An SR-26 insurance form is filed by auto insurance companies when an insurance policy holder’s SR-22 certificate is no longer mandatory or when the policy has been terminated. Drivers who have committed traffic violations need an SR-22 certificate to have their licenses reinstated during a probationary period. When the period ends, an SR-26 must be filed so that they can return to normalcy with their driving record and insurance rates. To understand the importance of the SR-26, you need to understand the SR-22.
The SR-22 Insurance Form
An SR-22 form is a certificate that an auto insurance company must file with a troubled policy holder’s local Department of Motor Vehicles to provide verification that the driver has the minimal liability insurance coverage that the DMV’s state requires. The SR-22 form is a requirement for drivers who have been caught driving while intoxicated from alcohol or drugs, were pulled over by law enforcement and unable to provide proof of insurance, or had numerous traffic violations in a short time period. Depending on the severity of the offense and which state it is committed in, an SR-22 can be required for two to seven years.
The SR-26 Insurance Form
An SR-26 form notifies the local Department of Motor Vehicles that the troubled driver no longer has an SR-22 certificate with a specific auto insurance company. That means either the driver held the SR-22 form for the required time period or the driver no longer has an SR-26 for other reasons. Auto insurance companies typically transmit SR-26 batch records to the state’s DMV during evening hours and receive an "accepted" or "rejected" filing status the next day.
When SR-26 Is Good News
The usual reason for an auto insurance company to file and SR-26 would be that the SR-22 filing period (two to seven years) is over, and the driver is no longer required to carry an SR-22. The SR-26 forms let the state government know when drivers have paid their dues. That is good news because it means the driver’s record improves, and she can get cheaper auto insurance. Another liberating reason for filing an SR-26 is when a driver moves out of state before the SR-22 period is over and is no longer subject to the jurisdiction of the state in which the traffic violations were committed – unless he moves back.
When SR-26 Is Bad News
If an insurance company files an SR-26 before the probationary period is over and the driver remains in the state that the traffic violations were made, it is bad news. This means the insurance policy was canceled by the driver – or more likely, by the insurance company. A driver who has an SR-26 filed before the SR-22 period ends has to deal with the consequences of state laws. Some states may require the driver to find a new insurance company to finish out the remainder of the SR-22 certificate period. Other states may require that the driver find a new insurance company and re-start a whole new SR-22 period. Either way, the SR-26 tells the state DMV that the driver is no longer carrying insurance coverage.
Charles Infosino is an authority on regional entertainment and author of "The Unofficial Guidebook to Paramount's Kings Island." Infosino earned his Bachelor of Arts in international relations from SUNY New Paltz and his Master of Business Administration from Northern Kentucky University. He is a bankruptcy specialist III for one of the largest banks in the world.