What you need to know:
- Rhode Island will track uninsured drivers through a database called the Rhode Island Insurance Verification System (RIIIVS).
- Uninsured drivers should get coverage now or they could have their license cancelled when the database is fully functional.
- Drivers with insurance should check online to confirm that the DMV has their correct address. Address-related errors could mean a driver with coverage gets mistakenly flagged as a driver without coverage.
Rhode Island is a step closer to kicking off an automated system to identify uninsured drivers in the state.
Last year, lawmakers there passed a law to create the Rhode Island Insurance Verification System (RIIIVS). The law went into effect this month, and insurers throughout the state are submitting drivers’ policy information.
The database will use that policy information and several other pieces of driving information provided by the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), including partial VINs to dates of birth, to “find matches of insurance policies to vehicles,” according to Anthony Silva, administrator for the DMV.
Correct Address Info is Important
Unmatched driver information in RIIIVS will mean that driver gets notified that they’re lacking coverage.
According to the law passed last year, the notification process is:
- If the database finds a car owner has been lacking coverage for at least three months, he or she will get a first notice.
- That notice will tell the car owner he or she has 15 days to provide proof of coverage.
- A second notice follows if no proof of coverage is provided, allowing another 15 days to provide proof of coverage.
- If proof of coverage still hasn’t been provided, the DMV cancels the car owner’s license and registration.
- To reinstate a license and registration, a driver has to provide proof of coverage and pay a $250 fee (additional fines and penalties could apply).
Since matching is so important to RIIIVS, “it’s crucial that [the DMV] has your correct address on file as notices go to the address on record,” according to Debbie Rich, a public information officer with the DMV.
Rhode Island drivers can request an address change with the DMV online.
Insurers Have November Deadline to Regularly Submit Policy Info
In a bulletin, state insurance regulators laid out what car insurers in Rhode Island have to do to register with the system and submit policy information about drivers they cover.
The law that created RIIIVS went into effect on July 1, but full-on use of the database won’t begin until later so that “insurance companies [have] sufficient time to comply with the law.” According to the bulletin, insurers need to start submitting policy information regularly by November.
The Ocean State has one of the highest statewide rates of uninsured drivers in the U.S., with more than 17.5 percent of drivers there lacking Rhode Island car insurance, according to the Insurance Research Council (IRC).
“The ultimate end result should be fewer uninsured motorists and that should translate into policy savings for all the other motorists on the road who are abiding by the mandatory auto insurance law,” Rep. Brian Kennedy (D-Hopkinton) said in a statement issued after the legislation he sponsored was signed into law.