Costly auto repairs and a high percentage of uninsured drivers push the typical monthly car insurance premium in Rhode Island up $50 over the national average — or $600 more a year. And while there’s nothing you can do to change those statistics, my research indicates you can score a far cheaper rate simply by taking a half hour to shop around.

I got several quotes for the state’s minimum coverage and found out I could save over $1,800 a year by going with Progressive. It’d be nice if I could tell you it was the best car insurance company for you too, but unfortunately, I can’t. Insurers calculate their rates based on a number of factors, including your age, your driving record, your zip code, and the make and model of your vehicle, for starters. And each company weighs these factors a little differently. The only way to know which one is going to offer you the best deal is to get a handful of quotes and compare their rates and coverage options. I’d recommend starting with five or six companies at least.

No one wants to pay more for their auto insurance than is necessary. The best way to determine whether your premium is fair is to shop around. Comparison shopping takes time, but can save you money and is the best way to find the best insurance company for you and your family. Remember that you may stay with your insurance company for years, so it is wise to invest time now shopping around. — Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation, Insurance Division

Online quotes are pretty simple and take about five minutes each to complete. Just answer a couple of easy questions about your vehicle, yourself, and your driving history and you’ll be presented with a quote that you can customize to fit your needs. If you don’t know your annual mileage or the details of any accidents from the past five years, make sure to figure that out before you start the quote process. You can also get quotes over the phone, although this usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes per quote and there’s a chance you may have to sit on hold or wait for a call back.

Find the Best Car Insurance

Enter your ZIP code below and be sure to click at least 2-3 companies to find the very best rate.

Our Top 5 Picks for the Best Car Insurance in Rhode Island

  • Progressive
  • Geico
  • Liberty Mutual
  • Amica
  • Allstate

I started with these five companies, all of whom offer insurance in Rhode Island and have solid financial stability and customer service ratings. I’d recommend you start your search with them as well.

Insurer My quote
Progressive $1,656
Geico $2,114
Liberty Mutual $2,936
Amica $3,372
Allstate $3,528

I chose these companies based on their high A.M. Best financial solvency ratings and their scores from J.D. Power’s most recent customer satisfaction survey. For those who don’t know, A.M. Best is a top financial strength rating agency that measures a company’s long-term stability and J.D. Power is a leading name in customer satisfaction reporting. These things should factor into your decision just as much as a low premium — if not more. No one wants an insurance company that drags its feet when it’s time for them to pay out or a rude claims representative that just adds to the headache. If you go with one of the five companies I’ve listed above, you shouldn’t have to worry about that.

When I actually crunched the numbers, the range was huge. Progressive was easily my cheapest option at $1,656 a year, and Geico was $458 more. The latter ended up being slightly more expensive because they required me to purchase optional coverage for medical payments and uninsured motorists. But even that was significantly cheaper than the $3,528 Allstate wanted to charge me for minimum coverage. For that price, I could purchase significantly more coverage from Progressive.

Even If You’re Happy, It’s Best to Shop for a New Policy Every Couple of Years

Your risk of getting into an accident isn’t all insurers care about; they also worry about you leaving them for another company. They have special algorithms designed to measure the likelihood of this by looking at your credit score, shopping habits, and even your social media pages. They then look at this risk and determine how much to quote you — a process called price optimization.

You would think staying loyal would earn you a discount, but it may cost you instead. If insurers believe you’re complacent, they’ll raise your rates, expecting you won’t shop around and realize you’re paying more than you have to. On the other hand, people who frequently shop around are likely to see more competitive rates because their current insurer wants to hang onto their business. That’s why it’s best to shop around at least every year or two — the more you hunt for quotes, the harder they have to try to keep you.

Rhode Island is one of the few states that have taken a stand against price optimization, along with Maryland, California, Pennsylvania, Florida, and more than 10 others. In 2015, the insurance commissioner issued a bulletin stating that any insurer doing business in Rhode Island must remove non-risk-related factors from their premium algorithms within 60 days, as this is in violation of state law that rates must not be “excessive, inadequate or unfairly discriminatory.” If you last purchased a policy before November 2015, you may want to take some time to look for a new policy to make sure your rates accurately reflect you as a driver, not your shopping habits.

Rhode Island’s Minimum Coverage

The Bare Minimum

Rhode Island’s minimum coverage is pretty average compared to the rest of the nation. Residents are required to carry at least $25,000 of bodily injury coverage per person and $50,000 per accident, along with $25,000 of property damage liability coverage. You’ll often see this written as $25,000/$50,000/$25,000.

The Best Car Insurance is Not Just Cheap Car Insurance

Paying a little extra for more than utterly cheap car insurance can save you a ton down the road. Consider these facts:

  • On average, you will get into a car accident once every 17.9 years.
  • The average cost of a disabling, nonfatal injury is about $80,000, according to the National Safety Council — that’s not even considering what you might have to pay in property damages or if you injure multiple people.

Say I have the minimum coverage and I cause an accident that seriously injures another driver — about $50,000 in damages. My insurance will only cover half of that and I’m likely to end up being sued and draining my savings account to pay for the rest. Upgrading my coverage to double the state minimum would only cost an extra $78 a year with Progressive — that’s just an extra $6.50 per month. And then in the accident scenario above, I wouldn’t have to pay a single dime out of pocket. To me, that extra peace of mind is worth paying for.

You may also want consider purchasing uninsured motorist coverage. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 15 percent of Rhode Island drivers don’t have insurance, and that’s a huge risk for you. Uninsured motorist coverage protects you if you collide with a driver who doesn’t have insurance or a hit-and-run driver. That way, you don’t end up paying for the damages out of pocket. Underinsured motorist coverage goes right along with this and covers the remainder of the damages if the at-fault driver’s insurance limits aren’t high enough, as is often the case if they only have minimum coverage.

If you have a lease or loan on your vehicle, your lender will likely require you to purchase collision and comprehensive protection as well. This covers repairs to your vehicle, regardless of whether you were at fault. Collision coverage deals primarily with accidents involving another vehicle while comprehensive protection covers things like theft, vandalism, and natural disasters. Even if your lender doesn’t require this type of coverage, it’s often worth the investment because auto repair costs can quickly drain a bank account, especially in a state like Rhode Island where repairs already cost far more than the national average.

If You Skip Coverage, It’ll Cost You

The high number of uninsured Rhode Island drivers led the state to create the Rhode Island Insurance Verification System, or the RIIVS for short. This system matches auto insurance policies to actively registered vehicles. Any registered vehicle that fails to match an existing insurance policy for three consecutive months will be sent a Request for Insurance Verification notice in the mail.

Failure to comply with this notice will result in your registration being revoked. Until you purchase insurance and pay the $251.50 reinstatement fee, you won’t be able to renew your registration or your driver’s license.

Find the Best Car Insurance

Enter your ZIP code below and be sure to click at least 2-3 companies to find the very best rate.

Beat the Average Premium

There are steps you can take to lower your rates with every insurer. Letting insurers monitor your driving, improving your credit, and moving to a cheaper zip code — these are all good things in the eyes of insurance agencies. Personally, I save on my auto insurance by limiting how often I drive and always paying my premium in full.


Rhode Island has three things working against it when it comes to auto insurance premiums: a high percentage of uninsured drivers, high auto repair costs, and a high population density. The increased likelihood of collisions with uninsured drivers increases the risk that your insurance company will have to pay for damages, even if you weren’t at fault, so premiums are increased to take this into account. However, this may cease to be a factor if Rhode Island’s new insurance verification system does its job in reducing the number of uninsured motorists on the road.

Additionally, it also has some of the nation’s highest and fastest-rising auto repair costs. The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) claims this results from several laws enacted in Rhode Island since 2003 that have limited the insurer’s ability to check the power of the Auto Body Association of Rhode Island (ABARI). This has enabled the auto body shops to raise their costs significantly, and the insurance companies have no choice but to comply. Insurers pass the high cost of repairs down to you, resulting in bigger premiums. And unfortunately, PCI predicts costs could rise even further in the coming years.

One final factor that might play into the state’s crazy high rates is that it has the second-highest population density in the nation, beaten only by New Jersey. This, too, raises rates because urban areas are at a higher risk for filing an insurance claim. Rhode Islanders don’t have to worry too much about theft because they see some of the fewest stolen vehicles of any state in the country; however, there’s still an increased risk of accidents when you have so many drivers on the roads. If you live in a rural area of the state, you may see your rates diverge from the state average to reflect the smaller chance of an accident.

The Bottom Line

I wish I could tell you one company was better than all the rest, but with insurance, that’s impossible. The only way to find the best car insurance for you is to get quotes and compare their rates and coverage limits. And make sure to consider purchasing more than the minimum coverage if you can afford to do so. It’ll only cost a little more each month (sometimes it actually costs less!) and if you get into an accident, you’ll be extremely grateful to have the extra protection. Go get your quotes!

Find the Best Car Insurance

Enter your ZIP code below and be sure to click at least 2-3 companies to find the very best rate.