RI State House

Rhode Island Senate Passes Bill to Prohibit Auto Insurers from Charging More for Widowed Policyholders

In a move aimed at protecting widowed individuals from discriminatory insurance practices, the Senate today approved a bill sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Valarie Lawson. The legislation, known as bill 2024-S 2269, seeks to prevent auto insurers from imposing higher premiums solely based on the policyholder’s marital status as a widow or widower.

Under the provisions of the bill, auto insurers are prohibited from treating widows or widowers differently than married individuals in terms of classification or rates. This regulation is set to take effect for policies issued after January 1, 2025.

The initiative garnered bipartisan support and now proceeds to the House, where a companion legislation (2024-H 7606) introduced by Representative Arthur Handy (D-Dist. 18, Cranston) has already been passed.

Senator Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence) emphasized the personal impetus behind the bill, citing a constituent’s experience as a driving force. “This issue first came to my attention when a constituent of mine reached out to share her story with me,” said Lawson. “Adding an additional expense to the lives of those mourning a loved one is unnecessary and unfair.”

The proposed legislation received backing from the local insurance industry, which acknowledged the need for fair treatment of policyholders. Insurers highlighted that widowed individuals, unlike other rating factors, pose minimal to no additional risk as drivers.

The bill’s passage represents a significant step toward ensuring equitable treatment in the insurance sector and alleviating financial burdens for widowed individuals during periods of grief and transition.




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