Darragh O'Connell punished Westmeath indiscipline in a poor encounter at Austin Stack Park.
Westmeath failed to take advantage of the wind in the first half as Mike Conway excelled for Kerry at centre-back on his comeback and with O'Connell scoring five frees, the hosts led 0-9 to 0-7 at the interval.
Derek McNicholas found the Kerry net in 48th minute but the Kingdom, inspired by resolute defending from Eamon Fitzgerald, edged clear when Aidan Boyle hit the net.
A late point from sub Ronan Kenny put Kerry two points clear, before Brendan Murtagh's late goal effort was thwarted on the line.
Man of the Match: Eamon Fitzgerald
Scorers -- Kerry: D O'Connell 0-9 (8f, 1 '65), A Boyle 1-0, L Boyle 0-2, M Conway (1f), D Dineen, M Boyle, R Kenny 0-1 each. Westmeath: D McNicholas 1-1, A Mitchell (1f, 1 '65), D Carthy (3f), B Murtagh 0-3 each, P Gilsenan, N Flanagan, N Dowdall 0-1 each.
Kerry -- B Rochford 8; J Godley 8 , T Murnane 8 , C Harris 8; A Royle, 5 M Conway 8, P O'Grady 7; P Costelloe 6, D Dineen 7; S Nolan 5, L Boyle 9, M Boyle 8; J Egan 6, A Boyle 6, D O'Connell 7. Subs: E Fitzgerald 9 for A Royle (29), R Kenny 7 for A Boyle (65), T Moloney 6 for S Nolan (68).
Westmeath -- P Burke 7; R Whelan 7, A McGrath 6 , E Price7; P Gilsenan 7, A Mitchell 6, J Shaw 8; J Clarke 8 , N Flanagan 7; B Smyth 5, B Murtagh 8, C Flanagan 7; C Curley 5, D McNicholas 7, D Carthy 6. Subs: N Dowdall 6 for C Curley (34), B Leharte 6 for J Shaw (40).
Ref -- C Lyons 6 (Cork).