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Last updated: June 6, 2023

Car Insurance Laws in Colorado

Everything you need to know about insuring your car in the state of Colorado

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Colorado requires only liability coverage, which pays for injuries and damages — just not yours or your passengers’. Is it sufficient? Whatever your situation, keep reading to learn all the laws surrounding car insurance in Colorado so you can get the legal amount of insurance required and protect yourself financially.

Auto Insurance Laws in Colorado

Here’s what you need to know about minimum coverage and beyond.

Minimum Auto Insurance Coverage

Colorado requires you to have bodily injury and property damage liability coverage to the tune of 25/50/15. Bodily injury covers the injuries and death costs of people outside of your car, whereas property damage covers other people’s damaged vehicles and/or other property.

  • Bodily injury: $25,000 per person, $50,000 per accident
  • Property damage: $15,000 per accident1

If you buy only the minimum amount of liability coverage the state requires, you’ll have to pay for your and your passengers’ injuries and property and vehicle damages out of pocket.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

What if you skip the minimums and drive without insurance in Colorado? In that case, you could face a fine of up to $1,000, a license suspension, community service, and other penalties.2

Penalty by offense number 1 2 and subsequent within 5 years of first conviction
Points against driver’s license 4 4
Minimum fine $500 $1,000
License suspension Yes, until you can show proof of insurance to DMV 4 months
Maximum hours of community service N/A At the court’s discretion, but 40 minimum


Despite the penalties, 16 percent of licensed drivers in Colorado lack insurance, a rate 23 percent higher than the national average.3

Fault Laws

Colorado is an at-fault state, which means that the at-fault party is responsible for any injuries, deaths, or property damage they cause to people and objects outside of their car. The state’s modified comparative negligence laws mean that, for someone to receive compensation from another party, they must be less than 51 percent at fault. From there, their compensation will be reduced by their level of fault.

For example, if someone was 30 percent at fault, they can claim damages minus 30 percent. Learn more about at-fault versus no-fault accidents.

Other Laws

  • Gender: Car insurance companies in Colorado are allowed to make men pay more for car insurance than women, as they’ve been statistically proven to get into more accidents and have more claims.
  • Marital status: Married people will see lower rates than single people for the same reason, even if the single people are divorced, separated, or even widowed.
  • Credit score: Expect to pay more if you have bad credit, as this type of discrimination is completely legal in Colorado.4
  • Mid-term cancellations: Before an insurance company cancels your policy mid-term in Colorado, it must notify you 45 days prior to the expiration date (reduced to 10 days if the cancellation is due to non-payment).5
  • Non-renewals: Unlike cancellations, non-renewals occur when policies end. Still, companies must inform you 30 days before a policy’s expiration date.
  • Statutes of limitations for claims: You have three years from the date of an incident to submit property damage and personal injury claims. After that, companies aren’t required to uphold your coverage.

Supplemental Auto Insurance

Simply put, the minimum auto insurance requirements in Colorado aren’t enough. We recommend buying full coverage car insurance, which includes the following:

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM): If someone hits you and has no insurance or not enough of it, UM/UIM would pay for your injuries and deaths. This coverage also applies to hit-and-runs where the at-fault driver flees the scene.
  • Collision coverage: Collision coverage pays for your property damages in collisions with other vehicles or objects.
  • Comprehensive coverage: Comprehensive coverage pays for your property damages from non-collisions like vandalism, theft, and inclement weather.
  • Medical payments coverage: Finally, MedPay would cover your and your passengers’ medical costs following a car accident. However, MedPay does not cover lost wages or child care costs that you incurred as a result of an accident.

In addition to the liability insurance you’re required to carry and the above supplements, consider roadside assistance for when you get stuck on the side of the road, an inevitability for any driver. Getting more coverage than the law requires means your premium will be higher, but it can save you money in the long run if you have any claims.

The Cost of Car Insurance in Colorado

According to the latest report from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average cost of auto insurance in Colorado in 2020 was $1,172 — 12 percent higher than the national average.6

Aside from the factors we mentioned above that affect insurance prices, like credit score, gender, and marital status, some other criteria that may influence your premium:

  • Home address: You’ll find lower rates in a rural area compared to a city like Denver or Boulder.
  • Age: Younger drivers, or anyone with less experience, will pay more for car insurance compared to older, more experienced drivers.
  • Coverages: The more coverage you get and the higher limits you pay for, the more you’ll pay for car insurance. On the flip side, a small insurance deductible for collision/comprehensive coverage will make rates lower, and vice versa.
  • Car: Safer cars that are cheaper to repair cost less to insure than expensive cars with high repair costs, like luxury vehicles.
  • Mileage: As of 2021, the mean travel time to work for Colorado residents was 25 minutes. However, if you’re part of the 27 percent who have a commute less than 15 minutes long, consider paying only for the miles you drive through usage-based insurance (UBI).7 Also known as pay-per-mile insurance, you’ll pay a small daily rate plus a per-mile rate rather than a flat fee per policy period. For drivers with no or a short commute, pay-per-mile insurance could save you money.
  • Driving record: Last but not least, people with a bad driving record (think DUIs, at-fault accidents, and speeding tickets) will pay more than people with a clean driving record. Past traffic violations make you a high-risk driver, leading to higher rates.


Not every auto insurance company accepts high-risk drivers. To find one that will accept you, check out our list of the best high-risk auto insurance providers.

Texting and Driving Laws

Distracted driving, which includes anything that takes your mind (or hands) off driving, is dangerous for all drivers. Colorado has rules surrounding cellphone usage while driving for both minors and adults 18 and older.

While adults can use their phones to make calls while driving, teen drivers cannot use their cellphones at all. However, there are some exceptions, like if someone fears for their personal safety or is reporting a serious traffic accident, fire, or reckless driving, etc.

If you broke the law by driving distracted and your behavior didn’t fall into any of the exception categories, you’ll face the following penalties:

Distracted driving penalties by driver age Younger than 18 18 and older
Initial violation name Class A Traffic Infraction Class 2 Misdemeanor Traffic Offense
Points for initial violation 1 4
Fine for initial violation $50 $300
Subsequent violation name Class A Traffic Infraction Bodily Injury or Proximate Cause of Death to Another, Class 1 Misdemeanor
Points for subsequent violation 1 4
Fine for subsequent violation $100 $1,000
Imprisonment for subsequent violation N/A 1 year maximum

Read more about teen driver laws, which are often more stringent than laws for adult drivers.


Want to learn more about auto insurance in Colorado? Our frequently asked questions below dive deeper. But if you’re ready to buy car insurance now, you can call directly, and we’ll shop the market for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does insurance follow the car or the driver in Colorado?

Insurance follows the car in Colorado, not the driver. This means that if someone borrows your car with your permission and gets into a car accident, your insurance will cover the damages as it would if you were the driver.

Can I register my car without insurance in Colorado?

No, you cannot register your car without insurance in Colorado, according to the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). Rather, you’ll need proof of insurance from a Colorado provider, which can take the form of:

  • A printout from the insurance provider
  • A copy of the proof of insurance
  • A copy of your insurance policy
  • A letter from the provider on company letterhead
  • Electronic proof of insurance, which you can show on your cellphone, laptop, or other electronic device
  • Insurer-provided electronic mail or proof from another web-based service
  • Your insurance card

Can you own a car in Colorado without a license?

Technically, you can own a car in Colorado without a license. According to the Colorado DMV, the following are the only requirements you’ll need to title a vehicle (proof of ownership):

  • Bill of sale
  • Current title
  • Identification
  • Odometer disclosure
  • Proof of insurance

Can I drive a car I just bought without plates in Colorado?

Yes, you can drive a car you just bought without plates in Colorado. According to the official website for Boulder County, Colorado, you can drive a vehicle without a license plate for 36 hours or from one point to another. However, you must have the endorsed title and bill of sale.


  1. Mandatory Automobile Insurance in Colorado. Colorado General Assembly. (2023).

  2. 2021 Colorado Code Title 42 – Vehicles and Traffic Article 4 – Regulation of Vehicles and Traffic Part 14 – Other Offenses § 42-4-1409. Compulsory Insurance – Penalty – Legislative Intent. Justia US Law. (2021).

  3. One in Eight Drivers Uninsured: $13 Billion Spent in 2016 to Protect Against Uninsured and Underinsured Drivers. Insurance Research Council. (2021, Mar 22).

  4. Auto Insurance Premiums Report. Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies. (2023).

  5. Colorado Revised Statutes Title 10. Insurance § 10-4-109.7. Notice of intent prior to cancellation of certain policies of insurance. FindLaw. (2019, Jan 1).

  6. 2019/2020 Auto Insurance Database Report. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. (2023, Jan).

  7. COMMUTING CHARACTERISTICS BY SEX. United States Census. (2021).$0400000