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My name is Jay Freeman and I am a Texas insurance agent specializing in the issuance of the Texas SR-22 form for over 35 years. My purpose in writing this series is to provide some guidance for those people who find themselves in the position of needing to obtain a Texas SR-22. My goal is to simply explain what the SR-22 is and some of the problems and pitfalls that can be avoided when it comes to obtaining the form.
A Texas SR-22 (or Financial Responsibility Form) is not a stand-alone form; it is actually an endorsement that is attached to an automobile insurance policy. This is why you cannot purchase the SR-22 by itself, you have to actually purchase a policy and the insurance company that provides the policy then issues the form. When an insurance company issues the SR-22, they are obligated to constantly monitor the policy status and notify the Department of Public Safety if that status changes. If the policy to which the SR-22 is attached cancels, then the insurance company is required to submit the second part of the SR-22 form (called the SR-26) to DPS and this notifies the department that the SR-22 has been cancelled. Think of it like a light switch… when DPS receives the SR-22 from the insurance company, the light switch flips to “on” because the requirement has been met. When the policy cancels, the SR-26 is sent to DPS and then the switch flips to “off” because the SR-22 is no longer in force. If at that time there is no longer a requirement at DPS for the driver to have an SR-22 on file, then everything just goes back to normal. If however DPS still requires that the driver maintain an SR-22, then they will begin the process to suspend the driver’s license.
Prior to 2010 the SR-22 was required to be pink in color; this requirement was removed when the DPS began allowing the forms to be submitted electronically. Many companies still issue the SR-22 on pink paper (probably because that’s the way it’s always been done) but it is not a DPS requirement.
There are a few more items about the SR-22 that I would like to mention. First, you might notice that there is an Effective Date but no Ending Date. This is because once the SR-22 is issued; it is active until the SR-26 is submitted to DPS. Next you will see that the Case Number field is left blank. Sometimes insurance companies will try to avoid issuing the SR-22 by stating that they first need the court case number. The Case Number field is actually referring to the DPS Case Number which is the Driver’s License number. We always leave the Social Security field blank; it is not required by DPS and therefore it would be unwise to have such personal information passing through so many hands. Finally, either the Owner’s Policy or Operator’s Policy will be marked. If the Owner’s box is marked, there will be information describing the vehicles listed on the policy in those fields. If the Operator’s box is marked, those fields will be left blank. The difference between these two types of policies (and the advantages of one over the other) will be discussed in Part 3 of this series.
In many cases, a person’s ability to legally drive hinges upon whether or not the Texas Department of Public Safety has record of an SR-22 filed with their office. Here are just a few of the reasons that the State of Texas requires that an SR-22 be filed:
There are other reasons why an SR-22 might be required, but these are the most common.
In the next part of this series “Should I Tell My Insurance Company About The SR-22?”, I will be addressing the question as to whether or not you should attempt to obtain the SR-22 from your current insurance provider.
Jay Freeman is the owner of ConceptSR22.com, a website specialized in solving Texas SR-22 problems. If you need assistance in obtaining a Texas SR-22 or have questions not addressed in this series, please contact his office from the website. Thank you for reading this series..
© Jay Freeman – This article may be copied and distributed with original attribution and permission of author.
Accurate Concept Insurance
972-386-4386 ~ 800-967-4386
Serving Texas since 1993