RI General Assembly

RI House approves bill prohibiting auto insurers from charging higher rates to the widowed

The Rhode Island House of Representatives has approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Arthur Handy to prohibit auto insurers from charging policyholders more because they have been widowed.

The legislation (2023-H 5337A), which was approved Tuesday and now goes to the Senate, 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, 2024.

“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 simply as a result of losing their spouse. Besides being unnecessary, it’s hurtful to people who have lost their spouse to say that it somehow makes them riskier to insure,” said Representative Handy (D-Dist. 18, Cranston).

Representative Handy became aware of this issue following the passing of his wife, Tish DiPrete, in 2021. He first introduced the bill last year, and it passed the House then as well.

The local insurance industry supported the bill, with one industry representative telling the House Corporations Committee during the bill’s hearing that many members were shocked to learn that the practice was still allowed or employed.




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