If you’ve been convicted of driving under the influence in Florida or Virginia, you may need extra car insurance — and a form called an FR-44 to prove you have it. These two states say minimum required car insurance isn’t enough for a driver with certain violations, including DUI.
An FR-44 requirement can be a blow to your wallet, because getting extra insurance after a serious violation isn’t cheap. However, shopping around can help. Here’s why you may need an FR-44 from your insurance company and how you can find the cheapest rates possible for you.
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What is an FR-44?
You may hear the term “FR-44 insurance,” but it isn’t actually a type of insurance. An FR-44 is a form your auto insurer files with the state Department of Motor Vehicles to prove you bought enough coverage.
An FR-44 is similar to an SR-22 form for car insurance, which many states require after a DUI or other serious violation. There’s one key difference:
- An SR-22 shows you’ve purchased at least the state’s minimum required liability insurance.
- An FR-44 proves you’ve bought the higher amounts Florida and Virginia require after certain convictions.
Your state DMV or traffic court will notify you if you need either an SR-22 or an FR-44.
The insurance you’re required to buy in either state won’t pay to fix your car if it’s damaged in a wreck. Liability insurance pays other people’s expenses if you cause an accident that injures someone or damages property.
Who needs an FR-44?
In Florida, drivers need an FR-44 to show they have insurance after a DUI conviction.
In Virginia, several violations can lead to an FR-44 requirement:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Seriously and permanently injuring someone, also known as maiming, while driving under the influence.
- Driving while your license is forfeited from a previous conviction — or, in the case of a juvenile, a “not innocent” finding.
- Violating similar federal laws, local ordinances or laws from other states.
If you’re required to get an FR-44 and don’t get one, you may not be able to keep your driver’s license or get it back after it’s been revoked.
How much does an FR-44 cost?
The fee to file an FR-44 is typically about $25, but that isn’t the only expense you’ll face. Your car insurance costs could change dramatically, because:
- After a DUI, insurers consider you a riskier driver and charge higher rates.
- With an FR-44, you’ll have to buy more than the minimum required limits for most drivers in your state. If you had minimum coverage before, increasing the limits will raise the price.
- You may also be required to pay upfront for at least six months’ coverage.
However, not every insurance company will charge you the same price. When insurers set their rates, they weigh your driving record and other factors differently. That means the company that was cheapest for you before your FR-44 requirement may not have the lowest rates for you now.
When you need an FR-44, it’s essential to shop around to find the cheapest car insurance possible for you. To find your best price, you’ll need to compare car insurance quotes from several companies.
How to get an FR-44
If you need an FR-44, ask your insurer to file one on your behalf. An FR-44 is your insurance company’s guarantee to the state that you’ve bought the required level of coverage, so you can’t file one on your own.
Not every insurance company will file an FR-44 form. If your insurer doesn’t provide this service, you’ll need to find one that does.
An FR-44 requirement typically lasts three years. When your requirement ends, it’s smart to shop around for insurance quotes again. If you stay violation-free, you’ll likely find lower rates after your violation is several years behind you. NerdWallet’s car insurance comparison tool can help.
How much insurance you need
In Florida, drivers with an FR-44 requirement must have liability insurance with these limits:
- $100,000 bodily injury liability per person.
- $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident.
- $50,000 property damage liability per accident.
Although these liability coverage amounts are typical for many standard auto insurance policies, they are much higher than Florida’s minimum requirements of $10,000 for property damage liability per accident and $10,000 for personal injury protection.
In Virginia, the required liability limits for drivers with an FR-44 are:
- $50,000 bodily injury liability per person.
- $100,000 bodily injury liability per accident.
- $40,000 property damage liability per accident.
That’s double the minimum required coverage in Virginia.