If you are a vehicle owner, or if you're planning to buy one, you need to ensure that you get the necessary insurance coverage, as mandated by the laws of the state in which you reside. Auto insurance norms vary from state to state and we will discuss the car insurance requirements in Kansas, in this article. As you read through this article, you will learn and understand the following features, particular to the state of Kansas.
- Types of coverage available
- Minimum coverage requirements in Kansas
- Optional coverage/rental vehicles
- Determination of coverage requirements
- Important information
- Tips on premium rates and pricing discounts
Types of Coverage
Generally, any auto insurance package can provide any/all of the following types of coverage:
- Liability for bodily injury - Covers medical, rehabilitative, death and other miscellaneous costs, including legal expenses and the cost of lawsuits, in case you or a member of your family cause injuries/fatality to another person in a car accident.
- Liability for property damage - This covers repair or replacement or cash costs for any property or part thereof, along with legal expenses for damage or loss incurred during an auto accident, caused by you or a family member.
- No-fault or Personal Injury Protection (PIP) - This package provides insurance coverage to vehicle owners, irrespective of whose fault the accident is. This type of coverage is popularly known as "no-fault" coverage and pays out for expenses required for medical and rehabilitative care, funerals (in case of death), wages or earnings lost for the period of incapacity, home care assistance and miscellaneous related reasons. All persons injured or involved in a car accident are eligible for receiving benefits under this category. For example, you meet with a car accident and there are three other passengers besides you, each one of you will be eligible to submit claims for the damage or injuries suffered.
- Protection for uninsured or underinsured motorists - Covers payments towards facilities as mentioned in the categories above, for you and any of your passengers in the car at the time of the accident. In addition this policy allows for payment of legal expenses, suit judgments where a monetary fine or settlement is given, in cases where the accident was caused by motorists who are uninsured or underinsured, or in the case of hit-and-run accidents. Involved persons are bestowed the status of ‘pedestrians' in such cases.
- Comprehensive coverage - This type of coverage pays out claims for damages and loss caused due to unforeseen circumstances or natural causes such as storms, floods, fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, etc.
- Collision Coverage - This provides for additional insurance coverage where your vehicle is involved in a head-on or other types of collisions, or rollovers.
Kansas minimum requirements
- Bodily injury liability, property damage liability, no-fault/PIP coverage and uninsured/underinsured coverage are the four mandatory coverages required by law in Kansas.
- The minimum amounts under each type of coverage required under Kansas law are summarized below:
1. Coverage for liability:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury
- $25,000 per accident for bodily injury
- $10,000 per accident for property damage
2. No-fault/PIP protection
- $4,500 per person for medical expenses
- $900 per month for 1 year towards loss of income or disability
- $25 per day for home care services
- $2,000 for burial/funeral/cremation expenses
- $4,500 towards rehabilitation services
- Survivor benefits - loss of income or disability payments up to $900 per month for 12 months
- Home care services up to $25 per day for 12 months
3. Uninsured/underinsured coverage
- $25,000 per person
- $50,000 per accident
**Source: Kansas Insurance Department: Consumer Auto Insurance information
Optional Coverage/Rental Vehicles
Optional coverage products offered by insurance companies may vary from provider to provider, but here are some of the more common ones offered:
- Reimbursement for rental car costs - a limited daily amount while your vehicle is being repaired.
- Extra medical expenses, not including the amounts paid out under PIP or no-fault coverage.
- Additional liability coverage of 1-5 million, apart from the minimum liability coverage as per state requirements. The policy being issued is subject to meeting the criteria defined by the insurance provider and is paid out once the regular policy payouts are spent.
- Rental vehicles - Where an accident's fault is ascribed to another person, you are eligible to hire a rental car at the cost of the person responsible for the accident, or be paid a reasonable amount as compensation towards loss of your vehicle. The compensation amount is determined based on the retail market value for a car with similar make, model, mileage and age, as your car.
Factors affecting determination of coverage amounts
Essentially, there are two factors involved in determining the amount of coverage for each individual - (i) Underwriting by the insurance provider, and (ii) Rating category.
Underwriting involves procedures by which the insurance company evaluates an individual applicant, with respect to demographic, employment, income and capacity details and driving history of the applicant. Other details which also impact the insurance company's decision on providing insurance are - prior insurance history, age, gender, model and make of the car/automobile and the amount of driving undertaken by the applicant.
Post underwriting, the insurance company decides the rating category into which the applicant is placed. These rating categories determine the premium rates the applicant needs to pay to receive insurance coverage. In general, there are three such categories, though the factors determining the rate category will differ from provider to provider. The three categories are:
- Standard - Drivers who are perceived to be moderate risks are placed in this category. Such drivers have a moderate-good driving record and usually drive with one or more passengers most of the time.
- Non-standard - People with poor driving histories, those below 25 years of age, driving experience less than two years, drivers with chronic tickets/fines or those found to have a DUI or have a record of reckless and dangerous driving, or even those who have a less-than-sterling premium payment history, fall into this category. These are considered to be high-risk and their premium rates will usually be the highest, compared to the other two categories.
- Preferred - This category includes drivers who have a clean driving record with zero infringements or traffic violations, driving experience of three or more years and are considered to be no-risk customers by most insurance providers. Being a preferred driver or customer means that you will be eligible for the lowest premium rates offered by the insurance company.
- Owner is financially responsible for causing any vehicle accident.
- Proof of insurance should be provided, when asked for by law enforcement officers at the scene of an accident, and when registering or renewing vehicle registration at the county treasurer's office.
- Failure to comply with mandatory insurance requirements will result in license suspension and/or monetary fines.
Tips on premium rates and pricing discounts
- Always ensure you maintain a clean driving record.
- Check with multiple insurance providers before you settle on a package.
- Pay your premiums well before the due date.
- If your teenagers do not own their vehicles, then nominate them as "occasional operators" on your cheapest car, if they have their own cars, then register them under your own policy - this will make you eligible for a discount on a multi-car policy.
Pricing discounts - Owners of multiple cars are eligible for a discount on their insurance policy. Other instances where you can become eligible for discounts are: all your insurance requirements (life, home, etc) are with the same provider; if you've completed the Motor Vehicle Accident Prevention Course; your car is fitted with safety equipment such as anti-theft, anti-lock braking system, airbags, etc; you have a clean and accident-free record; you're a mature driver; etc.
So there you have it! All you ever needed to know about buying car insurance in Kansas. If you need additional information, you can always browse online for the necessary information.