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Most states require their drivers to maintain a certain level of liability coverage on their car insurance policies to drive legally, and the Bluegrass State is no exception. In fact, driving without insurance in Kentucky can come with serious penalties, including registration suspensions, fines and jail time. To help you avoid a costly mistake, Bankrate’s editorial team simplified the car insurance laws in Kentucky so you can ensure to remain compliant with state requirements.

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 some of 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 the more typical split limit format for insurance policies, drivers in Kentucky are allowed to purchase a single limit policy, which includes at least $60,000 in liability coverage.
  • 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.
  • College students may keep insurance policies from other states: If a student is attending college in Kentucky but is originally from another state, they can keep the insurance policy from their home state while attending school. Out-of-state college students will also not be required to register their vehicles in Kentucky.

Liability insurance in Kentucky

Kentucky car insurance laws require drivers to carry the following amounts of liability coverage:

As an alternative, drivers can opt for a single limit policy that covers up to $60,000.

Liability insurance offers you financial protection from the damages you cause if you are found at-fault for an accident. To illustrate how liability insurance works, consider this scenario: You accidentally rear-end another vehicle at a stoplight, causing damage to their car and injuring the driver. Your liability coverage would kick in to cover the costs of the other driver’s car repairs and medical expenses up to your policy’s limits. If the costs exceed your coverage limits, you would be responsible for paying the remainder out of pocket.

Is Kentucky a no-fault state?

Yes, Kentucky is a no-fault state. This means that in the event of an accident, each driver’s personal injury protection (PIP) insurance covers their own injuries and damages up to their policy limits, regardless of who was at fault. This system is designed to expedite the claims process, since it eliminates the need to determine fault before payout.

One unique aspect of Kentucky’s no-fault system is that drivers can choose to opt-out. By doing so, they retain their rights to sue or be sued for damages after an accident. However, they must express this in writing to their insurance company. For drivers that do not opt-out, they must carry a minimum of $10,000 of personal injury protection.

Penalties for driving without insurance in Kentucky

Driving without insurance in Kentucky is a risky move that can result in hefty penalties. A first-time offense can lead to fines ranging from $500 to $1,000, a jail sentence of up to 90 days, and a one-year suspension of your driver’s license. You will also have to pay a $40 fee to reinstate your license once the suspension period is over.

If you’re caught driving uninsured a second time, the penalties escalate. Fines can reach up to $2,500, the jail sentence can extend to six months, and your driver’s license could be suspended for an additional year. Repeat offenders may even face a license suspension period of two years.

These penalties underscore the importance of maintaining the required car insurance in Kentucky. Not only does insurance protect you financially in the event of an accident, but it also keeps you on the right side of the law.

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 coverage: Collision coverage can help with the cost of repairing your vehicle after you were found at-fault for an accident.
  • Comprehensive coverage: Comprehensive coverage can help repair your vehicle’s damages after non-accident incidents, like fire, water damage or vandalism. When purchased with collision coverage, this is usually referred to as a full coverage car insurance policy.
  • Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage: Uninsured motorist coverage and underinsured motorist coverage provide 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 or is stolen and unrecoverable, gap insurance can pay the difference between the new car’s value and the remaining loan balance.
  • Roadside assistance: Roadside assistance coverage usually 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

    • Car insurance is personalized, so the best car insurance company is different for every driver. However, Bankrate’s research shows that Geico, State Farm and Allstate write some of the best policies in the state. To find the company that works best for you, you will need to first identify your insurance needs. Some are looking for the best coverage options, while others are looking for the best customer service or lowest rates. We recommend shopping around and comparing several insurance providers that meet your specific needs to find the perfect match.
    • Car insurance in Kentucky is on par with the national average cost of car insurance. In Kentucky, the average full coverage car insurance policy costs $2,540 per year and the average minimum coverage policy costs $761 per year. In comparison, the U.S. average rate for full coverage insurance is $2,542 per year and $740 per year for minimum coverage.
    • 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 likely cause your car insurance rate to increase.