Rhode Island laws require you to hold at least the minimum amounts of required car insurance coverage. However, you may also purchase a number of optional insurance coverages to help protect you further. Learn more about Rhode Island car insurance law requirements, rates, programs, frauds and other relevant information on your car insurance.
You must purchase liability insurance to help cover the cost of property damage and injuries resulting from car accident that you were found at fault. The minimum coverage limits for liability insurance are: $25,000 for bodily injury, per person $50,000 for total bodily injury, per accident $25,000 for property damage.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
You must also purchase uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage as part of your Rhode Island car insurance policy. The minimum limits of this policy are equal to that of liability insurance. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage pays for the cost of injuries and property damage if you are involved in:
- A hit and run accident
- An accident in which the at-fault driver has insufficient insurance or does not have car insurance.
Optional Auto Insurance
You may also purchase optional car insurance coverage to help protect you further. Common types of optional car insurance coverages in Rhode Island include:
- Collision coverage
- Comprehensive coverage
- Uninsured & underinsured motorist coverage
- Medical payments coverage
- Rental reimbursement coverage
- Towing and labor coverage
- Guaranteed asset protection coverage.
NOTE: If you are financing your car through a loan or lease agreement, both comprehensive and collision car insurance coverages are needed.
Proof of Insurance
Rhode Island car insurance law requires you to carry proof of insurance all the time while you are driving. Acceptable proof of insurance can be a photocopy of your car insurance ID card or the original card itself bearing your name and other relevant information.
Traffic Stops or Accidents
Failure to provide proof of insurance when stopped by a police officer or involved in an accident will result in a $500 fine.
When you register your car or renew your registration, you will be required to sign a form verifying that you have valid car insurance.
To apply for or renew your driver’s license in this state, you must sign a statement certifying that you will hold proof of insurance all the time.
Insurance Verification in Rhode Island
If you are involved in an accident, you will receive an insurance verification request. DMV may also send insurance policy verification requests to:
- A random selection of vehicle owners in Rhode island
- A random selection of drivers: Whose vehicle registration has been suspended for violating car insurance in the past 4 years Whose driver’s license has been suspended in past 4 years Who have purchased cars whose registration has been suspended in past 4 years.
If you receive an insurance verification request from the DMV in Rhode Island, you must respond within 20 days.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance
If you are caught driving without a driving license in Rhode Island, you will face the following penalties:
- A fine between $500 to $5,000
- Vehicle registration and license plate revocation: First offense: 3 months Second offense: 6 months Third and additional offenses: 1 year.
Alternative Insurance for High-Risk Drivers
Though it’s your right in Rhode Island to be offered insurance, auto insurers have the right also to refuse you for coverage if they consider you a high-risk driver. If you fail to find an insurer in the open market, you may apply for insurance through the Rhode Island Automobile Insurance Plan (RIAIP). Insurance cover through this plan will typically lead to higher premiums. So you need to maintain a good driving record all the times to avoid earning a “high-risk” driver title. You can contact the RIAIP through phone, e-mail or fax:
- Phone: (401) 946-2600
- E-mail: [email protected]
- Fax: (401) 528-1409.
You must file SR-22 certification if you are caught violating insurance laws and other violations that lead to vehicle registration and driver’s license suspension. Remember an SR-22 is not insurance, but a guarantee that you will hold minimum required coverage for a specific period. Your must file this form through your car insurance company, who must then send it to the Rhode Island DMV. This form is required to reinstate car registration after suspension due to:
- A felony involving a motor vehicle
- Vehicular manslaughter
- DWI or DUI
- Committing a hit and run
- Making false statements to the MVD
- More than 3 serious convictions within 12 months
- Using a forged license to purchase insurance.
SR-22 certification can be cancelled after one year if you have not violated any traffic or insurance regulation, but remember the best way to avoid it is by keeping a clean driving record.
Insurance Complaints and Fraud
Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation, Insurance Division is the body responsible for regulating car insurance. This body reviews Rhode Island car insurance rates to ensure that they are fair. They also handle car insurance complaints and frauds.
If you have a complaint against your car insurance company, you can get in touch with the Insurance Division for help. You can do so through the following means:
- Online through Insurance Division’s website
- By sending your complaint form to: State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations Department of Business Regulation Insurance Division 1511 Pontiac Avenue Cranston, RI 02902
- By faxing your complaint form to (401) 462-9602.
Auto Insurance Fraud
You can help fight car insurance fraud by reporting suspected fraud to the Rhode Island Auto Theft and Fraud Unit through phone (401) 444-1035. Car insurance frauds involve the following:
- Forging insurance documents
- Falsifying or exaggerating claims
- Staging car accidents.
Car Insurance Rates
Car insurance companies use the following factors to determine the rate of your car insurance premiums:
- Your driving record
- Your age, gender, and marital status
- History of your previous insurance coverage
- The make, model, and year of your car
- Location where your car is kept
- How your car is used
- Your credit report.
RI Car Insurance Discounts
Many Rhode Island car insurance companies offer discounts that can lower your car insurance premiums. If you want to save on your car insurance, ask your agent about the availability of these discounts:
- Multiple vehicles on one policy
- Multiple policies with the same insurance company
- Renewing your policy each year
- Accident-free driving
- Safety devices in your car
- Anti-theft devices
- Low annual mileage on your car
- Discounts for driver with training courses.
Always compare the rates to get the most affordable quote. Many companies look mostly at your driving record when calculating your car insurance rates. So, keep a clean record all the time.
Most Stolen Cars in Rhode Island
If you are driving a car that is always targeted by thieves, you are likely to pay higher insurance rates. This is the 2013 list of the most stolen cars in Rhode Island according to www.nicb.org:
- Honda Accord and Honda Civic
- Nissan Maxima
- Dodge Caravan
- Toyota Camry
- Nissan Altima
- Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
- Toyota Corolla
- Plymouth Voyager
- Ford Pickup.