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The state of Kentucky requires all motorists to carry a specific amount of car insurance. Carrying car insurance can help alleviate the financial burden after a motor vehicle accident caused by vehicle repairs, medical expenses and other accident-related costs. Driving without insurance not only leaves you without coverage, but could open you to facing serious penalties. Understanding the penalties for driving without insurance can help you avoid fines, driver’s license and registration suspension, and even jail time.
Kentucky car insurance laws
Every state has minimum insurance requirements. In Kentucky, drivers are required to have minimum bodily injury, property damage and personal injury protection coverage, including:
- $25,000 for all claims for bodily injury damages by one person from one accident
- Not less than $50,000 of bodily injury damages by all persons from one accident
- $25,000 for all property damage from one accident
- Personal injury protection
Drivers can also have a policy with a single limit of $60,000 to suffice for the minimum requirement. It is usually encouraged to obtain more than the minimum coverage for car insurance. If you are on a limited budget and can only get minimum coverage, you will avoid penalties for driving without insurance. However, minimum insurance may not cover all damages and injuries, so you may be stuck with expensive out-of-pocket costs after an accident.
Penalties for driving without insurance in Kentucky
If you are a vehicle owner in Kentucky, you cannot legally drive until you have obtained insurance. Drivers caught without insurance could face some stiff penalties for driving uninsured, including:
Pay a fine
Driving without insurance in Kentucky could result in fines. For a first offense of driving without insurance, you can be charged a fine of $500 to $1,000. If you are caught driving without insurance in Kentucky on a second offense, you could have to pay $1,000 to $2,500.
Driving without insurance in Kentucky may also result in jail time. For a first offense, you may have to serve up to 90 days in jail in addition to paying fines. For a second offense and offenses after that, you may have to serve up to 180 days in jail.
Driving privileges revoked
If you are caught driving without insurance in Kentucky, you can have your driver’s license suspended for up to a year or until your proof of insurance is submitted. On a second offense, you will likely have your license automatically suspended for the entire year. If you are caught driving without insurance after the second offense, your license will likely be suspended for an additional two years after the first year.
If your driver’s license or registration has been suspended, you will have to pay a $40 reinstatement fee and court fines and show proof of insurance. For second and subsequent offenses, you will face the same consequences as the first offense and also have to retake your driving exams if your license has been suspended for more than one year.
Fees from Kentucky’s online insurance verification system
Kentucky created an online insurance verification system after the Kentucky General Assembly mandated that county clerks verify vehicles’ insurance coverage upon registration. Using this system, insurance companies licensed to sell personal vehicle liability insurance in Kentucky must record all effective auto insurance policies every month. If proof is not submitted by the insurance company or by the vehicle owner within 90 days, the vehicle registration will be canceled.
The table below shows the types of fees that Kentucky drivers can occur for driving without insurance based on the online insurance verification system:
|Reason for fee||Fee amount|
|First offense driving uninsured||$500-$1,000|
|Second offense driving uninsured||$1,000-$2,500|
|Reinstating driver’s registration||$40|
Getting into an accident without insurance in Kentucky
It’s one thing to get caught without insurance while driving, but getting into an accident when uninsured is more complicated. Regardless of who was at fault for the accident, you will have to face all of the penalties of driving without insurance. Additionally, since Kentucky is a no-fault state, each driver must process their claims through their insurance. Therefore, even if you were not at fault for the accident, you would still have to pay for your vehicle damage and medical bills out of your pocket.
If you are at fault, in addition to being financially responsible for the penalties that result from getting caught driving without insurance, you will also have to cover the resulting damages from the accident, which could cost several hundred or even thousands of dollars.
If you are involved in an at-fault accident and are not insured, the costs can significantly increase. If you cannot afford the cost for damages, you may even be sued by the other driver and their insurance company. The damages you could be personally responsible for include your and the other drivers’ medical bills and car repairs and any other damages resulting from the accident, especially if the other driver does not carry uninsured motorist coverage.
Frequently asked questions
Driving without insurance can cost you money, but providing false insurance information is considered a criminal act and can result in up to $10,000 in fines and one to five years in jail.
Kentucky drivers pay an average of $2,124 for full coverage and $678 for minimum coverage. Although the average Kentucky insurance rates are higher than the national average of $2,014 for full coverage, every driver’s premiums are unique. Factors like location, driving record, insurance history and vehicle type all impact premium rates. It’s usually a good idea to shop around and compare providers and speak with a licensed insurance agent to find the best rates for you.
To find the best car insurance in Kentucky, a good place to start is to research car insurance providers available in your state or ZIP code. Additionally, you will want to identify your needs, goals, and current financial situation to see which insurance company is right for you. For example, you may prefer a car insurance company with the best customer service and annual renewal periods while another driver may simply be looking for the cheapest policy.
Most insurance companies provide discounts to help you lower the cost of your overall premium. You might want to shop around to see which insurance company offers the most discounts you’d qualify for, such as multi-policy, good student or defensive driving.