Being convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol or other drugs in Florida can have a major impact on your auto insurance coverage and rates. One significant consequence is that you will be required to meet the FR-44 insurance Florida requirements in the state when your license is reinstated.

An FR-44 is simply proof that you have the required liability insurance per state policy. It is not the auto coverage itself. In this article, you can find out more about consequences of a DUI conviction in Florida, how insurance with an FR44 certificate works in the state, and reasons for shopping around.

What are Florida’s FR-44 insurance requirements?

An FR-44 is similar to an SR-22, but an FR-44 carries much higher minimum liability insurance requirements in Florida. Florida also uses an SR-22, but it’s for less severe violations. When you’re required to obtain an FR-44 certificate, you must have auto insurance in place.

The insurance minimums required in Florida with an FR-44 are:

  • $100,000 per person for bodily injury liability
  • $300,000 per accident for bodily injury liability
  • $50,000 per person for property damage liability

What are the consequences of a first DUI conviction in Florida?

A DUI conviction in Florida can stay on your motor vehicle record for up to 75 years.

“Florida has one of the most stringent DUI regulations in the United States, and this conviction can haunt you for the rest of your life,” says Mark Friedlander, director of corporate communications for the Insurance Information Institute.

The repercussions of a first DUI conviction in Florida can include:

  • Fines: Fines from $500 and $2,000
  • Vehicle impoundment: 10 days
  • Driver’s license revocation: For the first offense without bodily injury — 180 days to one year; first offense with bodily injury — minimum of three years
  • Imprisonment. For your first conviction, you could be sentenced to six months in jail for having a minor in the vehicle and nine months for having a blood alcohol level of 0.15 or higher.

What is an FR-44 certificate in Florida?

An FR-44 form is a certificate of financial responsibility (FR). An FR-44 demonstrates that you carry required liability insurance after being convicted of a DUI. An FR-44 isn’t insurance. It’s a document that proves you meet Florida’s property damage liability insurance requirements.

Auto insurance companies issue the FR-44, filed with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, or HSMV, once your premium is paid in full. You’re also not allowed to cancel your insurance coverage.

“An FR-44 certificate is like a rider the government requires when an owner or operator of a vehicle is convicted of a DUI,” says Andrew Mallory, partner at Byrne Mallory in St. Petersburg, Florida. “Without this FR44 form, your license can be revoked.”

Friedlander says that the cost to file an FR-44 form in Florida typically runs from $15 to $25. This certificate must remain on file for at least three years.

How long do you have to carry FR-44 insurance in Florida?

Florida law requires your FR-44 certificate to be kept on file for at least three years. Florida and Virginia are the only states that require getting an FR-44 certificate after a DUI conviction. Keep a clean driving record, and the FR-44 requirement will expire after 36 months.

What is the difference between an SR-22 and an FR-44 in Florida?

Say your driver’s license was suspended for a non-DUI-related offense. In this case, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles may require you to obtain an SR-22 certificate of financial responsibility instead of an FR44 certificate.

As with an FR-44, an SR-22 verifies that you purchased sufficient vehicle insurance coverage required by Florida to reinstate your driving privileges.

“A key difference between these two certificates is that you are only required to carry the minimum liability limits with an SR22 certificate versus being required to carry higher limits with an FR-44,” Friedlander says.

Florida’s minimum liability limits don’t include bodily injury liability minimums, but the state does require a minimum of $10,000 in property damage liability and personal injury protection coverage in the amount of $10,000.

Where can I get car insurance with an FR-44?

If you’ve been convicted of a DUI, contact your auto insurance company right away and advise them of the circumstances. Expect your auto insurance premium to increase.

Of course, instead of paying the higher premium, you’re free to shop around for a new carrier and auto insurance policy in hopes of finding the cheapest FR-44 insurance. But if you select a new auto insurance company, they will still need to issue and file an FR-44 on your behalf. And having an FR-44 certificate will categorize you as a high-risk driver, regardless of the car insurance company.

“This status could increase your premium by 100% or more for coverage compared to a driver without an FR-44,” Friedlander says.

How to get lower insurance rates in Florida when you have an FR-44

To improve your chances of lowering your FR-44-related auto insurance costs, here are a few tips:

  • Bundle your auto insurance with a home, condo or renter’s insurance policy.
  • Ask for a higher deductible. Higher deductibles result in lower premiums.
  • Consider dropping collision and comprehensive coverage if you have an older car, as insurance typically only covers up to the vehicle’s worth.
  • Take a defensive driving course, which could trigger a discount.

Getting FR-44 insurance without a vehicle in Florida

You’ll still need to file an FR-44 certificate of financial responsibility if you don’t own a vehicle but want to keep your driver’s license and want the ability to drive someone else’s car. In this case, a non-owner car insurance policy (also referred to as a named operator liability policy) is a good option.

“Basically, this policy is a more affordable option for someone who doesn’t own a vehicle and won’t be driving their own for some time. It’s seen as secondary coverage and insures someone no matter what vehicle they drive,” says David Fuchs, an injury and accident attorney in Fort Lauderdale.

Friedlander says this policy is designed for non-owning drivers who may require liability insurance for reasons, such as:

  • You frequently rent a car.
  • You regularly borrow a car from a friend or neighbor but aren’t listed as an insured driver on their personal auto policy.
  • You are attempting to get a driver’s license.
  • Your license is suspended and you need to file an SR-22 certificate.
  • You’ve been insured for some time but are between cars and desire uninterrupted insurance coverage.

“Note that a non-owner car insurance policy provides third-party coverage for the named insured only. No other drivers can be listed on the policy,” Friedlander says. “A non-owner policy provides bodily injury and property damage liability if you are in an at-fault accident. It can also cover you for injuries caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver. But it does not cover damage to any vehicle.”

Sources

Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. “Florida DUI and Administrative Suspension Laws.” Accessed November 2022.

Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. “Florida Insurance Requirements.” Accessed November 2022.

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Contributing Researcher

Erik J. Martin is a Chicago area-based freelance writer whose articles have been published by AARP The Magazine, The Motley Fool, The Costco Connection, USAA, US Chamber of Commerce, Bankrate, The Chicago Tribune, and other publications. He often writes on topics related to insurance, real estate, personal finance, business, technology, health care, and entertainment. Erik also hosts a podcast and publishes several blogs, including Martinspiration.com and Cineversegroup.com.