Why is Car Insurance So Expensive in Rhode Island?

Last Updated on July 31, 2020

Drivers in Rhode Island pay some of the highest rates in America for car insurance. Why is car insurance so expensive in Rhode Island? Why do Rhode Island drivers pay the highest rates for car insurance?

Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about the cost of car insurance in Rhode Island.

Why is Car Insurance So Expensive in Rhode Island?

The Average Rhode Island Driver Pays $2,000 Per Year for Car Insurance

First, let’s make something clear: you’re not crazy for thinking car insurance is more expensive in Rhode Island.

The average driver in Rhode Island pays about $2,000 per year for car insurance, or about 40% more than the American average.

Teenage drivers in Rhode Island are hit particularly hard: the average 16-year old driver in Rhode Island pays around $9,500 per year for car insurance, for example, which is among the highest rates in the country.

As with other states, various factors will impact your car insurance premiums, including your credit score, age, and driving record.

Your ZIP code also plays a significant role in car insurance premiums in Rhode Island. Drivers in Providence, for example, pay the highest rates in the Ocean State, while drivers in Newport pay the cheapest rates. The difference is significant: according to one report, a driver in Newport pays $1,000 less for car insurance every year than a driver in Providence.

As of 2019, Rhode Island has the seventh most expensive car insurance premiums in the United States. According to a report by Insure.com, drivers in Rhode Island pay an average of $1,834 per year for car insurance, trailing only California ($1,846), Washington D.C. ($1,876), Oklahoma ($1,966), Florida ($2,219), Louisiana ($2,298), and Michigan ($2,611).

Clearly, there’s something unique going on with car insurance prices in Rhode Island. So why are car insurance premiums in Rhode Island so high?

Auto Repair Costs Are Very Expensive in Rhode Island

Rhode Island has some of the costliest car repair shops in the United States. That’s why drivers in Rhode Island pay the third-highest average vehicle damage insurance premiums in the United States.

Put simply, insurance companies pay more for car repairs in Rhode Island than they would for similar repairs in other states.

Why are car repair costs so high in Rhode Island? The state’s insurance companies blame government legislation.

Over the past two decades, the Auto Body Association of Rhode Island (ABARI) promoted 17 auto body shop bills that were designed to improve the quality of auto body repairs across the state. However, these bills also increased car repair costs substantially. They have also made it harder for insurers to combat fraud. Both of these effects have raised insurance prices.

In 2015, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) released a detailed report on the impact of new legislation promoted by ABARI. That report found that the new legislation has increased the cost of car repairs in Rhode Island while preventing insurers from tackling fraud. Because of this new legislation, insurers have fewer checks and balances in the claims process.

The report concluded:

“Our report clearly shows that a decade of special interest auto body shop legislation is hurting Rhode Island consumers who pay the highest auto insurance premiums in New England and some of the highest auto insurance premiums in the nation.”

Keep in mind that this report was released by an organization that represents insurance companies, so there will be some bias. Supporters of the auto body shop legislation claim that drivers have benefited from better-quality repairs and an easier claims process. Critics claim drivers in Rhode Island care less about these things and would prefer paying lower rates.

How to Get Cheap Car Insurance in Rhode Island

Yes, drivers in Rhode Island pay high rates for car insurance. However, you can use certain strategies to unlock cheaper rates.

Compare Quotes: Compare car insurance quotes online today. Enter your ZIP code and view instant quotes from providers in your area. Large and small insurance companies are available across Rhode Island, and prices are competitive among insurers. Some companies charge cheaper premiums to younger drivers, while other companies prefer safer, older drivers. You might save hundreds by making the switch.

Take Advantage of Discounts: Rhode Island car insurance discounts include good grade discounts, good credit score discounts, bundling discounts, safe driving discounts, and more. Research discounts available at your insurer to see if you qualify.

Drop Coverage: Rhode Island requires minimum insurance coverage of $25,000 of bodily injury coverage per person, $50,000 of bodily injury coverage per accident, and $25,000 of property damage coverage (25/50/25). Consider dropping your car insurance to these legal limits to save money. You can save thousands of dollars by dropping collision and comprehensive coverage, for example.

Using the strategies above, you can get the cheapest possible car insurance in Rhode Island.

Cheapest Car Insurance Providers in RI

The following insurance companies offer the cheapest policies for minimum coverage in Rhode Island. If you are looking for the cheapest possible insurance option in RI, you should start comparing quotes from one of the companies listed below:

RankInsurance CompanyAnnual Premiums
5Amica Mutual$1,740

Unfortunately, USAA has strict eligibility requirements. Only active-duty military, veterans, and their family members are allowed to join. If you are a Rhode Islander and USAA-eligible, however, it’s clearly the most affordable choice in the state.

Final Word on Rhode Island Insurance Rates

Drivers in Rhode Island pay unusually high car insurance premiums. Premiums in Rhode Island are higher than in any other neighboring state in New England. As of 2019, Rhode Island has the seventh most expensive car insurance premiums in the United States.

Fortunately, by comparing quotes today, drivers in Rhode Island can pay the cheapest possible rates for car insurance.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for InsurancePanda.com and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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