A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. Through her years working in th...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert Melanie Musson

UPDATED: Jun 7, 2022

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Rhode Island StatisticsData
Miles of Roadway7,833
Vehicles Registered843,346
State Population1,055,916
Most Popular VehicleToyota RAV4
Rank 13
Total Driving Related DeathsSpeeding Fatalities 266
DUI Fatalities 247
Average Annual PremiumsLiability $759.80
Collision $411.51
Comprehensive $118.86
Cheapest ProvidersState Farm and USAA
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When you travel north of New England, you will find the state of Rhode Island, surrounded by the ocean, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.

Rhode Island is the least populous state in the nation and also the tiniest.  The Ocean State is known for its great beaches and colonial homes. With Rhode Island being one of the 13 colonies, there is a lot of history to see and experience.

Although Rhode Island is small, it does have very important rules for its drivers and for the insurance they should have.

In this guide, we will go over car insurance, rates, and laws so that you, the driver, can be fully prepared for the road. If you are moving to Rhode Island or are new to the state, don’t worry about trying to find all the information about car insurance. We have found it for you.

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Table of Contents

Rhode Island Car Insurance Coverage and Rates

In this section, we will go over Rhode Island’s car insurance rates and coverage. If you are moving to Rhode Island, you may notice that the rates are different than that of your previous state. You may have to get more coverage to meet the state minimum and to avoid being underinsured.

What is Rhode Island’s car culture?

Let’s go over Rhode Island’s car culture. The state of Rhode Island has a lot of firsts, from the first lunch wagon in 1872 to the first nine-hole golf course in 1890. Their first car race was in 1896 in Cranston, and the first parade containing automobiles was in New Port in 1899.

In 1904, a judge gave a jail sentence for speeding in an automobile. The driver was going 15 miles per hour.

How much coverage is required for Rhode Island minimum coverage?

Like every other state in the United States, Rhode Island requires its residents to have car insurance.

Rhode Island has 15.2 percent of uninsured motorists, ranking it 13th in the country for most uninsured drivers.

The state requires liability insurance of 25/50/25.

  • $25,000 for bodily harm or death to one person.
  • $50,000 for bodily harm or injury to two or more persons
  • $25,000 for property damage

You can have more coverage, but this is just the minimum that is required.

Drivers must always carry proof of insurance. Drivers can carry an electronic version of their insurance card in Rhode Island. Even though drivers can carry an electronic copy of their insurance, they should be aware that not all companies provide this service.

An electronic proof of insurance can be displayed on your insurer’s app or downloaded from the website. You can present an electronic version of your insurance to a police officer on your phone. Officers are not allowed to view anything else on your tablet or phone but the insurance card. It is also okay to show other drivers your insurance card digitally after an accident.

You can check your motor vehicle department to see under what conditions and circumstances an electronic proof of insurance is okay.

Rhode Island follows the traditional fault-based system. In a fault-based system, the driver at fault is responsible for the harm done during a car accident. The at fault driver’s car insurance covers the losses up to the policy limits.

There are a few things drivers can do if they are suffering from an injury caused by an accident.

  • They can file a claim with their insurance company
  • File a third-party claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance
  • File a personal injury lawsuit in civil court with the at-fault driver

Liability insurance covers medical bills, property damage, and other costs for people involved in an accident caused by the driver at fault. Having higher insurance can be beneficial if the minimum coverage does not cover the cost of injuries and damages.

Know that liability insurance does not cover damages and injuries to yourself. You will need comprehensive and collision insurance to cover yourself. Comprehensive insurance pays for damage to your car that is out of your control. Collision insurance helps pay for damages that are caused by an accident or object.

What are forms of financial responsibility in Rhode Island?

You must always have proof of financial responsibility at all times.

You can use your insurance card as proof of financial responsibility.

Your insurance card can be a digital copy or a physical copy. If you fail to show your insurance, you can face a $500 to $1,000 fine. Other penalties can include, revocation of your vehicle registration and license.

How much percentage of income are premiums in Rhode Island?

Residents of the Ocean State had $42,585 in disposable income in 2014. The cost of insurance in 2014 was $1257.40. Residents had $1,446 more than they did in 2013.

Insurance increases $46.85 from 2013 to 2014. In 2012 the disposable was $353 more than it was in 2013. The cost of insurance in 2012 was $1176.05 and was the lowest of all three years. Residents paid more for insurance in 2014.

Learn how much of your income goes toward your car insurance. Use the calculator below.

What are the core coverages in Rhode Island?

Below is the core coverage for Rhode Island.

Coverage TypesAverage Annual Costs
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The national average is $1,062.23, while the Rhode Island average is $302.33 more than the national average. The data from this table is based on information from NAIC in 2015.

What additional liability is available in Rhode Island?

As stated before, over 15 percent of drivers in Rhode Island are uninsured. A loss ratio is a ratio of total losses in claims plus adjustment divided by premiums earned. Medical payment coverage pays for the medical and funeral expenses that occur to people involved in an accident.

Loss Ratio201520142013
Medical Payments130.11223.69 230.93
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage61.6969.3968.37
Personal Injury Protection000
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Uninsured motorist coverage gives compensation to people who have suffered injuries caused by the driver at fault who does not have insurance. This also covers drivers involved in a hit and run and drivers whose insurance company does not provide coverage.

Underinsured motorist coverage protects an insured driver when they get into an accident with a driver who does not have enough coverage to pay for damages.

What add-ons, endorsements, and riders are available in Rhode Island?

Here are some great links to check out to learn more about car insurance.

You can get coverage for your custom car, get coverage if you don’t own a car, and even get pay-as-you-drive insurance. Get to know what kind of benefits you can receive when you have car insurance.

Does gender and age affect my car insurance in Rhode Island?

There have been states that have passed laws that prevent insurance companies from basing rates on gender. Rhode Island doesn’t have these laws.

Your car insurance rates can change depending on your gender and age.

CompanyMarried 35-year-old FemaleMarried 35-year-old MaleMarried 60-year-old FemaleMarried 60-year-old MaleSingle 17-year-old FemaleSingle 17-year-old MaleSingle 25-year-old FemaleSingle 25-year-old Male
Allstate F&C$3,991.81$3,919.97$3,965.46$4,138.80$6,951.89$8,211.70$4,181.73$4,314.24
GEICO General$3,352.25$3,435.27$3,435.27$3,358.93$10,460.06$13,683.07$3,471.31$3,624.88
Liberty Mutual Fire Ins Co$3,967.26$3,967.26$3,781.20$3,781.20$9,610.11$15,000.77$3,967.26$5,397.88
Nationwide Mutual$2,870.60$2,916.99$2,522.14$2,676.05$7,505.22$9,664.73$3,412.17$3,709.14
Progressive Direct$2,657.85$2,523.06$2,442.97$2,428.75$11,882.34$13,361.63$3,245.10$3,307.02
State Farm Mutual Auto$1,529.96$1,529.96$1,349.64$1,349.64$4,204.16$5,604.41$1,680.96$2,003.27
Travelers Home & Marine Ins Co$1,681.61$1,701.83$1,712.33$1,702.69$17,367.38$27,457.38$1,729.94$1,922.42
USAA CIC$2,081.24$2,057.69$1,994.32$1,954.09$9,649.96$11,028.79$2,842.49$2,983.23
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Rates for teenagers are higher than rates for adults who are 25 and older. Men and women also have different rates. Women who are 35 years of age pay more for insurance than men. Women who are 65 pay less than men who are 65. Travelers have the highest rates for 17-year-old males at $27,457.38. They also have the highest rates for females at $17,367.38. The company with the lowest rates for teens is State Farm.

What are the cheapest rates by ZIP code in Rhode Island?

Where you live will have an impact on your insurance rates. In the table below you will view the more expensive ZIP codes in Rhode Island.

ZipcodeAverageAllstate F&CGEICO GeneralLiberty Mutual Fire Ins CoNationwide MutualProgressive DirectState Farm Mutual AutoTravelers Home & Marine Ins CoUSAA CIC
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Sometimes certain ZIP codes can be a lot higher even though they are insured by the same company. Some ZIP codes have the same rates. The table below has the less expensive ZIP codes in Rhode Island.

ZipcodeAverageAllstate F&CGEICO GeneralLiberty Mutual Fire Ins CoNationwide MutualProgressive DirectState Farm Mutual AutoTravelers Home & Marine Ins CoUSAA CIC
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The cheapest ZIP code in Rhode Island is 02842. The company with the cheapest rates is State Farm, with rates lower than $3000.

What are the cheapest rates by city in Rhode Island?

In the tables below, you will find rates for the more expensive cities.

CityGroupAnnual Average
CENTRAL FALLSTravelers$8,213.51
EAST PROVIDENCETravelers$7,548.79
JOHNSTONLiberty Mutual$7,555.06
NORTH PROVIDENCETravelers$9,171.84
NORTH PROVIDENCELiberty Mutual$7,555.06
PEACE DALEProgressive$9,855.70
PROVIDENCELiberty Mutual$8,976.30
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This table below shows the rates for the less expensive cities. Several cities share the same rate.

CityGroupAnnual Average
ADAMSVILLEState Farm$2,034.57
BARRINGTONState Farm$2,034.57
CHARLESTOWNState Farm$2,084.74
CHEPACHETState Farm$2,084.74
COVENTRYState Farm$2,084.74
EXETERState Farm$2,084.74
FOSTERState Farm$2,084.74
GLENDALEState Farm$2,084.74
GREENEState Farm$2,084.74
HARRISVILLEState Farm$2,084.74
HOPEState Farm$2,084.74
HOPE VALLEYState Farm$2,084.74
HOPKINTONState Farm$2,084.74
KENYONState Farm$2,084.74
MAPLEVILLEState Farm$2,084.74
NORTH SCITUATEState Farm$2,084.74
PASCOAGState Farm$2,084.74
ROCKVILLEState Farm$2,084.74
SHANNOCKState Farm$2,084.74
SLOCUMState Farm$2,084.74
WEST GREENWICHState Farm$2,084.74
WEST KINGSTONState Farm$2,084.74
WESTERLYState Farm$2,084.74
WOOD RIVER JUNCTIONState Farm$2,084.74
WYOMINGState Farm$2,084.74
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The cities with the cheapest rates are Barrington and Adamsville, with an annual average of $2034.57. The city of Wyoming has the second-cheapest rates, with an annual rate of $2084.74. State Farm provides the lowest rates of cities.

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Best Rhode Island Car Insurance Companies

Rhode Island has many insurance companies. Picking the best one can be hard, but we have made it easier for you. In this section, you can learn about the variety of car insurance companies you get to pick from. You’re going to learn about the best ratings and lowest rates.

What are the financial ratings of the largest car insurance companies in Rhode Island?

The ratings in this table come from A.M. Best.

Allstate Insurance GroupA+
Amica Mutual GroupA+
Liberty Mutual GroupA
Mapfre Insurance GroupA u
Metropolitan GroupA
Nationwide Corp GroupA+
Progressive GroupA+
Travelers GroupA++
USAA GroupA++
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A.M. Best is a company that rates insurance companies on their financial rankings. The ratings range from A++ to D, with D being poor. A++ is superior. The best-rated companies are Geico, Travelers, and USAA.

Which car insurance companies have the best ratings in Rhode Island?

Here is a table with the best ratings.

Liberty Mutual808
MAPFRE Insurance807
New England Average822
Plymouth Rock Assurance801
Safety Insurance797
State Farm844
The Hanover817
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There might be some companies you are browsing that are ranked a little lower. Don’t count them out, they are still great companies. The rankings are based on a 1,000-point scale.

If you’re wondering which company is the highest-ranked insurance company in the region, look no farther, it’s Amica Mutual.

*Be aware that USAA is for persons in the military.

Which car insurance companies have the most complaints in Rhode Island?

In this table, you will see which companies have the most complaints.

Amica Mutual52
Liberty Mutual222
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Not every company will get a five-star review. Customer complaints can come from a variety of things. Listed in the table above are the companies with the most complaints. Just because a company has complaints, does not mean it isn’t a good company. Customers may file complaints for different reasons, and some of those reasons can be personal.

What are the cheapest car insurance companies in Rhode Island?

Below you can view the cheapest car insurance companies.

CompanyAverageCompared to State AveragePercent Difference
Allstate F&C$4,959.45-$43.91-0.89%
GEICO General$5,602.63$599.2710.70%
Liberty Mutual Fire Ins Co$6,184.12$1,180.7619.09%
Nationwide Mutual$4,409.63-$593.73-13.46%
Progressive Direct$5,231.09$227.734.35%
State Farm Mutual Auto$2,406.50-$2,596.85-107.91%
Travelers Home & Marine Ins Co$6,909.45$1,906.0927.59%
USAA CIC$4,323.98-$679.38-15.71%
Total Average$5,003.36$0.000.00%
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Not all car insurance companies are created equal, and some of the rates are higher than others. The cheapest insurance company in Rhode Island is State Farm, it is also $2596.85 less than the state average.

Does my commute affect my car insurance rate in Rhode Island?

If you have a long commute, it can affect your rates. Companies’ rates increase if you have a 25-mile commute.

Group10 Miles Commute, 6000 Annual Mileage25 Miles Commute, 12000 Annual Mileage
Liberty Mutual$5,983.25$6,384.99
State Farm$2,333.47$2,479.54
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Even though it is more for a 25-mile commute, a 10-mile commute is not much less. With Allstate, it is only a $69.78 difference. Travelers has the same rates for both commutes. State Farm has the lowest rates for a 10-mile and a 25-mile commute.

Can coverage level change my car insurance rate with companies in Rhode Island?

Depending on your coverage level, your rates can be high, medium, or low. Insurance rates for different companies can vary for each coverage level.

Liberty Mutual$6,597.08$6,145.16$5,810.12
State Farm$2,539.55$2,402.31$2,277.64
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For some companies, a low coverage level can cost more than a high one.

How does my credit history affect my car insurance rate with companies in Rhode Island?

You have probably heard a lot about the importance of your credit score. You probably know that having a certain score can have its disadvantages or advantages and can greatly affect how much you pay for insurance.

The average credit score in Rhode Island is 713.

If you have a credit score between 670-739 you have good credit, 580-669 you have fair credit, and 300-579 you have poor credit.

Liberty Mutual$5,016.84$5,399.61$8,135.91
State Farm$1,801.84$2,184.74$3,232.92
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Drivers with good credit scores will pay less for insurance. If you have poor credit, you can pay up to $3,000 more for car insurance.

How does my driving record change my rates with car insurance companies in Rhode Island?

Your driving record is very important to your car insurance rates. The table below contains rates for drivers that have driving violations.

GroupClean RecordWith 1 AccidentWith 1 Speeding ViolationWith 1 DUI
Liberty Mutual$5,729.87$6,618.39$5,729.87$6,658.34
State Farm$2,231.90$2,930.32$2,231.90$2,231.90
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If you have several accidents, DUIs, or speeding tickets, your rates can be higher. If you have a clean driving record, your rates will be less.

Which car insurance companies are the largest in Rhode Island?

Here are the largest companies in Rhode Island. You may know some.

CompanyDirect Premiums WrittenLoss RatioMarket Share
Allstate Insurance Group$107,25662.08%11.63%
Amica Mutual Group$105,70863.36%11.47%
Liberty Mutual Group$65,12465.17%7.06%
Mapfre Insurance Group$42,52363.64%4.61%
Metropolitan Group$55,07557.15%5.97%
Nationwide Corp Group$52,88163.34%5.74%
Progressive Group$193,72065.71%21.01%
Travelers Group$21,85354.69%2.37%
USAA Group$63,85178.38%6.93%
State Total$921,98567.20%100.00%
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There are several insurance companies across the nation. The largest company in Rhode Island is Progressive.

How many car insurance companies are available in Rhode Island?

Rhode Island has 22 domestic car insurance companies. It also has 727 foreign car insurance companies. Domestic insurance companies are companies that operate in the state. Foreign insurance companies are companies that operate outside the state but have a license to do work in that state.

Rhode Island Laws

While living in Rhode Island, you might wonder if the laws are the same across the nation. In this section, we are going to cover Rhode Island laws. The Ocean State has laws to protect its drivers, some of the laws are specific to the state itself.

What are the car insurance laws in Rhode Island?

The laws we are about to cover might be some you know. Be aware that if you haven’t read the law in a while, there might be something new or something you didn’t know.

How State Laws for Insurance are Determined

States have laws that determine how insurance laws are passed. Rhode Island uses a file and use system and also a flex system. With file and use, rates and forms are filed with the Rhode Island insurance department before they are used. Flex is the approval needed if rates exceed percentages above or below their previously filed rates.

Windshield Coverage

If you face damage to your windshield, there are a couple of things you should know. In Rhode Island, aftermarket parts are fine as long as they are equal in quality to OEM parts. Aftermarket parts may not be used if the car is 30 months or less. This has to be in writing, and the customer has to consent to this. The customers have to be notified if they can receive OEM parts for their windshield.

There are no specific laws for windshield replacements in Rhode Island. There also is no law for a zero deductible with comprehensive insurance. Your insurance company can provide a zero deductible with comprehensive insurance.

High-Risk Insurance

Insurance can be higher for high-risk drivers. It is not impossible to get insurance as a high-risk driver. You can be considered a high-risk driver if you,

  • Get a DUI
  • Get traffic violations
  • Have bad credit
  • Are inexperienced
  • Are between 16 and 25
  • Get you insurance canceled

In Rhode Island, an SR-22 is required to reinstate your license or registration. You will require an SR-22 if you have driving violations, have committed a felony while driving, or have other violations.

An SR-22 can be removed after a year if there are no more driving violations. Your insurance must file an SR-22 with the Rhode Island DMV.

Low-Cost Insurance

Rhode Island does not currently have a program for low-cost insurance for drivers. Only California, Hawaii, and New Jersey have low-cost insurance programs.

Automobile Insurance Fraud in Rhode Island

Just like every other state in the U.S., automobile insurance fraud in Rhode Island is illegal. Insurance fraud is the deception executed against or by an insurance company to get financial gain. There are many ways to commit car insurance fraud such as:

  • Falsely reporting a vehicle missing
  • Staging accidents
  • Filing claims for injuries and damages that never happened

Insurance fraud causes companies to lose money.

If you know about any fraudulent activity, report it. To file a complaint, contact the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation Division of Insurance.

  • Department of Business Regulation
    Division of Insurance
    1511 Pontiac Avenue
    Cranston, RI 02902
  • By fax: (401) 462-9602

Statute of Limitations

All insurance claims have a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations is the time you have a file and resolve your claim of file lawsuit to sustain the statue.

The statute of limitations is a little higher in Rhode Island.

The limitation for personal injury is three years. The limitation for property damage is 10 years. In Rhode Island, you are given more time to file a claim. Many states only allow two years to five years for personal injury and property damages.

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Rhode Island-Specific Laws

Every state has laws that make their drivers safe and laws that make the state stand out. Here are a few laws for Rhode Island drivers that can help better their driving experience.

  • No headphones can be in a driver’s ear while they are driving.
  • While your windshield wipers are on, you should have your headlights on, too.
  • Drivers are not permitted to have aftermarket window tint.

Make sure to keep up with state laws, for they can change or be updated.

What are the vehicle licensing laws in Rhode Island?

As a new resident of Rhode Island, you should get ready to get comfortable in your new state, but there are a few things you shouldn’t forget to do.

All new residents have to get a new title and registration for your car. The minimum liability insurance in other states may be different. You need to get the minimum liability insurance required in the state of Rhode Island. Your car has to be inspected five days after being registered. Cars that are 2001 or newer must have a title to be registered.

If two owners are on the title, they must both be present for the vehicle to be registered. If one person is absent, their signature needs to be notarized. If the vehicle is registered in another state and the car is 2001 and newer, a vehicle identification number check is required before the vehicle can be registered.

If you have a lien on your vehicle and the lienholder sends you a valid title to the Rhode Island DMV, you can obtain it from the Research Office in the Cranston DMV. This has to be done for any transaction can take place.

If you go to register your car or renew its registration, you will be required to verify that you have car insurance.


Most states in the U.S are compliant with the REAL ID Act, and Rhode Island is one of those states. The Real ID Act establishes security for federal agencies and prohibits them from accepting licenses that do not meet the standard. The Act was passed by Congress in 2005. With a REAL ID, people are allowed to access federal facilities, nuclear power plants, and commercial aircraft.

To apply for a REAL ID, you will need to bring a document that provides your legal name, date of birth, your social security number, two documents that prove your address, and proof of your lawful status. If you already have a REAL ID, your license will have a gold star in the corner.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

Driving with insurance is important. If you are caught driving without insurance, there are consequences.

OffenseFineLicense/Registration SuspensionAdditional Penalties
First$100 to $5003 months
$30 to $50 reinstatement fee
Second$5006 months
$30 to $50 reinstatement fee
1 yearCharged with a civil violations
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The table above only shows penalties for the first three offenses. Four or more offenses can have harsher penalties. There is a possibility that you can pay a higher fine and have your license and registration suspended for more than a year.

Teen Driver Laws

Teens are more than excited to start driving, but they have to take a few steps before they can even get on the road. If you are moving to Rhode Island, the laws for teens may be different from your previous state. Rhode Island has a multi-stage license process for teens to get their license. Through the process, teens gain more exposure to different driving situations and become more experienced drivers.

Teens can apply for an instruction permit at 16. Drivers under 18 have to complete a 33-hour in-classroom education course. Teens who are 15 and a half can take the education course. It is also required for parents to complete a short course. Teens should have 50 hours of supervised driving, 10 of these hours should be at night.

When applying for a limited instruction permit, teens must bring their birth certificate, a driver education certificate, and their social security card. A parent or guardian must accompany the teen to sign the permit.

Once a teen receives their instruction permit, they may only drive with an adult 21 or older and who has held a license for five years or more in the car. The instruction permit is only valid for a year. After six months, teens can take their road test to receive their permit.

Teens that carry a limited instruction permit are able to drive themselves except between one and five a.m. Drivers are allowed to drive during these times if they are accompanied by someone 21 or older who has held a license for five years. Only one person under the age of 21 is allowed in the vehicle. Drivers are not allowed to use hands-free or handheld devices while driving.

Six months after their 17th birthday, teens are allowed to get their full operator license. They must first hold a provisional license for at least a year before they can receive a full operator license. Restrictions do not apply to teens with full operator license or when they turn 18.

Parents are encouraged to set rules and limits for their teens.

Older Driver License Renewal Procedures

Residents who are 75 years or older must renew their licenses every two years. Proof of adequate vision is required for every renewal. Online renewals are permitted every other renewal.

New Residents

If you are new to the Ocean State, you have to make sure you do these few things.

New Residents of Rhode Island have to register all their vehicles.

Be aware that your rates can go up or down. You also must apply for the right amount of insurance. As stated before, your liability insurance minimum from your previous state may be different for Rhode Island. You can keep your same insurance company.

License Renewal Procedures

License holders must renew their licenses every five years. Proof of adequate vision is required for every renewal. Licenses can be renewed online every other renewal. Drivers licenses will expire on drivers’ birthdays after five years. People with suspended licenses will not have their licenses renewed. Military personnel licenses will only be valid 30 days after discharge or when they return to the state.

Drivers in the U.S. Armed Forces can apply for a special license that will be valid for 30 days after discharge.

Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS)

The negligent operator treatment system (NOTS) is a system that gives drivers points based on driving violations. Many states have a NOTS system.

Rhode Island is different than other states. The Ocean State does not use a point system to monitor drivers’ records instead it relies on fines and license suspension. Since there is no point system, the penalties for major offenses can be more.

You should be aware and be safe when you drive. You can order your driving record to keep track of violations.

What are the rules of the road in Rhode Island?

Driving in each state can be different, sometimes rules change depending on where you are. Every driver should be aware of the driving laws in their state. Rhode Island has its laws that are specific to the state.

Fault vs. No-Fault

Rhode Island is an at-fault state. When a driver is at fault, they are responsible for any damages and injuries caused in an accident. Their liability insurance should cover the cost of damages and injuries.

Living in a no-fault state is completely different.

When drivers live in a no-fault state, drivers are responsible for having no-fault car insurance. After accident drivers are to make a claim with their own insurance company instead of the insurer of the driver who caused the accident. In states that are no-fault drivers have to purchase personal injury protection or PIP.

With no-fault laws, motorists are allowed to sue for their injuries and pain and suffering if the case meets certain conditions. 12 states have no-fault laws in place. No-fault is intended to lower car insurance costs and let the small claims be settled out of court.

Seat Belt and Car Seat Laws

All drivers and passengers who are 18 or older must wear a seatbelt. Passengers who are seven and older are permitted to wear an adult seat belt. Children who are seven and younger who are under 57 inches and less than 80 pounds should be in a rear seat if available in the vehicle. Children that are two and younger and under 30 pounds should be in a rear-facing car seat.

A seatbelt violation is a standard offense. For the child seat law, the fine is $85. The fine for the seatbelt law is $40. Passengers and drivers who are 16 and younger are not permitted to ride in cargo areas without a seatbelt.

Keep Right and Move Over Laws

Drivers are to keep right if they are driving slower than the traffic around them. If a driver is near an emergency vehicle with flashing lights, they should move to the next lane if possible and slow down to a safe speed. Drivers should do the same for road maintenance vehicles.

Changing lanes for emergency vehicles is only necessary if the driver is traveling the same direction as the emergency vehicle.

Speed Limits

Be aware that speed limits can change for residential areas and school zones. Speed limits are determined by population and hazards that certain areas face.

RoadSpeed Limit
Limited Access Roads55
Other Roads55
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The speed limit in residential areas is 25 miles per hour. Do not assume speed limits, you could possibly get a speeding violation and have to pay fines. Always look for speed limit signs while driving.


Being a rideshare driver is a great gig to get extra cash, but there is more to it than just driving around. Drivers who work for Uber or Lyft should be prepared to protect themselves on the road. If you are thinking of driving for Lyft or Uber, you should get rideshare insurance. Rideshare insurance protects you if you are in an accident while working a shift with Lyft or Uber.

For insurance companies, there are three different periods where drivers are covered.

  • Period One — Drivers are online waiting for a request.
  • Period Two — When you online and accept a ride request and are one your way to get your passenger.
  • Period Three — You are online and have a passenger in your car.

Lyft and Uber only cover drivers during periods two and three. Because of this drivers are most at risk during period one.

Drivers in Rhode Island can get rideshare insurance from GEICO and Liberty Mutual. Rhode Island rideshare insurance can get rid of the insurance gap that occurs in period one.

The policy also ensures that drivers won’t get dropped by their insurance company for being a rideshare driver.

There are three different policies for rideshare drivers, commercial, period one coverage, and rideshare friendly policies. A commercial policy provides coverage for all periods and not just periods and two and three. Period one coverage gives you collision insurance during period one. Rideshare friendly policies are standard personal auto insurance policies and do not insure during any of the periods.

If you decide to not get a rideshare policy, you can face some risks.

There is a possibility that you can be dropped by your insurance company for being a rideshare driver. If your insurance company was to drop you your rates could go up and you could be considered a high-risk driver. If you lose your coverage, you will have to pay out of pocket for repairs.

It is best to get a ridesharing policy to protect yourself and avoid additional risks.

Automation on the Road

Automation is the use of technology to drive a vehicle. This technology is not limited to self-driving cars, but cars that use radars, cameras, and sensors to perform a driving task. If you have a car that uses a backup camera, it is using automation. This technology helps drivers when they can’t see blind spots or don’t brake on time.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has different levels of automation. The levels are determined whether you need a human in the car to monitor the actions taken place. The levels range from 0 to 5.

  • Level 0 — A person is in control of the vehicle.
  • Level 1 — An automated system conducts one task helping the driver.
  • Level 2 — The automated system conducts multiple tasks without the driver. The driver must monitor.
  • Level 3 — The automated system conducts all the tasks. The driver must monitor.
  • Level 4 — The automated system can conduct all the tasks without a driver but may need driver input.
  • Level 5 — The automated system can conduct all tasks without driver or driver input.

Rhode Island currently does not have laws for autonomous vehicles.

What are the safety laws in Rhode Island?

Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes the laws are the same throughout the nation. Although the nation has laws to protect its citizens, every state has laws that protect their residents. We are going to go over DUIs and distracted driving.

DUI Laws

One should never drink and drive. If you are convicted of a DUI, you can be convicted and fine and serve jail time. The first and second offenses are misdemeanors. The third and other offenses are felonies. To be convicted of a DUI your blood alcohol content has to be 0.08. A high blood alcohol content is 0.15.

PenaltyFirst OffenseSecond OffenseThird OffenseFourth Offense
Community Service10 - 60 hoursNoNoNo
Fine$100 - $500
$500 for highway assessment fund
$400$400 - $5000
$500 to highway assessment fund
$400 - $5000
$500 to highway assessment fund
Jail TimeNo10 days to 1 year1 - 5 years1 - 5 years
License Suspension60 days to 18 months1 - 2 years2- 3 years2 - 3 years
Other Possible attendance to treatment program.
SR-22 insurance
Mandatory alcohol treatment program, IID for 1-2 yearsVehicle may be seized or forfeited, mandatory treatment program, IID for 2 yearsVehicle may be seized or forfeited, mandatory treatment program, IID for 2 years
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The alcohol-impaired fatalities in Rhode Island is 3.2 per 100,000 population, it is only 0.2 less than the national average.

Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws

Just like alcohol, drivers should be careful when driving under the influence of marijuana. Rhode Island has a zero-tolerance for THC and metabolites.

OffenseJailFineLicense Suspension
First0 to 1 year$100 - $40030 days to 1 year
Second10 days to 1 year$4001 -2 years
Third1 - 3 years$4002 - 3 years
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If drivers are caught under influence or have it in their possession, they can be penalized. Rhode hasn’t legalized marijuana.

Distracted Driving Laws

Distracted driving is dangerous. As a driver, you should keep your eyes on their road at all times. No driver is allowed to have their cellphone or other wireless devices in their hands while driving. Teens under the age of 18 are also not permitted to have a cellphone or other devices in hand while driving. Any driver under the age of 18 cannot use handsfree devices. Drivers are not permitted to text while driving.

Drivers over 18 are allowed to use hands-free devices while driving.

You could get pulled over and fined if you are caught by an officer with a cellphone in your hand. Any drivers caught with a device in hand can be fined $100.

Distracted driving is not limited to texting and driving or having your phone in hand. Things such as eating while driving, talking with other passengers, and doing anything that distracts you from the road can be very hazardous. Make sure to always keep your eyes on the road. Leave texts unread while you are driving.

 Driving in Rhode Island

Wondering what it’s like to drive in Rhode Island? In this section, we are going to cover the good, bad, and ugly of driving in Rhode Island. We are going to go over commute times, fatalities, and vehicle thefts.

How many vehicle thefts occur in Rhode Island?

In this table, you will see the vehicle with the most thefts.

RankVehicleYear of VehicleYearThefts
1Honda Accord19971997101
2Honda Civic1998199895
3Toyota Camry2014201469
4Nissan Maxima2000200045
5Toyota Corolla2014201440
6Nissan Altima2013201338
7Ford Pickup (Full Size)2003200336
8Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee1999199932
9Honda CR-V1999199927
10Toyota Avalon2000200018
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The vehicle with the most amount of theft is the 1997 Honda Accord. According to the FBI, most thefts occur in Providence, the capital of Rhode Island. The least thefts occurred in Little Compton, Richmond, and Barrington; they have had zero thefts.

How many road fatalities occur in Rhode Island?

Although we like to think we drive safely, we sometimes make decisions while driving which can be very dangerous. Driving recklessly can be harmful to not just you, but to other drivers around you. When you speed, text and drive, or even drink and drive, you run the risk of causing not just an accident but a fatality.

Most Fatal Highway in Rhode Island

The most fatal highway in Rhode Island is highway 95. Several accidents and fatalities have occurred on Highway 95 at several different exits. Highway 95 at Exit 29 has had 191 crashes and two fatalities and 55 injuries. Be sure to drive safely, slow down and keep your eyes on the road.

Fatal Crashes by Weather Condition and Light Condition

You may think that drivers drive better in the day time when the sun is up, but that isn’t the case.

Weather ConditionDaylightDark, but LightedDarkDawn or DuskOther / UnknownTotal
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Most accidents happen in the daylight when it is sunny outside. The least amount of accidents happen when it’s snowing and dark.

Fatalities (All Crashes) by County

Some counties have a higher fatality rate than others. The table below shows you all the crashes by county.

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Providence has had the most fatalities, but it is also a large city in Rhode Island. The fatalities decrease until 2017 when the number doubles. Kent has the second most fatalities, but the numbers are not as high as Providence.

Traffic Fatalities

Traffic fatalities are not uncommon. In this table, you will see how many traffic fatalities occur.

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In 2009 traffic fatalities were at their highest. As the years go on, the fatalities decrease only slightly before going back up again. Most accidents occur in urban towns. Rural towns have fewer fatalities.

Fatalities by Person Type

In this table below, you will see the person type or vehicle type that are likely to get into an accident.

Person Type20142015201620172018
Passenger Car1718193518
Light Truck - Pickup33444
Light Truck - Utility35668
Light Truck - Van11040
Large Truck11110
Other/Unknown Occupants10002
Total Occupants2628315032
Light Truck - Other00100
Total Motorcyclists10941118
Other/Unknown Nonoccupants10001
Total Nonoccupants15816239
Bicyclist and Other Cyclist00221
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Passenger cars have a higher percentage than the other person types.

Fatalities by Crash Type

This table shows the different crash types.

Crash Type20142015201620172018
Single Vehicle3927365837
Involving a Large Truck21282
Involving a Rollover712111110
Involving a Roadway Departure2423234833
Involving an Intersection 10781312
Total Fatalities (All Crashes)5145518459
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Most car crashes occur with single vehicles. There are not many crashes involving a large truck.

Five-Year Trend For The Top 10 Counties

In this table, you will see the five-year trend for Rhode Island counties.

Providence County2926284934
Kent County9791712
Washington County61011146
Newport County51234
Bristol County21112
All Counties5145518458
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Fatalities numbers rise and decline. Bristol County has the lowest numbers. Providence has the highest.

Fatalities Involving Speeding by County

It feels good to speed and sometimes we do it without knowing, but speeding can be dangerous. In this table, you will see how many fatalities occur in each county.

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Providence has the most while the other counties trail behind. Bristol has had the least fatalities by speeding.

Fatalities in Crashes Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver by County

This table will show you how many crashes involve an alcohol-paired driver.

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Providence has more crashes than any of the other counties.

Teen Drinking and Driving

Adults are not the only ones that get DUIs. Teens get arrested for drinking and driving also and it’s just as dangerous. In the table below, you will find the statistics for teen DUIs.

Teens and Drunk DrivingStats
Alcohol-Impaired Driving Fatalities Per 100k Population0.8
DUI Arrest (Under 18 years old)11
DUI Arrests (Under 18 years old) Total Per Million People52.79
U.S. Rank37
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Rhode Island is below the national average of 1.2 deaths per 100,000 population.

EMS Response Time

EMS response times tell us how long it takes for emergency vehicles to respond to accidents. The times vary based on if the EMS is responding to rural areas or urban areas.

LocationTime of CrashEMS Notification to ArrivalEMS Arrival at Scene
to Hospital Arrival
Time of Crash to Hospital
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In Rhode Island, the EMS responds quicker to rural areas than to urban areas. The EMS takes longer to get to the hospital in rural areas than in urban areas. The difference between the arrival times is 12.4 minutes.

What is transportation like in Rhode Island?

There are a lot of ways residents get around Rhode Island. Many of the residents in the state own cars to commute to work or to go to school. No matter where they are going, drivers in Rhode Island spend a lot of time in their cars trying to navigate their way through traffic. Although Rhode Island is tiny, there is a lot of congestion.

Car Ownership

Many people use cars as their main transportation. Most drivers in Rhode Island have two cars. Over 40 percent of drivers have two cars, a little more than 20 percent have three cars, and over 18 percent have one car. Almost 8 percent of residents have four cars, and almost 4 percent have 5 or more cars in their households.

Most Americans own two cars. The percentage for residents in Rhode Island with two cars is higher than the national average.

Commute Time

The average commute time in Rhode Island is 24.1 minutes. The average commute time for the United States is 25.7 percent, 1.6 percent higher than the average in Rhode Island. Almost 3 percent of drivers spend 90 minutes in traffic. A little over 2 percent of people have a commute of fewer than five minutes.

Rhode Island’s commute time is also lower than its neighboring states. Massachusetts has a commute time of 28.9 minutes and Connecticut has a commute time of 25.3 minutes

Commuter Transportation

More than 80 percent of drivers drive alone. Less than 10 percent of people carpool. Over 3 percent of people work from home. Other popular modes of transportation are taxis and public transportation. The use of motorcycles has decreased over time.

Most drivers in the United States drive alone. 5 percent more residents of Rhode Island drive alone. Like Rhode Island, the use of motorcycles as transportation is on the decline.

Traffic Congestion in Rhode Island

If you live in Providence, you should know it is ranked 302 for most congestion in the world. The city has 20 percent congestion. The congestion in the city has gone up since 2018. Drivers spend over 87 hours in congestion a year. This is the equivalent of three days and 15 hours.

The best time to avoid is Friday at four p.m. to five a.m. Other times to avoid are Monday through Friday from seven to eight a.m. and two to five p.m. The weekends have the lightest traffic.

Drivers who are in rush hour spend 9 extra minutes per 30 minutes in their commute in the mornings. In the evening drivers spend 13 extra minutes per 30 minutes.

For Rhode Island residents, the best day to travel was Christmas Day. On December 25th the congestion was at its lowest, 1 percent. February 12th was the worst day to travel. The congestion was at its highest, 43 percent.

Time of DayCongestion Level
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If you are driving at night congestion in Providence is at its highest in the evening. Congestion is lower in the morning, but only by 13 percent. Non-highways have more congestion than highways.

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We have reached the end of our guide. With this information you have read, you can now be a well-informed and insured driver. How did we do? What was the best part?

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