Financial Responsibility Laws
When a driver has his or her license suspended or revoked at the hands of the department of licensing through the “administrative suspension/revocation” process or by virtue of a conviction for DUI, the law requires that proof of “financial responsibility” be filed with the department of licensing before the license will be reinstated. In fact, proof of financial responsibility must be on file at the department of licensing even before an occupational license will be considered by the department of licensing.
The requirement of filing proof of financial responsibility extends for three years. This requirement is one of the harshest economic consequences of being arrested for DUI. While most people have heard that the DUI conviction (or department of licensing administrative revocation/suspension) results in “high-risk” insurance, in fact the law does not require that insurance be “high-risk.” High risk insurance is, rather, an economic reality of the insurance industry. As a general rule, a DUI conviction/suspension will result in either a great increase in the insurance rates, or the requirement of “high-risk” insurance.
The requirement to prove “financial responsibility” is most often satisfied by having an insurance company file a “SR 22” form with the department of licensing on behalf of the insured. However, this is not the only way to provide proof of financial responsibility.
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Under RCW 46.29.450, there are four alternate methods of filing proof of financial responsibility:
- A certificate of insurance as provided in RCW 46.29.460 or 46.29.470;
- A bond as provided in RCW 46.29.520;
- A certificate of deposit of money or securities as provided in RCW 46.29.550;
- A certificate of self-insurance, as provided in RCW 46.29.630, supplemented by an agreement by the self-insurer that, with respect to accidents occurring while the certificate is in force, he will pay the same amounts that an insurer would have been obliged to pay under an owner’s motor vehicle liability policy if it had issued such a policy to said self-insurer.
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