How to get the best auto insurance in Colorado
Whether you’ve recently moved from out of state or gotten a new car, it might be challenging to balance the cost of car insurance with finding the security and protection that you need. An additional but sometimes unexpected factor can be thinking about the type of insurance that your state requires. Plus, if you’re financing or leasing your car, you may face additional insurance requirements from a bank or dealership.
In Colorado, you’re required to be covered by a minimum level of liability insurance. Compare minimum requirements, coverage options and how to get the best deal in Colorado.
Colorado auto insurance providers
Average car insurance costs for drivers in Colorado
In Colorado the average annual cost for auto insurance ranges from $1,200-1,450 — and you can probably expect to pay a price somewhere in that range. However, because costs tend to vary so much between insurance providers and individual drivers, you could just as easily fall outside that range. Car insurance rates are affected by a multitude of factors, a handful of which are outlined below.
- Age. Young drivers under 25, as well as seniors over 70, will almost certainly pay more for car insurance. Drivers with P or L plates can expect to pay more than the average in nearly any state, as well.
- Sex. Males can often expect higher premiums. This is sometimes countered by age and marital status.
- Driving experience. People who have been driving for 10 years or more — and have mostly clean driving records — will see better rates than those who have only been driving for a short time.
- Occupation. People who drive every day for their job, like delivery drivers, can expect significantly higher premiums thanks to more time spent on the road. Sometimes this is countered by employer policies that cover these employees while they’re driving for work.
- Location. Some areas can put a car at higher risk of theft, vandalism and other potential hazards, which will incur higher costs. Similarly, living in an area that’s prone to flooding or severe storms may impact your premiums.
- Claims history. The more car insurance claims you have made in the past, the higher your premiums will generally be in the near future.
- Credit score. In 47 US states, including Arkansas, auto insurance providers can use your credit score to help calculate your rates. This is because statistics show a strong link between excellent credit and safe, accident-free driving.
- Safety record. If you have a penchant for driving under the influence or trying to start a drag race at every red light, your insurer will likely know about it — and raise your rates accordingly.
- Drivers on the policy. Only certain people you add onto the policy will be approved to drive the car you’re insuring, and all of them impact the cost. Even the world’s safest driver will get a substantial price hike by listing another less-safe driver on the policy.
- Driving habits. How far you drive each day, how often you get behind the wheel and where you drive can all play a part in your car insurance prices.
State minimum requirements in Colorado
In order to drive legally in Colorado you’ll need liability insurance, which includes:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury.
- $50,000 per accident for bodily injury.
- $15,000 per accident for property damage.
When shopping for car insurance, you’ll sometimes see this written as 25/50/15.
Uninsured motorists coverage protects you if you get into a car accident with someone who is at–fault for the accident but doesn’t carry insurance. Some states require that you carry this type of insurance. Colorado is an opt–out state, so insurance companies are required to offer you uninsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage, but you can sign a waiver to deny it. In 2008, Colorado expanded their restrictions on insurance companies to also require that they offer UM/UIM coverage in the same amounts that you select for bodily injury liability limits.
Since liability insurance doesn’t cover a lot of other potential damages to your car, many drivers add more to their insurance plan. Colorado insurance companies also offer:
- Collision coverage. Helps finance repairs if your car is damaged in an accident.
- Comprehensive coverage. Covers non-collision-related repairs to your car, including damages caused by weather and theft.
- Medical payment coverage. Pays for injury-related expenses after an accident.
- Rental car coverage. Covers the expense of renting a car after an accident.
- Loan/lease gap coverage. If your car is completely totalled in a car accident, loan/lease gap coverage means that your auto insurance will pay the difference between what you owe on your car and what it’s worth at the time of an accident.
- Roadside assistance/towing coverage. Covers towing or labor costs caused by an accident.
Which cars are most likely to be stolen in Colorado?
Wondering if you should get comprehensive coverage to cover car theft? 15,000 cars are stolen each year in Colorado, compared to 250,000 nationwide. According to a 2018 report by The John Smith Insurance Agency, the most stolen models are typically the most popular in the state, including:
- Honda Civic
- Honda Accord
- Ford F-250
- Ford F-150
- Chevrolet Silverado
- Dodge Ram
- Jeep Cherokee
- Subaru Impreza
- Subaru Legacy
Uninsured drivers in Colorado
Uninsured drivers account for an estimated 16% of all motorists in the state of Colorado, a bit above the nationwide average of 12%. Because of this statistic, many drivers in Colorado and elsewhere opt for additional coverage on their insurance policies that covers accidents with uninsured and underinsured drivers who might not be able to cover damages themselves.
Car insurance for high-risk drivers in Colorado
Can’t get covered with a traditional or affordable provider? If you’ve been denied coverage because you’re considered a high-risk driver, you can still find insurance through the Western Association of Automobile Insurance Plans (WAAIP).
WAAIP assigns you an affordable provider in its network of insurance companies. Any extra risks you pose to the insurer are negated by spreading it out across the network of participating companies.
What if I don’t have insurance?
If you get into an accident in Colorado — or even get pulled over for a simple traffic violation — and aren’t properly insured, the consequences can be pretty severe. State law allows you to show a digital version of your insurance ID card on any smart device, if you need it, and you may be given a 7-10 day grace period when you can bring your documents to the police station for proof of coverage before being forced to pay the fine. Repercussions can include:
- Violation points on your driver’s license.
- $500 fine.
- Required community service.
- License suspension. For your first offense, your license will be suspended until you can show proof of insurance. For any subsequent offenses, your license can be suspended for up to eight months.
Proof of insurance
In Colorado, there are several ways to show you have insurance if asked for proof.
- Insurance card
- Copy of car insurance policy
- Printout or fax of insurance policy
- Image of auto insurance card on a cell phone or tablet
- Email from your insurer
Is there any alternative to car insurance in Colorado?
Yes, in Colorado, you can place a cash deposit or cash bond of $35,000 with the state instead of purchasing liability insurance.
32 states allow for this option, with an exception on the list. Maryland requires you to deposit additional money to cover for a potentially uninsured or underinsured motorist, as well as for personal injury protection.
For some states, the amount you’re required to deposit in place of an insurance policy can be cost-prohibitive. Maine requires a deposit of $127,000 and Utah makes you put down $160,000.
Temporary car insurance in Colorado
It’s perfectly legal to purchase short term car insurance for less than six months, but most standard insurance companies won’t offer this option.
Shop around with various providers to get the best rate on your temporary coverage. You may also be able to find a conventional policy that lets you cancel early, at little or no additional cost, and transfer to a more standard insurance plan when you’re ready.
Can I get SR-22 insurance in Colorado?
You might need an SR-22 if you’ve gotten a DUI, lost your license or have too many points on your driving record. SR-22 tells the state you have the minimum coverage required to get back behind the wheel. You’ll be notified by your state DMV if you’re required to file an SR-22.
What happens after an accident?
Car accidents can be terrifying and disruptive — even if they’re relatively minor. Keep calm and do your best to follow these steps.
- Safety first. Check to make sure that everyone involved in the accident is safe. Call 911 immediately if anyone was injured. Then, check for any other potential dangers, including fires. Once you’ve confirmed that there hasn’t been any injuries and that there are no more potential dangers on the horizon, it’s usually a good idea to call the local police station to inform them of what’s happened.
- Exchange information. Write down the full names, addresses and driver’s license numbers of every person in the accident. You should also write down the car make, model and license plate of the people involved.
- Notify your auto insurance company. Call your insurance company before you leave the scene of the accident. They’ll provide any additional information or steps you may need to take.
- Document the accident. Taking pictures of the accident and damages from multiple angles will help protect your claim. You should also write down the names of police officers or witnesses at the scene. This information can be valuable to cover the process of your claim.
Who’s at fault after an accident?
Colorado is considered an at–fault state. Also known as tort states, at–fault states require that fault is assigned to one of the drivers involved in the accident. The at–fault driver is then obligated to pay for the damages caused by the accident, including any potential medical bills to those injured. Victims have the right to further pursue compensation for lost wages and any “pain and suffering” caused by the accident.
When should I report an accident to the authorities in Colorado?
If you call a local police officer and they’re able to gather all the information they need, you won’t have to report the accident. If a police officer wasn’t notified or involved post-accident, you can usually fill out an online accident report, which you should do as soon as possible.
However, if there were injuries or deaths, if there were drugs or alcohol involved, if public property was damaged or if the accident was a hit and run, you’ll need to call your local police station. They can then start an investigation to make sure responsibility for the accident, both legal and financial, is assigned to the driver who caused it.
Minimum car insurance requirements in Colorado can be affordable if you’re willing to shop around and compare providers, policies, discounts and rates. Plus, given Colorado’s substantial consequences for uninsured drivers, it hardly makes sense to go without auto insurance.
Compare your car insurance options, from costs to regulations to little-known discounts and deals, to find the best insurance for you.
Frequently asked questions about car insurance in Colorado
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