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Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Rhode Island

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In the State of Rhode Island, driving without proof of financial security is a misdemeanor punishable by law. Motorists who do not comply can face fines of up to $1,000, and license suspension up to 12 months. After they complete their sentence, these motorists will be closely monitored for compliance for at least the next four years.

Type of PenaltyFirst OffenseSecond OffenseThird and Subsequemt Offenses
Fines $100 to $500 $500 $1,000
License, Registration Certificate, Plates Suspension 3 months  6 months  1 year 
Administrative Reinstatement Fee $30
License Reinstatement Fee $151.5
Registration Reinstatement Fee $251.5
Insurance Verification Reinstatement Fee (if applicable) $251.5
SR-22 1 year

Penalties for Driving Uninsured in Rhode Island

The Motor Vehicles Reparations Act was initiated to make sure Rhode Island motorists are financially responsible when they drive. The law requires you to carry liability coverage in the state's minimum required 25/50/25 limits in the form of your insurance binder, your actual policy, or an endorsement or certificate of insurance printed on your carrier’s letterhead. If you are unable to produce any of these acceptable proofs of insurance at a traffic stop, during a collision investigation, or after receiving a Notice of Verification from the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), you will bear the following penalties:

First Offense

The first time you fail to produce proof of insurance will result in a financial sentence between $100 and $500. You will also stand to lose your registration and have your license suspended for three months. 

The good news is that after your citation, Rhode Island offers you a grace period of 10 days to come to court to produce a valid proof of insurance. If you manage to prove that your policy has been active at the time you were cited for non-compliance, your license suspension and registration revocation will be dismissed.

Second Offense

For a second offense against the state’s insurance law, you will be charged $500 in fines, and your driving privileges will be shelved for six months.

Third and Subsequent Offenses

If the offense is repeated for a third time or more, you would have committed a civil violation. This time, you will be penalized with a $1,000 fine and a driving privilege suspension of 12 months.

Driving without Insurance in an Accident 

The consequence of driving without insurance is especially grave in Rhode Island when you get into a serious accident. Whenever you are involved in a car accident in Rhode Island that causes either any sort of bodily harm to any person, or property damage that could be more than $1,000 in total, you are expected to file an accident report, along with related information about your insurance status, with the DMV. If you were uninsured at the time the accident happen, the DMV will:

  1. Order the impoundment of your car’s registration certificate and registration plates. You should receive a notice by mail that orders you to turn in your certificate and plates to the administrator of the DMV within 10 days.
  2. Order the suspension of your driver’s license.
  3. Make this record of insurance violation a permanent record of yours, and put you on the list of compliance monitoring (see Rhode Island’s Insurance Verification Program)

The duration of your driving privilege suspension and registration impoundment in this case is still based upon the number of previous offenses. Note that, in Rhode Island, you do have the right to request for a hearing regarding your uninsured conviction. However, the request for hearing will not delay the above orders from taking effect when the DMV administer determines.

Rhode Island’s Insurance Verification Program

If, at one point, your driving privileges have been suspended for violating the insurance law, know that you are high on the list of Rhode Island‘s insurance verification program. To enforce the mandatory insurance law, the DMV selects, from among all of its registered vehicles, a random sample of cars and sends out requests to verify their registration owners’ insurance status. However, any Rhode Island motorists who have record of registration suspension due to insurance violation will be kept in a special pool. 

The verification process goes as such: when you receive a request from the DMV, you have 20 days to respond with proper proof of insurance. Failing to respond within that time frame will lead to registration revocation, which ultimately costs you $251 for the Insurance Verification Resinstatement fee. Depending on what is asked for in the request, you may need to provide the name of your car insurer, policy numbers, expiration of your coverage, and etc. Any found violation of the insurance law through this process will be treated in the same fashion as motorists who are caught driving uninsured (see Penalties for Driving Uninsured in Rhode Island).

Reinstating your Driving Privileges

The State of Rhode Island gives you the opportunity to have your license suspension period shortened and your registration revocation terminated provided that you are able to satisfy all court requirements. This includes submitting an active proof of insurance and an SR-22 filed by your insurer with the DMV, and receipts proving that you have settled the $30 administrative reinstatement fee. On top of that, there are the costly $151.50 license reinstatement fee and the $251.50 registration reinstatement fee.

Your SR-22 maintenance only needs to be one year if you stay clean of any more traffic violations within that year.

Re-applying for Auto insurance in Rhode Island

Violations, suspensions, and at-fault accidents will become part of your permanent record, thus, branding you a high-risk driver. If you cannot find a Rhode Island car insurance company that will offer you coverage because of your driving history and status, the State can assist you in purchasing a policy through the Rhode Island Automobile Insurance Plan.

Sources:
Rhode Island Legislature: penalties
Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles: Insurance Verification Program
Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles: fee schedule

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