The FR-44 is one of those very specific forms that are only used in a few places. While this means that fewer people are affected by the form and how it is used, it also means that it is somewhat harder to get information about the FR-44 and car insurance rules about it.
The FR-44, used only in Florida and Virginia, is a special-case car insurance form that is required in specific situations. If you think you may need this form or are trying to learn more about what its requirements are, keep reading! Our guide today will cover everything we can about basic FR-44 requirements, where to get this form, and the reasons that it exists.
What Is the FR-44?
The FR-44 is a form from your auto insurance company that proves that you are insured to a specific degree. It is proof of financial responsibility or a certificate which shows that you are covered by an insurance company and obligated to pay for that insurance.
The FR-44 form can only be filed if you are covered to a specific degree over the state minimum. If, for example, the state minimum liability insurance must cover up to $20,000 in damages, the FR-44 may require insurance that covers liability of up to $50,000 in damage.
Who Needs an FR-44?
The FR-44 is required in specific situations of reckless driving. There are three main causes for this form being requested:
- DUI charges (with or without injury)
- Driving with a suspended or revoked license
- Those who violate significant driving laws in a dangerous way
If you are caught and charged with either of the above offenses, it is very likely that you will need to file for an FR-44 form. As you can see from the third reason, the requirements for filing this form are somewhat open-ended. The states that use the FR-44 reserve the right to request this form in any cases where you break a law in a way that proves you are a danger while on the road.
Why Does the FR-44 Exist?
Like the similar form known as the SR-22 that is used in other states, the purpose of the FR-44 form is to ensure that drivers who have a history of driving recklessly are held accountable for their actions. When someone drives without regard to safety laws, they are putting other cars, property, and people in danger. In addition to being dangerous, their insurance is unlikely to cover the damages that they could cause if a significant accident were to occur.
By requiring the FR-44 for these drivers, the state is ensuring that anyone who could potentially be injured by their recklessness will at least be covered by a complete insurance plan. While that wouldn’t solve any injuries, it does add a level of protection.
Additionally, requiring the FR-44 encourages drivers with a past dangerous driving history to work on their motor skills and become a safer driver. Since this form is expensive to follow through with, many people will take it seriously.
How Are the SR-22 and FR-44 Different?
FR-44 is similar to the SR-22 in some ways, but there are some major differences that you should take note of if you need to use this form for any reason. In addition to being used in different states, there are some other ways that the FR-44 has shown itself to be a more strictly binding document than the SR-22.
While the SR-22 requires that drivers with a reckless driving history carry at least the minimum amount of liability insurance required in the state, the FR-44 requires that drivers have a specific amount of liability insurance. Also, that amount is always significantly higher than the state minimum.
Why Does the FR-44 Require More Liability Coverage?
You may be wondering why this additional coverage is required when filing for an FR-44. Like the SR-22, the FR-44 is used to protect other drivers from those drivers who have proven themselves to be reckless at one time or another. Drivers who need to file for either of these forms have caused some type of traffic incident that poses a threat to others on the road.
In states that use the FR-44, these threats are considered to be very dangerous. For that reason, they want to strongly discourage repeated instances of reckless driving. By requiring the drivers to have to invest in more comprehensive and expensive insurance for the duration of their FR-44 probation period, they are encouraging them to improve their driving behavior.
How to File an FR-44?
If you receive notice that you must file an FR-44, you will actually not be doing any of the filing work yourself. Instead, it will be your job to contact your insurance company and let them know that you need an FR-44.
A few things will happen when you put in this request, depending on the company, and they are:
- You will need to pay a filing fee for the request.
- The auto insurance company will likely review your driving record and could increase your rate due to reckless driving.
- You will be required to pay your policy term in full. Since you are not allowed to cancel coverage mid-term when being monitored via an FR-44 form, most auto insurance companies require upfront payment as a guarantee.
For those reasons, filing an FR-44 can be a bit expensive. In general, drivers who must have this form filed are likely to see a significant overall increase in driving costs. That cost, the state hopes, will be a deterrent to reckless and dangerous driving behaviors.
The FR-44 Protects the Roads
Without understanding the history of the FR-44 and car insurance laws, it can seem like this form is nothing but a lot of red tapes to get through after a driving violation. In some ways, it is a lot of red tapes, but that red tape has specifically been designed to encourage better driving behavior and to protect innocent people on the roads from life-damaging injuries and financial burden. The FR-44 requires insurance to remind drivers about the importance of safety while also providing a financial guarantee.