Being properly insured is one of the responsibilities of a licensed driver in every state, including Arizona. How much you pay for auto insurance can depend on a few factors:
- Driving record. This is the most important. Moving violations and accidents raise your rates. So do DUIs.
- Location. Generally, insurance in cities cost more than rural areas.
- Your age. Drivers under 25 are considered higher risk.
- Sex and marital status. Women pay less, as do married people.
- Type of car. Fast cars give the impression that you take risks. Expensive cars cost more to fix after an accident.
- Miles driven. The more you drive, the more you pay.
A DUI is costly in a number of ways, including the large rise in insurance rates that usually follows one. But there is more to reinstating your license that just paying the fines, doing jail time (if applicable), applying for insurance, and installing the ignition interlock (if required).
Once your license is reinstated after a DUI or other violation involving a suspended license, you will have to show proof to the state of Arizona that you have an active insurance policy that meets the state’s requirements. That’s where the SR-22 comes in.
SR-22 is not insurance. It’s proof that you have insurance.
Often people refer to “SR-22 insurance,” but the SR-22 is just a certificate proving that your auto insurance is up to snuff despite a recent license revocation.”SR” refers to “Safety Responsibility.” Normally the SR-22 does not cost very much. Where the cost comes in is with insurance premiums: the insurance company might deem you a greater risk. In fact, some companies will not insure drivers who require an SR-22, forcing you to look for a new provider.
You will need to keep the SR-22 for at least 3 years. How long it will take for your insurance rates to go down to previous levels depends on how long the DUI stays on your record. In Arizona, that’s five years. If that seems hard (and it is), take heart: in California it’s ten years, and in Massachusetts, you will be paying higher rates for the rest of your life.
Getting back on the road after a DUI in Arizona is not easy, but it’s usually achievable, provided you’re aware of your responsibilities. If you need an ignition interlock (car breathalyzer), your interlock provider will help guide you through the maze and get you back on the road.