Car Insurance in California vs. Kentucky: Costs, Laws and Resources

Since California and Kentucky have different car insurance laws and insurers, their costs and requirements may also vary. For instance, the cheapest provider for minimal annual coverage in California is Progressive, costing roughly $481, while State Farm offers the cheapest in Kentucky at around $428.

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Last Updated: 11/21/2022
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If you're moving from California to Kentucky or vice versa, it’s important to consider that the states have different insurance requirements. For example, California does not require personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, whereas Kentucky does. Moreover, Kentucky’s drivers must carry more liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage than California’s.

MoneyGeek compared the car insurance laws and requirements in California vs. Kentucky, analyzed insurance costs and identified the cheapest companies for your needs.

Car Insurance Laws in California vs. Kentucky

California's auto insurance law only demands 15/30/5 in bodily injury liability per person, bodily injury liability per accident and property damage liability per accident. However, Kentucky’s car insurance law mandates 25/50/25 in liability limits combined with personal injury protection (PIP) coverage. As a result, Kentucky's state liability insurance is more expensive than California’s insurance. On average, drivers spend $665 per year on car insurance in California and $847 per year in Kentucky.

MINIMUM CAR INSURANCE REQUIREMENTS IN CALIFORNIA AND KENTUCKY

California Requirements

  • $15,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $30,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $5,000 property damage liability per accident

Kentucky Requirements

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $10,000 personal injury protection per person
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How Are Car Insurance Laws Enforced in California and Kentucky?

Kentucky is a no-fault state, whereas California is a tort state. This means that following an accident in Kentucky, you must file a claim with your insurance provider, regardless of who caused the accident. As a result, drivers in no-fault jurisdictions must have PIP coverage which provides financial protection after an accident but comes at a cost. However, in a tort state like California, you are responsible for any damages that you have caused.

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in California vs. Kentucky

According to our analysis, the following are the cheapest car insurance companies in California vs. Kentucky for minimum coverage policies:

  • Cheapest in California: Progressive ($481 per year)
  • Cheapest in Kentucky: State Farm ($428 per year)

Note that USAA is the most affordable option in Kentucky for qualifying military members and their families, with insurance policies averaging $369 per year.

Although Progressive's quote is the cheapest in California, it is nearly twice as expensive in Kentucky. Similarly, State Farm, Kentucky's cheapest insurer, costs around $300 more in California. This disparity is a perfect example of how rates vary between states and insurance companies.

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in California

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Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in Kentucky

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THE CHEAPEST COMPANY FOR YOU MAY DIFFER

Progressive's annual quote of $481 is California's cheapest, while State Farm's quote of $428 is Kentucky's cheapest. However, these rates are for minimum coverage insurance policies. Factors like your age, location, coverage level and driving record affect your actual rate. MoneyGeek's state-specific guides can help you find the cheapest plans in each state.

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Average Cost of Car Insurance in California vs. Kentucky

Your policy’s coverage level is one of the factors that will determine your insurance cost. For example, drivers in California with a minimum coverage policy pay around $665, while drivers in Kentucky pay around $847 per year for similar insurance. Meanwhile, drivers with full coverage policies in California pay $1,429, while those in Kentucky pay $1,405 per year on average.

Notably, California's average cost for minimum insurance coverage is lower than Kentucky's, while Kentucky's average rate for full coverage insurance is lower than California’s. This difference demonstrates how average car insurance rates can fluctuate due to a variety of factors.

Average Cost of Car Insurance in California vs. Kentucky

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  • Driver
    California Annual Premium
    Kentucky Annual Premium
  • Minimum Coverage
    $665
    $847
  • Full Coverage
    $1,429
    $1,405
  • Adding a Young Driver
    $4,187
    $3,944
  • Drivers With a Violation
    $2,057
    $1,683
  • Drivers With Poor Credit
    $3,023

Why Are Car Insurance Rates More Expensive in California vs. Kentucky?

It's impossible to pinpoint a single factor that is the root cause of higher auto insurance premiums in some states compared to others. For example, California has a higher highway density, more concentrated urban population, higher vehicle theft rate and more natural disasters than Kentucky, which explains why California's average full coverage insurance is more expensive.

Car Insurance Costs by City in California vs. Kentucky

Car insurance premiums vary significantly by state. Santa Maria has the lowest state minimum insurance rates in California averaging $509, whereas Glendale has the highest at $1,066 per year. In Kentucky, drivers of Lexington pay the lowest rate of $728, while residents of Louisville pay the most expensive premiums of $966 per year.

Because automobile insurance requirements are uniform throughout a state, this factor will not impact your rates. More likely, your rates will be affected by the population density in your area.

Car Insurance Costs by City in California

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Car Insurance Costs by City in Kentucky

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Moving Between California and Kentucky? What to Know

If you’re moving from California to Kentucky or vice versa, your driver's license and registration must be transferred. It's possible to keep your current insurance provider if it's still operating in the state and can provide suitable coverage. If you move to a new state, your rates may change depending on your location's risks and the state's coverage requirements.

If you need to find a new company offering auto insurance in California vs. Kentucky, MoneyGeek has tools you can use to find one that fits your needs.

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    Use MoneyGeek’s car insurance calculators for California and Kentucky

    MoneyGeek’s California car insurance calculator or the Kentucky car insurance calculator will quickly give you an estimate of the cost of a policy in each state.

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    Learn about car insurance for high-risk drivers in California and Kentucky

    High-risk drivers often pay higher insurance rates or are turned down by some insurance companies. Furthermore, drivers are required to submit an SR-22 form in California for major driving violations, such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI).

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    Figure out your options for temporary car insurance in California and Kentucky

    Most insurance policies have a six-month term. If you're only in the state for a short time, there are options to purchase temporary auto insurance in California or temporary car insurance in Kentucky.

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    If you’re a low-income driver, see if California or Kentucky offer car insurance programs

    While Kentucky does not currently provide car insurance programs for low-income drivers, you may still save money by looking for low-income car insurance in Kentucky. However, you can find a state-funded low-income car insurance program in California.

FAQs About California and Kentucky Car Insurance

State-to-state variations in auto insurance regulations and rates are common. MoneyGeek addresses a few frequently asked questions about car insurance in California vs. Kentucky for you to differentiate between the two.

Methodology

To calculate average car insurance rates by company and across California and Kentucky, MoneyGeek collaborated with Quadrant Information Services to collect auto insurance quotes from both locations. We used a sample profile for a 40-year-old driver with a clean driving record and minimum coverage unless modified by criteria like coverage level, age, driving offenses and credit score. Learn more about how costs are calculated in our MoneyGeek car insurance methodology.

Minimum car insurance requirements by state were sourced from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) of the respective state.

About the Author


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Mark Fitzpatrick is a senior content manager with MoneyGeek specializing in insurance. Mark has years of experience analyzing the insurance market and creating original research and content. He graduated from Boston College with a Bachelor of Arts and Johns Hopkins University with a Master of Arts.