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Kentucky car insurance laws

Traffic on Brent Spence Bridge of Kentucky.
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There were 158,171 reported car accidents in Kentucky in 2018, which led to 670 fatalities. Data from the Kentucky Transportation Center showed that total collisions decreased by 2 percent from the year prior, but frequent car accidents continue to put Kentucky drivers at risk.

Drivers in Kentucky are required to carry car insurance, which provides financial and legal protection in the event of an accident. It is important for drivers to understand Kentucky car insurance laws to ensure they have adequate protection for themselves and their vehicle.

Car insurance laws in Kentucky

Kentucky drivers must adhere to several state insurance laws. These laws are designed to keep drivers safe and limit their liability. Here are the most important Kentucky car insurance laws to be aware of:

  • Drivers must carry minimum coverage insurance: Car insurance is required for all drivers who have a registered vehicle in Kentucky. Drivers must meet the minimum coverage requirements regardless of how often they drive. Insurance policies must be written by an insurance company that is licensed to do business in the state of Kentucky.
  • Drivers must carry proof of insurance: Kentucky insurance law requires drivers to always have proof of insurance in their vehicle at all times. This is because drivers must be able to produce that proof of insurance immediately when it is requested by a law enforcement officer.
  • Single limit policies are allowed: As an alternative to traditional car insurance, drivers in Kentucky are allowed to purchase a single limit policy, which includes $60,000 in financial responsibility.
  • Active duty military can use out-of-state insurance: Active duty military members who are currently living in Kentucky are allowed to maintain car insurance coverage that is issued in another state, as long as their vehicle is registered in Kentucky.

Liability insurance in Kentucky

Drivers must meet Kentucky minimum car insurance requirements in order to legally operate their vehicle. Kentucky auto insurance requirements are 25/50/25, which includes:

  • $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person
  • $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident
  • $25,000 in property damage liability coverage per accident

Drivers in Kentucky who settle for minimum coverage insurance pay the lowest premium. However, most insurance companies recommend that drivers purchase more coverage than what is required. Car accidents can be expensive and the state minimum coverage might not cover a driver’s full financial responsibility.

For example, say that you caused an accident and the other driver plus two of their passengers suffered serious injuries. The total medical expenses for the three individuals was $150,000. In this case, you would be responsible for paying the remaining $100,000 out-of-pocket, because minimum coverage insurance only covers $50,000 in liability.

Additionally, liability-only coverage does not include any protection for your own vehicle. If you cause an accident and your vehicle needs significant repairs, you would have to pay for the repairs entirely out-of-pocket, even if your vehicle is totaled.

Is Kentucky a no fault state?

Yes, Kentucky is a no-fault state. In a no-fault state, your insurance company bears the burden of paying for your medical expenses after a covered accident, regardless of which driver caused the accident. In a fault state, the at-fault driver’s insurance company compensates the other driver for their losses.

However, Kentucky’s no-fault laws are unique. Drivers in Kentucky have the option to purchase no-fault insurance or decline coverage when they buy insurance. Drivers who opt into no-fault insurance are required to carry a minimum of $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage, which pays for their medical expenses and lost wages.

Penalties for driving without insurance in Kentucky

Driving without car insurance is illegal in Kentucky. If a driver is caught without insurance, their vehicle’s registration is automatically suspended. In addition, drivers must pay a fine between $500-$1,000, and may also face up to 90 days in jail.

Additional auto insurance coverage options in Kentucky

Liability-only insurance offers limited coverage. For added protection, many Kentucky drivers purchase endorsement insurance policies. Here are some optional coverages that can be beneficial for drivers in Kentucky:

  • Collision insurance: Collision insurance will pay to repair your vehicle’s damages after a covered accident. In Kentucky, the average collision insurance premium costs around $300 per year for full coverage.
  • Comprehensive insurance: Comprehensive insurance will pay to repair your vehicle’s damages after non-accident incidents, like fire, water damage or vandalism. The average comprehensive policy costs approximately $157 in Kentucky.
  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage provides financial protection if you end up getting into an accident with someone who does not have insurance at all or who does not have enough insurance to pay for your losses.
  • Gap insurance: If you lease or finance your vehicle, and it gets totaled in a covered accident, gap insurance will pay the difference between the car’s value and the remaining loan balance.
  • Roadside assistance: Roadside assistance coverage includes basic roadside vehicle repairs, towing, extrication, fuel delivery, battery replacement and lockout services. Most insurance providers offer this coverage for an added fee.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best car insurance company in Kentucky?

Car insurance is personalized, so the best car insurance company in Kentucky is different for every driver. Some drivers are looking for the best coverage options, whereas others are looking for the best customer service or lowest rates. Drivers should shop around and compare several insurance providers that meet their specific needs to find the perfect match.

How much does car insurance in Kentucky cost?

Car insurance in Kentucky is more expensive than the nationwide average. In Kentucky, the average full coverage car insurance policy costs $2,201 per year and the average minimum coverage policy costs $761 per year. In comparison, the United States national average rate for full coverage insurance is $1,738 per year.

Does Kentucky require SR-22 insurance?

No, drivers in Kentucky who get charged with a DUI/DWI or lose their license are not required to purchase SR-22 insurance, which is a certificate of financial responsibility. However, having a negative strike on your driving record will cause your car insurance rate to increase.

Written by
Elizabeth Rivelli
Insurance Contributor
Elizabeth Rivelli is a contributing insurance writer for Bankrate and has years of experience writing for insurance domains such as The Simple Dollar, and NextAdvisor, among others