Finding affordable car insurance after being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or other drugs can be difficult in Virginia. Following conviction, you must obtain an FR-44 certificate, which proves that you have the necessary liability insurance required by Virginia law.
Take the time to learn how car insurance works in Virginia with an FR44 certificate. Find out where and how to shop for the required car insurance coverage and the restrictions and deadlines that apply.
What happens when you get your first DUI in Virginia?
For a first DUI offense or refusal to take a breath test, your driver’s license will be automatically suspended for seven days if your blood alcohol level is 0.08% or higher, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.
If you are convicted of a first offense, you face a mandatory minimum fine of $250 and a one-year revocation of your driver’s license.
If your blood alcohol level was between 0.15 and 0.20, you’ll face the same penalties with an additional five-day jail sentence.
A blood-alcohol level greater than 0.20 will trigger the same penalties with a mandatory 10-day sentence.
Also, a DUI conviction requires you to get an FR-44 certificate, leading to costly auto insurance premiums.
How long does a DUI stay on your record in Virginia?
A DUI conviction can stay on your motor vehicle record for up to 11 years in Virginia.
A DUI on your record can affect your car insurance rates and coverage levels, and you can face driving restrictions. So, a DUI can have a lasting impact on both your driving and finances.
Is Virginia a zero-tolerance state?
Virginia has a zero-tolerance law in effect. If you’re younger than 21 and caught drunk driving, you could face a suspended driver’s license for one year. You also receive a minimum mandatory fine of $500 or 50 hours of community service.
What is FR-44 insurance in Virginia?
An FR-44 is a certificate of financial responsibility (FR). FR-44 proves that you have the required liability insurance following a conviction for:
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or intoxicants
- Maiming while under the influence
- Driving while your driver’s license has been forfeited for a conviction or a finding of “not innocent” in the case of a juvenile
- Violation of any federal law or law of any other state or any valid local ordinance similar to the above. (Note that Virginia drivers are still subject to Virginia FR-44 requirements if the offense happens out of state.)
Your car insurance company issues the FR-44 certificate.
You must file it with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. Mark Friedlander, director of corporate communications for the Insurance Information Institute, says that the FR-44 certificate is filed in conjunction with obtaining new auto insurance coverage.
Be aware that an FR4-4 is not insurance or insurance coverage.
An FR-44 is merely a document that shows the state of Virginia that you have a specified amount of car insurance coverage beyond the minimum liability required by the state.
While it proves that you have a required level of car insurance, it is not insurance itself.
FR-44 insurance requirements in Virginia
You must have auto insurance coverage to obtain an FR44. Car insurance companies issue the FR-44 certificate. By law, FR-44 liability insurance coverage limits are double those established for SR-22 insurance coverage.
That means that for an FR-44, you’re required to have the following minimum amounts of liability coverage in place on your car insurance:
- $40,000 of property damage liability
- $50,000 of bodily injury per person liability
- $100,000 of bodily injury liability per accident
How long must you have car insurance with an FR-44 in Virginia?
You must carry FR44 coverage for three consecutive years from the date of your license suspension or conviction.
As long as you have a clean driving record over this three- to four-year period, “the FR-44 form will expire after 36 months,” Friedlander says.
What is the difference between an SR-22 and FR-44 regarding insurance?
FR-44 certificates are specifically for drivers convicted of driving under the influence or other intoxication incidents. SR-22 certificates apply to a wider range of non-DUI violations.
- Driving without insurance
- Unsatisfied judgments
- Falsifying insurance certification
- Driver’s license suspension after being convicted of various offenses, including voluntary manslaughter while operating a motor vehicle and leaving the scene of an accident
An FR-44 requires liability insurance coverage limits double those with an SR-22 certificate.
Where can I get insurance with an FR-44 in Virginia?
You can request an FR-44 from your car insurance company.
Alert your auto insurance company promptly if you’ve been convicted of a DUI or if another circumstance applies to you that triggers an FR-44 certificate. Expect your car insurance premiums to increase substantially, Friedlander says.
Once your insurance policy is fully paid, your insurer will issue and file the FR44 certificate with the Virginia DMV if you want to continue driving legally with car insurance coverage.
Following a conviction, your auto insurance company may drop your coverage or raise your rates substantially. In either scenario, you can shop for a new insurer and policy to find cheaper insurance.
However, if you choose a new car insurance company, it will still need to issue and file an FR-44 on your behalf. This can be difficult to obtain when purchasing a new insurance policy.
If you’ve experienced a serious driving conviction, you may need to find a car insurance company specializing in high-risk drivers.
Friedlander says most national and many regional carriers offer coverage for FR-44 drivers.
How much does FR-44 insurance cost in Virginia?
An FR44 certificate categorizes you as a high-risk driver, regardless of your chosen insurer. People with an FR44 can expect to pay more for car insurance. Here’s how you can reduce FR44-related insurance expenses:
- Bundle your auto insurance with a homeowners or renters policy.
- Request a higher deductible.
- Consider dropping collision and comprehensive coverage if you have an older car, as insurance usually only covers up to the vehicle’s value.
- Complete a defensive-driving course if it’s an option. Doing so could trigger a discount.
- Choose paperless billing and auto-renewal if they get you discounts.
What is non-owner FR-44 insurance in Virginia?
Say you don’t own a car but want to keep your driver’s license valid and drive someone else’s vehicle. You’re still required to file an FR44 certificate. A non-owner policy provides third-party bodily injury and property damage liability if you’re in an at-fault accident. It may also cover you for injuries caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. But it doesn’t cover any vehicle damage. The only person covered is the named insured; no other drivers can be listed on the policy.
“A non-owners policy is suitable for drivers who may require liability insurance because they, for instance, frequently rent a car or borrow a vehicle from a neighbor or friend but are not listed as an insured driver on that person’s auto policy,” Friedlander says. “It’s also designed for drivers whose license is suspended and who need to file an SR-22 certificate.”
- Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. “SR-22/SR26 Financial Responsibility Certification.” Accessed January 2023.
- Virginia DMV. “Virginia is tough on drunk and drugged drivers.” Accessed January 2023.