Many states in the U.S. require that drivers be insured. Washington is one of them. While many people think that it's a needless hassle, and another example of the government telling them what to do, there is a reason behind the requirement. Washington knows that being injured in a car crash is awful, especially if it was someone else's fault. What's worse, though, is when you are involved in an accident that someone else caused, and that other person is uninsured. By requiring all drivers to have car insurance, Washington is making sure that there is someone involved to cover the costs of a collision – the insurance company. Therefore, if you're driving on the roads in Washington, you need to have insurance that covers, at minimum:
- $10,000 for property damage
- $25,000 per person for bodily injuries
- $50,000 per accident for bodily injuries
Things get a little complex, if you've been convicted for driving under the influence (DUI), and had your license suspended. The state of Washington uses this opportunity to make sure that you're playing by their rules, and that you'll have car insurance, once you're back on their roads. They're especially concerned now that you have a DUI on your record, as they consider you to be an “at risk driver.” In order to get your license back, you'll have to prove that you also have insurance, as well.
To prove that you have car insurance that satisfies Washington's requirements, you'll have to file an SR-22 form, which stands for “safety responsibility.” It's important to note that this form does not provide any car insurance. It only shows that you have car insurance from someone else. These forms are required if you were in an accident, and were uninsured, or if you've gotten convicted of a serious driving violation, like a DUI.
In order to get an SR-22 form, you need to talk to your insurance company, and have them issue you one. Your insurance company will notify the Washington Department of Licensing (DOL), once the form has been requested, processed, and issued to you. You'll have to keep an active SR-22 form for several years – the actual length depends on why you need the form, though for DUI convictions, you'll need to keep an active SR-22 for three years.
Once you request an SR-22 from your insurance company, you'll see your insurance premiums rise: Insurance companies know that, if you need the form, then something has happened that will make them think you're a risky driver. To offset the additional risk of providing you insurance coverage, they'll raise their fees. If these additional fees aren't paid, the insurance company will issue another form, an SR-26, and submit it to the (DOL), who will re-suspend your license until a new SR-22 form is filed.
These insurance details can be stressful, inconvenient, and pricey, but they're just one more repercussion of a DUI conviction. Attorney Kevin Trombold has experience defending against DUI charges, and knows how to handle everything associated with one. Call his office at 206-971-0067.