Colorado Car Insurance Laws

1
Blaine Harrington III/Getty Images
Bankrate Logo

Why you can trust Bankrate

While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for . This content is powered by HomeInsurance.com (NPN: 8781838). For more information, please see our

Drivers in Colorado are legally required to carry car insurance. Without it, you are not allowed to operate your vehicle on the road. Even if your car sits in the driveway most of the time, it still needs to be insured in accordance with the state’s minimum coverage requirements.

Having car insurance is important because it protects you as a driver, as well as others on the road. In 2017, there were 118,842 accidents in Colorado, which is up nearly 10% from 2012. Colorado drivers should understand the insurance laws in the state to ensure they are adequately protected.

Car Insurance Laws in Colorado

Colorado car insurance laws are very straightforward and are similar to many other states. Whether you are a current Colorado driver or are planning a move to the state, knowing the regulations around car insurance is helpful. Here are the Colorado car insurance laws:

  • Minimum coverage: car insurance is legally required in Colorado, and drivers must carry a minimum of 25/50/15 in liability coverage.
  • Proof of insurance: drivers in Colorado must carry proof of insurance in their vehicles at all times and present proof of insurance when requested by law enforcement.
  • Vehicle registration: in order to register a car with the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles, the vehicle owner must provide proof of insurance.
  • Self-insurance law: Colorado residents who own more than 25 cars that are registered in their name can qualify for self-insurance. Candidates can apply for a certificate of self‑insurance from the Colorado State Insurance Commissioner.

Liability Insurance in Colorado

In Colorado, drivers are legally required to carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. If you cause an accident, liability insurance will pay for the other driver’s losses, like vehicle damages and medical expenses. It may also cover legal fees if you get sued by another driver.

The Colorado auto insurance requirement is 25/50/15. Here is what Colorado’s minimum car insurance requirements include:

  • $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person
  • $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident
  • $15,000 in property damage liability coverage per accident

Purchasing liability-only coverage can keep your insurance premium low. However, minimum coverage insurance might not offer sufficient coverage in the event of an at-fault accident. Car accidents can be expensive, and you could be forced to pay money out-of-pocket.

For example, if you cause an accident that results in $30,000 in property damage, you would be responsible for paying the remaining $15,000. If you cause an accident that seriously injures another driver and they walk away with $50,000 or more in medical bills, you would have to pay the excess not covered by your policy.

Another aspect to consider is that minimum coverage insurance does not offer any protection for your vehicle. If you accidentally hit your neighbor’s mailbox and your front bumper falls off, you would be responsible for 100% of the repairs. Minimum coverage insurance also does not cover hit-and-runs, theft or vandalism.

Is Colorado a No-Fault State?

When it comes to auto insurance laws, states fall into one of two categories: fault or no-fault. In no-fault states, drivers’ auto insurance companies automatically cover their medical expenses and lost wages after an accident, regardless of who caused the crash. In fault states, the at-fault driver’s insurance company covers the other driver’s medical bills.

Colorado is a no-fault state. So after an accident, the at-fault driver’s insurance company will pay for the other person’s medical bills. If the at-fault driver gets injured in the crash, their medical payments coverage will pay for hospital bills and other reasonable medical expenses.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Colorado

Driving without car insurance in Colorado is illegal, but data shows that 13.3% of drivers in Colorado are still uninsured. If you get caught driving without insurance, or without enough car insurance, be prepared to face steep penalties.

Drivers who are caught without insurance will pay a $500 fine in Colorado, and their license will be suspended until they can provide proof of insurance. For a second offense, the fine increases to a minimum of $1,000 and four months license suspension.

After three or more offenses, drivers will pay a minimum fine of $1,000 and their license can be suspended for eight months. Depending on the circumstances, some drivers must also perform up to 40 hours of community service, in addition to the fine and license suspension.

Colorado drivers who get their license suspended are required to procure an SR-22 form in order to get their license reinstated. SR-22 certificates can be obtained from insurance companies that specialize in high-risk auto insurance.

Additional Auto Insurance Coverage Options in Colorado

Colorado insurance laws only require liability coverage. However, many Colorado drivers purchase additional coverages for more protection. Here are some other insurance coverages that Colorado drivers should consider:

  • Collision insurance: collision insurance pays to repair your vehicle after a covered accident. It also covers damages from hitting stationary objects and rollovers. The average cost of collision insurance in Colorado is $326.39 per year, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).
  • Comprehensive insurance: comprehensive insurance covers damage to your vehicle that is not caused by an accident. Examples include theft, vandalism, falling objects, flooding and fire. The average cost of comprehensive insurance in Colorado is $228.32 per year (III).
  • Roadside assistance: roadside assistance provides basic vehicle repairs, towing, extrication, fuel delivery, tire replacement and battery services. Roadside assistance is typically inexpensive, and most car insurance providers offer it.
  • Gap insurance: gap insurance is a good option for drivers who have a leased or financed car. If your car gets totaled in an accident, gap insurance will cover the difference between the car’s current value and the remaining loan balance. Some lenders require drivers to carry this coverage until their loan is paid off.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best car insurance company in Colorado?

The best car insurance company in Colorado varies because drivers have different needs. Some people are looking for a company with the lowest rate, and others are looking for a company with the best customer service. Drivers should shop around and figure out which company is right for them based on the factors that matter most.

What is the cheapest car insurance in Colorado?

Drivers who are looking for the cheapest car insurance in Colorado should check out Geico, Progressive and State Farm. These three companies offer low premiums and a variety of discounts for even more savings.

How much does car insurance in Colorado cost?

The average full coverage car insurance policy in Colorado costs $2,004 per year and the average minimum coverage policy costs $466 per year. Car insurance in Colorado is more expensive than the national average rate, which is $1,738 for full coverage insurance.

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a cleaning driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our sample drivers own a 2018 Honda Accord, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

These are sample rates and should be used for comparative purposes only. Your quotes may be different.

Written by
Elizabeth Rivelli
Insurance Contributor
Elizabeth has two years of experience writing for insurance domains such as Bankrate.com, The Simple Dollar, Coverage.com and NextAdvisor, among others. In addition to auto insurance, Elizabeth regularly writes about home insurance, renters insurance and life insurance. She also covers industry trends and general insurance education.