What is the penalty for driving without insurance in Colorado?

Colorado no car insurance penalties can be expensive. Penalties for driving without car insurance in Colorado include fines starting at $500, 40 hours of community service, and SR-22 requirements for at least three years.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 29, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

Colorado is one of the few states that has switched the way that their auto insurance system was structured. While proof of financial responsibility is still mandatory, the coverage that you must carry on your insurance policy has changed.

Instead of having to carry your own coverage to pay for your own injuries, you now must carry liability coverage to pay for damages reported by others. That’s because Colorado operates under a tort system.

In tort states, drivers who have a car registered in their name are required to carry at least a minimal amount of third-party coverage to pay for repairs and medical bills.

If you don’t carry the necessary insurance, you could be penalized for being an uninsured motorist.

In every state, it’s important to know you might face penalties for driving without insurance.

Get started finding the best coverage for your specific needs. Enter your zip code into our free comparison tool above to get started.

If you’d like to know what the penalties are and when they will be assessed, here’s a guide to help:

How to Avoid Being Penalized

Many people assume that only irresponsible drivers are the ones who need to worry about paying fines for being uninsured. While these individuals are part of the list, there are still very responsible people who mistakenly let their auto insurance lapse.

What some people don’t understand is that they can be fined for having a lapse of insurance that lasts just a day.

The best way to avoid being assessed any type of fines or non-monetary penalties is to purchase insurance the day that you buy your vehicle and keep up the payments.

If you can’t pay your premiums in full, the next best option would be to set up an automatic payment plan so that you never overlook due dates. Some companies even allow you to set up automatic renewals.

Another way to avoid being penalized is to present an alternative form of financial responsibility to the treasurer in Colorado.

You will have to submit a large cash deposit to the state with a Waiver of Security Financial Responsibility form or you’ll have to buy a surety bond security by an asset. Since most people don’t want to put $30,000 to $40,000 at risk, they will buy insurance instead.

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Penalties for Driving Without Car Insurance in Colorado

Just because the laws have changed in Colorado doesn’t mean that you can be uninformed. You are expected to comply with the law regardless of whether or not you’re really understanding how it works.

That’s why you’re penalized for having no insurance or proof of financial responsibility regardless of the reason why you didn’t maintain either. Here’s what the penalties are in Colorado:

First Offense

When you’re stopped by an officer in Colorado, you have to show that you have insurance and a valid registration.

Little might you know, the officer can more than likely verify that you have coverage in real-time on their computer via Colorado’s Motorist Insurance Identification Database.

If at any time, the officer finds out you’re not insured, you’ll be cited. Penalties that comes with a first-time conviction include:

  • Paying a fine of at least $500
  • Completing at least 40 hours of community service, which is at the discretion of the court
  • License being suspended if the offender doesn’t provide proof of financial responsibility by the date requested

Second and Subsequent Offenses

If you make the same mistake twice within a 5-year period, you will face stiffer penalties.

Anyone who is guilty of the same offense more than one time in a short period of time is considered a habitual offender.

Here are the fines for a second conviction and subsequent ones:

How can you demonstrate that you have financial responsibility?

You need to carry proof of insurance with you when you’re registering your car and whenever you’re driving it. If you don’t have the required documentation with you, you could be treated like any other uninsured driver.

While some people like to carry the traditional paper ID card, Colorado officials have also passed a law accepting proof that is pulled up on an electronic device.

How to Get Car Insurance in Colorado

The mandatory insurance law in Colorado says that all drivers must carry limits of 25/50/15 when purchasing third-party liability. Law also says that you must be offered both Uninsured Motorist and Medical Payments coverage. Both can be rejected if you don’t feel like you need them.

Colorado ranks ninth on the list of states with the highest percentage of uninsured motorists. If you don’t want to face the penalties that all of these drivers are facing, you need to buy insurance now.

Use our online comparison system to find low-priced quotes. Enter your zip code into our comparison tool below to begin. Once you’ve shopped around, use the Internet and submit your application today.

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