Kentucky Motorcycle Insurance

The state of Kentucky requires that all riders be able to show proof of financial responsibility when asked. Additionally, the state has begun a crackdown on uninsured motorists by working with insurers to identify motorists in the state who do not have coverage. If identified, a motorist will receive a letter and be required to show proof of insurance to the state or lose their driver’s license. Information on those letters can be found here.

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Kentucky Choice No Fault

Kentucky is rare in that it is not only a ”no fault” state, but also a ”choice no fault” state. This means that:

“Drivers may opt out of the no-fault system when they first purchase their policy, by electing traditional coverage. By choosing this option, if you’re involved in a car accident, you’re free to pursue a liability claim or personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.”

Despite the uniqueness of Kentucky’s insurance system, you could face fines, jail time, and severe financial hardship if you do not have adequate coverage. To help you understand the motorcycle insurance issues in Kentucky, let’s have a look at how the state defines a motorcycle for law enforcement and insurance purposes, some of the required equipment to make your bike street legal, as well as the coverage levels and types you may need.

Kentucky Street Legal Motorcycle Equipment

To the average person defining a motorcycle seems ridiculous, but every state and territory must clearly define one. According to Kentucky Revised Statutes:

“Motorcycle is any motor-driven vehicle having a seat or saddle for the use of the operator and designed to travel on not more than three (3) wheels in contact with the ground, rated for more than two brake horsepower, [and] a cylinder capacity exceeding fifty (50) cubic centimeters.”

Kentucky is a state of contradictions. You are either riding in a crowded urban area or in the mountains with few other vehicles to contend with. The Bluegrass State is truly a beautiful place to ride. Whether you are going to be competing with a large amount of traffic or not, your bike needs to be street legal at all times. In Kentucky, the equipment you and your bike must have includes:

  • Eye protection: required and is regulated by KY Statutes 189.285.
  • Handlebar height: no restrictions.
  • Helmet: required for novice riders, riders under the age of 21 and instructional permit holders; and is regulated by Kentucky Statutes, Title XVI, Chapter 189, Section 189.285
  • Mirrors: only the left side mirror is required.
  • Turn Signals: not required.
  • Passenger Seat and Passenger Footrests: required if carrying a passenger. No restrictions on a passenger’s age.
  • Headlight: required; a modulating daytime headlight can be used.
  • Muffler: required; ”No cut-outs. No modifications to increase noise beyond that emitted by the original muffler installed on the vehicle.” KY Statutes 189.140.
  • Safety Inspection: not required.

Kentucky Minimum Motorcycle Insurance

Kentucky’s mandatory motorcycle insurance laws require that riders have a policy with these minimum limits:

  • $25,000 for death or bodily injury to one person;
  • $50,000 for death or bodily injury to two or more persons; and
  • $10,000 for damage or destruction of property.

It is easy to see that these minimum limits may not fully protect you, your passenger, and your bike in the event of an accident. When your policy falls short, you will be responsible for all additional costs, potentially draining your life savings.

Insurance to Protect Your Bike

The state’s minimum coverage is only liability, which protects your finances in the event of an accident.  It doesn’t protect your own bike. For this you’ll, need collision and comprehensive insurance.

  • Collision coverage: this protects your bike in an accident under nearly every circumstance. It may or may not include uninsured/under-insured coverage. If it doesn’t, take care to add it.
  • Comprehensive coverage: this protection covers items like fire, wind, water, theft, and vandalism.
  • Bodily injury coverage: this protection covers certain costs if you injure or kill someone in an at-fault accident. Notably, it also protects your passenger and covers you if the other driver opted out of no fault coverage.
  • Medical payment coverage: this covers items such as prescription drug payments; dental care; medical co-payments and deductibles from other health coverage policies; home nursing care, or funeral expenses.

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