Even how focused you are on the road, sometimes luck and chance just aren’t on your side.
On times like these, you may commit an incident of varying intensity.
Well, on the phrase “varying intensity” we mean minor violations such as parking too long on a no parking zone. Or even severe ones such as causing an eight-car crash while driving uninsured and under the influence.
If you ever found yourself in these situations, well, you are not alone.
According to reports from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, almost 1.5 million were arrested per year because they are driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Not to mention the convictions made on people while Driving While Intoxicated (DWI), which in other states mean that they are driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) that is above the legal limit.
With reports like these, the government has mandated that the convicted driver applies with an additional “special form” SR-22 or FR-44.
As of this writing, only the states of Virginia and Florida require convicted drivers to apply for an FR-44. On the other hand, many states require their drivers to purchase SR-22 so they can continue to stay legal on the road.
If you are one of the drivers needing such, then this article is for you.
Continue reading to know more about these types in detail.
Exploring the Basics of SR-22
Though similar and different in some aspects, SR-22 and FR-44 exist because of some special reasons and circumstances.
They are both insurance filings that are mandated by certain states. Both of them comes into plain sight when you are convicted of driving under the influence, or because of other serious violation while driving.
However when someone says “SR-22 insurance” or “FR-44 insurance,” they are pertaining about these forms and not on a stand-alone type of insurance. It is important to note that there are no independent SR-22 or FR-44 insurance that you can purchase solely like a personal auto policy or motorbike insurance.
A Closer Look on SR-22
Also referred to as a Certificate of Financial Responsibility, an SR-22 is a document filed by your insurance provider to the state where you live.
It is to certify that you have purchased an auto insurance policy that meets the state’s minimum liability coverage or financial responsibility.
Being said, SR-22 rates differ from one state to another because the state minimum is different in each state.
For instance, Florida has a minimum requirement of $10,000 property damage liability per accident while Kentucky sets a minimum of $25,000 for the same coverage. North Carolina requires a $30,000 bodily injury liability per person, while Pennsylvania only mandates drivers to have $15,000.
Case in point, SR-22 will differ based on the geographical location where you reside.
Simply stated, in some ways, it is like saying that you have and will maintain certain insurance coverage for some time. It is important because if you fail to have such, your insurance provider may report this to the state. In return, the state can suspend or revoke your driver’s license or permit.
Most commonly, this certificate is relayed to your state’s insurance department or motor vehicle department.
At this point, you may ask: on what special circumstance may I be required to purchase SR-22 insurance?
Drivers who Need to Have an SR-22
For most of the states, here are the situations where you need to file an SR-22 to keep or revive your driving privilege after offense:
- Drivers who are convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI)
- Drivers who caused an accident while driving without insurance
- Those who are given numerous traffic violation tickets within a short period of time
- Car owners and drivers whose licenses are suspended
- Drivers who failed to respond to the court-ordered system of child-support
- Drivers who are convicted of reckless driving
If you experience one or more situations like those, the state where you live may require you to apply for an SR-22 form.
Steps on How to Get an SR-22
If you have been involved in an accident or you qualify on the above-mentioned circumstances, you may be required to file an SR-22.
Though specific steps can vary from state to state, the following lists are the general methods to have one.
IF YOU HAVE AN AUTO INSURANCE ALREADY AND YOUR PROVIDER OFFERS SR-22 FILING
- Contact your auto insurance provider if you are informed by the state that you need an SR-22
- Your insurance provider will discuss with you the additional payment that you need to clear
- After your coverage has been set in place, your insurance provider will file an SR-22
- You may follow up for the confirmation that you have now an SR-22 and may drive again
IF YOU HAVE AN AUTO INSURANCE BUT YOUR PROVIDER DOESN’T OFFER SR-22 FILING
- After getting the information that your provider doesn’t support SR-22 filing, look for another company that does
- You may need to discuss certain coverage and payments with the new company
- The new insurance company will file the SR-22 on your behalf with the authorities
IF YOU DO NOT HAVE AN INSURANCE YET
- If the state requires you to have an SR-22 but you don’t have auto insurance beforehand, you may need to purchase one
- The insurance company may require you to pay the whole premium, whether for six months’ worth or the whole year
- After setting the new coverage for you, the company will file an SR-22 to the state’s authorities
IF YOU DON’T OWN A CAR BUT NEEDS TO HAVE AN SR-22
- In some cases, a driver may have to file an SR-22 even if he/she doesn’t own a personal car
- This happens if he/she is a hired driver or driving in a borrowed car but figured in an accident, or arrested because of DUI or DWI charges
- In this case, you can purchase for a non-owner auto insurance policy
- After you have purchased an auto insurance policy, your provider will file an SR-22 on your behalf
Duration of an SR-22
In most of the states, an SR-22 has its effect for three years. Meaning, you are required to maintain your SR-22 additional coverage for three years after you have caused an accident or been convicted for DUI or DWI charges.
If you fail to maintain your policy within this period, your insurer will contact the authorities and your license will be suspended. Driving during these times is illegal, and it will cause a lot more damage to you if you figured in an accident or caused damage while driving without a license.
After these three years, you have to inform your insurer that you no longer need to maintain an SR-22. This is necessary because an SR-22 doesn’t fall off your auto insurance by itself.
Implications of an SR-22
Based on the information given above, an SR-22 is typically given to those who are convicted of traffic violations such as drunk driving or causing an accident.
An implication of this is the higher-than-normal premiums that you will need to pay even after your SR-22 period has ended. Some insurers may treat you as a high-risk driver, and the insurance quotes that they will give you will be significantly higher.
Also, there are fees that you need to pay starting from the request of an SR-22 filing. In most states, you need to pay a $25 fee.
Dig Deeper on the Fundamentals of FR-44
Like the SR-22, an FR-44 is like a certification that the driver carries active insurance coverage that meets or exceeds the minimum insurance coverage set by the state.
As of this writing, only the states of Florida and Virginia require drivers who are convicted of serious traffic violations like DUI or DWI to have an FR-44.
Generally, FR-44 costs higher as compared to the SR-22. This is because an SR-22 is set for only the minimum state-required insurance coverage while an FR-44 can exceed the state’s minimum requirement.
FR-44 is commonly required for drivers who are convicted of DUI or DWI. Because of this, it is often called “DUI insurance.” However, just like the SR-22, it is not a stand-alone insurance policy but a certificate that verifies you meet the state-required insurance coverage.
Who Needs an FR-44?
Since only two states require their convicted drivers to maintain an FR-44, we will only be examining their guidelines. Here are the circumstances that a local from Florida or Virginia may need to have an FR-44:
- Violation of the laws of the federal government, laws of the state, or local ordinance
- Wounding or injuring other people while driving under the influence
- Driving under the influence of intoxicating substances such as alcohol or drugs
- Driving with a suspended, rebuked, or forfeited license due to conviction
- If minor: Driving with a license that is forfeited because of a “finding of not innocent”
- Conviction of driving under the influence of intoxicating substances like drugs or alcohol (DUI or DWI)
In both states, the government may require you to maintain an FR-44 for three years before you can reinstate your driver’s license.
How Much Does an FR-44 Cost?
In most cases, a one-time fee is needed when you file an FR-44. Generally, it is from $15-$25 for one FR-44 certificate.
Several factors determine the actual cost. Some of them include your age, gender, marital status, geographical location, and other factors.
In Virginia, the state government requires convicted drivers to maintain an FR-44 certificate that has a doubled coverage as compared to the minimum requirements.
Hence, the new coverage needed if you have an FR-44 will be:
- $50,000 for one person (injury or death)
- $100,000 on injury or death of two or more persons
- $40,000 for liabilities on damage to property
On the other hand, Florida maintains higher liability limits. Here is the news coverage that you need to maintain if you need an FR-44:
- $50,000 property damage liability
- $100,000 for injury or death of a person
- $300,000 if a driver injured or killed two or more people
Digging Deeper and Answering Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What is the difference between a regular personal auto policy and an SR-22/FR-44?
There is one quick answer to that question: there is none.
An SR-22 or an FR-44 also requires you to maintain state-set minimum insurance coverage. Meaning to say, if you have a regular insurance policy for your car, motorcycle, or truck, you will still pay it normally.
Like what is detailed above, an SR-22 and FR-44 are only certificates that show you have active insurance coverage. It is like a monitoring system implemented by the government to see if you carry insurance while you drive after being convicted of a traffic violation or being a DUI or DWI.
What will happen if my insurance policy lapses before the SR-22 or FR-44 period is finished?
The first result of this situation is that the insurance provider will contact the proper authorities to report that your insurance coverage has lapsed.
Then, the authorities have the power to suspend your driver’s license until you comply with the requirements again.
During these times, you may well know that it is illegal to drive your vehicle. But if you insist on driving and encountered an accident or got a traffic violation, it will likely mean more damages to you both financially and legally.
Will SR-22 and FR-44 affect my future insurance rates?
The answer to this will largely depend on the state you live in, your insurance provider, and the reason behind you getting an SR-22 or an FR-44.
If you have got an SR-22 because of a serious traffic violation such as being involved in an accident while intoxicated or reckless driving, some insurance providers will quote you with an astronomical premium. Others may simply reject your application for insurance coverage right away.
This is because these insurance companies now see you as a high-risk driver. However, there are insurance providers who offer cheap rates even after you serve an SR-22 or FR-44.
With this, the article comes to an end. If you need help to furnish your SR-22 or FR-44 insurance coverage, do not hesitate to contact us.
A DLR Insurance marketing professional or insurance agent will answer you through our contact page on the website. We will be happy to assist you on your road to change and progress.
We wish you more safe trips ahead!