If you were recently convicted for driving under the influence (DUI), driving while intoxicated (DWI) or driving without a license and/or auto insurance coverage, then chances are you've been told you'll need an SR22 on your insurance record to get back on the road. If you live in Virginia or Florida, then you might have also heard about an FR44. If you're wondering which one you'll need, the following takes a look at some of the similarities and differences between SR22 and FR44.
How an SR22 Works
An SR22, also known as a "certificate of financial responsibility," essentially acts as a guarantee that a driver will carry an insurance policy with their state's minimum liability limits. An SR22 filing is usually required for drivers who want to restore their driving privileges after being convicted of a major driving offense. These offenses include driving without a valid license and/or insurance coverage, reckless driving and repeat traffic offenses within a short period of time.
If you have an SR22 on your insurance records, you're required to maintain an active insurance policy with your state's mandatory minimum coverage for a certain period of time. In most cases, you'll need to maintain your policy without any lapses or interruptions in coverage for a 3-year period. Virginia's minimum liability limits are $25,000 for bodily injury for each person, $50,000 for bodily injury per accident and $20,000 for property damage. Florida requires $10,000 for bodily injury per person, $20,000 for bodily injury per accident and $10,000 for property damage.
How an FR44 Works
FR44 filings are usually reserved strictly for drivers who were convicted of DUI or DWI. Like an SR22, an FR44 ensures that those drivers carry the appropriate insurance coverage as a condition of having their driving privileges restored. It's important to note that Virginia and Florida are the only two states that use FR44 filings. In other states, SR22 filings are used for DUI and DWI as well as other serious driving offenses.
The main difference between an SR22 and an FR44 is that the latter requires drivers to carry substantially higher liability limits than drivers with an SR22 on their insurance. In Florida, drivers with an FR44 filing must carry a minimum bodily injury liability limit of $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident, as well as $50,000 in property damage liabiity. In Virginia, the liability minimums for a FR44 are similar save for the property damage liability, which is $10,000 less than Florida's property damage liability limit.
How SR22 and FR44 Filings Affect Your Insurance Rates
Having an SR22 or FR44 on your insurance record isn't what usually drives the cost of insurance skyward. As The Truth About Insurance notes, the average cost of a SR22 or FR44 filing is $30. Instead, it's the actual violations on your driving record that could lead your insurance providers to double or even triple your premium.
Nevertheless, insurance companies often consider drivers with SR22 or FR44 filings on record as "high risk" drivers with a greater chance of filing frequent claims. As a result, your insurance provider may decide to mitigate its risk by canceling your auto insurance policy. Others may refuse to fill out and submit your SR22 or FR44 form, which puts an end to your policy.
If you end up with the need for an SR22 or FR44, issues a good idea to talk to your auto insurance agent to see if and how your provider will accommodate you during the mandatory 3-year period. In some cases, you may be able to manage the extra costs associated with your driving infractions through discounts and changes to other portions of your insurance coverage, such as your comprehensive and collision coverage amounts. For more information about SR22s or FR44s, visit resources like http://greatnortherninsuranceagency.com.