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.
Drivers Without Insurance
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.)
|Ignition interlock requirement following suspension period with BAC under 0.15
||6 months to 1 year
|Ignition interlock requirement following suspension period with BAC over 0.15
||48 hours to 6 months
||90 days to 1 year
||90 days to 1 year
||90 days to 1 year
|License reinstatement fee
|12-month SR-22 requirement
If your license is suspended after committing an offense, you can apply for a limited license after 45 to 90 days have elapsed.
Seat Belt Laws
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.
Distracted Driving Laws
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.
Teen Driver Laws
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
||Licensed adult older than 21 must be in the front seat at all times
||Allowed only to summon help in an emergency
||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
||May drive anywhere from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. with a licensed adult older than 21 in the front seat
||May not have more than one non-sibling passenger under the age of 18
|Non-restricted driver’s license
||Minimum 17 years old
||Wireless devices permitted
Statute of Limitations for Claims
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.
Cancellation and Non-Renewal Notification Laws
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:
- You fail to pay your premium.
- Your application was fraudulent or misrepresentative.
- Your driver’s license has been revoked or suspended.
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.
Car Inspection Requirements
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:
- The original title
- Bill of sale or receipt of purchase
- Your driver’s license or ID
- $20 for the inspection fee
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:
- You failed or refused to show proof of insurance during a traffic stop or an accident.
- You are convicted of a DUI.
- You failed to comply with court-ordered fines and license suspensions.
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.
Compensation for Serious Injuries and Losses
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:
- Permanent disfigurement
- Fracture of weight-bearing compound or bone
- Comminuted, displaced, or compressed fracture of any bone
- Permanent injury
- Permanent loss of a bodily function
When to Report an Accident
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
Credit Scores and Gender Anti-Discrimination Laws
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.
Total Loss Formula
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.