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What’s the Difference Between SR-22 and FR-44? 

If you’ve been convicted of a serious driving violation, you may have to file an SR-22 or FR-44. Both terms may sound confusing, and they both have important paperwork tied to them that you’re going to want to get right. Furthermore, both can have serious repercussions on what you pay for car insurance. You likely need specific SR-22 car insurance or FR-44 coverage. Read on to learn the difference between SR-22 vs. FR-44 penalties and everything you need to know about them. 

Understanding SR-22 and FR-44 Certificates 

Do I need an SR-22 or an FR-44? 

Hopefully, you need neither. Both are penalties for serious driving violations, and both can make it more expensive for you to stay behind the wheel. That said, you only need to worry about getting an FR-44 in Virginia and Florida. 

Now for a closer look at the SR-22 vs. FR-44 distinction for high-risk car insurance

What Is an SR-22? 

It’s often referred to as “SR-22 insurance,” but that’s not strictly accurate. The simplest explanation is an SR-22 is paperwork filed by insurance companies on behalf of drivers who have been penalized by their state’s motor vehicle authority. An SR-22 is also known as a financial responsibility certificate or filing. 

Whatever you call it, the SR-22 filed on your behalf guarantees that you’re driving with at least the minimally accepted level of liability insurance. One reason why SR-22 insurance is needed is to show you have coverage now you’ve been declared a high-risk driver. Your liability policy must cover other people who might be injured and property might be damaged due to your driving. 

One downside of liability insurance is that it doesn’t cover the policyholder. In other words, you can’t file a claim for your own vehicle or injuries if you’re at fault for an accident while driving with just liability. 

So many U.S. states issue SR-22 certification to reckless drivers that it’s simpler to indicate the eight states that don’t carry this penalty: Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. 

What Is an FR-44? 

You might think of an FR-44 as an SR-22 on steroids. That means an FR-44 is imposed for even more serious violations in the view of the state, and the driver must have even higher levels of liability coverage to once again get behind the wheel of an automobile. 

In general, these higher liability levels of financial responsibility mean the driver’s rates for car insurance will be even higher. 

Red toy car on top of a bunch of hundred dollar bills - cheap SR22 insurance.

Scenarios That Trigger the Need for an SR-22 or FR-44 

You probably wouldn’t be taken totally by surprise if you received either penalty. You might receive a moving violation so severe you are taken to jail or immediately kept from driving home after getting stopped — or a ticket may show you must go to court. If you need a friend to pick up your car or bail you out of the local jail, you’re likely well on your way to getting an SR-22 or even an FR-44 if the offense is particularly serious and happens in Virginia or Florida. 

Those moving violations can include reckless driving, getting ticketed for excessive speeds, getting a DUI conviction, or being responsible for a serious car accident, especially if it caused injury or death. In addition to the real damage they can cause, car accidents affect insurance premiums. 

As a further example, while a common speeding ticket isn’t likely to earn an SR-22, drag racing at 70 miles an hour in a school zone in the middle of the day almost certainly will. 

In some states, it’s not just one very serious moving violation that can get you penalized but also several moderately serious penalties imposed over a relatively short period of time. In other words, you’re “only” caught speeding, but you’re also caught doing it several times. 

Your state’s motor vehicle bureaus will inform you as your driving record inches closer to SR-22 (or FR-44) territory so you can become more careful. 

Procedure Simplified: Obtaining SR-22 or FR-44 Certificates 

In many cases, the letter you receive in the mail from the judicial system regarding your SR-22 status is good news/bad news. It often comes after a time period in which your license has been suspended or revoked, so the good news is you’re about to get it back and drive again. 

The potentially bad news is your car insurance rates will increase. That’s because those who have an SR-22 or an FR-44 are considered high-risk drivers. The state (and insurance companies) thinks there’s a higher likelihood than normal that such a driver might cause an accident that results in injury to others or damages property such as other vehicles.  

The length of time in which you’ll have to drive with such coverage will vary by the state, but it can typically be at least one to three years. If you stay free of at-fault accidents and additional tickets, your driving record will improve, and you’ll soon be able to lose your high-risk status and get more affordable insurance. 

Don’t worry about having to handle the filing of paperwork with the government. Your experienced car insurance agent has taken on this responsibility countless times and will file your SR-22 with the state on your behalf. 

Your only responsibility from that point is to maintain the payment on your liability car insurance. Don’t let your coverage lapse unless you plan on no longer driving. If you’re stopped while driving without coverage after a court-mandated SR-22 or FR-22, you could lose your license. You’ll also be subject to heavy fines and court costs and will probably have to start your penalty period all over. 

Liability insurance isn’t cheap, especially if you must have the higher dollar coverage level brought on by an FR-44 filing. However, you can keep the cost down if you have an independent insurance agent telling you what you need to know about SR-22 insurance and finding appropriate coverage. Independent agents don’t work for just one insurer. They represent numerous major brands, so they can shop for the coverage that works best for you at the most reasonable rates. 

Finding the Right Provider for Your High-Risk Insurance 

At Acceptance Insurance, our dedicated independent auto insurance agents all over the country regularly serve the coverage needs of clients challenged with SR-22 and FR-44 filings. They can resolve your issues and help you find the most affordable liability coverage on the market. 

Reach out to a helpful independent auto insurance agent at Acceptance. Call us at (877) 405-7102 or get a quick online quote. You can also find an office near you and meet with an agent in person. 

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