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If you’re a high-risk driver in Virginia or Florida, you might be required to carry an FR-44. An FR-44 isn’t technically a type of insurance. Instead, this document certifies to the DMV that you are maintaining continuous coverage with certain liability limits set by the state. Bankrate’s team of insurance experts breaks down what you need to know about FR-44s so that you can stay compliant and, in turn, keep your driver’s license and avoid possible fines and penalties.
What is FR-44 insurance?
FR-44 insurance, also known as an FR44, is a certificate of financial responsibility. While the FR-44 is not actually insurance itself, it does prove that you have insurance (and are maintaining it with no lapses) and that you carry a certain level of liability insurance as mandated by your state. Typically, your insurance company will file the FR-44 electronically on your behalf, often with a small fee attached.
FR-44 insurance is required after you’ve been convicted of a serious offense, such as DUI (driving under the influence), DWI (driving while intoxicated) or driving with a forfeited license. This insurance is similar to SR-22 insurance, but the requirements are much different.
An FR-44 has much more stringent requirements and terms than the standard SR-22. Additionally, the offenses that can trigger an FR-44 requirement can have long-term ramifications, such as higher insurance premiums in the future. When you have a significant offense on your record, insurance companies will likely classify you as a high-risk driver and therefore will likely charge more for your annual premium.
How does an FR-44 impact my insurance?
When you are classified as a high-risk driver, it can be far more difficult to obtain auto insurance than the average driver. If you are approved, you might find that your coverage isn’t the cheapest — insurance companies often charge higher rates to account for the increased risk. An FR-44 also means that you must purchase additional auto insurance coverage than the standard policy. Some providers may also require you to pay for your premiums upfront on an annual or bi-annual basis.
States where FR-44s are required
An FR-44 form is used specifically in two states: Virginia and Florida. Although both states require this form from your insurer, the requirements for each state are actually quite different.
The Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires that you obtain an FR-44 if you have committed certain offenses on or following January 1, 2008, or if you have been mandated per court order to continue FR-44 certification.
You will need an FR-44 if you have any of the following crimes on your record:
- Driving on a suspended license or one forfeited due to a conviction
- Driving while under the influence
- Maiming under the influence
- Violation of any federal, state or local law similar to the above
Virginia FR-44 liability insurance requires that you purchase at least double the state minimum amount of liability coverage.
Virginia FR-44 insurance requirements
|Bodily Injury Coverage per person||$60,000|
|Bodily Injury Coverage per accident||$120,000|
|Property Damage Coverage||$40,000|
The Florida FR-44 and Virginia FR-44 are similar, although the minimum liability insurance requirements vary. However, if your Florida DUI or DWI conviction was on or before February 1, 2008, you are not required to obtain an FR-44. For all convictions thereafter, drivers in Florida must carry an FR-44.
Florida FR-44 insurance requirements
|Bodily Injury Coverage per person||$100,000|
|Bodily Injury Coverage per accident||$300,000|
|Property Damage Coverage||$50,000|
Additionally, Florida charges varying fee amounts based on the number of DUI convictions that you have.
Florida DUI fee schedule
|Number of convictions||Fee amount|
|First conviction||$500 to $2,000|
|Second conviction||$1,000 to $4,000|
|Third conviction||$2,000 to $4,000+|
|Fourth or subsequent convictions||$2,000 to $4,000+|
Although most insurance companies should be able to file an FR-44 for you, not all will offer a policy to those considered high-risk. If you’re having trouble finding coverage, you may want to speak with an independent agent. Failing to obtain an FR-44 when required could result in the suspension of your driving privileges and vehicle registration.
How to get an FR-44 without a car
Not all FR-44 holders actually own a car. Some people still want to hold a valid driver’s license so that they can drive when they want or need to. A lapse in car insurance can also mean more expensive car insurance premiums when you have a car again.
If you have a valid driver’s license but do not currently own a car, non-owner car insurance can ensure that you have uninterrupted auto insurance coverage that protects you if and when you slide behind the wheel.
A non-owner auto insurance policy generally includes both bodily injury liability and property damage liability. Medical and uninsured motorist coverage may also be covered under your non-owner insurance policy. Damage to rental or borrowed vehicles is not usually covered, as well as things like comprehensive, collision and towing coverage, which require additional insurance.
FR-44 vs SR-22
While an FR-44 is limited to Florida and Virginia, an SR-22 is a type of certification widely used around the country.
An SR-22 is very similar to an FR-44, but it does not require additional liability coverage. Instead, it requires that you carry the minimum liability required by your state.
|Florida FR-44||Virginia FR-44|
|Bodily injury coverage per person||$100,000||$60,000|
|Bodily injury coverage per accident||$300,000||$120,000|
|Property damage coverage||$50,000||$40,000|
Frequently asked questions
Because your insurance provider handles the FR-44 for you, you will need to pay the company directly. The fee is minimal, usually between $15 and $25, and many providers simply add the cost onto your overall auto insurance premium.
If the state notifies you that you must carry an FR-44, you should contact your insurance company immediately. Most of the time, your company will file the FR-44 for you electronically, and it will remain on file as long as your policy is active (or until you no longer need the FR-44, usually after three years). Some carriers will require you to pay your premium in full before it will file the FR-44. You may also need to increase your liability coverage if your current levels are below the minimum FR-44 insurance requirements. Finally, your company will probably charge a small FR-44 filing fee, which is typically added to your next month’s bill.
Insurance is highly personalized, so the best car insurance company is different for everyone. Not all drivers who need an FR-44 are high risk — this will largely depend on your overall driving history as well as the reason behind your need for an FR-44. If after requesting a few quotes you find that most standard insurance companies do consider you high risk, you may need to tailor your search by contacting high-risk insurance companies. However, most carriers should be able to file an FR-44 for you (as long as they can offer you coverage).