When driving a State of Colorado registered vehicle, insurance is required.

Colorado minimum car insurance requirements are:
Colorado Statute 42-7-103

  • Auto Insurance policy with limits of at least 25/50/15 – meaning:
    • Liability coverage
    • $25,000 of bodily injury to another person
    • $50,000 of bodily injuries to all other persons per one accident
    • $15,000 of injury to or destruction of property of others per one accident
  • Colorado requires all insurance policies to include $5,000 Medical Payment Coverage to cover injuries resulting from an accident.
    • You can opt out of this coverage by submitting a written refusal of coverage with your insurance company.

Although additional insurance, such as personal injury protection, un-insured/under-insured motorist coverage, or collision insurance, is not required by the State of Colorado, many drivers choose to purchase additional insurance in order to cover any expenses they may accumulate from an accident.

Alternative Options to Insurance:

Certificates of Self-Insurance are available in Colorado if the following requirements are met:
Colorado Statute 42-7-501

  • You or your company must have at least 26 registered vehicles in your name
  • You must qualify by application with the Division of Insurance Commissioner
    • Commissioner Jim Reisberg
    • Department of Regulatory Agencies Division of Insurance
    • 1560 Broadway, Suite 850
    • Denver, CO 80202
    • 1-800-930-3745

In Colorado, you have the option to use a surety bond or cash deposit as proof of financial responsibility instead of purchasing insurance if the following requirements are met:
Colorado Statute 42-7-418

  • Cash deposit of at least $65,000
    • Deposits must be made with the Executive Director of the Department of Revenue
  • Surety bond for at least $65,000
    • Surety bonds can be purchased from insurance companies licensed to do business in the State of Colorado

Required Proof of Insurance in Colorado

Insurance Card provided by Insurance company including all of the following:

  • Name and address of Insurance Company
  • Insurance Policy Number
  • Effective Date/Expiration Date of Policy
  • Accurate description of year, make/model, and vehicle identification number of registered vehicle
  • Name and address of Insured Driver

Self Insurance certificates are issued by the state and must include the following:

  • Certificate Number issued by Division of Insurance
  • Effective Date of Certificate
  • Accurate description of year, make/model, and vehicle identification number of registered vehicle
  • Name and address of driver covered by certificate
  • Certificate of Deposit
  • Certificate number issued by the Executive Director of the Department of Revenue
  • Name and address of driver covered by certificate of deposit
  • Liability Bond
  • Name and address of Insurance Company
  • Bond Number
  • Effective Date/Expiration Date of Policy
  • Accurate description of year, make/model, and vehicle identification number of registered vehicle
  • Name and address of Insured Driver

Colorado State Department of Regulatory Agencies Division of Insurance

Division of Insurance Commissioner – Jim Riesberg
1560 Broadway, Suite 850
Denver, CO 80202
1-800-930-3745

Obtaining a Driver’s License

Here are the requirements to obtain your driver education permit:

  • Be 15 to 15 ½ years old
  • Pass written test
  • Pass vision test
  • Complete Affidavit of Liability Guardianship form DR2460
  • Provide proof that you have completed a 30 hour driver education classroom course within the last 6 months
  • Pay the fee of $14 (subject to change)
    • Cash or check only

Here are the requirements to obtain your driver awareness permit:

  • Be 15 ½ to 16 years old
  • Pass written test
  • Pass vision test
  • Complete Affidavit of Liability Guardianship form DR2460
  • Provide proof that you have completed a 30 hour driver education classroom course or the 4 hour Driver Awareness Program within the last 6 months
  • Pay the fee of $14 (subject to change)
    • Cash or check only

Here are the requirements to obtain your minor instruction permit:

  • Be 16 to 20 years old
  • Pass written test
  • Pass vision test
  • Complete Affidavit of Liability Guardianship form DR2460 (if younger than 18 years old)
  • Pay the fee of $14 (subject to change)
    • Cash or check only

A driver education permit, driver’s awareness permit, and minor instruction permit only allow the driver to complete the required driving practice of at least 50 hours with a driver education instructor and/or the person who signed the DR2460 form. If this person is not a licensed driver of at least 21 years of age, they have the option to appoint a licensed driver of at least 21 years of age as an Alternate Permit Supervisor.

Here are the requirements to obtain your minor driver license:

  • Be 16 to 20 years old
  • Possess instruction permit for at least 12 months (if younger than 18 years old)
  • Complete at least 50 hours of supervised driving practice with a licensed passenger who is at least 21 years old
  • Have a 6-hour Behind the Wheel Certificate (if younger than 16 ½)
    • If there are no approved driving schools within 30 miles of the applicant’s home, 12 hours of behind the wheel training may be given by a parent or legal guardian
  • Complete Affidavit of Liability Guardianship form DR2460 (if younger than 18 years old)
  • Pass written test
  • Pass vision test
  • Pass driving test
  • Pay the fee of $21 (subject to change)
    • Cash or check only

Here are the requirements to obtain your first license for residents over the age of 21:

  • Obtain an instruction permit
  • To do this, pass a written test and a vision test and pay the fee of $14 (subject to change)
    • Cash or check only
  • An applicant 21 years old or older does not have to possess the instruction permit for any specific amount of time
  • Pass written test
  • Pass vision test
  • Pass driving test
  • Pay the fee of $21 (subject to change)
    • Cash or check only

The following documents are required for application:

  • Proof of name, identification, age, and legal presence (acceptable forms)
  • $14 permit fee or $21 license fee paid by cash or check.
  • Prices subject to change

Completing Driver Education

When a child reaches the age of 14 ½, they may enroll in a Driver Education Course. To be eligible, a student must have the following:

  • If below the age of 18, a parent must complete the Affidavit of Liability Guardianship form DR2460  before the student can receive a permit required for the driving portion.
  • The permit can be obtained after the student turns 15 years old and completes the classroom training

To complete driver education, a student must meet the following:

  • A total of 30 hours of classroom instruction.
  • Complete the required driving practice of at least 50 hours with a driver education instructor and/or the person who signed the DR2460 form. If this person is not a licensed driver of at least 21 years of age, they have the option to appoint a licensed driver of at least 21 years of age as an Alternate Permit Supervisor (APS).
  • The required 50 hours of driving practice can be completed by one of the following methods:
    • 24 hours of driving practice at a driving school plus 30 hours of supervised driving with the signer of the form or the APS
    • 50 hours of driving practice with the signer of the form or the APS
    • 6 hours of driver training with a state-approved instructor and 44 hours of driving practice with the signer of the form or the APS

It is recommended that you research any driver-training program that you enroll in. You want to make sure they meet the following standards:

  • Instructors are licensed and have certificates from the State of Colorado
  • They meet the state curriculum requirements (Colorado Code of Regulations 204-3)
  • Check if they have received any disciplinary action for violations
  • Make sure there are enough instructors to meet student needs

The Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles provides a list of state-approved driver education schools that includes contact information and services offered.

You can also check if your student’s high school offers any driver training programs. These programs meet the state requirements and have licensed instructors.

Knowing the Rules of the Road

The Colorado Driver Handbook covers the rules of the road and is available online. All Colorado traffic laws are listed in the Colorado Statutes. Educate yourself and carefully obey these rules to quality for the lowest possible car insurance rates. Colorado traffic laws include:

Colorado Statute Title 42 Article 4

  • Obedience to law officers — 42-4-107
  • Obstruction of view — 42-4-201
  • Headlights — 42-4-205
  • Safety belts — 42-4-237
  • Cellular phone use — 42-4-239
  • Emissions and inspections — 42-4-310
  • Obedience to traffic control devices — 42-4-603
  • Flashing traffic signals — 42-4-605
  • School zones — 42-4-615
  • Right-of-way — 42-4-701 to 42-4-713
  • Pedestrian’s right-of-way — 42-4-802
  • Turning — 42-4-901 to 42-4-903
  • Driving, overtaking, and passing — 42-4-1001 to 42-4-1013
  • Speed limits — 42-4-1101
  • Racing — 42-4-1105
  • Parking — 42-4-1201 to 42-4-1212
  • DUI — 42-4-1301
  • Testing for alcohol and drug use — 42-4-1301.1
  • Open alcoholic container — 42-4-1305
  • Reckless driving — 42-4-1401
  • Careless driving — 42-4-1402
  • Reckless driving — 42-4-1401
  • Radar jamming devices — 42-4-1415

There are three general insurance coverage markets that the residents of Colorado typically fall into: the preferred market, the standard market, and the non-standard market. The preferred market offers the lowest premiums and is available for low-risk drivers with very clean driving records, so these drivers receive the lowest auto insurance rates in Colorado. The standard market offers median premiums and is available for the average drivers with fair driving records. The non-standard market offers the highest premiums and is available for drivers with less-experienced, multiple traffic tickets or accidents, and/or at least one drunk driving offense.

Know Your Rates

Auto insurance rates are calculated by carefully considering several factors. Some of the factors, such as age and gender, are out of your control, but other factors, such as type of vehicle, you can control and change if you want to lower your rates. The determining factors include:

  • Age. Studies indicate that individuals under the age of 25 are involved in more traffic accidents than those over the age of 25. For this reason, drivers under 25 years old are considered a higher risk, so insurance companies will face higher insurance rates. When you’re older than 25, though, you should start getting the best car insurance rates in Colorado — especially if you’ve been a safe driver.
  • Gender. Statistical evidence suggests that men younger than 25 are involved in more accidents than women in the same age group, so male drivers typically must pay higher insurance rates than female drivers.
  • Driving record and claims history. Multiple accidents, tickets, and insurance claims increase an individual’s level of risk to insure. Those whose driving records reflect multiple infractions will see higher insurance rates. The insurance company you are applying with can request information about your claims and payment histories from your previous insurance company.
  • Marital status. Studies prove that married couples tend to have far fewer accidents than those who are single, so married couples may be offered lower insurance rates.
  • Geographical area. Areas with high crime rates increase the likelihood of vehicles getting stolen or vandalized. Therefore, individuals living in these areas will have to pay higher insurance rates to compensate for the higher risk. Areas that have high numbers of traffic accidents are considered hazardous areas, resulting in higher insurance rates for people who live in them.
  • Vehicle use. The frequency and distance of your average commute can affect your rates. More driving means higher rates due to the increased chance of having an accident.
  • Employment history. Studies show that drivers who hold a job for a long time make fewer claims on their insurance. Therefore, a person who has had the same job for a long time will generally have lower insurance rates.
  • Make and model of the vehicle. The general rule is that the more high-performance and expensive the vehicle, the more the driver will have to pay to insure it due to the fact that high value increases the chance of theft and high performance increases the chance of an accident.
  • Credit history. Insurance companies look at credit history to determine the likelihood that individuals will make their payments. Simply put, the better the credit score is, the lower the insurance rate will be, so those with good credit should enjoy the best auto insurance rates in Colorado.

Picking an Insurance Agent

There are two types of insurance agents: exclusive and independent. Exclusive agents work for one insurance company and aim to sell policies for commission. Independent agents, on the other hand, represent multiple companies. Independent agents work with individual clients, assessing their needs and compare different insurance company’s policies and options to find a fit for those needs. Independent agents receive commission for the sales they make from different insurance companies. Keep in mind that the commission is based on the premium, so the more you pay, the more they make.

There are some insurance companies that do not use commission-based agents. Instead, they sell insurance directly through the mail or over the phone. Consumers can save money by not having to cover an agent’s commission. However, you will be responsible for doing your own research, determining what coverage works best for you, and comparing prices.

Make sure the company or agent you choose work with is licensed by the Colorado Division of Insurance. The Division offers advice on how to avoid fraud, as well as links to verify an insurance company or agent here. The Division also allows you to review and compare the consumer complaint ratios for companies and disciplinary actions taken against companies and agents. You can also contact them at 800-930-3745 with any questions or concerns you may have.

If you have had issues with an insurance company or agent, you can file a complaint online with the Division of Insurance. The Division provides information and advice on making an insurance claim. You can also request information about a claim you have made and seek assistance if you need it. They can help you resolve any problems you may have. You can contact the Division of Insurance by visiting their Web site or by phone at 800-930-3745.

Lower Your Rates

Shop around and compare auto insurance rates in Colorado. Speak with insurance agents and companies and find out exactly what kind of coverage and premium they can offer you. It is not unreasonable to ask an agent what the rate of his or her commission is, after all, it will be coming out of the premium you are paying. Remember to make sure that the company is permitted to do business in Colorado. If you are suspicious about any insurance company or agent, call the Division of Insurance at 800-930-3745 or check online to verify their license status and to see if any disciplinary actions have been taken against that company. In addition, if an agent or company attempts to sell ERISA or union plans, contact the Division of Insurance to report the activity.

Talk to the agent or company about discounts that are offered. Discounts are awarded for many things, including young drivers with good grades, drivers who complete driver’s education courses, installing safety devices on the insured vehicle, and drivers with good driving records. This will ensure that you get access to affordable auto insurance in Colorado.

In addition, pay close attention to your other insurance plans. Some plans, such as medical insurance, can overlap in coverage areas with your auto insurance plans.

After an Accident

If you are involved in a collision, you and the other driver(s) involved must exchange information, such as name, telephone number, insurance information, and vehicle information. If someone is injured or if there is a death, you must render aid if you are able, as well as contact paramedics. Once you have rendered aid, you must immediately notify the Colorado State Patrol, city police, or county sheriff (Colorado Statute 42-4-1606). Depending on the situation, police may or may not decide to come to the scene of the accident. In the event that the police arrive, drivers should stay at the scene of the collision until released by an officer. All information must be presented to the officer on the scene who will then file a report with the Division of Motor Vehicles. To speed procedures along, be prepared to give a thorough account of the events leading up to the collision to responding officer. If officers do not come to the scene, you must file an accident report with the Division of Motor Vehicles within 5 days of the accident. Failure to abide by any of these procedures can result in felony and misdemeanor charges (Colorado Statute 42-4-1601).

In the event that the accident resulted in property damage only, you must notify the owner of the property. If the accident results in property or vehicle damage of more than $1000, an accident report must be filed with the Department of Motor Vehicles within 5 days of the accident. A report can be filed by you or your insurance company, but failure to do so could lead to a class 2 misdemeanor charge (Colorado Statute 42-4-1602).

In addition, you must also file an accident report with your insurance company as soon as possible. Follow your company’s procedures for filing a claim. If your collision involved another driver, you must obtain their name, address, phone number, insurance information, driver’s license number, and the make, model, license plate number, and registration number of the car involved in the collision. Your insurance company will most likely ask you to report how the accident happened, the extent of the damage to all vehicles involved, what occurred during the accident, and the names and contact information of any witnesses at the scene. The witnesses may be contacted as part of the investigation. If you are able, you should take pictures of the vehicles and the scene of the accident. Any police report filed must also be copied and sent to your insurance company.

When all of your information has been received, your insurance company should contact you within 24-72 hours. Generally, your insurance company will investigate your claim and come to a decision within 30 days. If your claim is delayed, the insurance company should notify you. In the event that your claim is denied, your insurance company should notify you in writing. If there seems to be an unreasonable delay without notification, contact the Division of Insurance at 800-930-3745.

If the other party was at fault for the accident, but your insurance company covered any medical or repair bills you had, your insurance company may seek subrogation in order to recover the money by contacting the at-fault driver’s insurance company for compensation. During this process, you should provide your insurance company with full cooperation to ensure that this process goes smoothly. Notify your insurance company if you intend to settle with the at-fault driver or their insurance company.

Insurance for High-Risk Drivers

Your driving record may make obtaining insurance coverage difficult for you, especially if you have a history of accidents, tickets, or driving under the influence. Unfortunately, being a high-risk driver will disqualify you for low cost car insurance in Colorado. However, the Colorado makes it possible for nearly every driver to find insurance coverage by offering the Colorado Motor Vehicle Insurance Plan. This plan is designed specifically for drivers in Colorado who cannot find coverage due to their driving records.

To get your license back, you may be asked to file an SR 22 form from the Division of Motor Vehicles if you were stopped by an officer while driving without insurance, caught driving under the influence, caused an accident while driving without insurance, have too many traffic violations and tickets within a short time span, or have had your license suspended or revoked. Your insurance company or agent will be able to provide the SR 22 form for you if you need it.

Additional Help

The Colorado Division of Insurance offers assistance to anyone shopping for insurance and will answer any questions related to insurance, look into complaints with specific insurance companies or agents, provide consumers with information about insurance law and procedures, and enforce insurance law on the consumer’s behalf if needed. You can visit their Web site or contact them by phone at 800-930-3745.

Online resources include: