Everything you need to know about driving in the Sunflower State
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Like any U.S. state, Kansas has certain requirements you must meet before you purchase, register, or drive a car. For instance, you may not know that Kansas is one of only 12 states that uses a no-fault insurance system; that means all drivers carry insurance that covers their own injuries in an accident, regardless of who’s at fault.
Among other things, you’ll want to know exactly what coverage you need in a no-fault state, so before you hit the road, let’s go over everything you need to know about driving in Kansas.
Kansas requires three kinds of insurance: liability insurance, which pays for bodily injury or property damage of others in the event of an accident; personal injury protection (PIP), which covers your injuries after an accident; and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, which covers your losses after an accident with an underinsured or uninsured driver.
Liability insurance must cover at least the following:
PIP must cover a minimum of the expenses below:
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage must meet these minimums:
It may be tempting to purchase only the minimum coverage listed above, but you shouldn’t wait to find out — too late! — that this isn’t sufficient in the case of an accident. It’s a good idea to purchase collision and comprehensive coverage, as well. Collision coverage helps you with damages to your car resulting from a traffic accident, while comprehensive coverage helps with damages to your car that result from events other than traffic collisions.
|Type of coverage||Whose losses does it cover?||What does it cover?||The minimum limit we recommend||Deductible?|
|Bodily injury coverage||The other party’s||Medical costs (injury or death)||$500,000||No|
|Collision coverage||Yours||Damages from collisions||Actual market value of car||Yes|
|Comprehensive coverage||Yours||Damages from incidents other than collisions (weather, theft, vandalism, etc.)||The actual market value of car||Yes|
|Medical payments coverage||Yours||Medical costs (injury or death)||$500,000||No|
|Property damage coverage||The other party’s||Property damages||$500,000||No|
|Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage||Yours||Property damages and medical costs||$500,000||No|
Average annual spending on car insurance in Kansas in 2020 was $793, which is 24 percent lower than the national average.1 The average annual cost of auto insurance coverage breaks down into:
While $1,698 stands as the annual average for the cost of full coverage in Kansas, rates range from $178 to $2,891 annually. A range of factors may affect the cost of insurance, from your driving record to your ZIP code — and in Kansas, even your credit score and gender.
To find the cheapest car insurance, get a car insurance quote from multiple providers, especially if you have poor credit.
You may not need insurance on a car that doesn’t run, especially if you don’t plan to drive it again. For the time being, you could drop collision insurance and property damage coverage, while keeping comprehensive coverage to cover incidents such as auto theft and vandalism if you do plan to drive it again.
Proof of insurance is required for each vehicle you drive in Kansas. Your insurance provider will send you a physical or digital ID card, which will list the insurance company, policy number, expiration date, and vehicle information.
|Penalty for driving without insurance||First offense||Second offense||Third offense|
|Fine/imprisonment||$300-$1,000 (or imprisonment up to 6 months)||$800-$2,500||$800-$2,500|
|Driving privilege||Suspension of license and registration until you file proof of insurance with the director||Suspension of license and registration until you file proof of insurance with the director||Revoked for 3 years|
|Fee for registration to be reinstated||$100||$100-$300||$100-$300|
Did you know Kansas is part of a small number of no-fault states? Whereas in the nearby fault state of Missouri, the cost of medical bills falls on the driver who is at fault in the accident, in a no-fault state like Kansas, each driver’s PIP covers their respective medical bills.
Property damage, however, is still the responsibility of the at-fault driver even in a no-fault state. In the event of an accident in Kansas, each motorist files claims with their own insurers to cover medical expenses under PIP, while the not-at-fault driver files a third-party claim for property damage.
Kansas is a modified comparative negligence state. This means that your compensation depends on whether you were more than one-half responsible for the accident. If you were judged to be only 30 percent responsible for the accident, your compensation would be reduced by 30 percent. If your responsibility exceeded 50 percent, you would be barred from receiving any compensation at all.
Kansas has a total of 2,154,260 licensed drivers, 234,814 of whom are estimated to be uninsured. That’s 15 percent lower than the national rate of uninsured drivers.2
Before you start driving in Kansas, make sure you have the state-required uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.3 This covers medical and funeral costs, plus settlements for lawsuits in the event that an uninsured or underinsured motorist causes an accident.
Kansas law penalizes DUI offenders more severely than most other states; it’s among just four U.S. states that require DUIs to remain on your record for a lifetime. (For comparison, nearly every other state caps the limit at 10 years.)
|Penalty||First offense||Second offense||Third offense||Fourth offense|
|License suspension||30 days||1 year||1 year||1 year|
|Ignition interlock requirement following suspension period with BAC under 0.15||6 months to 1 year||1 year||2 years||3 years|
|Ignition interlock requirement following suspension period with BAC over 0.15||1 year||2 years||3 years||4 years|
|Imprisonment||48 hours to 6 months||90 days to 1 year||90 days to 1 year||90 days to 1 year|
|License reinstatement fee||$200||$400||$600||$800|
|12-month SR-22 requirement||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
If your license is suspended after committing an offense, you can apply for a limited license after 45 to 90 days have elapsed.
Kansas adheres to the primary seat belt law, which means that law enforcement can hand you a ticket just for violating seat belt laws, even if you have not violated any other traffic law. All passengers in your vehicle must wear seat belts. Passengers 18 and older not wearing seat belts will incur a $30 fine. That fine increases to $60 if passengers aged 17 and under don’t buckle up.
Although adults may use handheld devices to make calls and send or receive voice texts while driving in Kansas, texting while driving is illegal no matter what age you are or what type of license you have. Young drivers with learner’s permits or intermediate licenses may not use cell phones at all. The state imposes a fine of $60 for each violation.
Anyone 14 years old or older (with parental consent for those under 16) is eligible to apply for a learner’s permit. A teen driver must maintain their learner’s permit for one year in order to advance to a restricted license. 15- and 16-year-olds’ restricted licenses follow certain limitations under Kansas’ Graduated Drivers Licensing system:
|Graduated license type||Age||Driving restrictions||Electronic devices||Passenger restrictions|
|Instruction permit||14-16||Licensed adult older than 21 must be in the front seat at all times||Allowed only to summon help in an emergency||None|
|Restricted license||15 maximum||May drive to or from work or school
May drive anytime/anywhere with a licensed adult older than 21 in the front seat
|Allowed only to summon help in an emergency||May not transport any non-sibling minor passengers|
|Less-restricted privileges||16 maximum||May drive anywhere from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. with a licensed adult older than 21 in the front seat||Prohibited||May not have more than one non-sibling passenger under the age of 18|
|Non-restricted driver’s license||Minimum 17 years old||None||Wireless devices permitted||None|
In Kansas, you have a maximum of two years after an accident to file a claim for property damage or personal injuries. Don’t wait any longer, or you won’t be eligible for any compensation from your insurance provider.
Every state has laws surrounding the non-renewal and cancellation of car insurance policies. Either you or your company might decide not to renew a policy once it expires. But before insurance companies discontinue your policy, they must give you notice and explain the reason why.
An insurance company may decide not to renew your policy if it no longer wishes to write as many policies in your area, or if it simply no longer offers that insurance.4
Regarding policy cancellation, an insurance company cannot cancel your policy if it has been in effect for less than 60 days, except under the following circumstances:
In Kansas, insurance companies must notify you of a midterm cancellation or non-renewal at least 30 days before the policy’s expiration date. However, if the company is canceling your policy because you haven’t paid your premiums, it is required to notify you only five days ahead of the expiration date.
In certain cases, Kansas allows self-insurance. If you own more than 25 vehicles, you have the option to self-insure and be responsible for all costs related to accidents, liability, and damage. Self-insured drivers pay a minimum collateral of $100,000.
The state of Kansas does not require you to get your car inspected, either for safety or emissions, unless you’re registering an out-of-state vehicle. To find an inspection station near you, visit: https://www.kansashighwaypatrol.org/businessdirectoryii.aspx. Before an inspection, make sure you have the following:
When a motorist loses their driving privileges, they may have to file an SR-22 to reinstate them. An SR-22 is a form that certifies that the motorist (usually a high-risk driver with a poor driving record) holds liability insurance. Note that an SR-22 is not an insurance policy itself, but instead, is proof of it. You’ll need to obtain the policy separately in order to file the SR-22.
In Kansas, you may have to file an SR-22 in any of the following circumstances:
In the above cases, you must maintain an SR-22 for at least one year after your driving privileges are reinstated.
Some car insurance providers offer discounts for taking a defensive driving course, which instructs drivers on how to manage and avoid hazards on the road. You can find one by visiting https://bit.ly/3Ovfytc or calling 800-432-2484.
In Kansas, you can take these courses online in a single afternoon, or at your own pace. You may be able to save as much as 5 to 10 percent on your premium and even get a traffic ticket dismissed entirely.
A PIP plan will cover at least some of your medical bills and wage loss payments. However, if you suffer serious injuries above a certain threshold, you can seek damages for general pain and suffering resulting from the accident. To be considered above-threshold, medical injuries must cost more than the $4,500 minimum PIP coverage. Here are some qualifying above-threshold injuries:
If you are involved in an accident that results in injury, property damage, or death worth over $1,500, you are required to file a police report immediately. If you don’t, you risk license suspension and a fine of up to $500.5
In most states, including Kansas, you should expect higher premiums if your credit score is low. Improving your credit can lower your rate, so catching up on past-due accounts, making payments on time, and building your credit file are all ways to lower your monthly premiums.
If you’re a female driver in Kansas, you may pay less for insurance. That’s because Kansas is one of many states that lack laws explicitly prohibiting gender-based discrimination. Since women tend to get into fewer and less serious accidents on average, they enjoy lower insurance rates than men in those states.
In Kansas, a car is declared a total loss if the cost of repairs plus the salvage value (the vehicle’s worth after the accident) is at least 75 percent of the vehicle’s actual cash value. When a car is totaled and the policyholder has comprehensive or collision insurance, the insurance company will pay the car’s actual cash value.
The Kansas DMV also offers the option of renewing your vehicle’s registration online at https://ikan.ks.gov/.
To register an out-of-state vehicle, you’ll need to bring three documents to the county treasurer’s motor vehicle office.
In keeping with its relatively low insurance rates, the average cost of repairs in Kansas is $371.80 for parts and labor, which is 3 percent lower than the national average.6 On average, that breaks down into $219.84 for parts and $151.96 for labor.
It’s important to know crime and vehicular fatality rates in your state before selecting an insurance plan. Rates of vehicle theft in Kansas fit squarely within the national average, occurring at a rate of about 248 per 100,000 inhabitants per year. Keep in mind that most car theft that occurs in Kansas is primarily in the following cities:
|Metropolitan statistical area||Auto thefts per 100,000 inhabitants in 2020|
|St. Joseph, MO-KS||565|
|Kansas City, MO-KS||545|
Fortunately, traffic deaths in Kansas are less common than in other states. In 2019, there were 411 fatalities per 100 million motor vehicles in 2019, 72 percent lower than the national average.8
If you’re just passing through Kansas on your road trip, read our state driving guide, which has statistics on DUIs, tickets, car accidents, and more. Drive carefully and enjoy the state’s low-traffic roads!
Usually, car insurance follows the car in Kansas. The types of car insurance that follow the car in Kansas are collision, comprehensive, and property damage liability. Personal injury protection (PIP), however, follows the driver.
This is a situation in which having collision and comprehensive insurance is important. These plans can help pay for damage to your car, no matter who causes it. In the event of an accident caused by someone other than yourself driving your vehicle, your PIP coverage will not apply, because it follows the insured driver.
Yes, you’ll still have to file an SR-22 if your license gets suspended — even if the incident occurred while you were driving someone else’s car. Kansas offers specific insurance plans for non-owner SR-22 holders. The policy is written for one individual, and is liability-only, meaning it covers damages to other people’s vehicles and properties.
Policies associated with a non-owner SR-22 do not cover damage to the vehicle you’re driving, towing reimbursement, or rental reimbursement. Remember, an SR-22 is not an insurance policy, but a certificate confirming that you have certain insurance coverage.
No matter who was at fault in the accident, your insurance company covers the first portion of your medical expenses, up to $4,500. If the medical bills of the not-at-fault driver exceed $4,500, then the remaining expenses fall on the insurance of the at-fault driver.
2019/2020 Auto Insurance Database Report. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. (2023, Jan).
One in Eight Drivers Uninsured. Insurance Research Council. (2021, Mar 22).
Auto Insurance. Kansas Insurance Department.
What’s the difference between auto policy cancellation and nonrenewal? Insurance Information Institute.
8-1604. Kansas Office of Revisor of Statutes.
2020 State Repair Cost Rankings. CarMD. (2020, July
NICB ‘Hot Spots’: Auto Thefts Up Significantly Across the Country. National Insurance Crime Bureau. (2021, Aug 31).
Fatality Facts 2019. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. (2021, March).