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Difference Between an SR22 and an FR44

There are many regulations that must be followed to be allowed to drive. Two of the most important are having the required auto insurance and drive sober (or get pulled over, as they say.) Both are the two most common reasons why drivers lose their licenses and, thus, the legal right to drive. At the same time, insurance companies label the drivers as high-risk and either difficult or impossible to insure. Impossible, that is until they get an SR22 or an FR44.

In most states, SR22 insurance refers to certification that high-risk drivers carry coverage equal to or greater than the required auto liability insurance in order to get a suspended license back. That’s the surface-level explanation. This post goes beyond the basics of an SR22 and an FR44 in the guide below.

What is SR22 Insurance?

When talking about SR22 insurance, the first thing you should know is that it actually is not a type of insurance. It operates more like a certificate for high-risk drivers to prove they carry the minimum required liability car insurance their state requires after a license suspension. The SR22 stays on file with their state’s DMV for a period of time, usually three years, while their license is reinstated. SR22 certification is a nationwide practice since 48 out of 50 states have liability car insurance requirements for their drivers.

What is FR44 Insurance?

The good news about this guide is that there isn’t a lot to wrap your head around because an FR44 is pretty much the same as an SR22. It certifies that a high-risk driver with a suspended license carries their state’s required liability car insurance. And that is the true difference between FR44 and SR22 -the states in which they are practiced. FR44s are only used in Florida and Virginia, while SR22s are not. Save for some small differences like the amount of insurance coverage you’re expected to carry, the two functions the same way, and the only difference is how they’re spelled.

What is Mandatory Liability Coverage?

One last prerequisite to be aware of is how much your state requires in liability car insurance. It’s standard practice for most of the United States for drivers to carry coverage that can pay for damages and injuries they cause to another driver in an accident. This mandatory liability insurance is often referred to as basic car insurance. For example, Virginia requires drivers to carry $25,000 in injury per person, $50,000 in injury per accident, and $20,000 in property damage (25/50/20). Check your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) website for more information on how much basic car insurance you will need to drive legally.

When Will You Need an SR22 or FR44?

SR22 or FR44 insurance, or certification, is required when a driver has been labeled high-risk by an insurance provider after a significant traffic violation or violation. More often than not, these violations lead to driver’s license suspension and marks on a driving record.

These violations, or SR22 requirements, are:

  • Driving under the influence (DUI)
  • Driving with no liability insurance
  • Driving without a license
  • Several speeding tickets or traffic violations
  • Car insurance fraud
  • Cases of vehicular manslaughter

What is The Process of Getting an SR22 or FR44?

You probably want the insider scoop on what to do and what to expect when filing an SR22 or FR44 certification with your DMV. The process overall is a three-way effort between you, your insurance provider, and your DMV.

It typically works as follows:

  • Violation that results in license suspension - This can be any of the violations listed in the previous section. The most common are driving uninsured or under the influence.
  • Insurance company may cancel policy - In addition to a license suspension from the DMV, your car insurance provider may outright cancel your auto policy. At the very least, you can expect your premiums to rise significantly after something as serious as a DUI.
  • Purchase an SR22 from an insurance company - At this point, you may take out an SR22 certification and high-risk policy with your old insurance company or shop around for another. There are providers who specialize in high-risk driver coverage, so it’s best to get as many quotes as you can.
  • High-risk insurance is purchased, and SR22 is filed with DMV - Your insurance provider will take it from here once you have a policy with them and an SR22 certifying that you do. It may seem redundant, but it’s necessary so that high-risk drivers don’t commit fraud. The insurance company then files the SR22 or FR44 with the DMV.
  • DMV reinstates license ane SR22 is carried for up to three years - With the SR22 on record, the DMV reinstates your license, given that you maintain your coverage and SR22 for the next three years. During that time, the best you can do is try to become a safer driver and pay your premiums on time.

Is There a Different Process For FR44 Insurance?

In Florida and Virginia, the FR44 process is pretty much the same as an SR22 would be anywhere else. The driver’s license is suspended, they get new high-risk insurance along with an FR44, then have it filed with the states’ DMV. But the one difference in practice the Flordia and Virginia have is that drivers with FR44s must carry double the minimum required liability coverage limits. So if you live in Virginia, your required coverage limits would jump from 25/50/20 to 50/100/40. These are referred to as high-risk rates.

How Much Does an SR22 or FR44 Cost?

SR22 and FR44 filing is a service that insurance companies can charge anywhere from $15 to $25 for. Additional insurance costs would naturally come from the higher premiums you must now pay. Those with a suspended license or DUI report an insurance rate increase of around $500 for their coverage.

To put this in perspective, say that you were paying $570 annually for liability insurance coverage. After something like a DUI, your new annual premium will be around $1,150. At the same time, another cost when it comes to being issued an SR22 or FR44 is the license reinstatement fee that the state DMV charges. When your coverage, policy, and SR22 certification are filed, you’ll be issued your license back after paying a reinstatement fee of around $125.

The good news is that there is no annual renewal fee or anything of that nature during the time you must carry your SR22 or FR44, which is, again, three years. From there, the best you can do to lessen your coverage rates is to take safe driving classes and stay out of further trouble. SR22 certification isn’t too different from FR44 certification. Both can just be equally as expensive, but necessary to have a driver’s license reinstated.