Question: Why is everything regarding license reinstatement after a DUI so hard? I know I did something wrong with getting a DUI but the SR-22 insurance requirement is such a pain. I found out my insurer doesn’t file the form, so I have to figure out what to do now. I just want my license back. I’m in Florida.
Answer: It’s true: Life is complicated after a conviction for driving under the influence (DUI). You not only have to deal with the court case against you but also penalties placed against your license and changes in your required auto insurance coverage. (See “Calculate your DUI limit: Avoid a car insurance disaster”)
If you’re at the place now where you are able to reinstate your driver’s license, then a SR-22 is required in most states as part of the process. The SR-22 isn’t special insurance, but a form that your car insurance company files with the state to verify your coverages. (See “What you need to know about SR-22 and car insurance”)
You, however, mentioned that you live in Florida, which is one of the few states that require an FR-44 instead of an SR-22 after a DUI. A FR-44 is also a certificate of financial responsibility filed with the state, but the mandated liability limits are higher than those required with just the SR-22.
In Florida, when a FR-44 is required you must obtain auto insurance coverage that includes liability limits of 100/300/50, which stands for:
- Bodily injury liability coverage of up to $100,000 per person
- Bodily injury liability coverage of up to $300,000 per accident
- Property damage liability limit of $50,000 per accident
If you used to carry only the state minimum coverages in Florida, then raising your liability coverages (while still also maintaining the required personal injury protection under the state's no-fault laws) will raise your car insurance rates quite a bit. Also, many insurers that offer to file FR-44s will require the policy to be paid in full at its inception and not offer monthly payment plans.
The new DUI on your driving record will make those rates even higher. You will now be viewed as a high-risk driver – and that means higher rates for at least the next few years.
As you found out, not all insurers offer to file an SR-22 or FR-44 form. What you thus need to do is shop around to find the best priced car insurance company that offers to file the form on your behalf. Rates can vary substantially because not all insurers view the risk you pose the same way.
You can contact our call center toll-free at 1-855-430-7658 for our agents to help you obtain a quote for the coverage you need. Remember to mention that you will need a FR-44 filed. You will be losing out on any good driver discount you previous may have had, so try to see if you are eligible for other types of discounts by reviewing our guide to car insurance discounts or seeing if any of these more weird discounts will work to bring down your rates.
If you aren’t required to use an ignition interlock in your car, then when you get your license back you may want to carry around your own personal breathalyzer to make sure you don’t get yourself in a DUI predicament again. A second DUI will lead to even bigger punishments by the state and much, much higher auto insurance premiums.