Getting Car Insurance in Li’l Rhody

If you drive in Li’l Rhody, you gotta have car insurance. In a state that ranks toward the bottom of every best-worst driver list, it’s an imperative, and state law. How much it costs depends on your age, gender, marital status, driving record, credit rating and stuff like that. But what if, for whatever reason, you can’t get coverage? Our mass transit is either unreliable or non-existent. In America, a car is required to get from A to Z, home to work, school to child care, etc. So is there a public option for car insurance in RI, a state where the government mandates you have it?

There isn’t a public option per se, but there is something. It’s called the Rhode Island Automobile Insurance Plan, and it’s an assigned risk pool. The policies themselves are held and funded by the insurance companies, at no cost to the state government. How much they fund the pool is tied directly to their market share, or how much business they do in RI. The RI Division of Insurance refers to this as the market of last resort, and it’s very much meant to be your last resort when getting car insurance.

It’s a setup very common across the country, managed and administered by the Automobile Insurance Plans Service Office or AIPSO. AIPSO handles a lot of the residual car insurance market, registering people and pairing them with an insurance company. If you can’t find insurance, they’ll help you out. They’re also headquartered in Johnston. There are some eligibility requirements before you can apply; you have to be able to certify you’ve tried and been unable to find coverage for a period of 60 days. It also may not be cheaper than a policy received directly through an insurance company, but they will cover you when no one else does.

The policy will last three years; after that companies are required to take you out of the pool and give you a regular policy like everyone else. You can also get out of it within one year if you have a three year clean driving record. And the payment options for a RIAIP are the same as any typical insurance plan. Latest estimates show that up to 15% of all RI drivers are uninsured, and fewer than 2,000 Rhode Islanders actually used RIAIP last year. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, it’s a number that has slowly climbed higher according to AIPSO’s own statistics.

To learn more or seek assistance through this program, call (401) 946-2600 or visit aipso.com/Plan-Sites/Rhode-Island.

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