As of October 1, 2007, a person convicted of DUI in Florida is required to maintain increased limits of vehicle accident liability insurance. The minimum amounts are $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident of Bodily Injury Liability and $50,000 of Property Damage Liability. A single combined limit of $300,000 is also acceptable. The liability coverage must be provided by a Florida insurance policy. The policy may be a car insurance policy, motorcycle policy, or an operator’s policy where there is no vehicle to insure.
The flexibility to comply with a variety of policy types, and as policyholder or additional driver, enables the convicted driver to secure a well suited policy. For example, If you are on a strict budget, a policy insuring a scooter may be as little as $100.00 for the entire year. Another good example would be a youthful operator finding a lower rate as an additional driver on their parents policy.
To clear a FR44 DUI case number for license reinstatement, a driver, receiving the infraction prior to November 1st 2014, is required to provide proof that increased vehicle liability insurance in the amount of 100/300/50k was in effect at the time of the offense date or they must purchase a FR44 policy, which cannot be cancelled, with the increased liability amounts for three years from the original suspension date. After November 1st 2014 all drivers convicted of a DUI will be required to purchase and maintain a FR44 policy, which cannot be cancelled, for three years from the reinstatement date of the DUI.
The FR44 form (certificate), is submitted by the insurance company to Florida’s Bureau of Financial Responsibility. As required by law, they are transmitted electronically within 15 days after a policy begins and the process is commonly referred to as Florida FR44 filing. Companies typically transmit to the bureau at point of sale, and the DMV database will update within 24 to 48 hours allowing for license reinstatement.
Some companies, will generate a “hard copy” FR44 certificate at point of sale which can then be combined with proof of insurance and faxed to a local DMV office, from the insurance agency or company with an identifying cover page. This is the fastest way a convicted driver can have their license reinstated.
Since insurance companies electronically send the FR44 certificate to the State, it takes a special request to have one issued directly to the policyholder. It is usually typed, and then faxed or emailed, and typically takes up to 2 hours to get done. If you are in a hurry, find out before you buy a policy, or even before you get a rate quote, if a certificate would be immediately available from that company.
There is a $25.00 filing fee for all Florida FR44 policies. A license reinstatement fee is required for drivers that did not have increased liability limits of 100/300/50k on their insurance policy at the time of the DUI. However, the overall cost for insurance is determined by a host of variables that are unique to each policy (location, age, history, vehicle type etc.). The least expensive way to secure a FR44 insurance policy is with a scooter or moped because these types of vehicles inflict little damage when involved in an accident. Also, their liability coverage, unlike car and truck policies, does not transfer to any other vehicle the policyholder may be driving. The cost for such a policy typically ranges from $100.00 to $400.00 for the entire year. This lower cost option is not available for drivers that require an interlock device.
As of May 4th 2012 all insurance policies with a Florida FR44 filing are not allowed to be cancelled. Companies may only cancel during the first 30 days while determining eligibility. Naturally, there are many legitimate reasons for cancelling a policy such as, moving to another state, selling your vehicle, getting married, etc., and there is a way to cancel these policies. An endorsement to remove the FR44 filing from an existing policy can be submitted, and then that policy can be cancelled. Keep in mind that if the FR44 requirement is still in effect, the cancelled policy must be replaced or the driver license will be suspended. When canceling, you may be asked to provide a recorded sworn statement indicating your reason and how you intend to continue compliance. Naturally, when your compliance period ends during the policy period, all the restrictions may be removed from that policy.
Because FR44 policies cannot be cancelled, insurance companies will require payment in full to begin a policy. Unlike the canceling provision, requiring payment in full is not a state mandate. Since companies are not at liberty to cancel a policy for non-payment, they generally will not offer payment plans. However, there are a few companies in limited circumstances that will allow a payment plan. One company recently began to offer instalment payment plans for all their renewing FR44 policies. Keep in mind companies provide a substantial discount when paying in full and the FR44 requirement does not eliminate that discount. There can only be one filing per driver, however, a driver can have more than one policy and this creates additional flexibility. For example, a policyholder complying with a fully paid lower cost scooter policy, can buy a different insurance policy for their car, and have that vehicle listed under the same filing utilized for the scooter policy.
The best way to find out is to contact the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles and have them tell you the exact date your requirement ends. I recommend contacting them by email at https://www3.flhsmv.gov/DDL/CQS/ so you have their response in writing. When you are within 60 days of ending the requirement you may carry the 100/300/50 liability without having to actually file the FR44 and you will be considered in compliance. This option can be particularly helpful when starting a new policy as payment plans, driver exclusions, and all other options can be exercised.