From Newport to Providence, Pawtucket to Woonsocket, and Pascoag to Tiverton, Rhode Island has thousands of miles of roadways. They’ll take you from Jerimoth Hill to Narragansett Bay. They’re used by over 750,000 licensed drivers, who each put in an average of over 7,500 miles a year. Along the way, those drivers are involved in thousands of traffic accidents every year, including many that result in serious injury or death. Wherever you live and drive in the Ocean State, carrying adequate car insurance is both a legal requirement and commonsense protection. This is your guide to Rhode Island’s basic vehicle insurance requirements and laws.
Rhode Island state law requires you to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties that may include monetary fines and jail time. Under Rhode Island’s tort system, you may also be liable for actual damages (expenses associated with property damage and medical costs), economic damages (lost wages and earning capacity) and emotional and physical pain and suffering.
The bare minimum car insurance requirement for Rhode Island drivers is:
$25,000 bodily injury per person per accident
$50,000 bodily injury for all persons per accident
You have the option of rejecting uninsured motorist property damage and medical coverages if your prefer not to purchase them. Rhode Island does not require you to carry additional coverage such as personal liability insurance or Collision and Comprehensive. However, If you own property or other valuable assets, supplementing the minimum requirements can help you protect yourself from monetary loss.
Penalties for Failure to Carry Rhode Island Auto Insurance
You are required by law to carry proof of Rhode Island car insurance in your car and show it if a law enforcement officer asks to see it. Failure to do so may result in a $500 fine for first and second offenses, and a 3-month suspension of your driver’s license. Your registration and license plates may also be revoked. Third and subsequent offenses bring $1,000 fines and a possible 1-year jail sentence. You cannot register a vehicle in Rhode Island without proof of insurance and the state requires you to sign a statement affirming that you will maintain coverage.
Rhode Island Car Insurance Premiums
The type of car you are insuring
Prior auto insurance coverage
How much you drive
Your driving record
Your marital status
Your geographic location
How long you’ve been driving
Whether or not you use your car for business
Rhode Island also allows insurers to consider your credit history to determine your premium.
How to Get the Cheapest Rhode Island Car Insurance Policy
You may be able to lower the cost of your premiums in the following ways:
Ask about available discounts for good driving habits, anti-theft devices, multiple cars on one policy, bundling your car insurance with your homeowners or renters policy, automatic or online payments and driving a hybrid or electric car
Compare quotes from a variety of providers on this website
Eliminate unnecessary coverage
Check to see if you qualify for any low-cost auto insurance program your state may offer
New Rhode Island Driving Laws
Laws regarding driving and car insurance can change frequently. It is your responsibility to stay current about the legal requirements in Rhode Island. The following laws have recently been enacted in Rhode Island and may affect your insurance coverage decisions.
There is a ban on all cell phone use (handheld and hands-free) for novice drivers in Rhode Island.
There is a ban on texting for all drivers in Rhode Island.
Rhode Island has enacted a Click It or Ticket law that makes driving without a seatbelt a primary offense. Previously, it was a secondary offense.