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RI Prohibits Charging Higher Widowed Auto Insurance


[CREDIT: Rob Borkowski] The RI State House.
STATE HOUSE – It’s now illegal in Rhode Island to charge higher widowed auto insurance rates, after Gov. Dan McKee signed legislation sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Valarie J. Lawson and Rep. Arthur Handy (D-Dist. 18, Cranston) into law May 31.

The  bill (2024-H 76062024-S 2269), approved by the General Assembly May 21, prohibits auto insurers from treating widows or widowers any differently than married people in terms of classification or rates, beginning with policies issued after Jan. 1, 2025.

“Marital status is one of many, many factors insurance companies weigh when they decide what their risk is to insure a driver. But a person doesn’t become a bigger risk as a result of losing their spouse. Besides being baseless, it’s just callous to add higher insurance rates to the heavy burdens of those who are grieving their spouses,” said Handy, who became aware of this issue following the passing of his wife, Tish DiPrete, in 2021.

The issue was brought to Senator Lawson’s attention by a constituent whose husband had passed away. When she informed her insurance company of her husband’s death, she was quickly notified that her car insurance would be increasing by $450 per year as a result.”

“Everyone who has experienced loss knows how devastating it is to deal with the practical matters and expenses and the uncertainly of a major life change on top of the heavy emotional toll of the grieving process. Adding an additional expense to the lives of those mourning a loved one is unnecessary and unfair,” said Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence).

The local insurance industry supported the bill, noting that not only will this bill lead to more fair outcomes for policyholders, but that widowed persons, unlike other rating factors, present little to no additional risk as drivers.

Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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