Yes, because statistics have shown a correlation between credit score and claim frequency, and Rhode Island doesn’t prohibit the use of consumer credit history in this way (only a few states do). But your credit score is just one of numerous factors in determining your rate, along with your driving record, vehicle type, location, age, gender, marital status, coverage history, and others.
Good driver discounts are something available through many car insurance companies. Ask yours if it has one, and how long you have to go without an accident (and possibly a moving violation) to qualify. While you’re at it, you could also ask about other possible discounts, such as:
- Claims-Free Discount
- Credit Score
- Anti-Lock Brakes, Air Bags, or Daytime Running Lights
- Good Student Grades
- Continued Policy Renewals
- Anti-Lock Brake
- Anti-Theft Device
- Home Ownership
- Multiple Line
- Passive Restraint
As of mid-2014, Rhode Islanders have been permitted to show digital proof of coverage on their smartphone or other mobile devices.
It is unlawful to have lapsed coverage in Rhode Island. If you’re pulled over or in an accident without insurance, you face hefty fines and up to 1 year of license suspension. Additionally, the State uses the Uninsured Motorist Identification Database to discover residents with a registered vehicle but no current policy. If you’re identified, you’ll get a warning and grace period to acquire coverage, but if you don’t, your registration will be revoked and you’ll be charged fines.
It’s against the law to drive in Rhode Island with the following BAC percentages:
.08%+ at 21 years old or older
.04%+ for commercial vehicle drivers
.02%+ at under 21 years old
In Rhode Island, you don’t have to be drunk, register 0.08% BAC, or even be driving on a public road to be convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) of drugs or alcohol. If you’re operating a motor vehicle anywhere—even your own driveway—and the arresting officer testifies that your abilities were at all impaired, you can be found guilty.
All drivers are deemed to have agreed to breath, urine, or blood test screenings under Rhode Island’s implied consent law, which lays out some of the steepest penalties for refusal in the country. Even a first-time refusal may carry consequences including $200 to $500 in fines, a 6-month to 1-year license suspension, 10 to 60 hours of community service, completion of a court-ordered DUI safety course or addiction treatment program, and/or installation of an ignition interlock device.
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a criminal offense. The more prior convictions there are on a person’s record, the steeper the penalties; jail time becomes mandatory with the second and all subsequent convictions (and it may be ordered with a first conviction). Also, aggravating circumstances can increase penalties.
However, first offenses are typically punished with $100 to $400 in fines, a $500 highway assessment fee, various other fees, 10 to 60 hours of community service, a 3-month to 1-year license suspension, up to 1 year imprisonment, mandatory completion of a DUI safety course or drug and alcohol treatment program, and requirement to maintain proof of responsibility for 3 years.
Often, carriers extend a premium discount to motorists who voluntarily complete a State-approved defensive driving course. This doesn’t apply to classes taken following a traffic violation or conviction to prevent points being assessed against the license or to comply with a court order.
Auto insurance rates are a product of many individual factors, some of which are more under your control than others. As a long-term strategy, strive to maintain a clean driving record, uninterrupted coverage, and a high credit score. Ask about discounts like those discussed throughout this page, select a higher deductible for a lower premium, and consider paying upfront for a full term of coverage. Most crucial, though, is doing your research when buying a new policy, allowing yourself time to comparison shop for the lowest possible quotes.
Uninsured motorist coverage is a protection against hit-and-run drivers who can’t be tracked down after the fact and drivers illegally operating a motor vehicle without car insurance. Rhode Island has been ranked in the top 10 states for a number of uninsured drivers. This type of coverage comes with all auto insurance policies sold in the state by default, but consumers may opt-out if they choose.