Kentucky’s Teen Driver’s License and Insurance Requirements

Learn about the requirements for teens to obtain a driver’s license in Kentucky and what insurance is required.

Kentucky employs a graduated license program by which teen drivers progress from an instruction permit, to an intermediate license, and, finally, to an operator's license.

Instruction Permit

Beginning at 16 years of age, a person can submit an application (along with the application fee) to the local circuit clerk to obtain an instruction permit. The application must be signed by a parent or guardian, who will be jointly liable for any of the teen driver's mishaps behind the wheel. The applicant must pass the vision test as well as a test covering local traffic signs and traffic laws.

An instruction permit authorizes the holder to operate a vehicle under the supervision of a licensed driver who is age 21 or older. The holder is not permitted to drive from midnight to 6 a.m. unless for work, school, or emergency purposes. Unless accompanied by a licensed driving instructor, permit holders are also permitted to transport only one non-relative passenger under 20 years old.

Intermediate License

After holding an instruction permit for 180 days (or after turning 18), a teen can apply for an intermediate license. The applicant must show proof of 60 hours of supervised driving time (ten of which must have been done at night) and pass the driving test. Any traffic violation will reset the 180-day waiting period.

The intermediate license allows the motorist to drive without an adult:

  • anywhere from 6 a.m. to midnight
  • to and from work and school activities at any time, and
  • with only one non-family member passenger at a time (unless with a licensed instructor).

Operator's License

After holding an intermediate license for at least six months without any traffic tickets, a driver can apply for an operator's license. An under-18-operator is no longer subject to the curfew rules but still cannot transport more than one non-family member passenger unless accompanied by a licensed instructor.

Violation of the intermediate, instructional, or operator's license restrictions will result in points being added to the driver's record. Drivers who are under 18 years old may face license suspension for acquiring only six points.

The license of a 16- or 17-year-old can be revoked if the teen drops out from or is delinquent at school.


Before any driver can lawfully operate a vehicle in Kentucky, the vehicle must be properly insured. In Kentucky, the mandatory insurance requirements are:

  • Liability coverage. Must include at least $25,000 bodily injury per person, $50,000 bodily injury per accident, and $25,000 property damage per accident.
  • Single limit. A single limit policy of $60,000 is also permitted.

Failure to have valid insurance is a traffic violation that can result in a $500 to $1,000 fine and/or up to 90 days in jail. For second or subsequent offenses committed within a five-year period, the driver will face a $1,000 to $2,500 fine and/or 180 days in jail. The vehicle's registration will also be revoked and the license plates suspended for one year or until proof of insurance is made.

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