FR-44 Requirements in Florida
It will be necessary to find FR-44 insurance (commonly referred to in other states as SR-22 insurance) in Florida if you’ve recently been convicted of a serious traffic offense. While more expensive than regular insurance, you can find cheap FR-44 insurance in Florida if you know where to look and how to get the best rate possible. In this article, we’ll cover FR-44 insurance as well as why you might be required to carry it in Florida. We’ll also discuss steps you can take to lower your rates .
The Definition of FR-44 Insurance
Despite the name, FR-44 is not actually a type of insurance. It is simply a form filled out by your insurance company that guarantees the state you are carrying continuous insurance. An FR-44 is required as a result of serious traffic offenses in Florida — you may also hear insurance policies in which it is required referred to as “high-risk insurance.”
When an insurance company fills out an FR-44 form and submits it to the state, it provides proof that you have insurance. This means you and your insurer are financially responsible for any accidents or damage caused on the road. It also gives the DMV automatic notice if you change vehicles, cancel or lapse on insurance, or stop paying your premiums.
Is FR-44 Insurance More Expensive Than Regular Insurance?
FR-44 insurance is generally about twice as expensive as regular insurance. The reason for this is that this form is exclusively for the highest-risk drivers.
A severe traffic violation is usually the cause for an FR-44 requirement. While it is more expensive, you should think of this form as a means to get back on the road — even after having had your license suspended or revoked. An FR-44 gives you a path forward and helps you regain your driving independence as you rebuild your driving record.
So despite the fact that minimum coverage will cost you twice as much with FR-44 insurance, it is necessary to get back on the road after a serious conviction.
Why Florida Might Require You to Carry an FR-44
In Florida, the order for an FR-44 might come from the state or your traffic court if you have been convicted for committing a serious traffic offense. This form will allow you to legally return to the road and work toward regaining your license.
The following are some reasons you might need an FR-44:
Driving Under the Influence
Getting a DUI (driving under the influence) in Florida carries strict penalties that grow stricter with more convictions and more aggravating factors. These factors can include your blood alcohol content (BAC), whether you had a child in the car with you, and whether you got into an accident. You’ll almost certainly need an FR-44 after DUI.
The following are penalties for getting a DUI in Florida:
|Fine||Prison time||Vehicle impoundment|
$500 up to $1,000
For BAC ≥ 0.15, $1,000 to $2,000
Up to 6 months
For BAC ≥ 0.15, up to 9 months
|10 days (after release from imprisonment)|
$1,000 up to $2,000
For BAC ≥ 0.15 or minor in the vehicle, $2,000 to $4,000
Up to 9 months
For BAC ≥ 0.15 or minor in the vehicle, up to 12 months
For second DUI in ≤ 5 years, mandatory of at least 10 days
|30 days (after release from imprisonment)|
$2,000 up to $5,000
For BAC ≥ 0.15 or minor in the vehicle, up to $4,000
For third DUI in ≤ 10 years of prior DUI, at least 1 month
For third DUI in ≥ 10 years of prior DUI, no more than 1 year
|90 days (after release from imprisonment)|
$2,000 up to $5,000
For BAC ≥ 0.15 or minor in the vehicle, up to $4,000
|Up to 5 years regardless of when the offense occurred||Discretion of the judge|
If you are involved in an accident while driving under the influence, it will be punished as a first-degree misdemeanor. If the accident causes serious bodily injury to another party, the crime will be punished as a third-degree felony.
Driving Without Insurance
Federal law requires all drivers to be insured, and in Florida, and if you get caught without insurance, you could owe between $150 and $500 in fines. You will also have your license suspended for as much as three years, and it will cost $150 to get it back — this fee increases to $250 for a second offense and $500 for a third.
Getting Into an Accident Without Insurance
Florida is unique in that it does not require drivers to have liability insurance that covers the injuries of other parties. However, if you are involved in an accident without insurance, you may be required to purchase bodily injury liability coverage in addition to any other state-required coverage.
An accident that kills or injures someone could lead to a mandate to purchase a $10,000 minimum of bodily injury liability coverage for each person involved, as well as $20,000 per accident. You will also be required to have an FR-44 on your record for up to three years if you are in an accident that hurts another person and don’t have insurance.
In Florida, reckless driving and negligent driving are serious charges. If you get a first-time reckless driving conviction, you will likely owe a fine between $25 and $500 and could spend up to three months in jail. For a second offense, the fine increases from $50 to $1,000, and the imprisonment period extends up to six months.
After your first or second reckless driving charge, the court is likely to order an FR-44 for you to be able to drive again. Maintaining steady insurance with an FR-44 is the only way to get back on the road in a situation like this.
If your license has been suspended or revoked, you’ll need to start taking steps to restore your driving privileges as quickly as possible. Getting high-risk insurance to start this process will require your insurance company to fill out an FR-44 form and file it with the state. You should receive a letter from the Florida DMV outlining the required steps to have your license reinstated. This could involve taking a defensive driving course, passing the test, or taking other steps as a prerequisite to getting FR-44 insurance.
If your license suspension was due to alcohol-related charges, the court would likely order you to take a mandatory alcohol-related course or pay additional fees to the court.
When you’re looking for FR-44 insurance in Florida, be honest with the insurance agent. They need to know the details about your driving history and criminal record in order to give you a useful quote on FR-44 insurance.
Driving With a Hardship License
A hardship license, or restricted driving permit, gives you limited access to driving a car if your license has been suspended. This license lets you drive to complete essential tasks like getting to and from school, work, the grocery store, and other day-to-day essentials. If you are past the “hard suspension” phase of your sentence, you may be eligible to apply for a hardship license.
With this type of license, you can only travel to and from certain locations in order to take care of your necessities.
A hardship license requires an FR-44 form, which tells the DMV that you are carrying up-to-date insurance meeting minimum coverage requirements.
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Tips to Find Cheap FR-44 Insurance in Florida
If you fall into one of the above categories, you’ll need to get FR-44 insurance to develop a strategy to get back on the road. Because this type of high-risk coverage can be expensive, it’s important to come up with a strategy to find the cheapest FR-44 insurance possible. The following are helpful steps you can take:
Defensive Driving Class
Often, a court will order you to take a defensive driving course as a mandatory part of your penalties. These courses are loaded with plenty of useful information and provide lots of value to any driver. However, by enrolling in one, attending the classes, and passing the final test, you may find it easier to find affordable FR-44 insurance — and the court may see you as more likely to practice safe driving techniques on the road.
For insurance companies, a defensive driving class signifies that you are working toward better driving habits. This means less risk and, ideally, lower premiums.
We also recommend checking out different DUI schools and learning more about organizations like MADD and SafeRide America. Make sure you know exactly what the state is requiring of you and take that next important step toward regaining your license.
Get Quotes From Different FR-44 Insurance Providers
The most important step in finding cheap FR-44 insurance in Florida is shopping around for different policies online. Premiums can vary widely between different insurers. Certain providers may also be more flexible than others in their pricing, depending on the details of your charges and the steps you’re taking to overcome them.
You will need to secure your FR-44 before your license is reinstated, and since the insurance company must fill this form out for you and send it to the DMV, this means you’ll need to find and sign up with an insurance company before you can regain your license. You need to find a company that caters their insurance policy to those in need of an FR-44.
Pay the Fees All at Once or Set Up a Payment Plan
Because this process will incur additional fees, you’ll need to have a strategy in place to pay them. Even if you can’t afford them all at once, you can set up a payment plan to pay them back over time. The most important thing is not to neglect these fees — doing so can set you back significantly.
How Long Will I Need My FR-44?
You are required to keep your FR-44 for a minimum of three years in Florida. If you cancel or lapse in your policy at any time during this period, your driver’s license will be immediately suspended since the state will be notified.
Is Non-Owners FR-44 Insurance Cheaper in Florida?
Non-owners FR-44 insurance is cheaper than regular FR-44 insurance in Florida. A non-owners policy is the cheapest option for those seeking to get back on the road after a serious traffic offense. However, this type of insurance comes with a set of restrictions that could make you ineligible:
You Cannot Own a car
It is common to sell your vehicle after a serious conviction since it would otherwise be sitting around unused. To be eligible for a non-owners FR-44 policy, you would need to have a friend or family member who is willing to loan you their car on occasion to take care of certain necessities.
No One in Your Household Can Own a Car
The reason for this criterion is that insurers depend on you not driving frequently to make a non-owners FR-44 policy feasible. If there is a car that’s too easily accessible, you may have too much time on the road. The lower price of this insurance is due to lower risk for the insurer — if you’re on the road too much, your likelihood of being involved in an accident rises.
An Ignition Interlock Device Can’t Be Required
If you are required to use an ignition interlock device, you will not be allowed to drive someone else’s car.
How to Find the Best FR-44 Insurance in Florida
SR-22 Adviser is here to help you find cheap, reliable FR-44 insurance in Florida. This means you can get back on the road and closer to putting this difficult period behind you. Get a quote from our insurance partner online or over the phone and start the important process of shopping for the best deal available.