Do Rhode Island Auto Insurance Companies Offer Anti-Theft Discounts?


Rhode Island with a blue backgroundThe state of Rhode Island requires that insurers offer a minimum discount on comprehensive coverage for vehicles equipped with certain anti-theft devices. The devices that qualify are categorized by regulators, and a combination of two devices can lead to a further reduction in premiums. A discount is only given on the comprehensive portion of a policy since this is the only type of coverage to cover theft. In addition to theft, comprehensive covers other losses such as vandalism, fire, hail, contact with an animal, and falling objects.

According to the FBI, there were 2,402 automobile thefts in Rhode Island in 2009. That’s a rate of one theft for every 328 vehicles registered in the state that year.

Categories of Anti-Theft Devices
  • Alarm Only Device (Category 1) - This is defined as an alarm that can be heard from a minimum of 300 feet away and emits the sound for at least three minutes.
  • Active Disabling Device (Category 2) - This is an item that disables a vehicle by making it inoperable when stolen, but doing so requires action on the part of the owner.
  • Passive Disabling Device (Category 3) - Unlike active disabling devices, these do not require a separate, manual step to engage the device.
  • Vehicle Recovery System Service (Category 4) - This is an electronic unit located on the automobile that can be activated if a vehicle is stolen. Once activated, the authorities are usually given the location of the car to help recover the vehicle.
The difference between the active and passive disabling devices is that active devices require the motorist to activate the device by performing an act such as pushing a button or flipping a switch. A passive device requires no action from the motorist to be activated.

Discount Percentages

The following are the minimum discounts that Rhode Island car insurance companies must give for each category:
  • Category 1: 5 percent
  • Category 2: 5 percent
  • Category 3: 15 percent
  • Category 4: 25 percent
Vehicle owners who have more than one anti-theft device will receive the following discount:
  • Categories 1 and 4: 30 percent
  • Categories 2 and 4: 30 percent
  • Categories 3 and 4: 35 percent
Insurers may also offer discounts for vehicle owners who have VIN etching, which is the process of having the auto’s vehicles identification number etched into various identifiable parts of the car. This allows law enforcement to identify parts to the stolen vehicle database. But this discount is not required by law.

In order to obtain discounts for car insurance for having vehicles equipped with anti-theft devices, consumers may have to provide the insurer with proof of installation.

Other Discounts Available

Insurers may also offer the following discount types:
  • Multi-vehicle
  • Completion of a driver education course
  • Good student
  • Safety devices
  • Low annual mileage
  • Multi-line
  • Good driver
  • Renewal
Rhode Island colored yellowThe discounts mentioned above do not necessarily apply specifically to comprehensive coverage. These are likely to reduce rates on coverages such as liability, PIP, and uninsured/underinsured motorist.

While not a discount, some insurers offer dividends to policyholder. Dividends are usually given if the carrier has been profitable and are usually applied to the next policy period’s premium. The type and size of discounts may vary. It may be in the best interest of drivers to shop around and find carriers that offer the lowest rates after reductions are applied.