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Car Insurance in Colorado
Colorado Car Insurance
In Colorado, car insurance is mandatory for all drivers. Auto insurance regulations are enforced by the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, Division of Insurance.
Until 2003, Colorado was a “no-fault" state, but changed the law in order to help reduce the cost of insurance premiums and help prevent claims abuses.
Colorado car insurance now operates as a tort system, meaning that fault must be established before an insurance company will pay a claim.
Required Car Insurance
Colorado drivers must have liability insurance, which covers only the other car and/or driver when an accident is your fault.
Colorado drivers must have liability coverage at the following minimums:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury.
- $50,000 per accident for bodily injury.
- $15,000 per accident for property damage.
All other car insurance is optional.
Optional Car Insurance
Colorado auto insurance providers also offer a variety of optional coverage types:
- Collision coverage: Helps cover damages to your car caused by hitting other objects, including another car.
- Comprehensive coverage: Covers damages to your car caused by non-accident-related incidents or factors, such as theft, extreme weather, and wildlife.
- Medical payment (“med pay") coverage: Must be offered as part of any Colorado car insurance policy.
- It is offered in increments of $1,000 towards accidental injuries.
- You can opt out of med-pay coverage or purchase higher coverage limits if offered by your car insurance company.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: Helps cover expenses if you are involved in an accident with a driver who has no insurance or too little insurance.
- Rental car coverage.
- Loan/lease gap coverage.
- Roadside assistance/towing coverage.
NOTE: Finance and leasing vendors require you to have collision and comprehensive car insurance on any financed vehicle.
CO Car Insurance & Registration
The DMV will accept any of the following as proof of insurance:
- Insurance card.
- Copy of car insurance policy.
- Printout or fax of insurance policy.
- Image of auto insurance card on a cellular phone.
- E-mail from insurer.
NOTE: Failure to register your vehicle can lead to penalties or fines.
Violations of CO Car Insurance Laws
Colorado imposes various penalties for violations of insurance laws such as failure to provide proof of insurance during a stop or failure to purchase the minimum required insurance. Read below to learn about the specific penalties.
Failure to Hold Insurance
Failure to have minimum liability insurance results in the following penalties and fines:
- 4 points on your driver's license.
- $500 minimum fine.
- License suspension.
- For the first offense, it will be suspended until you can show proof of insurance.
- For additional offenses, it will be suspended for up to 8 months.
- Required community service.
Not only do you risk fines and penalties if you do not have minimum liability insurance, but you are also likely to have much higher rates when you re-apply for insurance after letting it lapse.
Always keep at least the required insurance minimums to ensure low-cost insurance rates long-term.
Failing to Carry Proof of Insurance
You must show proof of car insurance if you are stopped by a police officer or if you are involved in a traffic accident.
If you can't show proof of insurance during a stop, the officer can check the Colorado car insurance database to see if you have valid insurance. However, even if you have insurance, you may still be issued a ticket for failing to carry proof.
You may be legally required to file an SR-22 form (also known as SR22 insurance) from your insurance provider if your license:
- Has been suspended (or is in danger of suspension).
- Has been revoked.
SR-22 requirements vary by type of offense and number of offenses and may be required for a specific period of time.
An SR-22 is not insurance; rather, it is a certification filed by your insurance company stating that you will maintain the minimum liability insurance for a predetermined amount of time.
Failure to maintain your insurance policy with a current SR-22 will result in another suspension of your driver's license. Essentially, the insurance company notifies the DMV that you are no longer keeping your SR-22 current and the DMV penalizes you.
If you decide that you want a new insurance provider, you have to get your new agent to file an SR-22 BEFORE canceling your current policy and SR-22.
Alternative Insurance for High-Risk Drivers
If you've had certain traffic violations, you may be deemed a “high-risk driver" by insurance companies. If you are having a hard time finding an insurance carrier because of this status, you do have options.
Colorado participates in the Western Association of Automobile Insurance Plans (WAAIP), which helps high-risk drivers find car insurance.
Under the Colorado Motor Vehicle Insurance Plan, high-risk drivers are insured by a specific company found through WAAIP, but the risk is shared among all insurance companies operating in CO.
To seek coverage through WAAIP, ask an insurance agent to help you apply.
Policies obtained through the WAAIP tend to have much higher rates, so it's a good idea to shop around for car insurance quotes from multiple companies through the standard market before choosing this route.
Insurance fraud can be committed by anyone and can take many forms, including:
- False claims.
- Forged proof of insurance or other documents.
- Business performed by unlicensed insurance agents or brokers.
If you suspect an individual or business of auto insurance fraud, you can file a complaint with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), which will submit your report to your state agency through an online fraud reporting system.
Car insurance fraud costs insurance companies money and can lead to higher rates for all consumers, so it is important to report suspected fraud.
If you have a question about a car insurance policy, claim, or provider, you can contact the Colorado Division of Insurance:
- By phone at (303) 894-7490.
- By e-mail to the Division of Insurance.
- By completing the Online Request for Assistance.
The Division of Insurance can answer your questions about car insurance policies, consumer rights, and car insurance agents.
Determining Your Car Insurance Rate
Colorado auto insurance rates are based on several factors, including your credit report.
Car insurance companies can also use your:
- Driving history.
- Age & gender.
- Marital status.
- Neighborhood or city's safety.
- Car make and model.
Points on your driver's license for traffic violations, including DUI and DWI violations, can raise your insurance rates.
Discounts on Colorado Car Insurance
Many CO car insurance companies offer discounts to drivers to help you save money on your rates.
Savings and availability may vary by agent and can include rate discounts for:
- Driver education or training.
- Good or safe driver history.
- Good student record.
- Vehicle safety.
- Multiple policies.
Since most Colorado auto insurance companies offer discounts for safe driving and driver education, the best way to get the cheapest car insurance rate is to follow the rules of the road and maintain at least the minimum required coverage at all times.
Most Cars Stolen in Colorado
Driving a car that is known to be a target for theft can increase your car insurance rates.
The following is a list of the most stolen cars in Colorado for 2013, according to www.nicb.org:
- Honda Accord.
- Honda Civic.
- Ford Pickup (Full Size).
- Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee.
- Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size).
- Toyota Camry.
- Dodge Pickup (Full Size).
- Acura Integra.
- Ford Explorer.
- Chevrolet Pickup (Small Size).
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