What is an FR-44?

An FR-44 is a form that proves you are carrying the proper car insurance after you have been convicted of a serious violation.

Florida and Virginia are the only two states currently using the FR-44 form. If you need an FR-44, you will have higher liability coverage requirements than with an SR-22.

If you are required to submit an FR-44 form, you will need to contact your car insurer as it will be submit the form to the state, after you purchase the required amount of car insurance. Your insurer submits the form to your local DMV which will then reinstate your driver's license.

However, if you fail to pay for your coverage or let the policy lapse for any reason, your insurer will revoke the FR-44 and let the DMV know, which will suspend your license. Driving without insurance is a serious offense, and even more serious if you are caught a second time.

If you are currently between insurance companies, you will need to notify them that you require an FR-44 form when shopping. While most major insurance companies will write a policy with an FR-44, expect your rates to go up dramatically. In some cases, it may make financial sense to go with a second-tier insurer that specializes in high-risk drivers. As always, check the financial strength of any insurer you are considering and read reviews.

How long will I need an FR-44?

The amount of time you have to carry an FR-44 will vary depending on the state you live in as well as the moving violation that triggered the FR-44 requirement.

In general, expect to have an FR-44 requirement for at least a year and up to four years. It could go even longer if it is a second offense. If you cancel your policy after getting your license back or let your insurance lapse for any reason, the FR-44 will be revoked and your license will be suspended again, in many cases for a significant amount of time.

In most cases, if you are picked up for any additional driving violations while the FR-44 is required there is a good chance your FR-44 requirement will be extended.

Once you have fulfilled the necessary requirements to get your full license reinstated you can usually drop your FR-44, but it's best to check with your DMV before shopping for new insurance to make sure you are in the clear.

What violations require an FR-44 form?

If you are required to have an FR-44 form attached to your policy, there is a good chance you committed a fairly serious driving violation. In most cases, an FR-44 is required for major moving violations such as:

  • DUI or DWI conviction
  • Driving without insurance
  • Causing an accident without car insurance
  • Driving with a suspended license
  • Reckless driving

Your local DMV or court will notify of the requirements to get your licensed reinstated after a conviction. This should include information in regard to an FR-44 requirement and how long that requirement will last.

What is the average cost of FR-44 insurance?

While it can vary between insurers, the fee for filing an FR-44 is usually around $25, but the increase in your insurance costs will be much more dramatic. It's not the FR-44 that causes a rate increase, but the violation that caused you to require it. What that violation is will determine ahow much you pay for insurance.

You are now considered a high-risk driver by insurance companies and that will result in a sky-high premium. Insurers consider a wide variety of factors when setting a premium, everything from your driving record, address, type of car and even your credit score will be considered, but a major violation on your driving record and an FR-44 request is never good news.

The FR-44 moves you out of the standard pool of drivers and drops you in with other high-risk drivers. Insurers charge risky drivers more because they file more claims, so you will absolutely be spending much more on car insurance than you did before the FR-44. In addition to the higher premium, you may be required to carry higher coverage limits than you did before which will also push up costs.

In Florida, an FR-44 form requires that you carry $100,000/$300,000 worth of bodily injury liability and $50,000 of property damage liability insurance. Non-risky drivers are only required to carry $10,000 in personal injury protection insurance and $10,000 in property damage liability.

Virginia, the other state that uses a FR-44 requires 50,000/$100,000 worth of bodily injury liability and $40,000 of property damage liability insurance. The normal limits are $25,000/$50,000 in bodily injury and only $20,000 in property damage.

The increase in your insurance costs will vary depending on a number of factors, but expect your car insurance cost to at least double. If it's a second offense the cost will be much higher. There is also a good chance that your insurer will now require you to pay your entire premium upfront instead of allowing monthly payments.

What is the difference between SR-22 and FR-44?

The biggest difference between the two is the amount of insurance required and the states that use it. As we mentioned before, only Florida and Virginia currently use the FR-44. The other big difference is the amount of liability insurance that is required. As noted above, the required amount of FR-44 insurance Florida is $100,000/$300,000 worth of bodily injury liability and $50,000 of property damage liability insurance.

In contrast to that, an SR-22 in Florida only requires a driver to carry $10,000 of bodily injury liability per person/$20,000 of bodily injury liability per accident and $10,000 of property damage liability coverage per accident. That's a major difference in coverage levels which will result in a significant price increase.

The FR-44 is used for drivers who have committed a fairly serious offense while an SR-22 is reserved for more minor incidents such as having too many tickets on your record. The FR-44 is not typically required until you move into the big leagues of traffic infractions such as a DUI, driving on a suspended license or reckless driving.

How to find affordable FR-44 insurance

Make no mistake, you will be paying significantly more for car insurance for the next few years but there are a few tips that can help you lower your insurance costs:

Shop around: This is solid advice whenever you want to lower your insurance costs. Insurers rate risk differently and it can result in major premium quotes so be sure to shop your coverage regularly, especially if you are required to have an FR-44 attached to your policy.

Always be upfront when shopping for insurance and let the agent know you will need an FR-44. Get quotes from at least five different insurance companies before making a decision.

Consider insurers who cater to high-risk drivers: In many states, the large insurance companies have subsidiary companies that provide insurance after a DUI and coverage to motorists with poor driving records. In addition to getting quotes from the major carriers, you should also consider smaller car insurance companies that specialize in high-risk, or "non-standard," coverage. Here is a list of some well-known ones to consider:

This isn’t a complete list, but will give you a spring board if you are researching SR-22 insurance companies.

  • Dairyland
  • Safe Auto
  • Infinity
  • Direct
  • Progressive
  • Geico
  • The General
  • Allstate
  • State Farm
  • Nationwide

Raise your deductible: One way to lower your insurance costs is to put more skin in the game. If you can afford to double your deductible you should see a rate cut. Make sure you choose a deductible that you can easily afford in the event you have to make a claim on your policy.

What is non-owner FR-44 insurance?

If you live in Florida or Virginia and your license has been suspended for a major driving violation, you will be required to provide an FR-44 policy before they reinstate your license, regardless of whether you own a car or not, which is where non-owner insurance comes in.

Non-owner car insurance provides liability coverage up to the policy limits but doesn't offer coverages such as collision or comprehensive coverage because there is not a vehicle attached to the policy. Your insurer will file an FR-44 with the non-owners policy which should let you get your license reinstated. As mentioned before, if you fail to make a payment, cancel the policy or let it lapse for any reason the FR-44 will be revoked and your license will end up suspended again.