Understanding your car insurance coverage

The idea behind car insurance seems simple enough. You pay your premiums and if you're in an accident, your car insurance covers all or part of the bills.

That seems fine until you're in a car accident and you're wondering what your insurance covers and how much you're going to have to pay. Between your injuries, the injuries of the other driver and the damage to both vehicles, it's an emotional time to try to figure out how much everyone is going to have to pay to get things back to normal. 

Here are the important things to know about your car insurance coverage.

Required coverage

Like other states, there are certain types of insurance coverage a driver must carry to operate a motor vehicle. In Kentucky, drivers must have both personal injury protection and bodily injury protection.

  • Personal injury Protection (PIP) covers your injuries in a car accident (this coverage is optional for motorcyclists in Kentucky). While this coverage does cover other passengers in your vehicle and any pedestrians that were injured in an accident, it does not cover people in other vehicles.
  • Bodily injury liability covers the people you are legally liable for hurting in a car accident. This would include people in another vehicle. Bodily injury also covers your legal defense costs if you are sued.

There are other types of car insurance coverage available to Kentucky motorists including collision and comprehensive coverage, but those are not required to operate a motor vehicle.

Deductibles and coverage limits

For some, this is where the confusion starts. The deductible is the portion that you're going to pay before your car insurance starts covering expenses (depending on the damage and injuries). For example, if you have a $100 deductible, that's how much you will pay before your insurance starts covering expenses.

The coverage limits, on the other hand, are the maximum your insurance will pay for damages and injuries. For example, if you have $10,000 in PIP coverage, that's how much your insurance will pay for covered expenses.

The no-fault rule

Kentucky has a no-fault law regarding car accidents. This means that Kentucky drivers give up their right to sue and be sued unless an accident results in more than $1,000 in medical expenses, permanent injury or disfigurement, a broken bone or death.

There is the option to reject the no-fault rule in Kentucky, but drivers should keep in mind that while it would give them the ability to sue, it would also open them up to being sued by another driver.

Getting everyone insured

In recent years, Kentucky has been cracking down on uninsured motorists. Keep in mind that if you're driving without insurance in Kentucky, you could be looking at a fine, jail time or both. 

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