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Driving in the Centennial State

Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful states, Colorado has a diverse landscape, notably featuring awe-inspiring mountains, deserts, and canyons. Visitors from around the country and the world travel to Colorado to enjoy the state’s attractions and vibrant cities… which increases the risk of traffic accidents caused by out-of-towners and uninsured drivers.

Protect your car, your passengers, your health, and your bank account with a quality insurance policy. SmartFinancial is a convenient source of unbiased, carrier-neutral information about Colorado car insurance. Consider this your gateway to the best coverage for your needs at the absolute best price available.

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Colorado Auto Insurance Rates

Need help starting your search for car insurance? Cool! That’s what we’re here for! Below, we’ve listed the top three auto insurance companies for Colorado (see the full list).

  1. The Hartford
  2. American Family
  3. Liberty Mutual

When you’re comparing car insurance companies, pay close attention to the number of rejected claims and the overall satisfaction scores. And, of course, compare rates for upfront payments and for monthly installments.

Choose your location below to compare car insurance rates in your area. Or, if it’s not listed, Click to start comparing rates instantly!


Legalities 101

Try to look at auto insurance as financial protection, rather than an inconvenient expense. In the event of a traffic accident, insurance provides financial security and welcome help should the mishap result in medical bills and/or lost wages. It’s always a good idea to carry as much coverage as possible, because not everyone on the road is a safe driver.

Let’s look at some important Colorado safety statistics below.

Colorado Driving Safety

The number of crashes and fatalities in Colorado is climbing, with 2015 numbers higher for both cars and motorcycles than in any of the previous 7 years. Lack of seatbelt use, bikers refusing to wear helmets, and simply an increase in the number of drivers in the state are all contributing factors to the recent rise in accidents and injuries. This elevating risk on the road makes carrying auto insurance even more important.

Colorado Driving Safety Stats

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Colorado traffic accident fatalities in 2015
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Motorcycle fatalities in 2015
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Drivers charged with DUI-related crashes

Driving Green

Colorado is made for outdoors enthusiasts, and conservation is a big deal there. This attitude extends to many areas of state regulations and policies, including those affecting the auto insurance industry.

In addition to insurance discounts and grants, Colorado offers a number of incentives to drivers who choose to help the environment by going green. The state’s laws are rapidly evolving in this area, so consult your local Division of Motor Vehicles for more information before buying a green car or taking other eco-friendly steps.

Some incentives offered to environmentally conscious drivers in Colorado include:

  • Registration Emissions Testing Exemptions

    The Colorado DMV exempts electric-powered vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, and newly manufactured vehicles from emissions testing. This applies to first-time registrations and car registration renewals.

  • High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lane Exemption

    If you drive a hybrid electric vehicle, you’re allowed to use the high occupancy vehicle and high occupancy toll lanes in Colorado with a single occupant. To qualify for this incentive, you must obtain a permit, display an HOV exemption decal on your vehicle, and display a toll transponder. To become eligible, apply online here.

  • State and Federal Tax Incentives and Credits

    Green drivers in Colorado may qualify for various tax credits and exemptions, including Advanced Vehicle, Alternative Fuel, and Idle Reduction Technology credits and Low Emission Vehicle Sales Tax exemption. So many opportunities exist that it’s wise to consult a tax professional for more details.

Car Insurance Laws

Being a Minimalist

Colorado requires that all drivers carry car insurance, and insurance regulations are strictly enforced by the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies, Division of Insurance. Drivers must carry $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident of bodily injury and $15,000 per accident for property damage.

Although Colorado used to be a no-fault state, it now operates as a tort system. This means fault must be established before any insurance company pays a claim. This change was made to reduce insurance premiums and claims abuses.

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$ 25,000
Bodily injury coverage per person

Maximum payment for serious or permanent injury or death to a single person

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$ 50,000
Bodily injury coverage per accident

Maximum payment for serious or permanent injury or death to multiple people

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$ 15,000
Property damage per accident

Maximum payment for all damaged property in an accident caused by you

Maximizing Your Return on Investment

Even though it isn’t required by law, finance and leasing vendors insist that you carry collision and comprehensive auto insurance on any financed vehicle. They may also require additional coverages. Consider this when calculating the price of your auto loan.

Optional coverage in Colorado

  • Collision
  • Comprehensive
  • Med Pay
  • Uninsured Motorist
  • Rental Car
  • Loan/Lease Gap
  • Roadside Assistance/Towing
  • Customized Parts and Equipment
  • Travel Expenses

Optional coverages are not required by law, but they can provide extra financial protection and peace of mind. Some exclusions will apply.

For some smart buying tips, take a look at our post 11 Mistakes People Make When Shopping for Auto Insurance.

Colorado car insurance companies

The Harford
American Family
Liberty Mutual
State Farm

*This list is based on consumer ratings of the Central U.S. Region in the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Auto Insurance Study. Ratings are based on five customer service areas: policy offerings, price, interaction, claims, billing. USAA is only open to U.S. military personnel and their families and is therefore not included in the rankings.

Car Safety for Colorado Kids

Colorado Car Seat Regulations

The child safety laws in Colorado are clear and there are no exemptions. Infants under 1 year old and weighing less than 20 pounds must ride in the back seat in an approved, rear-facing car seat. If your vehicle does not have a back seat, you cannot legally transport an infant; after a child reaches 1 year of age or 20 pounds, he or she may legally ride in the front seat, but the state—not to mention vehicle safety experts everywhere—strongly recommends against this.

Colorado law also requires children to ride in approved booster seats or other car seats until they reach the age of 8 years. However, the state recommends continuing the use of booster seats until your child is 4-feet 9-inches tall and is able to pass the 5-Step Test.

To pass the 5-Step Test for seat belts, a child should be able to sit all the way back against the seat with knees bent comfortable at the edge of the seat. The belt should cross the shoulder between the neck and arm, with the lap belt low and touching the thighs. Children must be able to remain in this safe position for the entire length of a trip.

Experts recommend that all children 12 and younger ride in the back seat. The back seat is the safest location in a motor vehicle and helps prevent airbag-related injuries, to which kids are particularly vulnerable. For more information on Colorado’s car seat regulations, visit the CODOT website.

Leaving Children Unattended in a Vehicle

Although there are currently no laws against leaving children unattended in cars in Colorado, doing so can lead to injury, brain damage, or death. Even in temperate weather, the inside of a vehicle parked in the sun can become dangerously hot within minutes. This is a serious threat to kids and to pets. Children left alone in an automobile are also at greater risk of accidents and kidnapping.

Colorado urges anyone who suspects that an unattended child is in danger to call 911 and remain with the vehicle until authorities arrive.

Car Insurance FAQ

Is my credit score a factor when obtaining car insurance in Colorado?

Yes, your credit score is often considered when you apply for car insurance. It may affect both your eligibility for coverage and your premium.

Does Colorado offer a good-driver discount?

Being a good driver in Colorado can save your household a lot on auto insurance. This discount is typically reserved for drivers who have had no moving violations or at-fault accidents in the past three years. In addition to this discount, Colorado drivers may qualify for a variety of other discounts, including:

  • Accident-Free
  • Driver Education Course
  • Good Student
  • Multi-Car
  • Multiple Lines
  • Passive Restraint
  • Vehicle Safety
  • Anti-Lock Brake
  • Anti-Theft Device
  • Home Ownership

Does Colorado allow the use of digital insurance cards?

Yes. Colorado drivers are allowed to show digital proof of insurance when pulled over. This can be in the form of an image or PDF file of your insurance card or policy certificate, and you can use a cell phone, tablet, or any other portable electronic device to show this evidence to a law enforcement officer.

What happens if my coverage lapses?

Colorado requires you to carry auto insurance at all times. Coverage lapses may result in points being added to your driver’s license, a fine of $500, suspension of your license, and community service.

What are Colorado’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) percentage limits under the state's driving under the influence (DUI) laws?

It’s illegal for individuals to operate a vehicle in Colorado with the following BAC percentages:

.08%+ for 21 years old or older
.04%+ for commercial vehicle drivers
.02%+ for under 21 years old

Although Colorado’s BAC for DUI is 0.08, you can be charged with DWAI, or driving while ability impaired, if your BAC is 0.05% to 0.08%. For more information about Colorado’s DUI laws, refer to this informative page, published by NOLO.

What are the chemical test refusal penalties in Colorado?

Colorado is one of many states with an “implied consent” law. This means that you automatically consent to field sobriety and chemical tests when you apply for a driver’s license. Refusal to agree to these tests can result in suspension of your license and other penalties.

What are the consequences of being convicted of a DUI?

The consequences of being convicted of a DUI in Colorado are severe and may include fines, probation, legal costs, jail time, and installation of an ignition interlock device. Additionally, your driver’s license will be suspended and you may be required to take alcohol education classes or attend an addiction treatment program.

Is it against the law to drive under the influence of marijuana?

Marijuana use may be legal in Colorado, but that doesn’t mean you can drive while under the influence of the drug. It is illegal, per state law, for motorists with five nanograms of active tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in their whole blood to drive a vehicle. You can be prosecuted for any level of THC if a law enforcement officer believes you are impaired.

Additionally, the state’s open container law prohibits driving with marijuana in the passenger area of your vehicle if the container has a broken seal or there’s evidence the drug has been consumed. For more information on Colorado’s marijuana laws, visit the Marijuana and Driving page on the CODOT website.

Does Colorado offer driver improvement courses to reduce my insurance premium?

Young drivers can complete driver’s education courses and older drivers can take defensive driving training to receive discounts on their auto insurance. Informed, safe drivers are less likely to get into accidents and file claims, so insurance companies are happy to reward safe drivers with financial savings.

Is there any way I can reduce the cost of my Colorado car insurance?

Yes! Start by shopping around and comparing rates, and choose higher deductibles in exchange for lower premium payments. Better yet, pay your bill upfront, because most insurance companies charge more for setting up monthly installments. Other ways to save include keeping your credit score in check and signing up for all possible discounts when starting a new policy.

What is uninsured motorist coverage and is it required in Colorado?

Although Colorado drivers are required to carry insurance, many motorists are the road are uninsured or underinsured. If you get into an accident with one of them and you don’t have sufficient coverage, you may end up liable for repairs on your vehicle and medical bills. Uninsured motorist insurance is an optional coverage that offers financial protection against these types of out-of-pocket expenses.

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