While the smallest state in the U.S., in 2011, Rhode Island ranks 13th in the country’s most expensive states for auto insurance premiums. Rhode Islanders pay an annual average auto insurance premium of $1747.
An interesting fact relating to auto insurance in the Ocean State is that it became in 2010, the first state in the nation to pass airbag theft legislation. Unknown to many, stealing vehicle airbags and re-selling them has become a serious enough problem that Rhode Island legislators decided they needed to do something about it.
In the state of Rhode Island, it is a criminal act to steal airbags and/or re-sell them. Rhode Island auto repair shops and collision centers are legally required to keep fastidious records of each site where a replacement airbag has been purchased for use in repairing a car or truck.
Auto insurance coverage in Rhode Island
When registering your vehicle in Ocean State, it is mandatory for motorists to show proof of the required minimum Rhode Island car insurance.
The required minimum auto insurance liability limits are:
- $25,000 – bodily injury, per person
- $50,000 – bodily injury, per accident
- $25,000 – property damage
In the case of a car accident, liability car insurance coverage pays for any bodily injury damages or physical property damages a motorist causes to another.
This coverage protects you from the claims of another for medical costs, loss of pay and pain and suffering, in addition to the claims for property damage such as the cost of replacing an automobile.
Given Rhode Island’s bodily injury minimums and the skyrocketing costs of medical expenses, the high expenses involved in vehicle repair, the costs of being involved in a potential car accident could far exceed the coverage that the state’s minimum auto liability might cover. All expenses incurred above the liability limit would come out of your pocket.
Is that something you can afford?
According to Rhode Island auto insurance laws, it is also mandatory to carry Uninsured Motorist (UM) insurance coverage. Rhode Islanders are permitted to reject UM coverage in the event that they decide only to buy the legal minimum limits of liability insurance.
Be an astute consumer. Know what your auto insurance policy covers. Consider the fact that there may be a substantial number of motorists on Rhode Island roads driving without insurance. If a driver without auto insurance causes an accident that injures you or damages your vehicle, or if that driver flees the scene of an accident, you may be left in a very vulnerable financial position.
It pays to shop for Rhode Island auto insurance
While your premium costs increase with additional coverage, the costs of being inadequately protected in the case of a car crash could cost thousands more.
Consider purchasing higher limits to fully protect yourself, your assets and the members of your household.
If you feel you cannot afford adequate coverage, investigate auto insurance premium costs with a number of Rhode Island licensed agents and companies. Auto insurance rates vary widely. With careful shopping, if you have a good driving record, it is very possible to find affordable auto insurance.
Shopping for Rhode Island auto insurance discounts
- Discount for insuring several vehicles
- Discount for any 55+ drivers in the household for completing a safe drivers course
- Good student discount
- Advanced degree discount
- Anti-theft and safety devices
- Low mileage discount or participating in a carpool
What factors play a role in your Rhode Island auto insurance rates?
- Your driving record
- Household members
- Whether or not your vehicle is garaged
- Location – urbanites pay higher auto insurance premiums
- Age and gender
- Marital status – married people
- Your history of insurance coverage
- The mileage you drive your vehicle
- Age, type and value of the car you drive
- Credit history
Rhode Island requirement to report an accident
Any Rhode Islander operating a motor vehicle in their home state who is involved in a car crash resulting in damages or injuries over and above $1,000, must file a report of the crash within 21 days to Rhode Island’s Department of Motor Vehicles. A police report is also required, and the police report alone is not sufficient to meet this Rhode Island state law.
Any resident who does not submit this accident report within the required time period risks having their driver’s license suspended.
Average annual insurance premium cost
The 2011 average annual auto insurance premium cost for Rhode Islanders is $1,747, significantly higher than the national average of $1,561.
Rhode Island Department of Bureau Regulation, Insurance Division