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UPDATED: Mar 26, 2020
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|Colorado Statistics Summary||Details|
|Road Miles||Total in State: 88,740|
Vehicle Miles Driven: 4.9 billion
|Vehicles||Registered: 4.6 million|
Total Stolen: 15,891
|Most Popular Vehicle||Subaru Outback|
State Rank: 19th
|Total Driving Fatalities||2008-2017|
Drunk Driving: 1,537
|Annual Premiums by Coverage Type||Collision: $287|
|Cheapest Providers||Safeco and Geico|
Enter a higher state is one of many catchy slogans that Colorado uses to describe itself. It could be referring to one of the famous mountains peaks which dot the topography or the state of those citizens who choose to take advantage of the state’s legalization of marijuana in 2014.
Or they could be talking about the rising costs of car insurance in the state. In fact, according to the Denver Post, Colorado had an increase of 54.2 percent from 2011-2017 in the average insurance premium. Now, if you’re like us, no one wants to pay too much for car insurance, no matter what state we find ourselves in.
What if there was a way to help you save on your car insurance? What if it could save you money? Would you take the time? I bet you would and that’s why we’ve compiled this guide to get you started. Everything you need to know about buying cheap car insurance in Colorado is in this comprehensive guide. Enter your ZIP code above to get started.
Colorado Car Insurance Coverage and Rates
The median household income in Colorado in 2017 was over $69.117, and drivers, on average paid over $982 for car insurance. That’s way too high for us! However, you feel about it, we think consumers in the Centennial State are spending way too much money on car insurance.
There has to be a better way.
Below, we have provided information and helpful advice so you can get the best coverage options for your needs.
|Colorado Minimum Coverage Requirements||*May be waived if rejected. UUM must be rejected in writing. MedPay may be rejected in writing or in the same way you buy insurance.|
|Bodily Injury Liability||$25,000 per person|
$50,000 per accident
|Property Damage Liability||$15,000 per accident|
|Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage*||$25,000 per person|
$50,000 per accident
|Medical Payments (MedPay)*||$5000|
Okay, you’ve read the numbers, but what do they mean?
What is 25/50/15?
We hope you never have to deal with any of these situations or end up in one of these:
But if you do, the basic coverage requirements in Colorado which all motorists must have for liability insurance are:
- $25,000 to cover death or injury per person
- $50,000 to cover total death or injury per accident
- $15,000 to cover property damage per accident
Liability insurance pays all individuals — drivers, passengers, pedestrians, etc. — who are owed compensation for property damage and/or injuries resulting from a car accident that you or anyone under your policy causes. If you cause a wreck, liability insurance pays everyone affected by the accident.
Required Forms of Financial Responsibility
What is financial responsibility? Basically, financial responsibility is proof that you have Colorado’s minimum liability coverage. State law requires every driver and owner of a vehicle to have proof of financial security at all times.
Here are a few acceptable forms of proof of financial security in Colorado:
- Valid Insurance ID Card
- Electronic proof on a smartphone
- A letter from an insurance agent or insurer on company letterhead.
Premiums as Percentage of Income in Colorado
The per capita disposable income in Colorado is $36,345. On average, residents spend $982 a year on car insurance. To put this amount in perspective, the countrywide, annual average for car insurance is $981. This means people in Colorado are comparable with the countrywide average but pay more than neighboring states New Mexico and Wyoming who pay yearly amounts of $938 and $844, respectively.
You can also use our calculator to know how much you’re spending on premiums.
Core Car Insurance Coverage Premiums in Colorado
The main concern of most every motorist in Colorado is the rising cost of insurance? The table below shows data provided by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners which is an agency dedicated to keeping up with the changing costs of car insurance.
|Type of Coverage||Average Annual Cost|
Up next, we take a look at loss ratios and what they mean to a company’s bottom line.
Additional Liability Coverage in Colorado
To gauge the financial health of insurance companies, you should look at its loss ratios. Loss ratios are explained as: the money insurance companies pay out on claims compared to the money they take in on premiums is the loss ratio.
For example, an auto insurer collects $100,000 of premiums in a given year and pays out $55,000 in claims, the company’s loss ratio is 55 percent ($55,000 incurred losses/$100,000 earned premiums).
Check out the loss ratio for these two types of coverage in Colorado.
|Type of Coverage||2012||2013||2014|
|Medical Payments (MedPay)||85.64%||82.53%||77.44%|
|Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage||96.63%||96.81%||95.82%|
You may want to consider adding additional coverage to your insurance plans, to avoid paying out of pocket in the event of an accident. Without additional coverage, medical bills and payments could reach well into the thousands of dollars for those affected by an uninsured driver and force some into financial difficulty.
Add-ons, Endorsements, and Riders
No one wants to have a car wreck, but if you are, do you have enough protection for you and your family? Have you considered adding extra coverages to your policy? Do you even know what’s out there? Choosing from a list of options can be daunting, and we know you want the best options for your family at the best price.
To help you decide, we’ve made a list of affordable options to add to your policy. Click on the selections below to learn more about them:
- Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP)
- Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP)
- Rental Reimbursement
- Emergency Roadside Assistance
- Mechanical Breakdown Insurance
- Non-Owner Car Insurance
- Modified Car Insurance Coverage
- Classic Car Insurance
- Low-Mileage Discount
- Usage-Based or Pay-As-You-Drive Insurance
Any of the above coverages would be beneficial to add to your policy, so make sure to discuss any options you are interested in with your insurance provider.
Male vs Female Rates in Colorado
Inc.com wrote an article which says women pay $100,000 more for the same products as men do. In fact, gender discrimination in car insurance rates is such a problem that California and other states banned gender discrimination and created gender neutral insurance plans.
|Company||Married 35-year old female||Married 35-year old male||Married 60-year old female||Married 60-year old male||Single 17-year old female||Single 17-year old male||Single 25-year old female||Single 25-year old male|
|American Family Mutual||$2,552.17||$2,552.17||$2,302.28||$2,302.28||$6,182.18||$8,292.20||$2,552.17||$3,128.70|
|Farmers Ins Exchange 2.0||$3,095.55||$3,068.12||$2,804.12||$3,023.70||$11,703.79||$11,788.62||$3,401.12||$3,436.88|
|Safeco Ins Co of America||$1,859.15||$1,810.08||$1,578.98||$1,736.25||$5,559.53||$6,061.99||$1,877.93||$1,897.98|
|State Farm Mutual Auto||$2,048.74||$2,048.74||$1,842.60||$1,842.60||$5,901.90||$7,471.21||$2,293.13||$2,717.20|
As you can see from the data, teen drivers pay thousands more than older drivers do for car insurance. Among the major carriers, State Farm has the cheapest rates when it comes to teen drivers. While Geico has the lowest increase from young to older drivers. As with all such information, your rates may be different depending on your location and other circumstances.
Cheapest Rates by ZIP Code
Rates also vary by area. The table below shows which ZIP codes in Colorado have the cheapest rates.
|Cheapest ZIP Codes in Colorado||City||Average by ZIP Codes||Most Expensive Company||Most Expensive Rate||2nd Most Expensive Company||2nd Most Expensive Rate||Cheapest Company||Cheapest Rate||2nd Cheapest Company||2nd Cheapest Rate|
|81504||GRAND JUNCTION||$3,291.13||Allstate||$5,559.67||Farmers||$4,321.67||GEICO||$2,158.40||Liberty Mutual||$2,350.84|
|81505||GRAND JUNCTION||$3,299.49||Allstate||$5,559.67||Farmers||$4,391.99||GEICO||$2,106.05||Liberty Mutual||$2,360.44|
|81507||GRAND JUNCTION||$3,312.39||Allstate||$5,559.67||Farmers||$4,300.31||GEICO||$2,236.13||Liberty Mutual||$2,360.44|
|81501||GRAND JUNCTION||$3,314.33||Allstate||$5,134.33||Farmers||$4,336.53||GEICO||$2,236.13||Liberty Mutual||$2,434.26|
|80525||FORT COLLINS||$3,334.66||Farmers||$4,695.19||Allstate||$4,308.76||Liberty Mutual||$2,448.71||USAA||$2,707.04|
|81503||GRAND JUNCTION||$3,338.85||Allstate||$5,559.67||Farmers||$4,452.48||GEICO||$2,158.40||Liberty Mutual||$2,360.44|
|81506||GRAND JUNCTION||$3,346.16||Allstate||$5,559.67||Farmers||$4,308.80||GEICO||$2,158.40||Liberty Mutual||$2,434.26|
|80521||FORT COLLINS||$3,347.76||Farmers||$4,523.55||Allstate||$4,199.55||Liberty Mutual||$2,415.11||GEICO||$2,799.30|
|80526||FORT COLLINS||$3,361.56||Farmers||$4,637.80||Allstate||$4,199.55||Liberty Mutual||$2,361.92||GEICO||$2,799.30|
|80528||FORT COLLINS||$3,393.99||Farmers||$4,632.36||Allstate||$4,319.84||Liberty Mutual||$2,448.71||USAA||$2,749.54|
|80524||FORT COLLINS||$3,397.23||Farmers||$4,678.84||Allstate||$4,558.04||Liberty Mutual||$2,415.11||USAA||$2,707.04|
|80549||WELLINGTON||$3,419.33||Allstate||$4,571.00||Farmers||$4,517.83||Liberty Mutual||$2,574.62||State Farm||$2,743.35|
|81523||GLADE PARK||$3,420.49||Allstate||$5,559.67||Farmers||$4,510.33||GEICO||$2,236.13||Liberty Mutual||$2,562.30|
Grand Junction has a number of the cheapest ZIP codes. As for which ZIP codes will cost you the most, they can be found in the next table.
|Most Expensive ZIP Codes in Colorado||City||Average by ZIP Code||Most Expensive Company||Most Expensive Rate||2nd Most Expensive Company||2nd Most Expensive Rate||Cheapest Company||Cheapest Rate||2nd Cheapest Company||2nd Cheapest Rate|
|80047||AURORA||$4,547.13||Allstate||$6,074.05||Farmers||$5,683.22||Liberty Mutual||$3,565.22||State Farm||$3,687.16|
Almost all of the most expensive ZIP codes can be found in Denver.
Cheapest Rates by City
Since the cheapest and most expensive ZIP codes are grouped in just a few cities, we want to broaden the search and look at cities’ car insurance rates.
|Cheapest Cities in Colorado||Average by City||Most Expensive Company||Most Expensive Rate||2nd Most Expensive Company||2nd Most Expensive Rate||Cheapest Company||Cheapest Rate||2nd Cheapest Company||2nd Cheapest Rate|
|Grand Junction||$3,322.24||Allstate||$5,474.60||Farmers||$4,358.02||GEICO||$2,179.02||Liberty Mutual||$2,389.97|
|Fort Collins||$3,388.15||Farmers||$4,696.20||Allstate||$4,352.61||Liberty Mutual||$2,417.45||USAA||$2,757.68|
|Wellington||$3,419.32||Allstate||$4,571.00||Farmers||$4,517.83||Liberty Mutual||$2,574.62||State Farm||$2,743.35|
|Glade Park||$3,420.49||Allstate||$5,559.67||Farmers||$4,510.33||GEICO||$2,236.13||Liberty Mutual||$2,562.30|
|Glen Haven||$3,468.96||Farmers||$4,916.37||Allstate||$4,291.74||Liberty Mutual||$2,618.37||GEICO||$2,879.57|
|Monte Vista||$3,488.11||Allstate||$5,021.13||Farmers||$4,822.69||GEICO||$2,533.48||Liberty Mutual||$2,599.59|
|Cimarron||$3,499.94||Allstate||$5,235.78||Farmers||$4,336.23||State Farm||$2,717.05||Liberty Mutual||$2,734.33|
The next table shows which cities have the most expensive car insurance rates.
|Most Expensive Cities in Colorado||Average by City||Most Expensive Company||Most Expensive Rate||2nd Most Expensive Company||2nd Most Expensive Rate||Cheapest Company||Cheapest Rate||2nd Cheapest Company||2nd Cheapest Rate|
|Cherry Hills Village||$4,274.05||Farmers||$6,150.27||Allstate||$5,954.43||Liberty Mutual||$3,261.13||GEICO||$3,375.68|
|Beulah||$4,258.06||Allstate||$6,153.61||Farmers||$5,941.29||Liberty Mutual||$3,078.33||American Family||$3,353.48|
|Pueblo West||$4,237.11||Allstate||$6,244.99||Farmers||$5,447.51||Liberty Mutual||$3,149.36||GEICO||$3,268.81|
|Deer Trail||$4,231.16||Farmers||$6,520.12||Allstate||$5,470.96||Liberty Mutual||$2,838.41||State Farm||$3,395.95|
|Fort Carson||$4,204.82||Allstate||$6,083.85||Farmers||$5,557.52||Liberty Mutual||$2,867.51||State Farm||$3,357.87|
|Idaho Springs||$4,194.17||Allstate||$6,032.22||Farmers||$5,510.99||Liberty Mutual||$3,168.00||GEICO||$3,170.65|
|Yoder||$4,188.72||Allstate||$5,685.45||Farmers||$5,647.34||Liberty Mutual||$2,646.84||State Farm||$3,548.46|
|Indian Hills||$4,187.74||Farmers||$5,975.56||Allstate||$5,645.56||Liberty Mutual||$2,975.13||USAA||$3,281.91|
|Buffalo Creek||$4,171.50||Farmers||$5,663.46||Allstate||$5,569.05||Liberty Mutual||$2,929.81||USAA||$3,350.30|
The Best Colorado Car Insurance Companies
From Pike’s Peak to the Garden of the Gods, folks in Colorado have numerous opportunities to hike and explore ridges, plateaus, and other lofty places. One thing we know for sure is that most of those folks would rather be out exploring, instead of looking and searching for cheaper rates on car insurance.
That’s why we’ve done all of the work for you and researched the best insurance carriers in Colorado, so you can make the best choice for your situation. We’ve looked at companies’ financial ratings, AM’s best ratings, and which companies have the most complaints.
Keep reading to learn about Colorado’s auto insurance providers.
The Largest Companies’ Financial Ratings
Loss ratios play a large part in how secure a company is doing financially. That’s why we want to include AM Best ratings, which look at loss ratios to determine if a company has solid financial security.
So to see how the 10 largest companies in Colorado are doing, we’ve included the AM Best ratings for each.
|Company||AM Best Rating|
Companies with the Best Ratings
A good financial rating means the insurance carrier has the funds available to pay any claims. But customer service is also an important part of any company, from restaurants to car insurance companies. That’s why we’ve looked at companies with the best overall customer satisfaction ratings.
Check out these ratings from J. D. Power.
State Farm ranks near the top of the list — proving that State Farm is great at customer satisfaction.
Just because a company has a good rating for financial stability doesn’t mean their customers are always happy.
Let’s check out their record of official complaints.
Companies with the Most Complaints in Colorado
Keep in mind that a high complaint index doesn’t necessarily mean you should avoid a company. You should also look at a company’s customer satisfaction ratings because how a company deals with complaints is also important.
|Company Name||Total Complaints||Confirmed Complaints||Complaint Ratio||Company Name||Total Complaints||Confirmed Complaints||Complaint Ratio|
|Occidental Fire & Casualty||21||5||12.36||Financial Indemnity||8||1||1.03|
|Young America||39||15||2.74||Permanent General of Ohio||49||15||0.95|
|National General||11||3||1.78||Nationwide Affinity||8||3||0.85|
|Alpha Property & Casualty||6||2||1.39||Nationwide Mutual||10||2||0.84|
|Arizona Automobile||41||8||1.37||IDS Property Casualty||14||3||0.79|
|Twin City Fire||44||2||1.18||Liberty Mutual Fire||10||3||0.78|
|Permanent General||7||2||1.16||Viking Insurance||4||1||0.75|
If a car insurance company’s complaint index is lower than one, they are better than the average. If the index is higher than one, they are worse than the average. Occidental Fire and Casualty and Young America have the highest complaint ratios in Colorado.
Cheapest Companies in Colorado
Nobody likes to be considered cheap, except when it comes to finding cheaper car insurance. In order to save money, you should be shopping around to see what’s available. The table below displays the top carriers in Colorado with their average rate for all drivers and compares it to the state average of all companies.
|Company||Average||Compared to State Average (+/-)||Compared to State Average (%)|
|American Family Mutual||$3,733.02||-$159.30||-4.27%|
|Farmers Ins Exchange 2.0||$5,290.24||$1,397.92||26.42%|
|Safeco Ins Co of America||$2,797.74||-$1,094.58||-39.12%|
|State Farm Mutual Auto||$3,270.76||-$621.56||-19.00%|
Looking at different providers can save a lot of money. For example, Geico is $800 BELOW the state average, which, over time, could add up to thousands of dollars saved.
At some companies, how far you commute each day influences your insurance rates. Beyond age, gender, location, marital status, and carrier, other factors that affect your quoted rates from each carrier are those that are specific to your individual situation such as how much coverage you want, credit history, and driving record.
The tables below compare such factors based on each carrier.
|Group||Daily Commute||Annual Mileage||Annual Average|
|American Family||10 miles||6,000||$3,653.11|
|American Family||25 miles||12,000||$3,812.93|
|Liberty Mutual||10 miles||6,000||$2,797.74|
|Liberty Mutual||25 miles||12,000||$2,797.74|
|State Farm||10 miles||6,000||$3,190.31|
|State Farm||25 miles||12,000||$3,351.22|
Most company rates don’t change when the drive is shortened to a 10-mile commute, except for Geico, who offers rate reductions over $125.
Up next, a break-down of coverage level rates in Colorado.
Coverage Level Rates
Do you need better coverage, but hate to spend any more money? You may be surprised some companies offer more coverage with economical increases in rates.
|Group||Coverage Type||Annual Average|
For example, the data above shows Liberty Mutual and Nationwide have less than $300 increases from low to high coverage.
Credit History Rates by Companies
The quality of your credit score impacts your insurance rates. In Colorado, the average credit score is 688, which is above the nationwide average of 675. Basically, this means motorists have an excellent chance of getting great rates because of their above-average credit scores.
The table below shows what you can expect to pay yearly on car insurance based on your credit history.
|Group||Credit History||Annual Average|
If you have insurance through Allstate and have poor credit, you can expect to pay nearly $3000 more for car insurance than someone with good credit.
Driving Record Rates
A clean driving record is the EASIEST way to keep rates down. As you can see from the information below, at Liberty Mutual, just one speeding violation can raise your rate by over $400.
|Cost by Company with Different Driving Record||Driving Record||Cost|
|American Family||Clean record||$2,762.77|
|Liberty Mutual||Clean record||$2,450.68|
|State Farm||Clean record||$3,008.73|
|Allstate||With 1 accident||$5,431.34|
|American Family||With 1 accident||$3,915.14|
|Farmers||With 1 accident||$5,743.39|
|Geico||With 1 accident||$3,395.15|
|Liberty Mutual||With 1 accident||$2,869.91|
|Nationwide||With 1 accident||$3,930.20|
|Progressive||With 1 accident||$5,115.10|
|State Farm||With 1 accident||$3,532.80|
|USAA||With 1 accident||$2,973.13|
|Allstate||With 1 DUI||$6,643.37|
|American Family||With 1 DUI||$5,122.27|
|Farmers||With 1 DUI||$5,665.21|
|Geico||With 1 DUI||$3,928.75|
|Liberty Mutual||With 1 DUI||$2,978.75|
|Nationwide||With 1 DUI||$4,991.57|
|Progressive||With 1 DUI||$3,869.05|
|State Farm||With 1 DUI||$3,270.76|
|USAA||With 1 DUI||$5,192.84|
|Allstate||With 1 speeding violation||$5,350.87|
|American Family||With 1 speeding violation||$3,131.89|
|Farmers||With 1 speeding violation||$5,283.78|
|Geico||With 1 speeding violation||$2,858.30|
|Liberty Mutual||With 1 speeding violation||$2,891.61|
|Nationwide||With 1 speeding violation||$3,163.26|
|Progressive||With 1 speeding violation||$4,278.14|
|State Farm||With 1 speeding violation||$3,270.76|
|USAA||With 1 speeding violation||$2,750.39|
A better record equals better rates. We encourage you to obey posted speed limit signs and NOT drink and drive.
Largest Car Insurance Companies in Colorado
|Company||Direct Premiums Written||Loss Ratio||Market Share|
|State Farm Group||$906,918||77.60%||19.81%|
|Allstate Insurance Group||$388,445||78.44%||8.49%|
|American Family Insurance Group||$384,892||100.38%||8.41%|
|Farmers Insurance Group||$330,473||63.89%||7.22%|
|Liberty Mutual Group||$319,166||86.69%||6.97%|
|Nationwide Corp Group||$91,547||86.32%||2.00%|
Number of Property and Casualty Insurance Companies in Colorado
Domestic insurance means a company is formed under Colorado’s state laws, whereas a foreign provider is formed under the laws of any state in the country.
- Domestic Insurers: 10
- Foreign Insurers: 848
Comparing quotes will help you know where to get started. Once you find the company that offers the best rates to you, do some more research into their financial rating, customer satisfaction rating, and complaint ratios. Then, you can confidently choose your insurer.
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Laws in Colorado
Break a leg? You may have heard that saying before wishing someone good luck before a performance. But in Colorado, where skiing is one of the top activities in the state, it has a whole new meaning.
According to state law in Vail:
Avoid Obstacles: Each skier shall stay clear of snow-grooming equipment, all vehicles, lift towers, signs, and any other equipment on the ski slopes and trails.
Nobody wants to crash into anything, let alone a snow plow careening down a hill at 60 mph, and you’ll probably end up with more than a broken leg. Not only will you be recovering from your injuries, but your wallet will be recovering from the citation you might receive from trying to take out an Aspen tree.
We know, state laws are odd and sometimes confusing and vary from state to state. New residents may receive tickets for laws they didn’t know existed.
Next, we help you uncover what the laws are, so check out our roundup of Colorado’s driving laws.
Colorado’s Car Insurance Laws
Insurance companies are subject to certain rules and regulations.
Let’s look at some of the specific laws for consumers regarding car insurance.
If you have a bad driving record, it may be difficult to find an insurance company that is willing to insure you as a driver. Luckily, in most states, insurance companies have made programs available to provide affordable coverage for those who are high-risk drivers.
In Colorado, this program is known as the Colorado Automobile Insurance Plan.
According to Colorado’s DMV:
“The plan is a voluntary agreement between the state and all auto insurers licensed in Colorado. The deal is that if an insurer wants to do ANY auto insurance business in Colorado, then that insurer must agree to cover a share of high risk drivers when they are assigned.”
Colorado is one of several states that comprise an association of auto plans referred to as the Western Association of Automobile Insurance Plans (WAAIP). WAAIP is a processing center where people who have trouble buying automobile insurance are put in touch with an insurance company which will insure them.
Some states have programs set up for those who receive benefits from government assistance programs, or those who have a combined family income that is below the poverty level. Unfortunately, Colorado has no such plan in place. In order to obey the law, you must carry the minimum liability coverage.
Automobile Insurance Fraud in Colorado
What is automobile insurance fraud?
- Creating a claim for damages or injuries that NEVER occurred (such as faking an accident)
- Adding “extra” costs onto a claim that is legitimate
Colorado has employed an Insurance Fraud Unit to investigate fraudulent activity throughout the state.
Committing insurance fraud can result in fines and/or jail time.
Statute of Limitations
- Property Damage – Three Years
- Bodily Injury – Three Years
Colorado’s Vehicle Licensing Laws
Colorado, just like every other state, has mandatory licensing laws in addition to the statute of limitations and car insurance laws, which we previously covered.
Colorado is in full compliance with the REAL ID Act passed by Congress and enforced by Homeland Security. This means that a driver’s license or state ID issued by Colorado is an acceptable form of identification at federal facilities, airports, and nuclear power plants.
As of October 1, 2020, anyone wishing to fly on a commercial flight or enter a federal facility must have a REAL ID-compliant form of identification.
Penalties For Driving Without Insurance
Colorado has a Motorist Insurance Information Database (MIIDB) program to which the police and DMV have access. Registration information is updated in the MIIDB daily and insurance information is updated weekly or more.
|Penalty||First Offense||Second Offense|
|Fine||$500 minimum||$1,000 minimum|
|License Suspension||Until you show proof of insurance to the DMV||Four months|
|Community Service||Possible up to 40 hours||Possible up to 40 hours|
Proof of Insurance
The following forms of proof of insurance are accepted in Colorado
- Electronic – picture of a current insurance card or pdf file of coverage on a phone, tablet, or another electronic device
- Insurance Card
- Declaration Page
- Letter/Binder – From the insurance company on their letterhead
It’s important to keep physical proof of insurance in Colorado.
Teen Driver Laws
To begin driving in Colorado, teens must be 15 and enrolled and attending in a driving class to apply for a learner’s license. Before teens can apply for a regular license or a restricted license, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) specifies that teens must meet the requirements below.
|Restrictions||Learner's Permit||Restricted License||Unrestricted License|
|Age||15 - if enrolled, attending, and participating in driver's ed|
15 1/2 - if completed a four-hour driver-awareness course
16 - if none of above
|If under 18, one year after obtaining learner's permit||17 - if held restricted license 12 months|
18 - otherwise
|Passengers||Must be supervised by a licensed parent/guardian or their licensed adult appointee||First six months - no passengers under 21 |
Second six months - limit of one passenger under 21
(exceptions: siblings, family emergencies)
|Hours||No restrictions||First year - no driving between midnight and 5 a.m. (exceptions: presence of a parent/guardian, driving to and from school activities or work, family emergency, being an emancipated teen)||No restrictions|
|Cell phone use||Forbidden||Forbidden||Forbidden if under 18|
|Pre-requisites||If under 18, parent or guardian must sign an affidavit of liability||Completion of 50 hours supervised driving, 10 of which at night||If under 18, holding a restricted license for one year|
Older Driver License Renewal Procedures
Older drivers in Colorado have to renew their license every five years, which is the same renewal procedure as the general population.
The only difference is how they can renew. The exceptions to getting a license renewed in person are as follows:
- General population – limited to two consecutive renewals online before having to go in person or every other renewal by mail
- Over 66 years old – every other renewal may be by mail
Considering a move to Colorado? Here are the guidelines for getting a new Colorado driver’s license.
The Colorado DMV website says you need a Colorado license within 30 days of residency. The residency requirements are as follows:
- Own or operate a business in Colorado OR
- Are gainfully employed in Colorado OR
- Reside in Colorado for 90 consecutive days
Your valid driver license from your previous state of residence should be enough for you not to have to take a driving or written exam. When you go to the DMV to get a Colorado license, be prepared with the following documentation:
- A valid driver license from the previous state of residence
- Proof of your social security number
- Two proofs of current Colorado address
- Proof of lawful presence
- Money for fees
Also, proof of adequate vision is required for driver licenses and permits
After becoming a Colorado resident, you must register your vehicle within 90 days.
Driver licenses must be renewed every five years. You should not wait until your license expires.
Renewals may be completed online, in person, or by mail. There are restrictions on renewing online or by mail:
- May renew by mail only every other renewal
- Limited to two times in a row renewing online
- Those 66 years and older are limited to renewing by mail every other renewal at most
Colorado Rules of the Road
We all should obey the rules, but if you’re new to the state, there may be laws you’re unfamiliar with. That’s why we’ve assembled a list of several important laws to help keep you in good standing and on the road.
Fault vs. No-Fault
Colorado is a fault-based state which means if you are the cause of a car accident, you are responsible for any damage caused.
Seat Belt and Car Seat Laws
All passengers in the front seat of a vehicle driven in Colorado must be wearing a seat belt. Additionally, children 16 years and younger are required to be properly restrained no matter where they are sitting.
Currently, riding in the cargo section of a pick-up truck is prohibited unless the cargo area is fully or partially enclosed on all four sides.
Keep Right and Move Over Laws
Colorado traffic laws mandate that you must keep right when traveling slower than the average speed of traffic around you. Generally, the left lane is for faster traffic and passing.
Maximum posted speed limits are 75 mph on rural interstates, 65 mph on urban interstates, 65 mph on limited access roads and 65 mph on all other roads.
Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft mandate that all their drivers carry personal car insurance that meets the minimum requirements. However, if drivers wish to purchase a commercial insurance policy, these are the companies who provide coverage.
- American Family
- State Farm
The state of Colorado was the first to pass a regulatory bill for ridesharing companies in 2014.
Automation on the Road
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS),
“Automation is the use of a machine or technology to perform a task or function that was previously carried out by a human. In driving, automation involves using radar, camera and other sensors to gather information about a vehicle’s surroundings, which is then used by computer programs to perform parts or all of the driving task on a sustained basis.”
Currently, Colorado does allow the deployment of autonomous vehicles with no restrictions on having an operator in the vehicle.
Up next, we take a closer look at the safety laws in Colorado, so you can arrive alive. Please don’t drink and drive.
Driving while impaired has disastrous results for everyone involved, that’s why strict laws are in place to prevent such tragedies. In Colorado alone, drunk driving caused 177 deaths in 2017. Each state differs in how they address drunk driving and therefore have different penalties.
Below, we’ve listed the details about Colorado’s impaired driving laws.
|BAC LIMIT||HIGH BAC LIMIT||CRIMINAL STATUS BY OFFENSE||FORMAL NAME FOR OFFENSE||LOOK BACK/WASHOUT PERIOD|
|0.05 - DWAI, 0.08 - DUI||0.15-0.2; 0.2+||1st-3rd misdemeanors, 4th+ class 4 felony.||Driving Under the Influence (DUI)||No Official Period|
The penalties get worse with each subsequent offense.
Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws
Driving under the influence of drugs is illegal and is subject to the same penalties as driving under the influence of alcohol. Because controlled amounts of marijuana consumption are legal in Colorado, permissible inference of 5 nanograms of THC is permissible.
Distracted Driving Laws
Text messaging while driving is prohibited for all drivers. Persons under 18 are prohibited from using a wireless telephone while driving.
Driving in Colorado
Now that you have a good understanding of Colorado state laws, let’s dive into some facts that you might not know. While insurance is important, it’s also crucial to know what to keep your eyes out for on the road.
Vehicle Theft in Colorado
Believe it or not, over 15,891 vehicle thefts occurred in 2016 alone in Colorado. When considering your next car purchase, one thing to consider is that certain vehicles are stolen more frequently, and thus, may have higher insurance rates.
Here’s a list of the top ten stolen vehicles in Colorado.
|Ford Pickup (Full Size)||2005||595|
|Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee||1999||594|
|Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)||2000||450|
|Dodge Pickup (Full Size)||2001||308|
The Honda Civic is the most stolen vehicle in Colorado.
Vehicle Theft by City
Where you live also plays a role in the number of vehicle thefts. The FBI created a 2016 report on Colorado’s vehicle thefts by cities, which are listed below.
|City||Number of Vehicle Thefts|
|Cherry Hills Village||3|
|Log Lane Village||1|
|Mount Crested Butte||1|
Road Fatalities in Colorado
Accidents can and do happen, and next, we’re going to show you statistics for different kinds of accidents in Colorado.
Fatal Crashes by Weather Condition and Light Condition
|Weather Condition||Daylight||Dark, but Lighted||Dark||Dawn or Dusk||Other / Unknown||Total|
As you can see, most accidents occur during daylight hours.
Fatalities (All Crashes) by County
Here are the Colorado counties with the most fatalities over the past five years.
|El Paso County||63||53||48||48||77|
Fatalities by Roadway
Next, we have a 10-year comparison of traffic fatalities on urban vs. rural roadways.
|Type of Roadway||2008||2009||2010||2011||2012||2013||2014||2015||2016||2017|
Fatalities by Person Type
|Person Type||Vehicles Type||2013||2014||2015||2016||2017|
|–||Light Truck - Pickup||77||56||77||66||78|
|–||Light Truck - Utility||85||70||85||85||104|
|–||Light Truck - Van||14||6||21||24||27|
|–||Light Truck - Other||0||0||1||0||2|
|–||Bicyclist and Other Cyclist||12||10||13||16||16|
|Occupants, Motorcyclists, and Nonoccupants||Total Traffic-Related Fatalities||482||488||547||608||648|
Fatalities by Crash Type
|Total Fatalities (All Crashes)*||482||488||547||608||648|
|- (1) Single Vehicle||284||273||305||344||335|
|- (2) Involving a Large Truck||56||63||64||86||87|
|- (3) Involving Speeding||151||168||217||211||230|
|- (4) Involving a Rollover||197||166||195||212||228|
|- (5) Involving a Roadway Departure||287||285||304||295||330|
|- (6) Involving an Intersection (or Intersection Related)||118||127||153||200||190|
Fatalities Involving Speeding by County
|County Name||2015||2016||2017||Three-Year Total|
|El Paso County||15||22||29||66|
Fatalities in Crashes Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver by County
|County Name||2015||2016||2017||Three-Year Total|
|El Paso County||17||20||24||61|
Teen Drinking and Driving
In 2016, Colorado law enforcement arrested 217 teenagers (under the age of 18) for drunk driving.
This number places Colorado as the 7th worst state in the U.S. for underage drinking and driving.
Below are the facts concerning underage (under 21 years old) drinking-related fatalities:
- 1.2 fatalities per 100,000 people in Colorado
- 1.2 fatalities per 100,000 people national average
EMS Response Time
If you or someone you know is in an accident, you want help to arrive as FAST as possible. Check out the response times for emergency personnel in rural and urban areas.
|Location of Incident||Time of Crash to EMS Notification||Notification to Arrival||Arrival at Scene to Hospital Arrival||Time of Crash to Time of Hospital Arrival|
When you drive through your neighborhood, do you ever notice how many cars are sitting in your neighbors’ driveways? Usually, we can tell if someone is visiting by that extra car parked outside the house.
The average commute time in the U.S. is 25.3 minutes. Fortunately, for Colorado commuters, Colorado’s average commute time is below this at 23.7 minutes.
In every state, driving alone is the most common commute option, though people are beginning to turn to other commute options like carpooling and working from home.
Top Cities for Traffic Congestion
|City||Hours Spent in Traffic||Peak (Time in Traffic)||Daytime (Time in Traffic)||Overall (Time in Traffic)|
Now that you’ve read through this comprehensive guide, and know everything there is to know about buying car insurance in Colorado, it’s time to hit the road. Enter your ZIP code below to get a free quote comparison.