Rhode Island Car Insurance Laws

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Ross Martin

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Ross joined The Zebra as a writer and researcher in 2019. He specializes in writing insurance content to help shoppers make informed decisions.

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Auto insurance requirements in Rhode Island

Auto insurance is required for all Rhode Island drivers. Furthermore, proof of insurance must also be carried while driving. This must be shown at the request of law enforcement officials. Read on to find out more about required and optional car insurance coverage in Rhode Island.

Minimum Liability Coverage: 25/50/25
$25,000 for bodily injury per person
$50,000 bodily injury per accident
$25,000 property damage per accident

The above limits are only those mandated by the state. Be aware that your lender or leasing company could require additional coverage to protect the vehicle against physical damage. This is commonly known as full coverage.

Liability coverage in Rhode Island

Liability coverage is legally required in Rhode Island. This coverage type pays for bodily injuries and property damage of those that you harm when you are at-fault in an accident. It will also pay for the injured party’s lost wages and pain and suffering. It’s important to remember that your liability coverage never pays for your injuries or for any damages to your own property.


Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage in RI

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is not required in Rhode Island, but you will likely have to refuse this coverage in writing when buying your policy. This type of coverage protects you in the event you are injured by a driver who cannot pay for your medical expenses due to a lack of sufficient coverage. 

What are state-mandated car insurance limits in Rhode Island?

An insurance limit is the total amount that your insurance company will pay in the event of a claim. Liability coverage limits are determined by each individual state and reflect the lowest amount of coverage that you can carry and still be considered a legal driver. These limits can be increased for a slight increase in your premium. States normally split the limits into three categories: bodily injury per personbodily injury per accident, and property damage. In Rhode Island, the minimum is listed as 25/50/25 and explained below:

  • $25,000 in bodily injury coverage per person is the maximum dollar amount that will be paid for a single person that you injure in an auto accident.
  • $50,000 in bodily injury coverage per accident is the maximum dollar amount that will be paid for all injuries that you cause in an accident in which more than one person is hurt.
  • $25,000 in property damage per accident is the total dollar amount that will be paid by your insurer for damages that you cause in an accident.

Do Rhode Island’s required insurance minimums provide enough coverage?

Rhode Island’s car insurance minimums are roughly average when compared to most other states. However, carrying the bare minimum coverage doesn’t mean that you are fully protected. Liability limits can be reached quite quickly with even moderate injuries. This is especially true if you injure multiple people. Furthermore, the $25,000 property damage limit is just shy of the average cost of a new vehicle. As such, if you want to ensure that you are properly covered, it’s recommended that you increase these limits. 

Furthermore, Rhode Island requires no coverage for your own vehicle. If you wanted your own vehicle to be protected, you would need to add extra coverage options, such as comprehensive or collision coverage as discussed later in this article. 

Rhode Island’s penalties for driving without proof of insurance

If you are found guilty of driving with no insurance in Rhode Island, you can expect the following penalties to apply:

First offense:

  • A fine of at least $100 and up to $500
  • Suspension of license/registration up to three months
  • Reinstatement fee between $30 and $50
  • Filing of an SR-22 certificate

Second offense:

  • A fine of $500
  • Suspension of license/registration for up to six months
  • Reinstatement fee between $30 and $50
  • Filing of an SR-22 certificate

Third or subsequent offenses (civil violation):

  • A fine of $1,000
  • Suspension of license/registration for up to one year
  • Reinstatement fee between $30 and $50
  • Filing of an SR-22 certificate[1]

Optional car insurance coverage in Rhode Island

Rhode Island law requires liability coverage only. However, most insurance carriers offer a number of additional coverage options that can help offer more protection. Below are some of the more common options available:

  • Comprehensive: This coverage pays for damages to your vehicle that occur in most non-collision circumstances, covering perils such as theft and damage related to weather events. It also pays for damages resulting from hitting an animal.
  • Collision: This coverage pays for damages that result from a collision with another vehicle or stationary object. 
  • Loan/Lease Payoff: Often referred to as gap coverage, this coverage pays the difference between what your car’s actual cash value. This can help in the event that you owe more than your car is actually worth. 
  • Medical Payments: This coverage goes towards paying for the medical expenses of you and those in your vehicle after an accident. It is able to be used regardless of fault. 
  • Rental Car Reimbursement: If your car is rendered undrivable, this coverage can help pay for a rental car until yours can be fixed. 
  • Roadside Assistance: Many insurance companies offer some form of roadside assistance that can help with things such as flat tires, dead batteries, and towing expenses. 
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: This coverage pays for your injuries should you be harmed by a driver who lacks coverage. 

What is a CARCO inspection? 

A CARCO inspection is an independent inspection that verifies not only the existence of your vehicle, but its accessories, options, physical condition, and mileage. Photos are taken of your vehicle and a report is then produced and forwarded to your insurance company. The state of Rhode Island mandates that vehicles must have such an inspection in order to carry certain insurance coverages such as comprehensive and collision. The inspection usually takes no longer than 15 minutes. 

Do I have to pay for a CARCO inspection?

No, these inspections do not require a fee. 

What paperwork is required? 

You are not required to bring any paperwork, though you must provide the name of your insurer. Any relevant documents are welcomed, but not required. 

Where do I go for a CARCO inspection?

You’ll have to find a location near you and set up an appointment. Follow this link to find a location in your area. 

Why adhering to Rhode Island’s car insurance requirements is important

Not only is carrying car insurance in Rhode Island mandatory, but it’s a good way to protect yourself and your assets. Adding coverage or increasing your current limits is recommended to ensure that you are well protected. However, if you’re worried about an increase in your premiums, it may be time to shop for cheaper coverage. The Zebra can help you see side-by-side insurance quotes from the nation’s top insurance companies. Simply enter your ZIP below to get started. 

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About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance editorial content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.