The two distinguishing features of FR44 car insurance are its higher liability limits and its exclusivity for DWI / DUI drivers. Currently only Florida and Virginia are utilizing this format in their latest efforts to curb drinking and driving. It is a program that enjoys widespread support there, and will likely be adopted by other states. When it comes to insurance, other states do not make a distinction between high risk driver groups as they mandate SR22 car insurance for all of them.
Texas leads the nation in drunken driving crashes and fatalities. Texas law enforcement has an equally impressive record of DWI arrests and citations issued. However, It is fairly commonplace everywhere to be pulled over as many states and municipalities vigorously seek out those who drink and drive. Issuing citations and prosecuting these drivers has become big business for municipalities, lawyers, insurance companies, and others. Nevertheless, enforcement is widely supported as roadways inevitably become safer from this activity. Many states may soon consider mandating increased liability limits for their DWI / DUI drivers just as Florida and Virginia have done via FR44 insurance.
A DUI convicted driver in Florida must obtain a car insurance policy with liability limits of 100/300/50 and submit proof via the FR44 certificate filing. Formerly the DUI driver in Florida only had to carry limits of 10/20/10 as evidenced by their SR22 insurance filing. In Virginia the FR44 liability limits of 50/100/40 for their DUI drivers are double required by the SR22 policy.
For several key reasons the FR44 car insurance policy has been an excellent development in Florida and Virginia. First of all, the increased liability limits is an excellent community wide benefit as more insurance coverage means more protection for an injured party. Secondly, the initial higher insurance premiums experienced by convicted drivers for the increased limits becomes a deterrent for repeating the offense. And, the increase in premiums along with other consequences endured by drunk drivers usually have an overall modifying effect on their driving habits. These drivers tend to be more careful and actually have fewer accidents and claims as evidenced by their low loss ratios.
When our family owned insurance agency began to write an increased number of DUI policies we were concerned that our insurance carriers would find this objectionable. We were very pleased to find out that several of the companies were having good performance numbers with this risk class and were encouraging more policies. As time goes on these companies are competing more and more for DWI / DUI policies with lower rates. There are still plenty of companies that penalize these drivers with high rates and cancellations, so, shopping around after a citation is important and may be necessary. Car insurance is generally the last step before convicted drivers can reinstate their license and it is often the most dreaded. Thankfully for them, car insurance usually does not turn out to be the worst of their consequences.
DUI policyholders in Florida and Virginia, upon subsequent renewals, begin to enjoy increasing discounts associated with having high liability limits. And good performance in this risk group from safer driving habits translate to improved insurance rates. In the long run these drivers actually are able to reduce their premiums while enjoying higher limits of coverage. And this is especially so as the DUI conviction begins to age, and its associated surcharge diminishes, and is eventually eliminated altogether. Many drivers, without a DUI conviction, do not have the foresight or discipline to maintain high liability limits which leads to discounts that reduce overall premiums.
It is easy to see that the FR44 insurance policy is a winning scenario for all involved. The community at large enjoys a higher level of insurance protection for their citizens, the DWI or DUI policyholders eventually pay less for more coverage, and the insurance companies, lawyers, ticket clinics, etc… make a profit. And, Overtime, the safer driving habits of the DWI / DUI driver also translate to improved insurance rates. It seems to me that all states will benefit from the sensible FR44 insurance programs that I have experienced as an independent agent in Florida and Virginia.