The state of Rhode Island requires all of its motorists to carry liability auto insurance in the minimum coverage amounts of 25/50/25 per accident. You must be ready to provide your insurance information, including the name of your insurance company and the start and end dates of your policy, on your RI vehicle registration application form.
You need to maintain valid auto insurance that at least meets the state's minimums throughout the duration of your vehicle registration. Any law enforcement officers who pull you over on the road may ask you to present proof of insurance, such as a copy of your insurance ID card.
|Rhode Island Required Car Insurance Coverage||RI Reequired Min. Limits|
|Bodily Injury (BI)||$25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident|
|Property Damage (PD)||$25,000 per accident|
|Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UM/UIMBI)||$25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident*|
*UM/UIMBI is only required in Rhode Island if you purchase BI coverage in limits higher than the mininum.
Rhode Island Car Insurance Minimum Requirements
There are many different types of car insurance coverages available for purchase, but you only need liability insurance to satisfy Rhode Island’s Safety Responsibility law. At the very minimum, your liability insurance must contain the following coverages in these limits:
Bodily Injury (BI): this pays the medical bills for the people you injure in a car accident who were outside of your own vehicle. Minimum limits are 25/50, which means that your insurer pays each injured person up to $25,000 for his or her medical care and treatment. $50,000 is the cap on how much in total for a given accident your insurer will pay on your behalf when there is more than one injured person. In case the accident ends up requiring a trial to determine the fault, and hence which party is liable or responsible for the damages, your BI pays for your lawyer’s fee.
Property Damage (PD): for any damage your car causes (to other people's properties), PD covers the costs up to $25,000 per accident in a minimum policy. It only kicks in when you are the major cause of the accident, which may be a collision with another driver or running into public properties.
Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Rhode Island
The Rhode Island Insurance code requires every auto insurance company licensed in the state to include UM/UIM for bodily injury (UM/UIMBI) every time it issues a new policy, but in a minimum policy the coverage is not required. However, UM/UIMBI becomes a required coverage when you purchase BI with limits higher than the 25/50 minimums.
Among the 50 states in the US, Rhode Island has one of the highest percentages of uninsured motorist cases out of the total number of insurance claims (17% in 2012). Uninsured / underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage is your protection against the chances of running into a driver who either has less than the minimum required coverage, or none at all. Here are the available UM/UIM coverages in the Ocean State:
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UM/UIMBI): whenever you are hurt in an accident caused by an uninsured driver in Rhode Island, your UM/UIMBI covers your medical costs, which should have been paid out by the negligent driver’s insurer if he or she had any. The minimum amount of UM/UIM you need to carry, when the coverage is required, is 25/50. For example, when you purchase BI with limits of 100/200, UM/UIM is required, and the highest limits you may purchase for it are 100/200, while the lowest are 25/50.
In the Ocean State, your UM/UIMBI also extends to cover an underinsured situation, in which the negligent driver’s BI coverage is lower than your UM/UIMBI limits.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Property Damage (UM/UIMPD): Rhode Island is one of the few states that offers UM/UIMPD coverage, which pays for your own vehicle's repairs or loss in an accident caused by uninsured or underinsured motorists. This coverage is completely optional, and sometimes redundant if you already have Collision coverage in your policy.
Alternative Proof of Financial Responsibility
After you get into an accident that results in property damage, or injury to or even the death of someone, owning an insurance policy can exempt you from providing extra security – or proof of financial responsibility. If you do not have an effective policy at the time, you may choose to satisfy the law through one of the following means:
Surety Bond: a surety bond issued by a licensed surety company can be accepted as your security after an accident. This bond is only valid if its terms state that the surety company will pay out for any bodily injuries and property damages you cause in an accident up to the same limits as a minimum policy (25/50/25). You should know that the main difference between a policy and a bond is that a surety company will ask you for the paid money back.
Certificate of Deposit: you can get this certificate from the Rhode Island General Treasurer if you bring to him or her two things: $60,000 in cash or securities (such as a government bond or note, which can be legally purchased by savings banks), and proof that, if you were ever involved in an accident before, there are no records of unsatisfied judgments against you in the county you live in.