After a serious traffic violation, Florida and Virginia drivers may be required to have what is called an FR-44 sent to their DMV to have a license reinstated. Contrary to common belief, ‘FR-44 insurance in Florida’ is not actually insurance, but is a form of proof that a driver has met the state’s mandated minimum coverage limits for car insurance.
Though you may have never heard of it, FR-44s aren’t unique, and there are many forms like it across the country, such as SR-22s and SR-50s.
What is “FR-44 insurance?”
Simply put, an FR-44 is proof of insurance. A judge may order you to have an FR-44, or you may receive a letter in the mail, indicating that you are required to have the form (and corresponding level of insurance) before your license can be reinstated. In either case, this may be because you were recently convicted of a DUI, committed another serious traffic violation or because you were caught driving without car insurance.
To satisfy an FR44 requirement, you must have your insurance company send proof of coverage to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). There is a fee involved, but other than that, getting an FR-44 is considered a straightforward process.
One complication you may have is if you do not currently have car insurance. If that’s the case, you will need to find a car insurance company willing to insure you. Depending on the provider and the severity of your conviction, you may be unable to qualify for insurance from a traditional or local provider and may need to seek out a company that specializes in insuring high-risk drivers.
FR-44 vs SR-22
FR-44s and SR-22s are very similar. Both require drivers to submit verification to the FLHSMV that they are carrying the mandated amount of minimum car insurance. Both are implemented after a serious traffic violation, such as a DUI, but there are a couple of key differences between the two forms.
FR-44s are generally only used in Virginia and Florida. However, if you’re from another state, you may still need an FR-44 if a Virginia or Florida judge orders you to have one. If you don’t comply, you could lose your license and registration. Although Florida typically uses the form FR-44, you can also sometimes obtain an SR-22 if requested (in the event your conviction was not as severe).
The biggest difference between the two forms is that FR-44s require you to purchase double the minimum liability limit in the state. Florida drivers who must satisfy the insurance requirements of an FR-44 need to have a 100/300/50 policy, which represents the following liability coverage limits:
- $100,000 per person for bodily injury
- $300,000 per accident for bodily injury
- $50,000 per accident for property damage
Standard Florida requirements are for a 10/20/10 policy, so the FR-44 dramatically increases the amount of insurance you need.
Across the country other variations of FR-44s and SR-22s include the following:
- SR-19: Required in both California and Texas, but its use is a little different in each state:
- California: Submitted to a DMV to verify that an at-fault driver was not insured at the time of the accident. Primarily used so the victim can receive uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage
- Texas: A monthly payment agreement between an at-fault driver and an injured party where the at-fault driver was not properly insured. Submitted to the DMV, it is a legally binding contract
- SR-21: Used to verify that a driver was, in fact, insured before an accident that resulted in $1,000 or more worth of property damage or bodily injury
- SR-22A: Similar to a regular SR-22 but requires 6 months worth of insurance prepaid at a time
- SR-50: Verifies financial responsibility in the event that a driver has been convicted of two moving violations in a year, a DUI, or had an accident that resulted in bodily injury, death, or property damage
FR-44 Florida insurance costs
The cost to file an FR-44 varies between insurance companies. In most cases, you may pay a one time fee between $15 and $35. Compared to the cost of upgrading an existing policy or obtaining one for the first time as a high-risk driver, the FR-44 cost itself is nominal.
The secondary cost of an FR-44 is in the required amount of insurance you will need to have. At double the standard amount required for Florida drivers, the cost for minimum coverage insurance necessary to satisfy an FR-44 will likely be high. Exactly how much you’ll pay will depend on a variety of factors.
The true costs associated with an FR-44 revolve around the reason it was implemented in the first place. If you were convicted of a DUI, it will be your DUI conviction on your record that effectively increases the average cost of your auto insurance premium the most, and not the FR-44 itself.
DUI convictions can be an indication to insurance companies of repeated or other forms of high-risk driving behavior. Drinking and driving is still a significant contributing cause of death on America’s roadways, which also correlates to a high volume of insurance claims each year. Because of this, drivers with a DUI conviction who need an FR-44 may find higher insurance premiums are unavoidable.
How long do I need a Florida FR-44?
The general amount of time most drivers are required to have an FR-44 is three years. However, you may be required to have it for a longer period of time if you commit another offense, or if it’s not your first DUI.
How do I get FR-44 insurance in Florida?
You will need to contact your insurance provider and tell them you need an FR-44 form sent to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) to verify your insurance satisfies the requirements laid out in the FR-44 form. If you don’t have a provider, you will need to find one that is willing to insure you and will issue FR-44 forms (not all providers do). Many national providers may ask if you need this form when you are applying for a quote.
How much does SR-22 insurance cost in Florida?
Neither an SR-22 nor an FR-44 are forms of insurance; they are proof of required insurance. There will likely be a one-time filing fee to have an SR-22 or FR-44 sent to the FLHSMV, which typically can range between $15 and $35.
Can I be issued an FR44 from another state?
Virginia is the only other state that commonly issues FR-44s. Most states simply use SR-22s instead without requiring drivers to purchase more protection than standard state minimum liability limits. Keep in mind that even if you move to another state, the requirements set forth by the Florida FR-44 will likely remain for the duration of the judge- or state-ordered FR-44 mandate.
Where can I find cheap FR-44 insurance in Florida?
Drivers looking for cheap insurance to satisfy the requirements of an FR-44 will need to shop around and compare quotes, especially as a high-risk driver. Each insurance provider weighs personal information and driving history differently. One company may heavily penalize you while another might not quote as high of rates.