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A Primer on Rhode Island Auto Insurance

When someone is injured in a serious Rhode Island car accident, they will likely incur significant medical expenses, miss time away from work, and may also experience pain and suffering as a result of the accident. Rhode Island accident victims can pursue a claim against an at-fault driver to recover compensation for these damages.

While a Rhode Island personal injury lawsuit is technically filed against the at-fault driver, the claim will most likely be defended by that driver’s insurance company. In Rhode Island, all drivers and owners must be financially responsible, meaning they must obtain a certain amount of car insurance to cover the costs of a potential accident. Rhode Island uses a fault-based system, under which drivers will obtain insurance coverage to pay for the damages that they cause. This is referred to as liability coverage.

Most Rhode Island car insurance policies contain three parts: liability for bodily injury, liability for property damage, and un/underinsured motorist protection (UIM). As mentioned above, bodily injury liability coverage protects the insured against damages to other people they cause. Similarly, property damage liability coverage pays for damage to property caused by the insured. Notably, both bodily injury and property damage liability will cover damages caused by the insured, up to the policy limit. However, neither covers injuries suffered by the insured.

Traditionally, in a fault-based system, the at-fault driver’s insurance company would cover the costs caused by the policy-holder. However, if an at-fault driver has insufficient insurance coverage, an accident victim may not be able to obtain sufficient compensation to make them whole. This is where UIM coverage kicks in. Underinsured motorist protection covers costs incurred by the policyholder in the event another driver has insufficient insurance coverage, or has no insurance at all.

Generally, Rhode Island law requires motorists to obtain all three types of insurance. The limits are as follows:

  • Bodily injury liability: $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability: $25,000 per accident
  • Underinsured/Uninsured Motorist Protection: $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident

However, Rhode Island allows motorists who obtain the bare minimum amount of liability coverage to forego UIM coverage. While this may reduce the policy holder’s monthly insurance premium, it also leaves them completely exposed in the event of a Rhode Island car accident.

Also important to note is that when traveling outside Rhode Island, drivers may find themselves in one of the several “no-fault,” states, including Delaware, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. In these states, motorists will deal with their own insurance company rather than that of the at-fault driver. Rhode Island insurance policies will automatically switch over to a “no-fault” policy if an insured is in an out-of-state accident in a state with a “no-fault” system.

Have You Been Injured in a Rhode Island Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Rhode Island car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. At the Rhode Island law offices of Bilodeau Capalbo, we represent injury victims in Rhode Island personal injury cases. We have extensive experience handling all types of cases, and know how to effectively handle all types of Rhode Island insurance disputes. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation, call 401-300-4055 today.

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