Driving without insurance in Rhode Island

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If you own a registered vehicle in Rhode Island, car insurance is legally required. Without auto insurance, you could face significant consequences, including hefty fines and restricted driving privileges. Whether you currently live in Rhode Island or are planning a move to the Ocean State, it is important to understand car insurance laws in Rhode Island so you can protect yourself financially and legally.

Minimum insurance required in Rhode Island

Drivers in Rhode Island must carry at least 25/50/25 personal liability insurance, which includes bodily injury liability coverage and property damage coverage. If you cause an accident, bodily injury liability coverage will pay for the other driver’s medical expenses up to your policy limits, and property damage coverage will cover the cost of their vehicle repairs up to your policy limits.

Here is a breakdown of the required coverage amounts:

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability coverage per accident
  • $25,000 in property damage coverage per accident

When you purchase a minimum coverage policy in Rhode Island, you will also be offered uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance. However, you are allowed to decline this coverage as long as you have satisfied the other minimum insurance coverage limits required by state law.

Penalties for driving without insurance in Rhode Island

Driving without car insurance in Rhode Island is illegal, and you will face the consequences if you get caught. For a first offense, drivers will receive a fine between $100 and $500. After two or more offenses, the fine increases to a minimum of $500. You will also lose your driving privileges and may need to pay a license reinstatement fee. In Rhode Island, violations for driving without insurance do not require any jail time or an SR-22 insurance certificate.

Fees from Rhode Island’s online insurance verification system

Rhode Island is one of several states that uses an online verification system to catch drivers who do not have car insurance.

The Rhode Island Insurance Verification System (RIIVS) is a database of registered vehicles and the vehicle’s insurance policy information. If a car’s VIN does not match an insurance policy number for four consecutive weeks, the driver receives a notice in the mail. The driver must present updated insurance information, or they will be unable to renew their registration.

If the driver does not respond to the letter within 10 days, their registration could be revoked. In this case, there is a required fee of $252.50 to have the registration reinstated.

Getting into an accident without insurance

Driving without insurance is a big risk, and if you cause an accident, it is likely to be expensive.

If you hit another person’s vehicle and do not have insurance, you will be fully responsible for compensating the other driver for their medical expenses and vehicle repairs. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the average cost of an accident with property damage only costs $4,600. With a possible injury, the cost rises to $23,400. You could also get sued by the other driver, which could also make you responsible for legal fees.

Even if you get hit by another driver, there are still consequences for not having insurance. First, there is no guarantee that the other driver’s insurance will cover the full extent of your losses, so you could end up paying out-of-pocket. When you file the claim, you will have to disclose that you do not have insurance, which means you could subject yourself to the state-mandated fines for being uninsured.

Frequently asked questions

What happens if you provide false insurance information?

Driving without car insurance is illegal, and so is providing false insurance information. If you provide fraudulent policy information or fake proof of insurance, you will likely face serious legal consequences. In Rhode Island, this can include fines as well as jail time. Insurance fraud laws are different in every state. But no matter where you are driving, you should expect to pay a fine and potentially have your license suspended. The penalties could be more severe depending on your driving record and insurance history.

How much is car insurance in Rhode Island?

The average cost of car insurance in Rhode Island is $749 per year for a minimum coverage policy and $2,018 per year for a full coverage policy. Car insurance in Rhode Island is much more expensive than average. For comparison, the average cost of car insurance in the United States is $1,674 per year for full coverage. Your actual rates will vary, as car insurance premiums are based on several factors, including the type of vehicle, what ZIP code it is kept in, and the insured person’s driving history.

How can I get cheap car insurance in Rhode Island?

There are many ways to get cheap car insurance in Rhode Island. Drivers can save money on their car insurance policy by taking advantage of discounts, choosing a cheap car insurance company, or taking advantage of discounts such as paying their annual premium in full and bundling multiple insurance policies with the same insurance company to name a few.

What is the best car insurance company in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island drivers have dozens of options for car insurance, and the best insurance company will be different for everyone based on their needs. Based on Bankrate’s study in the state, some of Rhode Island’s best car insurance companies are USAA, Travelers, Geico, and Amica. However, it is a good idea to shop around and compare providers using your personal criteria and then get multiple quotes to see which company can offer you the lowest rate.

Written by
Elizabeth Rivelli
Insurance Contributor
Elizabeth has two years of experience writing for insurance domains such as Bankrate.com, The Simple Dollar, Coverage.com and NextAdvisor, among others. In addition to auto insurance, Elizabeth regularly writes about home insurance, renters insurance and life insurance. She also covers industry trends and general insurance education.
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Insurance Editor