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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.
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 bodily injury liability per person
- $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $25,000 property damage liability per accident
Although uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist and personal injury protection (PIP) must be offered, you can choose to decline these coverages in writing. Many of the best car insurance companies will allow you to submit an electronic signature to opt out. If you decline PIP coverage for yourself, guest PIP coverage (coverage for guest passengers in your vehicle) still applies.
Drivers in Kentucky who settle for minimum coverage insurance may pay the lowest premiums. 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
The penalties for driving without insurance in Kentucky can be severe. If a driver is caught without insurance, their vehicle’s registration is automatically suspended. In addition, first offense 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 coverage: Collision coverage will pay to repair your vehicle’s damages after a covered accident. In Kentucky, the average premium for collision coverage is around $308 per year.
- Comprehensive coverage: Comprehensive coverage will pay to repair your vehicle’s damages after non-accident incidents, like fire, water damage or vandalism. Comprehensive coverage costs approximately $168 in Kentucky.
- 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 will pay the difference between the new 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
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.
Car insurance in Kentucky is more expensive on average than the national average cost of car insurance. In Kentucky, the average full coverage car insurance policy costs $1,954 per year and the average minimum coverage policy costs $658 per year. In comparison, the U.S. average rate for full coverage insurance is $1,771 per year and $545 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 cause your car insurance rate to increase.