:

  1. Compare quotes online and find an auto insurance company for your unique needs. If you’re a particularly high-risk driver, then you may need to work with a specialty insurer or high-risk insurer. Alternatively, other drivers can work with ordinary insurance companies through the standard marketplace.
  2. The insurer submits the request for the SR-22 to the Illinois Secretary of State. This request includes your updated insurance policy and the SR-22 certificate itself, verifying you meet minimum insurance requirements in Illinois.
  3. Receive a copy of the SR-22 and a letter from the Illinois Secretary of State within 30 days. This certificate and your insurance policy verify you are legally able to drive in the state of Illinois. You must carry this SR-22 certificate for three years before rejoining the ordinary car insurance marketplace.

Who Sells SR-22 Insurance in Illinois?

Many large and small insurance companies in Illinois sell SR-22 insurance.

You can work with major insurers – like Allstate and GEICO – to buy SR-22 insurance. Alternatively, you can work with smaller, specialty, high-risk insurers.

Some high-risk drivers find they’re unable to receive a quote for auto insurance from a standard insurance company. Some insurance companies only accept medium-risk drivers or lower, for example. Even if the company is able to file an SR-22 certificate on your behalf, the company may be unwilling to insure you due to risk.

In this situation, you may need to turn to the nonstandard insurance marketplace, which includes high-risk insurers and other specialty insurers.

Some of your options for SR-22 insurance in Illinois include:

You can also work with small, specialty, high-risk insurance companies. Many insurance companies in Illinois specialize in insuring high-risk drivers – like drivers requiring SR-22 insurance. If you find the companies above are charging higher-than-expected rates because of your driving record, then you may be better off with a specialty insurer.

SR-22 Insurance Requirements in Illinois

Illinois requires the same level of car insurance whether or not you have an SR-22 certificate.

Minimum car insurance requirements in Illinois for SR-22 and non-SR-22 drivers include:

  • $25,000 of bodily injury liability insurance per person
  • $50,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per accident
  • $20,000 of property damage liability coverage per accident
  • $25,000 of underinsured and uninsured motorist coverage per person and $50,000 per accident

How Much Does SR-22 Insurance Cost in Illinois?

SR-22 insurance in Illinois costs $80 to $300 per month, depending on your location, coverage options, and personal risk factors.

Generally, SR-22 drivers pay around $1,800 per year for car insurance, which is higher than the Illinois average of $1,450 per year.

SR-22 insurance tends to cost more than ordinary car insurance in Illinois. As a high-risk driver, you’ll pay more for car insurance than the average driver.

However, SR-22 insurance may not be as expensive as you think: many SR-22 insurance plans only include liability coverage. These policies protect other drivers and allow you to legally drive, but they provide limited protection for your own vehicle.

You’ll also need to pay a fee to submit the SR-22 certificate to the Illinois Secretary of State. Typically, this fee is between $25 and $50. Your insurer may pay this fee and then pass it on to you.

How to Get Cheap SR-22 Insurance in Illinois

SR-22 insurance can be expensive. However, by comparing rates and taking other steps, you can significantly reduce the price you pay for SR-22 insurance in Illinois.

Here are some of the tips you can use to get cheap SR-22 insurance in Illinois:

  • Compare rates with large and small insurers. Illinois drivers have hundreds of options for car insurance – including large insurers and small, specialty insurers. As an SR-22 driver, you may find better rates with specialty, high-risk insurers. Compare quotes from large and small providers to find the best rates for your unique needs.
  • Lower coverage or raise deductibles. You can customize SR-22 insurance to lower monthly premiums. Lowering your coverage, for example, can help you pay lower premiums each month. Similarly, raising your deductible will cause you to pay more for each claim, but you’ll save money each month on premiums.
  • Compare rates annually or semi-annually. You must maintain SR-22 insurance for a minimum of three years in Illinois. However, you can switch SR-22 providers within this time period. Compare rates regularly in Illinois to save money. With every month, your incidents slide further into the past, which means you could save significantly. Compare rates every six to 12 months (say, during your renewal period) to save money.
  • Buy non-owner SR-22 insurance. Some drivers buy non-owner SR-22 insurance in Illinois. If you don’t own a vehicle but want to reinstate your license and driving privileges, then non-owner SR-22 insurance can be a cost-effective way to do so.
  • Drop SR-22 insurance as soon as you’re able to. SR-22 insurance is expensive. Fortunately, SR-22 requirements don’t last forever. After you maintain an SR-22 certificate for three years, you can rejoin the ordinary car insurance market. Make sure you drop SR-22 insurance as soon as you’re able to avoid paying unnecessarily high premiums.

Final Word

SR-22 insurance in Illinois is required for high-risk drivers.

Most insurers in Illinois offer SR-22 insurance. An insurer can submit the SR-22 certificate on your behalf to the Illinois Secretary of State. This certificate verifies you have met the state’s minimum car insurance requirements.

Compare SR-22 insurance quotes online today to find the best SR-22 insurance for your unique needs in Illinois.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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