An FR-44 form is required documentation available in Florida that proves a driver’s financial reasonability. While the form itself is not a car insurance policy, an FR-44 certificate verifies to the state that you meet the necessary car insurance requirements needed to drive legally. Typically, drivers need an FR-44 to regain their driving privileges after a license suspension or if they were convicted of a serious traffic violation like a DUI.
An FR-44 is only available in Florida and Virginia, however, other states use SR-22 and SR-50 forms for a similar purpose.
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.
To satisfy an FR-44 requirement, you must have your insurance company send proof of coverage to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV). There may be a fee involved, but other than that, getting an FR-44 is considered a straightforward process.
Drivers who do not own a car and are not listed on an active insurance policy may need to find a Florida car insurance company that can file an FR-44 for a non-owner policy. A non-owner policy provides liability coverage that follows the driver, not the vehicle. 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.
Who needs FR-44 insurance in Florida?
Florida drivers with a DUI conviction may be required to file an FR-44 to have their driver’s license reinstated. According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV), a driver’s first conviction of a DUI results in a 6-month to 1-year license revocation. If a first-time DUI offender causes an accident resulting in serious bodily injury or death, the revocation will last at least three years, but can be more.
Once a license suspension occurs, drivers usually have two choices. They can apply for a hardship driver’s license, allowing for limited driving privileges or wait out the revocation period.
- Applying for a hardship drivers license: This requires the driver to provide the Bureau of Administrative Review with proof they completed a DUI program and possibly substance abuse treatment if the court ordered it. Once approved, the driver will complete any additional exams, pay applicable fees and have their insurance company file an FR-44.
- Waiting out the revocation period: Drivers will still need to show proof that they have enrolled in a DUI program and must complete the program within 90 of having their license reinstated or risk having it suspended again until the program is completed. Also, they will need to pay any applicable fees and keep an FR-44 filed for three years.
What is an IID?
IID stands for ignition interlock device. It is a small breathalyzer that, once installed in a vehicle, requires the driver to submit a breath sample for the engine to start. If a blood alcohol level of 0.5 is detected, the car will not start and the fail test is recorded in the data report. IID requirements are common for drivers who are allowed hardship licenses or as a condition of having a permanent license reinstated following a DUI conviction.
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 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. Since Florida typically uses the form FR-44 for severe infractions, SR-22 is still available for minor violations. The biggest difference between the two forms is that FR-44s require you to purchase coverage limits much higher than the minimum liability limit in the state. Florida drivers who must satisfy the insurance requirements of an FR-44 for infractions dated after October 1, 2007, must carry the following liability coverage limits:
- $100,000 per person for bodily injury liability
- $300,000 per accident for bodily injury liability
- $50,000 per accident for property damage liability
- Or $350,000 combined single limit (CSL) liability
Florida requirements for an SR-22 are for a 10/20/10 policy, so the FR-44 dramatically increases the amount of insurance you need.
FR-44 Florida insurance costs
The cost to file an FR-44 varies between insurance companies. You will see this fee assessed on your insurance policy when obtaining the FR-44 and again at every renewal during the filing period. 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. The cost for minimum coverage insurance is generally much lower than the required limits of 100/300/50. Exactly how much you’ll pay will depend on a variety of factors. Another factor is how much you will pay in fees to have a suspended license reinstated. Fees that you may have to pay can include, but not be limited to, the following:
|Administrative fee for alcohol and drug related expenses
|$150 – $500 for subsequent violations
|DUI program fee
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 would be your DUI conviction on your record that effectively increases the average cost of your auto insurance premium the most through policy surcharges 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 unavoidable.
Frequently asked questions
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. Once the filing period is up, let your insurance agent know. They will file an SR-26 with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) to cancel the FR-44.
You will need to contact your insurance provider and tell them you need an FR-44 form sent to the 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.
While the term SR-22 insurance is common vernacular, both SR-22 and FR-44 forms are considered proof of insurance and are not car insurance policies. Also, the state does not charge for SR-22 or FR-44 filings with the FLHSMV, but insurance companies do. The filing fee costs vary between insurance companies, so it’s best to check with them on the pricing. Forms must be submitted to the FKHSMV at every renewal during the filing period.
Virginia is the only other state that issues FR-44s. Most states 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.
The driving activity behind requiring an FR-44 usually involves high-risk driving behavior and surcharge points added to any insurance policy you might acquire. While cheap car insurance may not be an option, there are always ways to find a cheaper policy. Shop early and get quotes from several different insurance companies that offer FR-44 forms. If the premiums with standard insurers seem unaffordable, look into coverage with non-standard carriers specializing in high-risk drivers, such as The General, National General, or Bristol West, to name a few. By taking advantage of available car insurance discounts and avoiding tickets and accidents going forward, you may be able to offset higher insurance premiums.