Buying a Car in Kentucky

Kentucky has different vehicle buying regulations depending on the county. Such differences are too extensive here, so we’ll cover what’s common for all of the counties in the state and point you in the right direction for information on more specific situations.

1. Title Information

All vehicles in Kentucky are required to have titles. If you are purchasing a new vehicle from a dealer, they will help you with most of the paperwork. If you are buying a previously owned vehicle from a private owner, however, you will need to make sure you have the following:

  • The title from the previous owner, which must be notarized and signed over to you
  • The Application for Kentucky Title and Registration
  • Proof of liability insurance (see below)
  • Proof of an inspection if the car isn’t already titled in Kentucky (new cars sold in Kentucky do not need to be inspected)

Once you have the aforementioned items, you will take them to your local County Clerk’s office to file the paperwork. You have 30 days to title the vehicle once you have purchased it.

In Kentucky, you get the title even if you have a “lien” (a loan) on the vehicle. When the lien is paid off, a release form is sent to the state.

2. Insurance Information

Kentucky requires proof of liability insurance before you can drive your newly purchased vehicle. Also, if you are ever proven to have cancelled your insurance policy without getting another one, your registration will be revoked, you will be fined up to $1,000, and you could spend 90 days in jail. You should keep in mind that the state has a mandatory electronic insurance reporting initiative that requires insurance companies to immediately notify the state if your policy lapses or is canceled.

Kentucky’s mandatory insurance requirements are $25,000 liability for one person bodily injury ($50,000 per accident) and $10,000 liability for property damage. In Kentucky, you are allowed to have a $60,000 comprehensive policy that covers any situation. You can also buy a $10,000 no-fault PIP (Personal Injury Protection) policy that allows you to file a claim against your own insurance, or you may choose to opt out of this.

3. Emission Information

Kentucky has no vehicle emission testing, unless you are buying a car from outside the state and titling/registering it within Kentucky for the first time. If that is what you are doing, you will have to get the vehicle inspected by the state before you can register or title it.

4. Lemon Law Information

Kentucky’s Lemon Law works fairly simply. It covers new and leased vehicles bought in Kentucky by state residents and it does this for 12 months or 12,000 miles, whichever comes first. To benefit from the law, you must report any problem experienced with our vehicle to the manufacturer before the coverage period ends.

In order for the law to apply, there must either be a problem that has put the vehicle out of service for repairs for at least 30 cumulative days or a problem that has not been fixed after four attempts.

If either of these applies, you must go to arbitration, which is binding on the manufacturer but not on you. In Kentucky, manufacturers are required to repurchase lemon vehicles.

5. Special Information

Beyond the aforementioned regulations, Kentucky has no special regulations that prospective car buyers need to know about.