Being required to carry FR44 insurance in Florida can be extremely expensive. If you find yourself unable to afford the high cost of FR44 coverage, you have some options to responsibly handle the situation. This article will discuss steps to take when you can’t afford FR44 insurance in Florida.
Overview of Florida FR44 Insurance
First, what exactly is FR44 insurance?
FR44 is a specific type of car insurance required in Florida for high-risk drivers convicted of DUI or DWI. It has the following requirements:
- Bodily injury liability coverage of at least $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident
- Property damage liability of at least $50,000
- FR44 filing proof must be submitted to the DMV
Because it has higher liability limits, FR44 insurance comes at a steep price – often $200 to $500 per month. If you can’t swing those premiums, here are some options.
Contact Your Insurance Provider
If you’ve been hit with unaffordable FR44 rates, the first step is to contact your insurance company. Let them know you’re struggling with the premium increase.
Ask if they can offer any of the following to reduce your rate:
- Review your policy – are there coverages you can adjust or drop?
- Apply any discounts you may qualify for
- Modify your deductible or coverage limits
- Offer a payment plan to spread out costs
- Suggest other ways to cut your premium
Being upfront with your insurer about your financial hardship can go a long way. They may present options you hadn’t considered to make your FR44 insurance more affordable.
Shop Around for Better Rates
Don’t just accept the first FR44 quote you get. Different insurance companies can vary widely in pricing, so compare quotes from at least 3-5 providers.
You can shop quotes directly on insurer websites or use an insurance comparison site. Be sure to compare the same coverage amounts to determine the best deal.
Smaller insurers may offer more competitive pricing, so don’t limit yourself to big names. An independent agent can help provide multiple quotes.
Shopping around for FR44 rates takes effort but can pay off in hundreds of dollars of savings.
Adjust Your Budget
If FR44 insurance still stretches your budget after getting quotes, look at cutting back discretionary spending in other areas to free up money for your premium.
Pack lunch instead of eating out, downgrade cable/streaming packages, reduce shopping trips, cancel gym memberships – trim any non-essential costs.
Drafting a lean budget maximizing savings allows you to redirect funds to pay for essential FR44 coverage.
Explore Alternatives to Driving
If your financial situation simply won’t support Florida FR44 insurance, you may need to use alternatives like:
- Public transportation
- Carpooling with others
- Riding a moped or scooter (can get a moped license after DUI)
- Walking or biking if feasible
- Ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft
While inconvenient, not driving may become necessary if you absolutely can’t afford FR44 coverage but need to legally operate a vehicle.
Apply for Assistance Programs
Those experiencing financial hardship may qualify for government programs to help pay for auto insurance. For example:
Florida Emergency Financial Assistance for Housing Program: Helps pay rent, mortgages, utilities – including car insurance
Federal Lifeline Assistance Program: Low-income households can get discounted phone service and $9.25 monthly insurance credit
Check with your local Social Services office to see if you’re eligible for any assistance programs to offset FR44 costs.
File for Exemption Based on Hardship
As a last resort, you can request an FR44 hardship exemption by filing form HSMV 79060 with the Florida DHSMV. This involves submitting income documentation and financial records to prove covering FR44 insurance would pose undue financial strain.
If approved, you’d no longer need FR44 but would have to avoid driving or could only operate a golf cart or moped with proper license.
This exemption route is complex, so consult a lawyer if attempting this option.
Consequences of Dropping FR44 Coverage
Never just stop paying for or cancel FR44 insurance without pursuing alternatives. Driving without proper FR44 coverage will lead to:
- License suspension
- Registration suspension
- $150 to $500 fine
- Potential impoundment of your vehicle
Maintaining coverage is critical. Work with your insurer, explore assistance options, and make lifestyle changes before resorting to driving without insurance.
Dealing with unaffordable FR44 insurance in Florida presents challenges but options exist to handle the situation legally and responsibly:
- Communicate with your insurer to lower your rate
- Compare quotes from multiple insurance providers
- Trim discretionary spending to pay FR44 premiums
- Pursue government assistance programs if eligible
- Consider alternatives to driving like public transit
- File for a hardship exemption as a last resort
With some effort and sacrifice, most drivers can find a way to afford needed FR44 insurance and avoid driving illegally without coverage.
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