A person who loses his Washington State driving privilege because he: (1) was convicted of a traffic crime, or (2) lost a Washington State Department of Licensing (“DOL”) administrative hearing is required to obtain high risk (“SR22”) insurance in order to regain his Washington state driving privilege. SR22 insurance must be maintained for a period of three years from the date the person is eligible to reinstate his driving privilege.
SR-22 insurance is a document that an insurance company files with DOL. The document affirmatively informs DOL that a person is carrying an acceptable amount of automotive insurance in Washington State. Currently a person does not need to prove he has automotive insurance to get licensed in Washington State. However, if a person losses his privilege to drive because of a traffic related conviction, or because he lost a DOL administrative hearing, he must prove he is carrying automotive insurance.
Washington’s SR-22 insurance requirement can be fulfilled in one of two ways. First, a person can post $60,000.00 with the Secretary of State’s office for a period of three years. Second, a person can seek an insurance provider who is licensed to provide insurance in the State of Washington to provide the requisite level of coverage and to notify DOL that such insurance is in place by filing a certificate of coverage with DOL. For obvious reasons, the second option is the most common route people take to meet Washington’s SR22 insurance requirement.
If a person finds himself in a position that SR-22 insurance becomes a requirement, he should evaluate what all of the costs, benefits, and possible trouble points are to using his current insurance provider for his SR22 insurance coverage. Some insurance companies will not provide SR22 insurance, some will actually cancel an insured’s policy if SR22 insurance is required, and some may be completely and totally cost prohibitive.
A person facing the daunting task of having to obtain SR22 insurance should do his “due diligence” and get as many quotes as possible (at least 3-5), and find a trustworthy insurance provider to help guide him through the cost/ benefit analysis before making his final decision about who to obtain his SR22 insurance through.
Because of the significant implications a traffic related crime can have on a person, it is imperative that a person who faces losing his Washington State driving privilege retain a qualified Seattle criminal attorney or a qualified Bellevue criminal defense lawyer in order to best minimize potential legal consequences and to protect all of his rights and interests – both civil and criminal. The Seattle criminal lawyers that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified Seattle criminal defense lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those folks facing the possibility of losing their Washington State driving privilege. If you or a loved one is facing the possibility of losing the ability to legally drive in Washington State, call SQ Attorneys at (206) 441-0900 or (425) 998-8384 for an initial free consultation.