When driving a State of Rhode Island registered vehicle, insurance is mandatory. In order to register your vehicle, you must sign an affidavit stating that your car will be insured for the duration of your car’s registration. Proof of insurance must be carried in the vehicle at all times.
Rhode Island minimum car insurance requirements include:
Auto Insurance policy with limits of at least: 25/50/25 – meaning:
- Liability coverage
- $25,000 of bodily injury to another person
- $50,000 of bodily injuries to all other persons
- $25,000 of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident
- Liability bond for at least two individual sureties each owning real estate equal to twice the amount of the bond amount. Sureties must reside within Rhode Island and bond must be issued by a company licensed to do business in Rhode Island.
- Cash deposit of at least $60,000 (or equivalent of $60,000 in securities). Money deposit must be held by Rhode Island General Treasure.
- Self insurance is only available to individuals who own more than 25 vehicles.
Required Proof of Insurance in Rhode Island
Failure to provide proof of insurance will result in a citation requiring you to obtain proof of insurance within 15 days. Failure to obtain proof of insurance will result in license suspension and car registration being revoked.
Insurance Card provided by insurance company including all of the following:
- Name of Insured Driver
- Name of Insurance Company
- Insurance Policy Number
- Effective Date/Expiration Date of Policy
- Accurate description of year, make/model of registered vehicle
Self Insurance certificates are issued by the state and must include the following:
- Name of driver covered by certificate
- Certificate Number issued by Department of Licensing
- Effective Date of Certificate
- Accurate description of year, make/model of registered vehicle
- Certificate of Deposit
- Name of driver covered by certificate of deposit
- Certificate number issued by Rhode Island General Treasurer
- Liability Bond
- Name of driver covered by bond
- Name of company issuing bond. Company must have license to conduct business in Rhode Island.
- Bond number
Rhode Island State Department of Business Regulation Division of Insurance Regulation
Insurance Commissioner A. Michael Marques
1511 Pontiac Avenue, Building 69-2
Cranston, RI 02920
Obtaining a Driver’s License
To obtain your license for residents under the age of 18, you must:
- Be at least 16 years old
- Complete a 33-hour, state approved driving education course
- Have instruction permit for at least 6 months
- Get at least 50 hours of supervised driving practice (10 of those at night)
- No traffic violations within 6 months of applying for license
- No conviction of alcohol/drug offense while holding permit
Once you meet the requirements, visit your local DMV and apply for a driver license. Bring the following:
- Signed certificate showing that you’ve passed state approved driving education course
- Parent or guardian must sign a certificate confirming 50 hours of supervised driving practice
- Application must be completed
- Road test must be passed
- $10.00 fee (cash, check or money order)
- Proof of active car insurance
To obtain your first license for residents over the age of 18, you must:
- Complete a driver license application
- Pass knowledge test (must complete before scheduling driving test)
- Pass vision screening and color recognition test
- Pass road test
- $25.00 fee (cash, check or money order)
- Proof of active car insurance
Completing Driver Education
When a teen reaches the age of 15 and nine months, they may enroll in a state-approved, accredited Driver Education Class either through his or her high school, or by contacting the Community College of Rhode Island for information on available locations, dates and times of classes.
To be eligible, a student must have the following:
- Proof of identity and age (i.e. birth certificate, state issued identification card, baptismal certificate, passport, resident alien card). Photocopies are not accepted.
- $75 fee.
In order to receive a Limited Instructional Permit, applicants must show:
- A driver education certificate of completion of thirty-three hours (if you are under eighteen years of age)
- Original social security card (not a copy)
- $10.00 cash, check (no third party checks accepted), or money order
- Proof of Rhode Island residency
- Application for Instructional Permit
- Parent, legal guardian (court documentation must be presented), licensed foster parent (documentation must be presented), or adult spouse must accompany you to the DMV
All applicants must also pass a vision test prior to taking the road test.
Knowing the Rules of the Road
Rhode Island State provides their rules of the road online. Carefully obey these rules to qualify for the lowest auto insurance rates in Rhode Island:
- Alcoholic beverages: TITLE31/31-27/31-27-2.HTM
- Cell phone use while driving: Text 09:S0204B
- DWI – Driving While Impaired: TITLE31/31-27/31-27-2.7.HTM
- Leaving Scene of an Accident: TITLE31/31-26/INDEX.HTM
- Minimum speed – Passing slow vehicles: TITLE31/31-14/31-14-9.HTM
- Reckless driving: TITLE31/31-27/31-27-4.HTM
- Seat belt requirements and penalties: TITLE31/31-23/31-23-40.HTM
- Street racing: TITLE31/31-27/31-27-22.HTM
- Texting while driving: Text09/S0204B
Know Your Rates
Auto insurance rates are calculated through a rating system determining the probability of loss. Insurance applicants are grouped with others with similar risk characteristics. Those with the least risk pay the best car insurance rates in Rhode Island, while those with higher risk categories tend to pay more than the average cost of car insurance in Rhode Island. Most companies will note the histories of all members of your household who have driver’s licenses but are not currently insured.
The base rate that is used to evaluate all drivers is then adjusted, according to several factors, including:
- Driving Record. This covers any vehicular accidents or violations within the previous three-year period. Safe drivers will enjoy the best auto insurance rates in Rhode Island.
- Territory. This covers where you keep your vehicle when it is not in operation, as well as where you do most of your driving.
- Gender and Age. Statistics indicate that males have a higher accident rate, while some age groups have a higher incidence of accidents than others.
- Marital status. Statistics suggest that fewer auto insurance claims are made by married policyholders.
- Prior Insurance Coverage. Were you cancelled by your previous auto insurance company? Did they choose not to renew you?
- Use of Vehicle. This covers how often and how many miles you typically drive your car. More frequent use suggests a higher susceptibility to road accidents, so they don’t typically qualify for low cost car insurance in Rhode Island.
- Make and model of vehicle. Your car’s type and value determines the premium you can expect to pay. Makes or models with a high incidence of theft, vandalism or high repair costs due to body construction will require a higher premium.
- Credit Scoring. Statistics suggest a relationship between credit history and insurance claims. In accordance with Rhode Island state laws, insurers can use your credit history to determine your insurance rate.
Lower Your Rates
Residents of Rhode Island may have discounted rates based on falling into the following criteria:
- Multiple vehicles on the same policy
- Driver has completed a driver education course
- Driver is a good student with at least a B average
- Vehicle has safety and anti-theft devices
- Low mileage
- Good driving record upon plan renewal
- Driver purchases other insurance along with auto insurance, such as home or life insurance
You don’t want to discover that you could have been paying less for your insurance with another provider. This is why it is best to compare auto insurance rates in Rhode Island by shopping around and talking to different companies before deciding on the insurance plan that works best for you. Seek unbiased resources to make the best comparisons. For your own protection, make sure that the company is permitted to do business in Rhode Island. If you have any questions about an insurance company’s legitimacy, you can view the list of licensed and approved insurance companies or contact the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation at (401) 462-9520.
Picking an Insurance Agent/Broker
Insurance agents with insurance companies aim to sell policies for commission while insurance brokers do not represent a company but instead work one-on-one with individual clients to find different insurance options to fit their needs. Both types of experts can help you find the best car insurance in Rhode Island to suit your needs. Prior to choosing an insurance agent or broker, you’ll want to confirm that they are licensed with the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation’s Insurance Division, where you can also request information on how many times the company has faced disciplinary actions.
If you have had issues with an insurance company, you can file a complaint online. The Insurance Division will only accept complaints from the claimant, the claimant’s immediate family member on behalf of the claimant, or the claimant’s attorney. The department does not have the authority to settle or arbitrate claims, nor can they determine liability payments.
After an Accident
If you have been involved in a collision, provide your name to any interested parties, and immediately notify the nearest Rhode Island state or local police. If you or someone else is injured, request rescue assistance. Drivers should stay at the scene of the collision until released by a police officer. In the event of a minor road collision, drive your vehicle to the side of the road so as not to disrupt traffic. If you collide or do damage to a parked vehicle, leave a note with your contact and insurance information in addition to reporting the accident to law enforcement as quickly as possible. An accident involving personal injury or property damage in excess of $1000.00 must additionally be reported to the Safety Responsibility Section of the Division of Motor Vehicles within twenty-one days. It is recommended that drivers travel with a disposable camera or a mobile phone with a camera device in the event of an accident to record any damages or injuries. Additionally, you must report the collision to your insurance company as soon as possible and file a claim.
Be sure to include the following information in your insurance claim:
- Exact location of collision
- Exact time of collision
- Name, address, license number, insurance carrier and policy number, and registration state and number of the other driver
- The names and addresses of all parties who may have witnessed the collision as well as those of the persons in the other vehicle
- The name of the police officer who arrives to the scene
- A description of exact damages
- A description of exact injuries
If you are involved in an accident with someone who has no car insurance in Rhode Island, contact the Financial Responsibility Unit at the Division of Motor Vehicles at 401-462-5709.
When all of your information has been received, your insurance company will investigate your claim within 30 days. If your claim is delayed, the insurance company must notify you every 30 days until it is processed. In the event that your claim is denied, your insurance company will notify you in writing. If another driver was at fault for your collision, your insurance company may also seek subrogation. Your insurance will cover the costs of any medical or repair bills you had, but your insurance will then reach out to the at-fault driver’s insurance company for compensation. During this process, you should provide your insurance company with full cooperation to ensure that this process goes smoothly. If you intend to settle with the at-fault driver or their insurance company, be sure to notify your insurance company.
Insurance for High-Risk Drivers
Rhode Island uses the tort system when settling losses caused by auto accidents, which means that drivers do not buy insurance to directly protect themselves, but to protect other drivers in the event of injury or damage caused by an accident. Therefore the higher your driving risk, the higher your insurance premium. High-risk candidates include drivers with poor driving habits or risky behavior, such as operating a vehicle while intoxicated, reckless driving, speeding, or multiple citations for various violations.
You may be asked to provide a SR-22 form by the Rhode Island DMV Department of Financial Responsibility if you are caught driving without insurance. Your insurance company should do this for you, but not all companies provide this service. With time, you can mend your driving record to qualify for some of the best auto insurance rates in Rhode Island, but until then, for more insurance about SR-22 forms, you should contact:
State of Rhode Island Department of Transportation
100 Main Street
Pawtucket, RI 02860
The Rhode Island State Department of Business Regulation Division of Insurance Regulation can provide you with additional assistance and information about auto insurance. Before any rate is implemented by your insurance company, it must be submitted to the Insurance Division for approval. The Insurance Division’s staff is assisted by actuaries (ratemaking experts) and in certain instances, public hearings may be conducted by the Attorney General’s Office prior to rate approval. If you have any problems, you can call the Division of Insurance at (401)462-9520.