Updated on 06.20.16

Car Insurance in Kentucky

Hallie Borden

I saved $482 in under an hour.

Kentucky’s fatal collision rates are fifteen percent higher than the nation as a whole. Surprisingly our car insurance rates are only 5 percent higher than the rest country. But, I don’t think we should stop there. If you haven’t gotten comparison quotes from at least 5 companies, you’re likely paying more than the average driver in our state or in another. In less than an hour, I found almost $500 in savings just by shopping a bunch of insurers — and I did it all online.

For me, State Farm offered the cheapest premium, a policy that’ll run me $550 a year for state-minimum insurance, or $804 if I opt for upgraded coverage. GEICO’s prices were only a few bucks more and included an extra add-on, so both ended up being a good deal. However, you shouldn’t make any assumptions about which company is the best based upon my success. Quotes are highly dependent on the person who applies; what’s best for me might not be best for you.

Every insurance company has a different formula to calculate your risk as a driver, and the subsequent rates they’ll charge you. It take into account things like your vehicle, driving history, living situation, and more. Even if you polled all of your neighbors to find out which company gave them the lowest rate, the only way for you to find the best car insurance company for you and your family would still be to get several quotes from different providers in your area. I applied for five and found two that had the low rates I was looking for. It takes less than ten minutes to get a quote online, so dive in and see how much money you can save. It’s actually super rewarding work; I don’t think I’ve ever knocked this much of a bill off my budget in less than an hour.

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Our Top 5 Picks for the Best Car Insurance in Kentucky

In my search for the best car insurance quote, I only considered companies with high customer satisfaction ratings that were financially solvent; the best of the best. To start, I checked out JD Power’s ratings for the Southeast Region, and chose agencies with three stars and above. Then I looked up each company on A.M. Best Rating Services, a website that rates the fiscal security of insurance providers. You can also check a company’s complaint ratio on the Kentucky Department of Insurance website. I narrowed that list down to providers who serviced my address, and came up with the companies you see in the table.

To find the cheap car insurance premium that fit my bill, I requested quotes for the minimum insurance required by law. In Kentucky, the legally-mandated coverage is pretty low. The state only requires $25,000 liability for one injury/death, $50,000 for multiple, and $10,000 for the property damage of another vehicle. Kentucky is also a no-fault state, which means you’re also required to carry $10,000 in personal injury protection. This low level of insurance could leave you vulnerable to a huge bill in the case of an accident, so I recommend looking into upgraded coverage. I compared quotes for yearly premiums, since they often yield a discount over month-to-month plans.

Insurer My quote
State Farm $550
GEICO $589
Allstate $950
Nationwide $964
Progressive $1032

While State Farm and GEICO’s rates are both reasonable, Allstate, Nationwide, and Progressive all jumped substantially. For the exact same state-minimum coverage, Progressive is $482 more per year than State Farm. Rather than maxing out your budget paying for a more expensive insurance agency, you should pick one of the lowest quotes you receive, and then upgrade your coverage. Paying just slightly more for a higher level of coverage will save you money in the long run, and won’t cost nearly as much as going with the minimum coverage at the most expensive company.

How I Gathered My Quotes

Few insurance agencies still make you pick up the phone to speak to a registered agent. You should be able to get most of your quotes from easy-to-use online tools. In fact, I was able to get all five of my quotes online.

The great thing about getting an online quote is that you can usually see exactly what you’re paying for. There are a lot of optional add-ons that you may need, and some that might not apply to your driving situation. Do you frequently drive in forested areas? Then you might want to add deer-collision coverage. Have a second car in your household? Then you may not need rental car compensation when your car is in the shop. Car insurance websites make it easy to check and uncheck all of these options and see how your rates are affected.

Even If You’re Happy, It’s Best to Shop for a New Policy Every Couple of Years

It might seem like your car insurance company is rewarding your loyalty as a customers with exclusive offers and discounts. But in car insurance, your loyalty is actually rewarded with fees and price hikes. It’s called “Price Optimization,” and it’s a controversial tactic used by the majority of national brands. Your insurance company likely analyzes your personal data and online behavior, and if finds you’re unlikely to shop for a new provider, your bill will steadily increase. If there’s a loyalty discount on your policy, it’s probably smaller than the rate hikes they’ve been coupling with that “discount.”

Price Optimization won’t negatively impact you if you know how to stop it. And the best way to do that is by shopping around for new insurance every year or two. The process of occasionally requesting quotes online will flag you as a flight risk, and your rates are less likely to go up. And if you happen to find a lower premium, you can either switch insurance companies or give your current provider a call to complain. Insurers are similar to cable companies — they’ll often lower your bill if you threaten to leave.

“By measuring and using price elasticity of demand, an insurer can “optimize” prices to charge the greatest price without causing the consumer to switch to another insurer. It is this use of elasticity of demand that has led to criticisms that price optimization penalizes customers.” —National Association of Insurance Commissioners

Although 15 states have publicly critiqued the practice of Price Optimization, Kentucky has yet to speak out. Eventually, the practice may be regulated, but for now, it’s up to consumers to shop around frequently enough to keep their rates from going up.

Kentucky Minimum Coverage

The Bare Minimum

As a Kentucky driver, you need to carry insurance that covers $25,000 in the event of an injury/death of one person in an accident, $50,000 for multiple people, and $10,000 for the damage of another person’s property. Since Kentucky is a no-fault state, you also need to be insured for $10,000 in personal injury protection. You’ll see this as 25/50/10 10 PIP in insurance shorthand. You’re not required to have insurance that covers your personal vehicle/property in a collision, meaning the state-minimum insurance won’t cover many of your costs, even in a minor accident.

The Best Car Insurance is Not Just Cheap Car Insurance

While insurance premiums may be low for the state-minimum requirement, the actual cost can be astronomical. The cost of a serious, non-fatal injury from a car accident is an average of $74,900. If you only have the legally required liability coverage, you could end up paying that leftover $50,000. And that doesn’t even include the cost of damage to the other driver’s car. Even if you’re a safe driver, driving with the minimum insurance is a big risk. The average driver gets into an accident every 17.9 years. That’s not that often, but paying out of pocket in the event of a collision will cost you much more than a relatively small yearly increase in your insurance rate.

Insurance Company State-Minimum Coverage 100k/300k/100k 50k PIP Coverage
State Farm $550 $804
GEICO $589 $843
Allstate $950 $1238
Nationwide $964 $1207
Progressive $1032 $1323

In my situation, upgrading to substantially more coverage cost $254 a year. There are levels of insurance in between state-minimum and 100/300/100 50 PIP, but that amount of coverage should protect you in most situations and give you peace of mind. Even the more expensive insurance companies cost less than $300 for more than four times the coverage. Over the course of 18 years, I’ll be paying around $5,500 for as much as ten times that in coverage. For me, it’s worth upping the coverage now rather than paying for it down the (literal and figurative) road.

What Happens If I’m Caught Without Insurance

In Kentucky, you’re legally required to have auto insurance when operating a vehicle. There are stiff penalties for driving uninsured, so make sure your insurance never lapses. You can be fined $1,000 and are subject to up to 90 days in jail. Your license plates will be suspended, and you’ll be labeled a “high-risk driver” by insurance companies, making it difficult and expensive to get coverage.

In an effort to crack down on number of drivers who were getting insurance in order to register their vehicles and then immediately dropping their coverage, the legislature has begun tracking registered vehicles without matching insurance policies. If you have a registered vehicle that isn’t insured for 60 days, you’ll receive a notice that your registration will be cancelled if you don’t show your proof of insurance. So, even if you’re not getting pulled over and asked to hand over your insurance paperwork, the state is still keeping tabs. If you drop your coverage, they’ll notice. Plus, there’s absolutely no way I’d recommend “saving” the monthly premium — it’s simply making a gamble that might be $100,000 or more. If you don’t have that kind of cash to set on the green felt of the poker table, you don’t have it to bet here either.

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Beat the Average Premium: 9 Ways to Snag Cheap Car Insurance Rates

There are many factors that go into determining your individual insurance rate. Some are beyond your control at this point, like your age and accident history, but there are several things you can do to increase your likelihood of an affordable premium.

Nine Ways to Lower Your Car Insurance Rates


Why are Kentucky’s rates above average?

What to Expect
Average Monthly Premiums
United States $139
Kentucky $146
Louisville $163
Lexington $121
Owensboro $121
Source Quadrant

Car insurance premiums in Kentucky are about five percent higher than the national average. That’s not a huge difference, but it does mean that drivers pay roughly $80 more per year than most. With 1.36 deaths per 100 million miles driven, Kentucky’s fatal accident rate is fifteen percent higher than the US as a whole. With that many more serious collisions than the national average, it’s surprising that our rates aren’t even higher.

What if I’m not a full-time resident?

If your primary state of residency is outside of Kentucky and your car is registered and principally operated there, you don’t need to worry about registering in Kentucky, too. If you’re a resident and bringing in a car from out of state, you should apply for Kentucky registration within 15 days. That means you’ll need Kentucky insurance within those first two weeks, too.

The Bottom Line

Spending a little extra money to get more than the state-minimum coverage is the right choice for me, and I’d recommend you see if that’s also the case for you, too. Cheap car insurance often doesn’t pay in the long run. But with better coverage, you won’t be hung out to dry in the event of a collision.

Dedicating an hour to researching and requesting car insurance quotes is likely to save you a lot of money now, and if you repeat the quote process every couple of years, you’ll prevent your rates from going up. It takes less than ten minutes to get a quote, and you don’t even have to pick up the phone, talk to agent, or worry about getting upsold. Get five quotes and see how much you can save.

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Enter your zip code to compare rates from some of my top recommendations.

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