Have you or someone you know recently been charged with a DUI (driving under the influence) and been told an FR-44 needs to be filed? The very term FR-44 sounds so businesslike and formal. However, while it may come with less-than-perfect situations, filing an FR-44 is quite simple once you understand how and why it’s used.
What is an FR44?
An FR44 is a Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR) form that’s required when a driver is required to have auto insurance liability coverage due to a certain violation. It’s used as proof to the Division of Motor Vehicle (DMV) that the driver has met the state’s requirements for auto insurance. The FR-44 is required under certain circumstances and in certain states. The FR-44 is often referred to as DUI insurance or proof of insurance.
Are FR-44 and SR-22 the Same?
The terms FR-44 and SR-22 are often used interchangeably. While they are very similar in that they’re both required after DUI convictions and are both required to avoid driver license suspension, there is one major difference. The FR-44 requires the driver to carry a higher amount of auto liability insurance than the SR-22.
Is the FR-44 Used in All States?
While the SR-22 form is used in many states, the only states that require the FR-44 are:
- Commonwealth of Virginia
What Circumstances Could Lead to an FR-44?
Not every driver that lives in Virginia or Florida is required to have an FR-44. They are only required under circumstances. The Florida DMV requires an FR44 for the following situations.
- Driver has a DUI conviction.
- Driver was driving with suspended license
- Driver did not have the required amount of auto liability insurance when DUI was issued
- Driver violated any federal law in Florida or another state.
According to Virginia.gov, drivers in Virginia may be required to have an FR-44 under the following circumstances.
- Driver maims another while driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- The driver has a DUI conviction.
- The driver was driving with a revoked or suspended license and it resulted from a driving conviction.
- The driver has violated a federal law in Virginia or in another state.
What are the Insurance Requirements for an FR44?
One of the main stipulations of an FR-44 is that the driver have auto liability insurance. However, the FR-44 also mandates that the driver maintain a specific amount of insurance. It’s important to know what minimum amounts of insurance are required because Florida and Virginia have different requirements. Both states require that FR-44 recipients car both bodily injury liability and property damage liability, also known as PDL, but the amounts are different.
Insurance Requirements in Florida
Florida DMV states that drivers required to have FR-44s must have at least the following amounts of liability coverage.
- $100,000 per person for injuries
- $300,000 per accident for injuries
- $50,000 for property damage liability
This amount is about five times as high as what’s required for regular drivers or even drivers with an SR-22. Drivers with DUI convictions are considered high-risk drivers that could potentially cost the insurance companies a lot of money in claims and lawsuits. Based on these figures, getting a DUI can be very costly for drivers.
Insurance Requirements in Virginia
Virginia DMV requires that drivers with FR-44s have at least the following amount of liability coverage.
- $50,000 per person for injuries/death
- $100,000 for two or more people for injury/death
- $40,000 for property damage liability
These amounts are double what the state requirement is for regular or SR-22 drivers. The FR-44 must be kept in place for three years.
How FR44 Affects Auto Insurance Premiums
As stated above, drivers that are required to have FR-44s are considered as high-risk drivers to the insurance company. High-risk drivers typically cost the insurance a lot of money in claims, damages and possible lawsuits. FR-44s can be very costly in more ways than one.
To satisfy the state’s insurance requirements for the FR-44, the driver must pay for higher amounts of liability insurance. In the case with Florida, where it’s five times higher, the driver is going to pay a lot more in premiums. Adding to this is the fact that the FR-44 driver is considered high risk, so he or she will be put in a more expensive insurance category anyways. This will result in even higher premiums. Certain violations stay on the driving record for several years.
There are also filing fees for the FR-44, which make it even more expensive. Insurance companies often make drivers pay for the insurance upfront when they require an FR-44 filing. Therefore, the driver doesn’t have the convenience of making monthly installments. Driving while under the influence is a bad idea for the obvious reasons but also because it can and will be very costly for a long time.
Procedure for Getting an FR-44
The procedure for getting an FR-44 and putting it in place is very simple.
- Purchase auto insurance policy with required coverage
- Inform auto insurance of the need for FR-44
- Insurance company fills out FR-44
- Insurance company sends FR-44 to DMV
If a driver fails to pay for the insurance at renewal time, the FR-44 will no longer be in place, and the insurance company will notify the DMV. Failure to keep the FR-44 in place can result in the driver having his or her driver’s license suspended and losing the ability to renew the driver’s license. It may be possible for a driver to file the FR44 form electronically. Once the driver opens an account on the site, he or she will have to provide the following information on the form.
- Driver’s name, address, DOB and contact information
- Whether it’s a SR-22 or FR-44
- Name of insurance company
- Policy number
- Effective dates of policy
- Policy coverage amounts
- Vehicle information
While this may sound simple and quick, many find that it’s better to have the insurance company submit the form for them. They typically attach the FR44 to their company letterhead and submit them together. Because of the importance of getting the FR-44 to the DMV in a timely manner, drivers are advised to let the insurance company take care of the details and paperwork.