Q: I was recently convicted of a DUI in Virginia and received a restricted drivers license. I have to show proof of FR44 insurance. My current policy is within the limits of the FR44 guidelines. Can I bring my policy into the DMV and will that be sufficient, or does it have to come from my insurance carrier? I really would hate to contact them if I do not have to, for the obvious reason of raised rates.
A:No. FR44 (fka SR22) is more than just doubling the minimum limits.
You will notify your carrier that you need FR44 and they will notify the DMV that you have it. Then, they enter into a covenant with DMV that they will notify DMV any time that your insurance suffers a lapse for any reason. That way, DMV is satsified that risky drivers will always have insurance or else their license will be suspended for a lapse of insurance. The coverage is called "Proof of Financial Responsibilty", so it is more than just higher limits.
Meanwhile, if your insurance company doesn't already know about your conviction, they will find out. It is the DWI conviction that tends to cause the biggest increase in insurance premiums. You will pay for the FR44 now, and the conviction will likely only be applied at renewal. The Proof of Financial Responsibility endorsement itself is not that expensive.