Kentucky Car Insurance Guide
Every state has its own car insurance quirks and Kentucky’s no exception. The Bluegrass State’s insurance laws are unlike any other state’s, in fact.
We’ll explain all the ins and outs of Kentucky car insurance, like the difference between tort and no-fault, and how PIP works in Kentucky. If you don’t have time to read all this, you can just go ahead and start getting quotes for cheap car insurance on Compare.com. We make it easy for Kentucky drivers to compare their insurance options. We answer some of your most common car insurance questions about Kentucky. Got more questions? Send in your Kentucky questions and we may add your question to our list.
What are Kentucky’s Auto Insurance Requirements?
Kentucky’s state minimum requirements are pretty standard. To legally drive, you need:
- $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person
- $50,000 per accident
- $10,000 in property damage
- $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP)
Bodily injury liability pays for injuries sustained by other people in an accident you’re legally liable for. You also need to carry property damage liability, which pays for damage to other people’s property (like their cars) in an accident you’re responsible for. But wait: Kentucky also requires drivers to carry personal injury protection (PIP), which is the part of your insurance that pays for your own medical expenses, lost wages and similar out-of-pocket costs incurred by an injury in a car accident, no matter who’s at fault.
What Does it Mean That Kentucky’s a “Choice No-Fault State”?
Kentucky’s one of 12 no-fault insurance states. Many people think this means that if you hit someone in a car crash, it’s not really your fault. Not exactly. “No fault” means a system designed to limit lawsuits by allowing motorists to sue for severe injuries and/or pain and suffering only if their case meets certain conditions, called thresholds.
Kentucky’s no-fault insurance laws say you can’t file an injury claim or lawsuit for damages (or be sued) unless the medical expenses incurred are greater than $1,000, or involve a broken bone, permanent injury or death. If your expenses or injuries fall below that threshold, you make do with the money you get from your PIP: up to $10,000 for medical expenses and lost wages (up to $200 per week), minus your deductible.
It’s one of just three “choice no-fault” states, which means you can choose to insure your car under the tort system or the no fault system. In the tort system, if you’re hurt in an accident, you retain the right to sue the other driver for the cost of expenses related to your injuries — even if they don’t meet the threshold. However, this also means you can be sued by other drivers.
Which is Better: Tort or No-Fault Coverage in Kentucky?
That depends. Opting for PIP gives you some security, because you know you won’t be sued if you get involved in a minor accident, and you’ll be able to recover your own expenses quickly from your PIP.
Choosing the tort option (which requires filing a special form) takes away that protection, and also may increase the cost of liability coverage because you’re more likely to get sued. You can choose to “buy back” your PIP coverage, at added expense, if you choose. You may also have to pay extra to add “Guest PIP” to your policy, which provides basic PIP benefits to your passengers and pedestrians.
So which is better? The standard, no-fault coverage is probably the best option for most Kentucky drivers. That’s what insurers will offer you when you compare quotes on Compare.com. Many attorneys will warn you not to waive your PIP protection. “You may save a few dollars on your insurance premiums, but it rarely works out to your advantage financially if you find yourself injured in a wreck. In fact, we recommend that you buy as much PIP coverage as your insurance company will sell,” advises Danville law firm Hurst & Hurst.
How Do I Find the Cheapest Auto Insurance in Kentucky?
Among all the states, Kentucky ranks right in the middle (26th, in 2014) for the average annual amount spent on auto insurance. Because so many factors can affect the cost of car insurance — such as driving history, age, marital status and credit — there’s no single company that offers the cheapest Kentucky auto insurance. The best way to find an affordable policy is to compare auto insurance quotes for Kentucky side by side.
To comparison-shop on Compare.com, you just have to enter some basic information about your driving history, your address, your occupation and your vehicle. Then, you select one of four levels of coverage: state minimum, Basic, Plus or Premium. If your goal is to find the absolute cheapest Kentucky car insurance, start with state minimum coverage. This will give you quotes for a rock-bottom policy that meets Kentucky’s state minimum requirements (25/50/10 plus PIP) and also includes 25/50 uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage. Then, you’ll get personalized quotes from multiple insurers for that level of coverage and you can pick the cheapest or whatever company you feel comfortable with.
Is it Smart to Carry More Than the Kentucky State Minimum Insurance?
Kentucky’s minimums aren’t that low, compared to other states. If you don’t have a lot of assets to protect, and if you drive an old car that doesn’t need collision/comprehensive coverage, you may be OK with that minimum coverage. Of course, insurance experts will tell you that it’s smart to carry much higher coverage to protect yourself. Ideally, you’d have 100/300 limits for bodily injury liability coverage ($100,000 per person/$300,000 for all people injured in one accident), Edmunds says.
There’s a middle ground, however, and Compare.com can help you find it. Once you’ve looked at your super-cheap Kentucky auto insurance quotes for state minimum coverage, you can compare them to Basic coverage, which adds comprehensive and collision. You can also click “Customize coverage” to adjust your deductibles, add or delete towing and rental car coverage, and choose specific limits for different aspects of your coverage.
Experts will tell you to choose a deductible lower than $1,000 for PIP coverage, if possible. That’s because that money comes out of your pocket and can’t be recovered in a lawsuit. If you opt for bodily injury liability coverage with limits that are 50/100 or higher, then you can also get added personal injury protection. Once you find the best quote for the coverage you want, just click to buy.
I Can’t Afford Kentucky Car Insurance. What Happens if I Drive Without Insurance?
Don’t do it! If you drive without insurance in Kentucky, you’ll get hit with penalties including:
- Suspension or revocation of your driver’s license
- A reinstatement fee of $500 to $1,000 for a first offense
- Up to 90 days jail time
Some people buy insurance when they register a new car, then drop it right away. But that’s not smart: The state is vigilant about catching uninsured drivers, comparing insurance rolls to car registration records every month.
I Just Moved to Kentucky. Do I Have to Get Kentucky Auto Insurance, or Can I Keep my Previous Policy?
You need to get Kentucky insurance, and you need to do it fast! The state only gives you 15 days to apply for a vehicle registration once you move. There is an exception for college students, however. If you’re going to school in Kentucky, you can keep the registration and insurance from your home state. Just be sure to keep a current student identification card from a Kentucky college or university with you when you’re driving.
Ready to see how much you can save? Compare Kentucky car insurance options and get multiple quotes for your vehicle. Start now.