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

 

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

The legislation (2024-H 7606), which was approved today 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, 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 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 in 2022, and it passed the House then and in 2023.

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

Senate Majority Whip Valarie Lawson (D-Dist. 14, East Providence) is sponsoring companion legislation (2024-S 2269) in the Senate.

 

 

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