How to get cheap car insurance in Rhode Island
When it comes to car insurance, Rhode Island requires drivers to carry a policy to legally drive on its roads. And you’ll want to find a policy that works for your needs at a rate that fits your budget. Read on to learn about car insurance in Rhode Island, from rules and regulations to getting the best rates possible.
How to get cheap car insurance in Rhode Island
Like most states in the US, Rhode Island requires its drivers to carry liability insurance. But it also requires a handful of other types of coverage, like uninsured motorist insurance and personal injury protection. These requirements can increase the cost of coverage for a lot of this state’s motorists.
Average car insurance costs in Rhode Island
Drivers in Rhode Island tend to pay around $1,800 annually, which is significantly above the national average of $1,200 to $1,300. These higher rates reflect the high amount of coverage required by law.
The most expensive areas to insure a car can be found in big cities like Providence, given the additional risk for car accidents, vandalism and theft. In small towns and rural areas of the state, you’re likely to find lower insurance rates because the risk of damage to your car is lower.
However, if you take the time to shop around before signing up with an insurance provider, you could end up paying less than the state average for your car insurance policy.
Compare Rhode Island car insurance providers
Does my credit score affect my insurance rates?
Unless you live in Massachusetts, Hawaii or California — states in which the practice is banned — many US car insurance companies use credit-based insurance scores to help determine risk.
State minimum requirements in Rhode Island
To legally drive in Rhode Island, you’ll need insurance that includes at least:
- $25,000 bodily injury per person per accident
- $50,000 bodily injury for all persons per accident
- $25,000 property damage liability
Two other types of coverage that are typically optional in other states but among the requirements for Rhode Island:
- $25,000/$50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
- $25,000 uninsured motorist property damage.
What additional coverage can I get?
For extra coverage that takes care of you beyond the minimum, look for these options when you buy a policy:
- Collision coverage. Pays for damage to your car if you cause an accident.
- Comprehensive coverage. Pays for damage to your car from anything other than a traffic accident, like weather or theft.
- Medical payments coverage. Additional coverage for medical expenses after a crash.
- Rental reimbursement coverage. Rental car repayment while your car is being repaired.
- Towing and labor coverage. Covers towing costs when your car breaks down completely.
You also might be required to add extras, like collision coverage, if you’re leasing or financing a vehicle.
Uninsured drivers in Rhode Island
About 15% of all drivers in Rhode Island are uninsured, reports the Insurance Information Institute. While this might not sound like a lot of drivers, it’s above the national average of 12.5%. If you ever collide with an uninsured driver, you could end up saddled with extra costs that you wouldn’t have if the other driver were properly insured.
To better protect yourself and your vehicle, look into uninsured motorist coverage. This protects you if someone without insurance collides with your vehicle or you’re the victim of a hit-and-run.
What can I do if I don’t want to buy car insurance in Rhode Island?
If you have $75,000 on hand and don’t want to sign up for a conventional insurance policy, you can deposit that money with the state’s department of motor vehicles for a certificate of self-insurance. For some people, this is a better option than purchasing car insurance.
However, it’s good to remember an accident can wipe out your self-insurance fund with the state entirely, depending on its severity. If that happens, any outstanding medical or repair costs will come out of your pocket.
Can I buy temporary car insurance in Rhode Island?
Yes. But you might have a tough time getting temporary coverage from standard insurance providers. You’re also likely to find it’s more expensive than if you had a conventional policy.
What happens if I’m driving in Rhode Island and I don’t have insurance?
Driving without car insurance is a misdemeanor in Rhode Island, and it can carry some hefty penalties.
- First offense: Three-month suspension of vehicle registration and plates.
- Second offense. Six-month suspension of vehicle registration and plates.
- Third offense. One-year suspension of vehicle registration and plates.
In addition to the state suspending your vehicle registration and plates, you’re fined up to $500 for your first offense, with that fine increasing up to $5,000 for repeat offenders.
What laws do I need to follow when I’m driving in Rhode Island?
All US states share similar traffic laws, but Rhode Island has a few rules of its own worth noting.
- Aftermarket window tinting is prohibited by law. However, police officers can typically make a judgement call about when it’s too much. Large window stickers or window clings are also prohibited, as they can obstruct the driver’s view.
- You must restrain any animals with a harness if they’re traveling in pickup truck beds to prevent them from jumping or falling out of a moving truck.
- If a vehicle has its windshield wipers on, its headlights must also be on. This is meant to help other drivers to better see your car in inclement weather, as well as help you see in rain, fog or snow.
- Drivers and cyclists cannot wear headphones.
- In the winter, you must clear as much snow and ice as possible off your vehicle before driving. Not only can snow on your vehicle block the driver’s view, but it can also fall or be blown off the car at higher speeds and cause visibility issues for any drivers directly behind your vehicle.
What is the blood alcohol limit in Rhode Island?
In Rhode Island, standard BAC laws apply: A limit of 0.08% is enforced for drivers, except for commercial or professional drivers, who must follow a limit of 0.04%. In addition, a lower limit of 0.02% is enforced for any drivers younger than 21.
|First offense||Second offense||Third offense|
|Jail||Up to 1 year||10 days to 1 year||1–5 years|
|Fines and penalties||$100–$500||$400–$1,000||$400–$5,000|
|License suspension||2–18 months||1–2 years||Minimum of 2 years|
Can I get SR-22 insurance in Rhode Island?
Yes. Your insurance provider might file an SR-22 form on your behalf if you’re convicted of a DUI, have a lapse in your car insurance coverage or accumulate too many violation points on your driving record.
What happens after an accident in Rhode Island?
Ideally, you’ll never have to deal with this situation. But it’s a risk you take when you get behind the wheel.
- Safety first. Confirm that all involved parties are safe. If anybody is injured, call the police immediately.
- Exchange information. Get the complete name, contact info and insurance policy details from other drivers. Note car types, colors, models and license plate numbers, as well as the exact location of the accident.
- Notify your insurance agent. Before you’ve left the scene, call your local agent. They can guide you through any bumps along the claims process.
- Document the scene. Take pictures, paying special attention to capturing multiple angles of the damage. Take down the names of police officers and any potential witnesses to better protect your claim.
- Avoid admitting fault. When talking to other drivers or any police who might be at the scene, don’t suggest that you caused the accident. Doing so could void your insurance claim, depending on your coverage.
Who’s at fault after an accident?
Rhode Island is what’s called an at-fault state, meaning the driver who’s responsible for an accident pays for damages afterward.
When should I report an accident in Rhode Island?
You must file an Accident Report Form in Rhode Island within 21 days if the accident caused an injury or death or if property damages exceed $1,000. If you fail to report such an accident, you could face consequences from a driver’s license suspension to criminal charges.
When should I contact a lawyer?
You may want to contact a lawyer after a car accident if:
- You’re charged with a crime.
- You intend to file a civil suit or press criminal charges.
- You believe another party in the accident intends to file charges against you.
A lawyer can help guide you through any legal issues that could arise after a crash, as well as advise you on any potential grounds for filing a suit if you’re injured or a victim of negligence.
Getting the right car insurance can protect you, your passengers, your vehicle and everyone else on the road. Rhode Island requires a minimum standard of auto insurance coverage. And by shopping around and comparing your options, you can find a policy that works for you at a reasonable rate.
To learn more about insuring your car, from rules and regulations to better rates and policy options, read our comprehensive guide to auto insurance.
Frequently asked questions about car insurance in Rhode Island
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