Michigan SR-22 Insurance

An SR-22 is a document issued by an auto insurer to the State indicating that you carry sufficient insurance to satisfy that state’s Financial Responsibility Law.  States demand one from a driver when they have either been convicted of specific crimes or have failed to show evidence of financial responsibility in the even they are found to be at fault in an accident.  Should an SR-22 be required, you are barred from driving until you provide one and maintain the underlying insurance to support the proof of financial responsibility.

Non Owners Insurance in Michigan

If you do not own a vehicle, but need to have an SR-22 in order to drive, you will need to obtain an Operator’s Policy also known as a Named Non Owner Policy, which provides you with liability insurance coverage should you operate a vehicle that is uninsured.  Otherwise, you will need an auto insurance policy that provides liability coverage for both you and your auto.

How an SR-22 Affects your Car Insurance Rates in Michigan

Because the insured has a blemished driving record, they will not get the lowest rates for coverage.  That being said, one should comparison shop and compare rates for the policy itself as well as any fees related to filing an SR-22.  It should also be noted that if you need to have an SR-22 processed quickly, the fees to do so will not be inexpensive.

Limitations of SR-22 Coverage

Another thing to note is that the policy itself may have terms and conditions that may limit coverage under certain circumstances.  For example, should you be involved in an accident and you are using the vehicle in commission of a crime (and the definition of crime includes driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs) coverage for damage to your auto may evaporate.  In addition, the limits for third party liability coverages in the event the auto is used during a crime will be reduced to the statutory minimum required by the state.

Once the period for which your need to supply an SR-22 ends, you will then have much more flexibility to select an insurance policy as more insurers will be willing to insure you with a better rate.  In addition, you will no longer need to pay any fees associated with processing the document.

Why Would I Need an SR–22 in Michigan?

In Michigan, you would need an SR – 22 if you have received a Financial Responsibility Judgment against you.

If you are found to be the at fault party in an auto accident and you are driving without insurance, the other party can file a lawsuit against you in court for damages.  You would then be served with an Summons and Compliant, and would be required to file a responsive pleading with the court (generally an Answer.)

At that point, you and the other party (most likely with the assistance of attorneys) would engage in discovery.  During this process, the other party will provide you evidence showing why it believes that you are liable for their injuries and damage to their property.  You will provide the other party evidence showing why you are not the at fault party along with why you do not agree with the amounts the other party claims you owe.  Discovery takes many forms which include;

  • Production of documents in which documentation illustrating fault and costs are presented. Examples of documents that are produced include
    • Police reports
    • Repair bills for the damaged vehicle.
    • Documentation of wages lost due to injuries
    • Medical bills for treatment and
    • Medical reports illustrating the treatment of the injured party.
  • Responses to Interrogatories.  One side will ask the other questions about the facts of the case, and the other party will either
    • Answer the question,
    • Object to the question and state why they think the question should not be asked, or
    • Some combination of the two.
  • Make Requests for Admissions.  One party will make a statement and the other party will respond by
    • Admitting the statement is true,
    • Denying the statement is true or
    • Advise that it does not have enough information about the statement to admit or deny it.
  • Depose someone.  One party will request that someone appear in person to answer their questions under oath in the presence of the other party and a court reporter.  Like Interrogatories, an attorney can object to a question that is being asked and, in some cases, direct the other party not to answer the question.

At the process continues, you may be given the opportunity to meet with a mediator to attempt to resolve the dispute.  At that point, both parties would file briefs stating their positions with the mediator and meet in person with them in an attempt to resolve differences.  The mediator would provide insights and suggestions in how to resolve the matter.

Once discovery is complete, either party may file a Motion for Summary Judgment.  In a Motion for Summary Judgment, the judge is asked to make rulings on the case based on the evidence submitted during discovery.  It will identify the evidence and provide the legal support to justify the ruling.  The other party has an opportunity to refute the contentions raised in the Motion for Summary Judgment.  Ultimately both sides will go to a hearing and plead the case verbally to the judge.  The judge then will make a ruling.  In the ruling, the judge will either fully grant, fully deny or grand in part and deny in part the Summary Judgment.

The case will then go to trial.  At that point, each side will illustrate their case to either the judge alone or a judge and jury, examine and cross examine witnesses, and make statements that support their case.  After the case is heard, the judge or the jury will then make rulings on the case with regard to who is liable and how much they should pay.  At that point a Financial Responsibility Judgment is entered, and you will be required to pay the judgment.  Your driver’s license would then be suspended until the judgment is satisfied.

During preparation for trial, there will be negotiations taking place with the goal of settling the matter.  If at some point both parties agree, they will then draw up a Settlement Agreement and Release.  This is a document which states.

  • The amount of money the case settled for,
  • How that amount is to be paid if the payment will be in installments and
  • A Release of All Claims which will state that the party receiving the money will no longer be able to pursue the other party.

The Settlement Agreement and Release may also include a stipulation either requesting that the court issue a Financial Responsibility Judgment be issued immediately or allow the other party to seek a Financial Responsibility Judgment should you default on the terms of the installment agreement.  In the latter case, your license will not be suspended unless you default on the installment agreement and a Financial Responsibility Judgment is issued.

How do I get my driving privilege restored after receiving a Financial Responsibility Judgment?

In order to get your driving privilege restored after receiving a Financial Responsibility Judgment, you will either need to;

  • Satisfy the judgment or
  • Have an installment payment agreement in place and obtain a Financial Responsibility Driver’s License.

If you and the other party agree to allow the Financial Responsibility Judgment to be paid in installments, you will need to have that agreement in writing to present to the Secretary of State showing that the agreement is in place.  If the other party is not willing to sign an agreement, you will need to go to the court that issued the Financial Responsibility Judgment and request that the court issue an Order Regarding Installment Payments.  If that is necessary, you will need to

  • File a motion with the court requesting an Order Regarding Installment Payments.  At that point, the court will set a hearing date and
  • Attend the hearing on the motion.

The judge will decide if an Order Regarding Installment Payments is to be entered.  Should you be successful in obtaining an Order Regarding Installment Payments, you will need to file a certified copy with the Secretary of State as part of the process of obtaining a Financial Responsibility Driver’s License.

You will then need to procure auto insurance and have the insurer file an SR-22 with the Secretary of State.  The filing process will take about two weeks.

Once these filings are made, you will need to,

  • Apply for reinstatement and
  • Pay a $125.00 reinstatement fee.

Note that you will be restricted to driving certain vehicles under a Financial Responsibility Driver’s License.

In summary,  If you have had your driver license suspended or revoked, you will need and SR – 22.  In addition, there will be several steps you need to take in order to partially have your driving privilege restored so that you may be able to drive again even after you have been sanctioned