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Rhode Island Auto Insurance [Rates + Cheap Coverage Guide]

Road MilesMiles Driven: 7,677 millions
Miles of Roadway: 6,027
VehiclesRegistered: 832,892
Thefts: 1,833
Most Popular Vehicle in Rhode IslandToyota RAV4
Total Driving Related DeathsSpeeding-Related Fatalities: 41
DUI Fatalities: 34
Full Coverage Average Premiums (Annual)Liability: $759.80
Collision: $411.51
Comprehensive: $132.19
Full Coverage: $1,303.50
Cheapest ProviderState Farm
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Rhode Island, the ‘Ocean State,’ maybe the smallest by area but on average it has the sixth-highest insurance premiums in the country. Therefore, it is imperative that you plan and shop for auto insurance coverage that is not only cheap but provides you adequate coverage.

We understand it can be intimidating researching different resources and therefore we have put together this comprehensive guide on the Rhode Island auto insurance.h

In this guide, we will arm you with all the essential information on the auto insurance market in your state. Bookmark this guide for reference as we will be covering different types of auto insurance coverage, rates by city and ZIP code, insurance providers, laws, and much more.

You can start saving by comparing rates from different insurance companies now. Enter your ZIP code into our FREE comparison tool!

Table of Contents

Rhode Island Auto Insurance Coverage and Rates

Look, we get it. Insurance in Rhode Island is expensive.

RI is the second densest state in the country, and this means the chance of getting into an accident increases substantially. Drive Safe!

Because of the dangers on the road, the state law in Rhody requires you to carry a minimum amount of coverage, so it would help if you grasp the basics about different types of coverage and factors that influence rates in your state.

To help you purchase the best coverage for your automobile, we have put together important information about the minimum liability coverage requirement, premium rates for different personal factors, etc.

Rhode Island Minimum Coverage

Rhode Island is an ‘at-fault’ state with Pure Comparative Negligence (PCN), which means that the driver who caused the accident is responsible for damage to other drivers to the extent of his/her fault. Take a look at how Rhode Island’s minimum coverage lines up with other states.

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For example, if you are driving in a lane and all of a sudden the car beside you merges into your lane without any indication and hits you – he/she will be at 100 percent fault. However, if you were overspeeding, then the other driver can hold you partially responsible for the accident. Based on the percentage of fault in the accident, your accident settlement may be reduced.

It is illegal to drive without following the state minimums for car insurance in Rhode Island. If you are caught driving without the minimum insurance in Rhode Island, you could lose your driving permit and may be fined under the law. To drive on the roads, you have to obtain the minimum level of liability coverage:

Rhode Island Minimum Coverage
Coverage TypeMinimum Requirements
Bodily Injury Liability$25,000 limit per person/$50,000 limit per accident
Property Damage Liability$25,000 limit
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist$25,000 limit per person/$50,000 limit per accident
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But what is liability coverage?

The minimum liability coverage is designed to protect you from financial implications if you are at-fault for property damage or bodily injury in an accident.

Bodily injury liability helps cover the costs, such as emergency aid, medical expenses, and funeral expenses, related to the injury/death of a pedestrian or driver and passengers in the other car due to your fault.

Remember, bodily injury liability doesn’t provide cover for medical costs that you might incur on yourself or your co-passengers.

Much like bodily injury liability, property damage liability helps you cover the expenses related to someone’s property damage in case the accident is your fault. It also provides cover for expenditure related to damage to structures (home/stores, etc.) and vehicle repair.

Take a look at the video to learn about liability coverage:

It is your responsibility to do a cost-benefit analysis to decide if it’s worth saving on the additional premium compared to the financial risk that you may be vulnerable to in case of an accident.

For instance, if you have substantial assets, it is prudent to purchase liability coverage higher than the state minimum so that you aren’t required to expend your assets to settle damages.

That was about the third-party injuries in an accident. It’s important to note that the state minimum liability coverage doesn’t cover the medical injuries you or your co-passengers sustain in an accident.

You might have to bear the cost out-of-pocket. In this case, you might want to opt for medical payments coverage that will kick in regardless of who is at fault.

Experts at CBS suggest that you should match the liability coverage to the value of your net worth to protect yourself against lawsuits.

Let us now look at how much fellow Rhode Islanders spend on auto insurance.

Premiums As A Percentage of Income

Rhode Islanders have to shell out a large share of their disposable income towards auto insurance compared to their neighbors in Connecticut and Massachusetts. If you are in RI, you may pay 2.95 percent of your annual disposable income towards an auto insurance premium.

Premiums as Percentage of Income in RI CT and MA
Rhode Island2.95%2.94%2.83%
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In 2014, the annual disposable income in Rhode Island was $42,585, while the full coverage annual premium was $1,257. From 2012, the average premium for Rhode Islanders has been steadily increasing and amounted to 2.95 percent of the disposable income in 2014.

Premiums as Percentage of Income in Rhode Island
Full Coverage Premiums (Annual)$1,257.40$1,210.55$1,176.05
Personal Disposable Income (Annual)$42,585.00$41,139.00$41,492.00
Percentage of Income2.95%2.94%2.83%
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Average Monthly Auto Insurance Rates in RI (Liability, Collision, Comprehensive)

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Full auto insurance coverage includes liability cover, along with collision and comprehensive coverage. Below is the average cost of each along with the national average:

The average annual premium for liability coverage in Rhode Island is $720 while the national average is only $516. The premiums for collision and comprehensive coverage is comparable to the national average at $377 and $122 respectively.

To save money on premiums, The Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation recommends that you shop around and get quotes from multiple insurance providers. Our FREE tool can help you get quotes from various insurance companies for a convenient comparative shopping experience.

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You can take the following steps to save on premiums:

  • Opt to have multiple vehicles on the same policy
  • Optimize the deductible – higher deductible will help reduce the premium rates
  • Complete a certified driving course for a discount
  • Teenagers can get a discount if they can earn B average or better grades
  • Safety equipment such as ABS, parking sensor, Anti-theft alarm
  • And lastly, aim to reduce your mileage

Additional Liability Coverage in Rhode Island

Loss Ratio for Rhode Island
Loss Ratio2014 - RI2014 - US2013 - RI2013 - US2012 - RI2012 - US
Medical Payments97.80%74.07%100.51%76.88%99.41%76.09%
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist63.76%67.36%64.17%67.26%69.69%67.59%
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To answer questions such as if the premium is expected to increase or if the insurance provider is paying claims, we can look at the loss ratio.

What is the loss ratio? Why is it essential and more importantly, why you should know about it?

Definition: Loss Ratio is the incurred losses as a percentage to earned premiums. In other words, an insurance company’s loss ratio is the total claims it serviced compared to total premiums earned expressed as a percentage. Take a look at the following video to understand the concept better:

If the loss ratio of company A is very high compared to the average, it could mean that the premium might increase in the future. However, if the loss ratio of company B is low compared to the norm, then it could mean that the company isn’t paying claims.

Medical Payment: Medical payment is an add on coverage that provides medical insurance (plus coverage for funeral expenses), for you or your co-passengers in the event of an accident regardless of fault.

Tip: Medical Payment Coverage is also applicable if you are hit as a pedestrian by a vehicle.

The MedPay coverage might be relevant even if you have medical insurance as some medical policies may not have cover for medical expenses sustained during a car accident.

Also, it might help pay the deductible portion of your health insurance in case of a car accident. Please check with your health insurer to know about the inclusions and exclusions before making a decision.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage: Over 15 percent of drivers in Rhode Island are uninsured, making it the 13th worst state in terms of uninsured drivers. RI requires you to purchase a minimum coverage of $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident for uninsured/underinsured insurance.

This coverage is, however, not mandatory and may be declined by signing a waiver form, but it is prudent to maintain coverage given the high number of uninsured motorists in the state.

But what is uninsured motorist coverage? Take a look at the video for a brief overview:

Add-ons, Endorsements, and Riders

Thus far, we have discussed various types of coverage, but there are a few add-ons and riders that you can avail for your auto insurance policy. Here’s the list of the various add-ons and riders:

  • Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP)
  • Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP)
  • Rental Reimbursement
  • Emergency Roadside Assistance
  • Mechanical Breakdown Insurance
  • Non-Owner Auto Insurance
  • Modified Auto Insurance Coverage
  • Classic Auto Insurance

Average Auto Insurance Rates by Age & Gender in RI

CompanySingle 17-year old female Annual RateSingle 17-year old male Annual RateSingle 25-year old female Annual RateSingle 25-year old male Annual RateMarried 35-year old female Annual RateMarried 35-year old male Annual RateMarried 60-year old female Annual RateMarried 60-year old male Annual Rate
Allstate F&C$6,951.89$8,211.70$4,181.73$4,314.24$3,991.81$3,919.97$3,965.46$4,138.80
Geico General$10,460.06$13,683.07$3,471.31$3,624.88$3,352.25$3,435.27$3,435.27$3,358.93
Liberty Mutual Fire Ins Co$9,610.11$15,000.77$3,967.26$5,397.88$3,967.26$3,967.26$3,781.20$3,781.20
Nationwide Mutual$7,505.22$9,664.73$3,412.17$3,709.14$2,870.60$2,916.99$2,522.14$2,676.05
Progressive Direct$11,882.34$13,361.63$3,245.10$3,307.02$2,657.85$2,523.06$2,442.97$2,428.75
State Farm Mutual Auto$4,204.16$5,604.41$1,680.96$2,003.27$1,529.96$1,529.96$1,349.64$1,349.64
Travelers Home & Marine Ins Co$17,367.38$27,457.38$1,729.94$1,922.42$1,681.61$1,701.83$1,712.33$1,702.69
USAA CIC$9,649.96$11,028.79$2,842.49$2,983.23$2,081.24$2,057.69$1,994.32$1,954.09
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Premiums are generally high when you are a teenager, especially if you are a male. However, with age, insurance companies become gender-neutral when it comes to premium rates.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Ratesby Demographics in Rhode Island
CompaniesMarried 60-year-old femaleMarried 60-year-old maleMarried 35-year-old femaleMarried 35-year-old maleSingle 25-year-old femaleSingle 25-year-old maleSingle 17-year-old femaleSingle 17-year-old male
Liberty Mutual$3,781.20$3,781.20$3,967.26$3,967.26$3,967.26$5,397.88$9,610.11$15,000.77
State FarmNANANANANA$2,003.27$4,204.16$5,604.41
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Irrespective of gender and age, you should always shop around for the best discount on premium rates. For example, a 17-year-old single male can potentially save $6,789 in premium rates by switching from Liberty Mutual to Allstate.

Cheapest Rates by ZIP Code

25 ZIP Codes With the Cheapest Annual Average Auto Insurance Rates in Rhode Island
CityZip codeAverage Annual RateAllstateGeicoLiberty MutualNationwideProgressiveState FarmTravelersUSAA
LITTLE COMPTON02837$4,027.83$4,018.83$3,886.67$5,236.06$3,731.00$4,480.85$2,034.57$5,473.51$3,361.12
BLOCK ISLAND02807$4,125.16$4,204.43$4,129.79$5,749.70$3,417.05$3,999.24$2,084.74$5,831.01$3,585.36
PRUDENCE ISLAND02872$4,222.09$4,142.01$3,886.67$5,236.06$4,036.99$5,064.86$2,034.57$5,886.01$3,489.60
WOOD RIVER JUNCTION02894$4,240.73$4,280.51$4,534.73$5,749.70$3,813.30$3,999.24$2,084.74$5,416.44$4,047.14
HOPE VALLEY02832$4,288.65$4,322.23$4,534.73$5,749.70$3,760.68$3,999.24$2,084.74$5,817.48$4,040.43
WEST KINGSTON02892$4,362.34$4,407.99$4,953.55$5,512.74$3,712.07$3,999.24$2,084.74$6,393.60$3,834.82
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A quick browse through the data suggests that State Farm is the cheapest option in a slew of ZIP codes. It would be prudent to get a quote from State Farm for your specific case.

25 ZIP Codes With the Most Expensive Annual Average Auto Insurance Rates in Rhode Island
CityZip codeAverage Annual RateAllstateGeicoLiberty MutualNationwideProgressiveState FarmTravelersUSAA
NORTH PROVIDENCE02911$6,341.33$5,770.56$7,510.66$7,555.06$5,736.03$6,818.86$2,733.99$9,171.84$5,433.62
CENTRAL FALLS02863$5,975.22$5,711.10$7,660.12$6,431.29$5,352.61$6,633.86$2,733.99$8,213.51$5,065.26
EAST PROVIDENCE02914$5,580.28$5,306.99$6,040.54$6,431.29$4,824.04$7,082.60$2,733.99$7,548.79$4,674.02
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Even in the most expensive ZIP codes, State Farm has the lowest rates compared to the other companies.

25 Most Expensive Cities by Auto Insurance Rates in Rhode Island
RankCityZIP codeGrand TotalCompared to Average (+/-)
7NORTH PROVIDENCE02911$6,341.33$1,337.97
15CENTRAL FALLS02863$5,975.22$971.86
17EAST PROVIDENCE02914$5,580.28$576.92
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As the statewide average premium is $5,003.36, you can see how much the premiums deviate for your ZIP code.

25 Least Expensive Cities by Auto Insurance Rates in Rhode Island
RankCityZIP codeGrand TotalCompared to Average (+/-)
5LITTLE COMPTON02837$4,027.83-$975.53
8BLOCK ISLAND02807$4,125.16-$878.20
10PRUDENCE ISLAND02872$4,222.10-$781.26
11WOOD RIVER JUNCTION02894$4,240.72-$762.64
18HOPE VALLEY02832$4,288.65-$714.71
23WEST KINGSTON02892$4,362.34-$641.02

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Best Auto Insurance Companies in Rhode Island

People who choose their insurance product wisely follow these two steps:

First, they choose a reputed insurance company with good financial health.

Second, they optimize the options in their policy for their specific case.

You can see how rates vary by carrier vs the overall state average.

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But you’re probably wondering:

“How do I choose my insurance provider?” or “Should I go with the cheapest quote in my ZIP code?”

Insurance is a product that should help you avoid financial loss. You need to consider the financial health, reputation, credit rating, loss ratio, etc. before deciding on your insurance company.

In the following section, we will help you figure out the best possible insurance provider by comparing credit ratings, reviews, loss ratio, and much more.

Financial Ratings of the Leading Insurance Companies in Rhode Island

To start with, let’s look at the financial ratings of the large insurance companies in Rhode Island.

Why is it important?

A sound financial rating means that the company has the financial strength to meet future claim settlement obligations. Choosing companies with a larger market value will generally mean greater financial security for you since a company will be more willing to pay out a claim.

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We have provided the AM Best credit ratings of the top insurance companies in Rhode Island. AM Best is one of the most reputed credit rating agencies in the insurance industry. Here’s a quick read to understand how AM Best auto insurance ratings work.

AM Best Rating in Rhode Island
CompanyAM Best RatingLoss Ratio
Progressive GroupA+65.71%
Allstate Insurance GroupA+62.08%
Amica Mutual GroupA+63.36%
Liberty Mutual GroupA65.17%
USAA GroupA++78.38%
Metropolitan GroupA57.15%
Nationwide Corp GroupA+63.34%
Mapfre Insurance GroupA63.64%
Travelers GroupA++54.69%
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Customer Satisfaction Ratings of Auto Insurance Companies in Rhode Island

Customer reviews can provide an answer to a lot of our questions concerning the quality of service, response time, ease of claim settlement, etc.

We are providing a customer satisfaction rating from J.D. Power, which is a globally reputed automotive review and rating agency.

ProviderRankingJ.D. Power Circle Rating™
Amica Mutual8795
Liberty Mutual8093
MAPFRE Insurance8113
Plymouth Rock Assurance8042
Safety Insurance8133
State Farm8384
The Hanover7952
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As per the 2018 J.D. Power U.S. Auto Insurance Study, Amica Mutual, State Farm, and Allstate are the highest rated auto insurance companies in the New England region.

Companies with Most Complaints in Rhode Island

In the competitive insurance market, companies are always trying to improve their service quality to retain customers. However, in the case of dissatisfaction, you can file a complaint against the insurer with your state insurance department. To register a complaint against your auto insurer in Rhode Island, you can use this online form.

A complaint filed against your auto insurer will increase the complaints ratio.

Complaints ratio is the number of complaints received per 100,000 policies written and a high ratio may mean that the service quality of the auto insurer is not satisfactory.

Here’s a list of top insurers in Rhode Island and the respective complaints data:

Rhode Island Insurance Complaints Data
Company NameComplaints RatioTotal Complaints
Progressive Group0.75120
Allstate Insurance Group0.5163
Amica Mutual Group0.4652
Liberty Mutual Group5.95222
USAA Group0.74296
Metropolitan Group1.370
Nationwide Corp Group0.2825
Mapfre Insurance Group6.2527
Travelers Group0.092
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Cheapest Auto Insurance Companies in Rhode Island

CompanyAverageCompared to State Average
Allstate F&C$4,959.45-$43.91
Geico General$5,602.63$599.27
Liberty Mutual Fire Ins Co$6,184.12$1,180.76
Nationwide Mutual$4,409.63-$593.73
Progressive Direct$5,231.09$227.73
State Farm Mutual Auto$2,406.50-$2,596.85
Travelers Home & Marine Ins Co$6,909.45$1,906.09
USAA CIC$4,323.98-$679.38
Total Average$5,003.36$0
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We see that State Farm is approximately 107 percent cheaper than the state average. You can now combine rate, review, financial strength, and other data to shortlist auto insurance companies for your policy search.

Start comparison shopping today using our FREE online tool.

Free Auto Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap auto insurance rates.

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Rates by Annual Commute in Rhode Island

Company10 miles commute - 6000 annual mileage25 miles commute - 12000 annual mileage
Liberty Mutual$5,983.25$6,384.99
State Farm$2,333.47$2,479.54
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Insurance companies provide a low mileage discount if you drive less than 25 miles. However, as evident from the table above, the difference in Rhode Island is marginal.

Commute times are not the only factor that affect your rates.

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Rates by Coverage Level in Rhode Island

Premium Rates by Coverage Level in Rhode Island
Liberty Mutual$5,810.12$6,145.16$6,597.08
State Farm$2,277.64$2,402.31$2,539.55
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For higher coverages, State Farm is by far the cheapest option in Rhode Island. State Farm can potentially save more than $4,000 compared to the most expensive option.

Rates by Credit History in Rhode Island

CompanyAnnual Rate with Poor CreditAnnual Rate with Fair CreditAnnual Rate with Good Credit
Liberty Mutual$8,135.91$5,399.61$5,016.84
State Farm$3,232.92$2,184.74$1,801.84
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From the data, it’s evident that State Farm provides the cheapest rate for people with bad or fair credit. However, if you have good credit, you can save nearly $5,000 compared to the most expensive option.

An important factor determining your auto insurance rate is the credit score. Your insurance may be substantially high if you have a bad credit score.

Do you know: As per the 2017 State of Credit Survey conducted by Experian, the average credit score for Rhode Island residents was 687 while the national average was 675.

Rates by Driving Record in Rhode Island

CompanyClean recordWith 1 speeding violationWith 1 accidentWith 1 DUI
Liberty Mutual$5,729.87$5,729.87$6,618.39$6,658.34
State Farm$2,231.90$2,231.90$2,930.32$2,231.90
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Insurance companies may increase premium rates based on your driving record. If you were in an accident where you were at fault or were caught driving under the influence (DUI), then the premium rates can substantially increase. Companies see this as risky behavior that could lead to additional claims in the future.

Still, there are few companies that provide accident forgiveness incentives that may help keep your rates down.

Largest Auto Insurance Companies in Rhode Island

CompanyDirect Premiums WrittenLoss RatioMarket Share
Progressive Group$193,72065.71%21.01%
Allstate Insurance Group$107,25662.08%11.63%
Amica Mutual Group$105,70863.36%11.47%
Liberty Mutual Group$65,12465.17%7.06%
USAA Group$63,85178.38%6.93%
Metropolitan Group$55,07557.15%5.97%
Nationwide Corp Group$52,88163.34%5.74%
Mapfre Insurance Group$42,52363.64%4.61%
Travelers Group$21,85354.69%2.37%
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Number of Auto Insurers in Rhode Island

Type of InsurerCount
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State Laws in Rhode Island

We understand that state laws are extremely complex and tedious to peruse through.

But to purchase the best possible insurance, you need to understand the applicable laws in Rhode Island. By being on the right side of the law, you can avoid traffic violations, and the insurance company may provide a discount for safe driving.

Here we have listed down all the essential rules and regulations that you need to follow while driving in Rhode Island.

Auto Insurance Laws in Rhode Island

The state of Rhode Island implemented the Tort System in 1993 under which you have to buy a ‘liability’ protection that covers other drivers. The Secretary of State usually approves the regulations after the due consultation process.

State laws allow a +/-5 percent flexibility in rate revision to the insurers. If the rate revision is any more than the threshold of 5 percent, they have to seek prior approval from the Department of Business Regulation.

Windshield Coverage Laws in Rhode Island

Rhode Island Windshield Insurance laws don’t require insurance companies to provide cover for windshield damage or no-deductible replacement. However, companies may offer glass protection under comprehensive coverage.

Insurance companies can use aftermarket parts that are equal in kind and quality if the car is older than 30 months. If your vehicle is 30 months old or less, then the insurance company must notify the consumer that they are eligible for OEM parts and get consent from the consumer.

High-Risk Insurance in Rhode Island

If you were convicted for DUI or generally you have accumulated points by violating the traffic rules, you are considered a high-risk driver by insurance companies. The process of getting insurance in the voluntary market might get complicated for you in that situation.

If you are refused coverage in the voluntary market, you can apply for the Rhode Island Automobile Insurance Plan (RIAIP). It is an assigned risk plan that provides insurance coverage to drivers who were denied coverage in the voluntary market.

The policy purchased through RIAIP tends to cost higher than a voluntary program, but the coverage provided is intended to be the same.

To be eligible for the RIAIP, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You will have to attest in the insurance application that you were unsuccessful in searching for insurance in the voluntary market for a minimum of 60 days
  • You must have a valid driver’s license
  • You should have a vehicle registered in Rhode Island

In 2018, Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles stopped accepting SR-22 financial responsibility filings. Instead, the state DMV has asked insurers to adjust the premiums in accordance with the cancellation of financial responsibility filings.

Automobile Insurance Fraud in Rhode Island

Between 2013-17, the property/casualty insurance industry incurred losses amounting to $30 billion per year.

Auto insurance frauds are either hard frauds or soft frauds. Hard frauds include crimes such as claim fabrication or faking an accident. To reduce premium rates, people may commit soft frauds including underestimating mileage, reporting a wrong ZIP code, wrongly claiming garage parking, etc.

Committing Insurance fraud is a crime in Rhode Island, and you may attract severe punishment.

Statute of Limitations in Rhode Island

The statute of limitations in Rhode Island is three years for personal injury claims and 10 years for property damage.

Vehicle Licensing Laws in Rhode Island

It is illegal to drive without a driver’s license in Rhode Island. And, it is required to be in your possession while operating a vehicle. If you drive without a valid driver’s license, you may be cited, arrested, and charged for a misdemeanor offense.

Real ID Implementation in Rhode Island

The Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles started issuing Real ID-compliant licenses in December 2018. The Real ID is an optional program, and there is no additional fee if you apply during your license renewal period. Real ID is required if you want to board a domestic flight and enter a secure federal facility without a valid passport.

You can use the DMV wizard to check if you need a Real ID.

Penalties for Driving without Insurance in Rhode Island

PenaltyFirst OffenseSecond OffenseThird Offense
License, Registration Certificate, Plates Suspension DurationUpto 3 MonthsUpto 6 MonthsUpto 1 Year
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Apart from the penalties, you can also incur a substantial financial burden if you are in an accident and you don’t have insurance.

Teen Driving Laws in Rhode Island

Driver’s EducationMinimum 15 years, 10 monthsComplete a 33-hour driver’s education course certified and approved by the Rhode Island Community CollegeOnly drive a dual-control vehicle with an instructor
Limited Instruction PermitMinimum 16 yearsPass a vision exam pass a test on traffic laws

Parents or guardians also required to attend a short course on driver education
Teen only authorized to drive with an adult in the front seat who is 21 years or older and who has held a driver’s license for at least 5 years
Limited Provisional LicenseMinimum 16 years, 6 monthsTeen must have held the Limited Instruction Permit for a minimum of six months

Have to submit an affidavit signed by parent indicating minimum 50 hours of suprevised driving with a minimum of ten hours of night driving

Pass a driving test
May drive unsupervised except between 1:00AM-5:00AM

In the first 12 months, the teen driver can't have more than one passenger who is younger than 21 years
Full LicenseMinimum 17 yearsA Teen can apply for a full license if the teen has held the Limited Provisional License for minimum 12 months and has no traffic or seat belt violationN/A
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Older Driver License Renewal Procedures in Rhode Island

License renewalProof of Adequate VisionMail or Online Renewal Permitted
2 years for 75 years and older; 5 years for the restRequired for every renewalOnline or in-person
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Driver’s License for New Residents

A new resident of Rhode Island who doesn’t have a valid driver’s license must take the computerized knowledge exam and the road test.

Out-of-country applicants, who are in the country on a visa, must also pass the computerized knowledge exam and the road test at the Cranston DMV headquarters. No other DMV will entertain applications from out-of-country applicants.

Rules of the Road in Rhode Island

It is crucial that you know the driving rules to follow as it not only keeps you safe on the road but also helps you maintain a clean driving record (read: insurance discounts.)

Fault vs. No-Fault

Rhode Island is an ‘at-fault’ state which means that you have to mandatorily buy liability coverage to provide cover for third party injury and damage expenses in the event of an accident where you are at fault.

Seat Belt and Car Seat Laws in Rhode Island

Seat belts are one of the most effective ways to save lives and reduce injuries in crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), seat belts saved around 14,668 lives of vehicle occupants in 2016 alone. Let’s take a look at some of the seat belt laws and facts in Rhode Island.

Lives saved using Seat Belt - National
YearLives Saved,
4 and Younger
Lives Saved,
5 and Older
Additional Lives Who Would Have
Been Saved at 100% Use
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On average, only 78 percent of Rhode Islanders wear seat belts compared to the national average of 86 percent.

Rhode Island follows primary enforcement of seat belt laws and is applicable for all seats. The base fine for the first offense is $40, but additional fees may also apply.

Seat Belt Laws in Rhode Island
LawAgeChild SafetyAdult seat for children
Primary18+Children 2 years and younger or less than 30 pounds should be in a rear-facing child restraint

Children 7 years and younger and less than 57 inches/80 pounds must be in a front-facing child restraint

Children 7 and younger must be in rear seat
Children 7 years and younger that weigh more than 80 pounds/at least 57 inches tall

Age 8-17 are allowed in adult seats with seat belts
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Do you know: Primary seat belt law allows a police officer to stop and ticket someone for not wearing a seat belt.

Keep Right and Move Over Laws in Rhode Island

Drivers must keep in the right lane except overtaking and passing another vehicle. You also have to stay in the right lane if you are proceeding slower than the flow of traffic unless passing another vehicle.

Move over Law: Rhode Island state law requires drivers approaching a stationary emergency vehicle displaying flashlights to move over to the adjacent lane and slow down.

Speed Limits in Rhode Island

Type of Roadmph
Rural Interstates65
Urban Interstates55
Other limited access road55
Other roads55
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Ridesharing Laws in Rhode Island

Rhode Island passed a bill in 2016 regulating ridesharing services such as Uber and Lyft to ply in the state under certain conditions. Some of the salient points of the act are:

  • Drivers opting to drive for ridesharing services have to undertake a national mandatory criminal background check
  • The law has a zero-tolerance policy towards a record of DUI driving, homicide, sexual assault, etc.
  • Uber/Lyft Coverage rates depend on two possible scenarios:
    • The driver is available for rides on the app but is not on a route – $50,000 limit per person and a $100,000 limit per accident along with $25,000 liability coverage for property damage but no collision coverage
    • The driver is en-route to pick up the customer or has picked up the customer – $1 million liability cover but $1,000 deductible in case of Uber or $2,500 deductible in case of Lyft

Geico and Liberty Mutual provide insurance coverage for rideshare drivers in Rhode Island.

Safety Laws in Rhode Island

Driving while being intoxicated is not only dangerous for you and other people on the road, but it also invites harsh penalties from the law enforcement and insurers. Let us look at the laws concerning DWI and distracted driving.

DUI Laws in Rhode Island

Formally called Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) by the state, driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances is considered a severe offense.

The first and second non-injury offense is a misdemeanor, while the third non-injury offense is a felony. Any DUI offense that results in a bodily injury is considered a felony. The DWI charge has a lookback period of five years in Rhode Island.

The lookback period is the period of time that a DWI offense will remain on a driver’s record. Any repeated offense within the five year period will be counted as second or subsequent offense resulting in harsher sanctions.

DWI penalties in Rhode Island
OffenseLicense suspension or revocationImprisonmentFineOther
First60 days - 18 monthsUp to 1 year or 10-60 hours of community service$100-$500 and another $500 for Highway Assessment FundPossible attendance to a treatment program
Second1-2 years10 days - 1 year$400 and another $500 for Highway Assessment FundMandatory alcohol treatment program

Ignition interlock device for 1-2 years
Third2-3 years1-5 years$400-$5000 plus $500 to Highway Assessment FundVehicle may be seized or forfeited

Mandatory treatment program

Ignition interlock device for two years.
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Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws in Rhode Island

The state of Rhode Island has zero-tolerance for THC and metabolites while driving and is punishable under the DWI law.

Zero tolerance: If there is any trace of cannabis in the blood while driving, the driver can be charged under the DWI law.

Distracted Driving Laws in Rhode Island

When electronic devices are all-pervasive in our life, distracted driving due to these devices are a growing problem that can result in death and severe injuries.

It is illegal to use a cell phone or other wireless devices while operating a vehicle. If you are caught holding a phone and talking or texting while driving, you may be fined up to $100.

Driving in Rhode Island

If you own a vehicle in Rhode Island, you will find the data around theft and fatalities in the state relevant. It can help you find out the number of cars stolen and the different causes of road fatalities.

Vehicle Theft in Rhode Island

Make & ModelMost Popular Model YearNumber of Thefts
Honda Accord1997101
Honda Civic199895
Toyota Camry201469
Nissan Maxima200045
Toyota Corolla201440
Nissan Altima201338
Ford Pickup (Full Size)200336
Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee199932
Honda CR-V199927
Toyota Avalon200018
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The most stolen vehicle in Rhode Island is the 1997 Honda Accord.

You can also look at the following data from the FBI for the number of cars stolen in your city.

Top 10 Cities for Vehicle Theft in Rhode Island
CityMotor vehicle theft
Central Falls48
North Providence44
East Providence40
West Warwick27
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Road Fatalities in Rhode Island

Let us now look at the various causes of road fatalities in Rhode Island.

Fatal Crashes by Weather Condition and Light Condition

Weather ConditionDaylightDark, but LightedDarkDawn or DuskOther / UnknownTotal
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Fatalities by county for all crashes in Rhode Island

Bristol County02111
Kent County997917
Newport County85123
Providence County3929262848
Washington County96101114
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Traffic Fatalities in Rhode Island

Road Type2008200920102011201220132014201520162017
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Fatalities by Person Type in Rhode Island

Person TypeCar Type20132014201520162017
OccupantsPassenger Car2917181935
-Light Truck - Pickup43343
-Light Truck - Utility33566
-Light Truck - Van11104
-Light Truck - Other00010
-Large Truck01111
-Other/Unknown Occupants01000
-Total Occupants3726283149
MotorcyclistsTotal Motorcyclists11109411
-Bicyclist and Other Cyclist30022
-Other/Unknown Nonoccupants01000
-Total Nonoccupants171581623
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Fatalities by Crash Type in Rhode Island

Crash Type20132014201520162017
Total Fatalities (All Crashes)6551455183
Single Vehicle4439273657
Involving a Large Truck52128
Involving Speeding1713202341
Involving a Rollover87121111
Involving a Roadway Departure3624232347
Involving an Intersection (or Intersection Related)18107812
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Fatalities Trend for the Counties in Rhode Island

RankingList of Counties20132014201520162017
1Providence County3929262848
2Kent County997917
3Washington County96101114
4Newport County85123
5Bristol County02111
TotalAll Counties6551455183
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Fatalities Involving Speeding by County in Rhode Island

Bristol County01001
Kent County32456
Newport County30112
Providence County97101221
Washington County235511
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Fatalities in Crashes Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver by County in Rhode Island

Bristol County00001
Kent County34256
Newport County51000
Providence County107111118
Washington County445410
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Teen Drinking and Driving in Rhode Island

As per the alcohol-impairment driving statistics from the FBI Uniform Crime Report, law enforcement arrested 11 teens for DUI in 2016.

In 2016, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities for drivers under 21 in Rhode Island were 0.8 deaths per 100,000 population. The national average for 2016 was 1.2 deaths per 100,000 population.

EMS Response Time in Rhode Island

StateAverage Time of Crash to EMS NotificationAverage EMS Notification to EMS ArrivalAverage EMS Arrival at Scene to Hospital ArrivalAverage Time of Crash to Hospital ArrivalTotal Fatal Crashes
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Transportation in Rhode Island

The congestion on I-95 and I-195 affects the residents of the Ocean State. Let us look at the transportation data to understand the reason for the traffic congestion.

Car Ownership in Rhode Island

Households in Rhode Island own two cars on average, which is on par with the national average (as illustrated in grey)

Commute Time in Rhode Island

According to DataUSA, The average commute time in Rhode Island is 23.9 minutes, which is shorter than the average US commute time (25.5 minutes).

The average commute time in Rhode Island is also less than the neighboring states of Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Commuter Transportation in Rhode Island

As per DataUSA, around 80 percent of commuters prefer to drive alone in Rhode Island while only 9.4 percent opt for carpooling.

We hope that after having gone through the guide, you have all the data to make an informed decision on your insurance policy.

Start comparing auto insurance rates now by entering your ZIP code in our FREE tool below.


  1. http://www.dot.ri.gov/projects/HandsFree/
  2. https://ridor.typeform.com/to/epESv8
  3. https://sbs.naic.org/solar-web/pages/public/onlineComplaintForm/onlineComplaintForm.jsf?state=RI&dswid=-6367
  4. https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2018-us-auto-insurance-study
  5. https://dbr.ri.gov/

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