What is the penalty for driving without insurance in Rhode Island?

Driving without car insurance in RI is punishable by up to $1,000 in fines, suspension of driving privileges, and one year of SR-22 requirements.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Drivers with bad credit are considered risky drivers and given higher premiums
  • Rhode Island drivers automatically lose their license for three months if caught driving without insurance
  • Rhode Island drivers must prove they purchased insurance to reinstate a suspended license

Rhode Island lawmakers make it their mission to keep the residents and visitors of this great state safe on the road every year, and they succeeded in doing so with an all-time low traffic fatality total in 2015.

This report goes to show that cracking down on driving laws is beneficial for Rhode Island residents and visitors, and you should know what happens if you break the rules of the road while driving in Rhode Island.

In addition to making the rules of the road stricter, lawmakers are really taking into account the number of people driving without insurance in Rhode Island.

If you’re caught driving without insurance, you face serious penalties and financial obligations. 

There is nothing you can do to avoid this type of punishment if you decide you no longer want to pay for insurance. It’s required by the state, and you’re responsible for finding and paying for a policy that fits into your household budget.

With so many insurance companies offering competitive rates, it’s not hard to find the best policy for your family. It’s also wise to remember you will be caught driving without insurance, and it’s much more affordable to pay for it ahead of time than pay the fines.

Find the coverage you need for the best rate by using our free comparison tool above. You might be surprised by how much you could save when you compare quotes.

Rhode Island Car Insurance Requirements

You’re not required to purchase full coverage (which includes comprehensive and collision) for your vehicle in Rhode Island.

The basic minimum auto insurance requirements in Rhode Island are $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident worth of bodily injury insurance in addition to the same amounts per person and per accident worth of uninsured motorist coverage.

You must also have $25,000 worth of property damage insurance. If you can prove you carry this coverage, you won’t face any fines or penalties.

The only stipulation to this law is for drivers who do not own their own vehicles. If you finance your car with a lender or you lease your car for any amount of time, you must carry full coverage.

All lenders require this no matter where you live. Leased and financed cars do not belong to you. They belong to the lender, and the lender wants to ensure their investment is covered in case an accident occurs.

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What happens if I don’t buy car insurance in Rhode Island?

If you choose to forgo insurance, you face severe fines and penalties. Some people mistakenly believe it’s all right to cancel their insurance policy when they pay off a financed car and own it outright, but it’s not all right.

There are statewide minimum insurance requirements as reviewed above. You needn’t pay for full coverage if you own your car, but you must purchase a policy that includes at least the minimum state requirements.

If you are caught driving without insurance in Rhode Island, it’s expensive. Your first offense results in fines ranging from $100 to $500. You also lose your license and the registration for your car for 90 days.

You cannot get your license or insurance back until the 90 days pass, and you must have car insurance to get those back when the time is up.

If you decide to cancel or allow your insurance policy to lapse resulting in a second offense, the fines and penalties become worse.

The second time you drive without insurance, you face the following penalties:

  • an automatic $500 fine
  • license and registration suspension for six months
  • numerous fees to have both reinstated early if you can prove you purchased a car insurance policy
  • $30 administrative fee
  • $151.50 license reinstatement fee
  • $251.50 registration reinstatement fee
  • $251.50 insurance verification reinstatement fee

The second time you are caught, you must also provide form SR-22 to the state. This form must be provided for one year to prove you have insurance. If you cannot provide the form from your insurance agency monthly, you lose your license again.

If you’re caught more than twice driving in Rhode Island without insurance, you face an automatic fine of $1,000. Your license and registration are both suspended for one year, and there is no option to end that suspension early.

How do I afford car insurance in Rhode Island?

It’s a commonly asked question, and it’s a fair question. Sometimes the budget doesn’t allow much wiggle room, but insurance is one of those important expenses you cannot afford to remove.

The cost of being caught driving without insurance is far more than the cost of just purchasing a policy. Before you purchase a car, ask your insurance agent how much it will cost to insure the vehicle.

Check for discounts that apply to your situation. If you’re retired, you might qualify for an insurance discount simply because you’re no longer on the road all the time. If you work for the military, you might be able to find some discounts.

If you’re bundling all your insurance policies, you get a discount. If you drive a car with a great safety rating, you qualify for discounts.

Before you begin comparing rates, check your credit. The most common mistake people make searching for affordable insurance is forgetting to check.

Even if you think you have a good score, mistakes on your report might make your credit seem lower. Fix any mistakes. A good credit score means you get much lower rates than other drivers. Finding affordable insurance is all in the details in Rhode Island.

Enter your zip code into our free car insurance comparison tool below to find the best rate for your coverage needs.

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