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What Is FR-44 Insurance?
Actions have consequences — particularly when you’re behind the wheel.
Causing a little fender-bender will probably leave you with nothing more than an insurance headache, but more serious offenses come with heftier repercussions. Specifically, if you’re caught driving with a suspended license or you get cited with a DUI, you might be court-ordered to have a specific document filed on your behalf.
In most states, this is called an SR-22. It’s a document your insurance provider files with the state proving that you have enough liability coverage to mitigate the high risk you present out on the road. But if you commit a serious driving offense in Florida or Virginia, you might be required to show a different certificate of financial responsibility (CFR) called an FR-44.
What is FR-44 insurance? And how do you get it if you’re required by your state to do so? Floridians and Virginians need to know.
What is FR-44 insurance?
FR-44 insurance isn’t a separate insurance policy or a type of coverage. Instead, it’s a document that gets filed with your state proving you have enough liability coverage. Your insurance provider files it on your behalf, showing your state’s driving authority that you have sufficient amounts of the required liability insurance.
As a quick auto insurance refresher, liability coverage steps in if you cause damage on the road. Most states require two types of liability insurance: coverage to pay for any injuries you cause and coverage to pay for property damage.
When you need an FR-44, you’re required to have more of both types of liability coverage than other drivers in your state. It’s your state’s way of making sure you’re not a huge risk when they let you back behind the wheel. With a filed FR-44, you prove that you have enough insurance to protect others.
[ See: How Much Car Insurance Do You Need? ]
All this isn’t to say that Virginia and Florida don’t have SR-22s. They do — but they use FR-44s for their highest-risk drivers. FR-44s have higher liability coverage requirements than SR-22s.
Who needs FR-44 insurance and why?
When you live in Florida or Virginia, you could be required to get an FR-44 if you commit a major driving violation like:
- A DWI/DUI
- Driving without insurance
- Driving with a suspended license
You might find out you need an FR-44 while in court for a hearing about your driving violation. Alternatively, you could get a letter mailed to your house indicating that you now need FR-44 insurance.
Long story short, if you majorly messed up behind the wheel, keep an eye out. Odds are, you’ll be required to carry more liability insurance. And if you do need an FR-44, don’t wait. Talk to your insurance provider right away.
Most insurance providers offer FR-44s. But if yours doesn’t, you’ll need to switch to one that does. Make sure you get enough liability coverage to meet the now-required limits (more on that later) and that your new insurer will file the FR-44 for you ASAP.
What if I don’t own a car?
If you committed your violation while driving someone else’s car or you sold your car after the fact, you might be stumped by an FR-44 insurance requirement.
[ More: How Are Car Insurance Costs Determined? ]
In this case, your best bet is to get non-owner car insurance. This is liability coverage designed to cover your risk if you drive someone else’s vehicle and while doing so, cause property damage or injure someone.
Getting an FR-44 with non-owner car insurance can be tricky. Not all insurers offer non-owner car insurance, and not all insurers file FR-44s. You can use our list of the best non-owner car insurance to start exploring your options.
On a positive note, FR-44 insurance for non-owners is generally a lot more affordable than standard car insurance policies for FR-44 drivers.
How much does FR-44 insurance cost?
There’s good news and bad news here.
The good news is that the actual FR-44 is very affordable. Generally, you’ll pay a flat fee of $15 to $25 for your insurer to file the FR-44 for you.
The bad news is that once you require an FR-44, you’ll be seen by all insurers as a high-risk driver. And that means more expensive car insurance.
The exact amount you’ll pay will depend on your overall driving history, the vehicle you drive, your annual mileage and more. But generally, if you need an FR-44, you can expect to pay twice as much (or more, even) than the average driver because of your history of serious driving violations. For example, we’ve found that drivers with a DUI will see a 79% rate increase, on average, once their insurer learns of the violation.
Ultimately, if you need an FR-44, expect to pay significantly more for your auto insurance than your neighbors.
[ For You: Auto Insurance Quotes, Explained ]
Does FR-44 insurance require more coverage?
Yes. In fact, that’s the whole point of an FR-44.
Here are the minimum coverages needed for an FR-44:
- FR-44 insurance Florida requirements: $100,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person, $300,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per accident and $50,000 of property damage liability coverage
- FR-44 insurance Virginia requirements: $50,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per person, $100,000 of bodily injury liability coverage per accident and $40,000 of property damage liability coverage
These limits are steep. Compare them against what all Florida drivers need: just $10,000 of bodily injury coverage (called personal injury protection [PIP] in this case) and $10,000 of property damage liability coverage.
Even more staggeringly, you can compare these limits against SR-22 requirements in Virginia. Virginians who need an FR-44 are required to carry twice as much liability coverage as Virginians who need an SR-22.
FR-44 insurance vs. SR-22 insurance
FR-44s and SR-22s are the same in many key ways: they’re both certificates of financial responsibility. They’re both state-required after a serious driving offense. They both get filed by your insurer to prove that you’ve purchased enough liability coverage to meet the extra liability limits to which you’re now subject.
But there are some major differences, too. For starters, every state uses SR-22s, while you’ll only find FR-44 insurance in Florida and Virginia. More importantly, FR-44s come with much higher liability coverage requirements than SR-22s.
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