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Kentucky has implemented two ways to verify who among its registered motorists do not maintain proof of financial security. One, when you are pulled over by a traffic official and caught driving without insurance. Two, when you are found to have allowed your policy to lapse via the monitoring arm of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC). Whether you’re on the road or not-- the penalties can range from a $500 to $2,500 fine, and imprisonment from 90 to 180 days. Your registration will also be suspended for a year. And your license, automatically revoked.
|Penalty||First Offense||Second & Subsequent Offenses|
|$500 - $1,000||$1,000 - $2,500|
|90 days; or a combination of fine and jail time*||180 days; or a combination of fine and jail time*|
|Registration suspension for 1 year, or until proof of insurance is submitted||Registration suspension for 1 year; 2 years for every offense after the second|
|$40 fee in addition to court fines; proof of new insurance policy||$40 fee in addition to court fines; proof of new insurance policy; retaking driving exams if license suspension is over 1 year|
*Any time you are caught driving or owning a registered car without valid insurance, the penalty would be either a fine or sentence of imprisonment, and sometimes both, depending on the court.
Penalties for Driving Uninsured in Kentucky
When driving around Kentucky, it is important to have your insurance card on hand at all times. But even if you’re not on the road, you should keep in mind that your policy needs to be constantly up-to-date. That’s because the Kentucky Insurance System regularly verifies that all registered motor vehicles in the state maintain liability coverage with the minimum amounts of 25/50/25. To aid in monitoring, it requires insurance agencies to submit monthly records of all personal policies in effect to the KYTC. If your car is identified as uninsured, this would mean you have violated the law with a Class B Misdemeanor, and the penalties can be quite severe.
On your first offense for driving uninsured, your registration will automatically be suspended for a year unless you are able to present satisfactory proof of insurance to the Court. This may be in the form of a valid insurance policy, or a written notice from your insurance agent stating that you do have a policy that is more than 45 days old. If you fail to produce at least one or the other, you will be subjected to a fine of $500 to $1,000 and/or a jail sentence of 90 days.
On the other hand, if your vehicle is discovered uninsured by way of the Kentucky Insurance System’s regular monitoring, the KYTC’s Department of Motor Vehicle Registration will send you an Uninsured Notice. You’ll have to respond to this by presenting a valid proof of liability coverage to the Department. You may also choose to have your insurance agent vouch for you via written notice. If you are unable to do either in 30 days, the same fines and penalties of driving uninsured will apply. By the court’s discretion, you may be given conditional discharge, suspension, or penalty reduction once you’ve produced a proof of insurance as required, such as a letter from the insurer.
Second and Subsequent Offenses
If you are caught repeatedly driving without insurance within a 5-year period of your last conviction, you will be subject to far harsher penalties. This time around, the failure to present a valid proof of insurance to the court will result in a $1,000 to $2,500 fine. On top of this, you could also be imprisoned for 180 days. And, your registration will be suspended for a year. But what makes the penalties for your second – and subsequent – offense worse is that they also revoke your license. Your license and driving privileges will be cancelled for one year if the violation against the Kentucky Motor Vehicle Reparations Act recurred once; 2 years, if the violation recurred twice or more.
Alternatively, if you are not on the road but the Kentucky Insurance System discovers that you have been repeatedly allowing your policy to lapse within a 5-year period of your last conviction, you will receive an Uninsured Notice from the KYTC with the same 30-day lead time to submit proper proof of insurance or a written notice from your agent. If, again, you fail to produce either, the same fines and penalties as driving uninsured will apply. By the court’s discretion, you may be given conditional discharge, suspension, or penalty reduction once you’ve produced a proof of insurance and a receipt showing that you have purchased a premium for a minimum policy period of six months.
Reinstating your License in Kentucky
Unlike other states, Kentucky does not require an SR-22 filing for driver’s license reinstatement. Here's what you'll have to do to regain your driving privileges in Kentucky:
- Allow your license suspension period to end
- Appear in court and present an insurance policy that is paid for and valid for at least six months
- Retake the necessary driving exams if your license has been suspended for more than one year
- Pay the $40 reinstatement fee in addition to any other administrative or court fines you would face for your suspension
Re-applying for Auto Insurance in Kentucky
Driving without Insurance or simply being singled out as a negligent policyholder will be a disadvantage when you decide to do the right thing and get properly insured. It can be difficult to purchase auto insurance in Kentucky in the voluntary market when you’re deemed a high-risk motorist due to your violation of the law. If no insurance carrier wants to cover you, you can go through the Kentucky Automobile Insurance Plan (KAIP) as a last resort.