Whether you are in the Mile High City or closer to the slopes in Telluride, Colorado drivers are all required to carry auto insurance policies on their vehicles. Colorado used to follow the “no-fault” system, which meant that any driver could claim compensation from an insurance company no matter their degree of fault for the accident. This ended in 2003, in an effort to lower auto insurance premiums and help prevent claim abuse.

The state now follows the tort system. This new system requires drivers to establish fault before the insurance company agrees to pay. If the accident is not your fault, your insurance company will not cover the medical bills.

Minimum auto insurance requirements in Colorado

Most states require that drivers have particular types of coverage with minimum liability limits. The law in Colorado demands that auto insurance policies should provide the following minimums.

  • Bodily injury

    $25,000 per injured person but no more than $50,000 when there are two or more injured people in the other car. This coverage will not take care of your medical bills but will protect your assets when paying for the other party’s injuries.
  • Property damage

    Up to $15, 000 per accident. Property damage covers the money you need to pay when you damage the other party’s car or items and collateral damage when your car rams into public properties for example.

All other auto insurance that goes beyond the mandatory minimum coverage requirement is optional. They include the following.

  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

    It covers medical expenses and damages whenever a driver who either doesn’t have auto insurance or lacks sufficient coverage hits you. Insurance companies in Colorado are required to provide UM/UIM coverage equal to the amount of bodily injury limits that you pick. It is estimated that 16.2 percent of drivers in Colorado are uninsured, which is well above the national average
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage

    It covers medical expenses and damages whenever a driver who either doesn’t have auto insurance or lacks sufficient coverage hits you. Insurance companies in Colorado are required to provide UM/UIM coverage equal to the amount of bodily injury limits that you pick. It is estimated that 16.2 percent of drivers in Colorado are uninsured, which is well above the national average
  • Comprehensive

    Comprehensive coverage covers non-accident related incidents such as theft, wildlife, extreme weather, etc.
  • Medical payments

    It covers a portion of your injuries after an accident, especially medical bills for head trauma treatment. In January of 2009, Colorado passed a law requiring insurers to offer drivers $ 5,000 in coverage.

Ways to lower your insurance rates

1. Pay for what you need

The state only requires you to meet the minimum auto insurance requirements stipulated above. You don’t have to apply for collision, comprehensive or any other optional coverage especially if you can’t afford it, but it best not to go without, so make sure you get the maximum coverage you can afford.

2. Bundle your policies

Most insurance companies will offer you discounts if you buy more than one policy from them. For example, you can combine a car and home insurance policy. Some insurers will even give up to 25 percent discount when you bundle.

3. Ask for discounts

You may be eligible to get a discount based on your age, memberships, driving record or any other consideration. For example, a driver who has attained the age of 55 usually qualifies to get a senior discount. Teen drivers may be eligible for “good student” discounts.

4. Ensure you update your information

The insurance company uses factors such as age, geographic location, driving record and driving habits to determine your rates. If something changes that could significantly reduce your rates, you need to inform your insurance company as soon as possible.

5. Compare companies

If you want to get a low car insurance rate, you need to shop around first. Many drivers ignore this critical step and go with the most popular company or just renew with their current companies. Get insurance quotes online and talk to several companies before making a decision. If you are not happy with your current insurer, consider making a switch.

6. Be careful on the road

There are inherent benefits of driving safely, and low car insurance rates are an added bonus. Whenever you make any traffic offense, the state notes it on your driving record. If the insurance company considers you a high-risk driver, they will charge you high premiums. But if your driving record is clean, your insurance rates will decrease, and some companies even offer “Good Driver” discounts for a period of time with no traffic incidents.

7. Build your credit

Many insurance companies will review the driver’s credit record before determining insurance rates. They believe that if you can take care of your credit, you will be careful on the road, too. To improve your credit score:

  • Get a secured or a low-interest line of credit

  • Make all payments

  • Keep your credit accounts open for as long as possible

  • Dispute any mistakes on your credit report

8. Take defensive driving courses

You should consider taking a supplemental driving course in addition to standard school classes. Most insurance companies will offer you a discount if you enroll in a defensive driving class.

9. Install security features

Installing a few anti-theft features may help lower your insurance rates. Insurance companies usually offer discounts for hood and tire locks, car alarms, kill switches and tracking systems. Installing some of these devices may be pricey, so you may need to weigh them against the amount of discount such investments may attract.

10. Raise your deductibles

Having deductibles as low as $100 on your comprehensive or collision insurance means that you will have to pay higher premiums. Consider raising that to $500 or $1000.

Penalties

All drivers need to have valid Colorado car insurance. If during a stop the driver fails to produce their license, the officer may check the Colorado insurance database, but the driver will still get a ticket for failing to carry proof. Luckily, Colorado is a state that will accept electronic proof of insurance, so you can show the officer your insurance information on an app or via your smartphone.

Failure to have the minimum insurance required can attract the following penalties and fines.

  • Four points added to the driver’s license

  • A minimum fine of $500

  • Suspension of license

  • Required community service

Alternative proof of financial responsibility

When you get into an accident where life is lost or someone is injured, you may be asked to submit proof of financial responsibility. The insurer usually files the SR-22 form stating that you will maintain the liability insurance coverage required. Alternatively, In Colorado, you can prove financial responsibility with a cash deposit. You can make a $65,000 deposit in cash or securities with the director of the Department of Revenue.

Determining Your Car Insurance Rate

Car insurance rates in Colorado are based on various factors, including your credit report. Car insurance companies will also look at:

  • Driving history

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Marital status

  • The safety of your neighborhood or city

  • Where you park your car in the daytime and at night

  • Car make and model

Discounts on Colorado Car Insurance

Most insurance companies will offer discounts to drivers who meet certain conditions. The discounts may vary by company and may be for things like:

  • Driver education or training

  • Good or safe driver history

  • Good student record

  • Vehicle safety

Colorado Teen Driver licensing process

Teenagers who want to get a license at the age of 16 need to have started attending driving classes before the age of 15. Before applying for a license, teens should have had a learner’s permit at least 12 months before application. According to the law in Colorado, it is illegal for drivers under the age of 18 to operate a mobile phone while they are driving unless in cases of emergency. Drivers who are 18 years and older should not text while driving unless they are contacting the police, the fire department or in cases of emergency

Colorado’s average premium vs. national average premium

Colorado’s average premium vs. national average premium

  • National average premium – $1,318

  • Colorado average premium – $1,351

  • Must not have received convictions for DUI or certain felony convictions under the state’s vehicle code

Average rate by county

We took a look at the rates by the three biggest counties in Colorado, with our control as a 45-year-old married woman with a clean driving record. Here are the rates:

  • Denver County – $1,328

  • Weld County – $1, 510

  • Douglas County – 1,210

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