How Does Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Car Insurance Work in Kentucky?

Personal injury protection insurance in Kentucky provides coverage if you're involved in a motor vehicle accident. Since Kentucky is a no-fault state, PIP pays for medical expenses, lost wages and other costs related to your injuries, no matter which party was at fault for the accident.

At least $10,000 of PIP insurance is mandatory for all drivers, except motorcyclists, though you can typically purchase up to $50,000 from your insurer. However, by purchasing personal injury protection, you agree to certain restrictions on your ability to sue the other party involved in an accident. You can choose to reject this restriction of personal injury protection law by submitting a document to the state, but you also give up your own PIP benefits.

How Does PIP Insurance Work in Kentucky?

Personal injury protection in Kentucky will provide coverage if you're injured due to a motor vehicle accident so long as:

The accident was not work-related. You have not rejected PIP coverage. You have PIP insurance in place, in the case you were operating the vehicle.

Aside from those cases, you would be covered by PIP if you had almost any role in an accident. Coverage extends whether you were operating a vehicle involved in the accident, a passenger in a vehicle, a pedestrian or a bicyclist.

You can typically purchase higher levels of coverage, but the minimum level of personal injury protection pays for:

Up to $10,000 of medical expenses per person in an accident. 85% of lost wages due to the injury (with a maximum of $200 per week). Other related costs, such as replacement services.

Deductible for PIP Insurance

Unlike some forms of insurance coverage, such as comprehensive, PIP in Kentucky doesn't always come with a deductible. If you want a policy with a deductible, you can choose a deductible of $250, $500 or $1,000. In the case of an accident, you would only have to pay one deductible to cover everyone listed on your insurance policy. For example, say you and your spouse share an auto insurance policy with a $1,000 deductible and you're both injured in a collision. Medical expenses above $1,000 (or $500 per person) would be covered for both you and your spouse.

Though adding a deductible to your personal injury protection will lower your premiums, you should understand that you won't be able to reclaim that money from the other party, even if they're at fault. Since the first $10,000 in expenses due to an accident can only be paid by your own PIP, not the other driver, a deductible cannot be added to any claim against the other party.

Out-of-state PIP Coverage

If you're a Kentucky resident and would be covered by PIP insurance when driving within the state, you will continue to have PIP coverage when driving in other states. This applies whether you're the driver or the passenger in an accident outside of Kentucky.

On the other hand, if you're not a resident of Kentucky and are simply driving through the state, your PIP coverage is actually dependent on your liability insurance limits. If your bodily injury and property damage liability limits meet or exceed Kentucky's minimum requirements, the assumption is that you've rejected PIP coverage. Therefore, if you're in an accident, you will be able to make a claim against the at-fault driver for the first $10,000 in expenses due to injury.

The minimum liability insurance requirements in Kentucky are:

$25,000 person/$50,000 per accident bodily injury liability coverage. $10,000 per accident property damage liability coverage.

Personal Injury Protection Law and Tort Limitations

Personal injury protection law in Kentucky comes with the limitation that, if you have PIP coverage, you give up your right to recover the first $10,000 in medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs from an at-fault driver. Instead, these costs first need to be paid by your own PIP insurance or other applicable PIP insurance. This limitation also applies to motorcycle operators, even though personal injury protection coverage is optional.

In addition, you can't file a claim for additional compensation for personal injury unless your medical expenses exceed at least $1,000. This is a tort threshold determined by the state. The only exceptions to this limitation are if the injury was:

A fracture or broken bone Permanently disfiguring (partial or whole) Death A permanent injury A cause of permanent loss of bodily function

Kentucky car owners can choose to reject their tort limitations by filing a form with the state's Department of Insurance. But, by doing so, you also reject your PIP coverage, which is why this option is often referred to as rejection of personal injury protection insurance.

If you do choose to reject your PIP coverage, you still have to pay for "guest PIP coverage," which pays to cover passengers and pedestrians involved in an accident. In addition, your liability coverage premiums will increase as other drivers will be able to sue for injuries that wouldn't otherwise meet the minimum thresholds.

Note: These limitations only apply to vehicle owners and drivers. Bicyclists, pedestrians and motorcycle passengers can recover the first $10,000 in expenses since they haven't declined their tort liability.

How and When to File a PIP Claim in Kentucky

Personal injury protection claims must be filed within four years of an accident occurring, or within two years if it's determined you should have been aware of the loss.

Which insurer a PIP claim should be filed with in Kentucky is determined by your role in the incident:

If you were a passenger or nonowner driver in the car, and the owner has insurance, you should file a claim with the insurer of the vehicle you were in. If you're the owner of the vehicle, you should file a claim with your own insurer. If you were a passenger in the car, and it's not insured, you would file a claim with the other driver's insurer or your own insurer (if you have coverage). If you were a pedestrian or bicyclist, you would file a claim with the vehicle owner's insurer. In the case the vehicle was not insured, you can make a claim for basic PIP from the Kentucky Assigned Claims Plan.

When filing a claim, it's important to make sure that you collect payment for all associated medical expenses, lost wages and other costs tied to the accident. Make sure to maintain detailed records of bills, time away from work, your payment history, and receipts for other costs related to the accident.

How Much Does PIP Insurance Cost in Kentucky?

The cost of PIP insurance in Kentucky varies depending on factors such as your coverage limits, whether you've added a deductible and the city you live in. Below are sample rates for a driver who has accepted limitations on their tort rights. As you can see, the rates don't vary significantly based upon your coverage limits, but simply attaining the minimum PIP is fairly expensive, starting at $121 per month.

Cost of PIP insurance in Kentucky by coverage limit

However, if you reject your tort limitations and don't purchase PIP coverage, you are still likely to face increased rates for liability insurance. This is because other drivers will be able to sue you for injuries that wouldn't otherwise meet the threshold. In addition, you'll have to pay a premium for "guest PIP coverage," to provide coverage for passengers and pedestrians who may be involved in an accident. For a sample driver with the state minimum liability limits, we found that having no PIP coverage increased premiums by a total of $40 per month, including the cost of guest PIP insurance.

Health Insurance vs PIP

While health insurance is an alternative to personal injury protection, we recommend that you first use the entirety of your PIP coverage on expenses related to a car accident before turning to your health insurance. This is because most health insurance plans require that you reimburse the insurer for treatment of injuries due to a motor vehicle accident. You only have to reimburse your health insurer for their actual expenses, meaning you essentially get to pay the reduced rate the insurer has negotiated with the health care provider. However, since you do have to pay for medical costs, health insurance should be used after your PIP insurance.

Comments and Questions