Car insurance Colorado: Easy explanation

car insurance colorado

Many drivers do not know how much car insurance Colorado they need to carry.

Most insurance companies will recommend that you carry at least $100,000 in bodily injury coverage and $300,000 bodily injury coverage per accident. The reason for this is to protect you more from expensive lawsuits. If you are taken to court, you will really appreciate that you have more coverage than is required by the state of Colorado. Every state in the USA has different minimum requirements for maintaining certain levels of car insurance. 

Colorado is a “fault” state with regards to car insurance Colorado.

What does it mean that Colorado is a “fault state? When you are involved in a car accident, the at fault driver is the one responsible for compensating you for your injuries and monetary damages. Other states are “no-fault” states. Florida is an example of a no-fault state. The Florida no-fault law and most no-fault states require each driver to carry their own insurance for medical bills. This coverage is called PIP coverage which means personal injury protection coverage. Regardless of who is determined to be at fault, in a PIP state, each driver or party will pay their own expenses like medical bills and lost wages. The minimum PIP coverage that you must purchase in Florida is $10,000. So, if you live in Florida, you have an automatic $10,000 to cover your medical bills, no matter who is at fault.

Further, if you want to recover or make a claim against the at-fault driver in a PIP state like Florida, you must meet a certain threshold to go after the at-fault driver, like having a “permanent injury”. If you have a permanent injury in Florida, then you are allowed to go after the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Florida has codified this law in a statute and it is very interesting to read what allow an injured driver to go after another driver, the at-fault driver.

As I practiced personal injury law in Florida for 14 years, I am very familiar with “no-fault states and how this procedure works when seeking money damages against another driver. In essence, the settlement process is basically the same in Florida as it is in Colorado. In both no-fault and fault states, your car accident attorney will have to make a good case to the at-fault driver’s insurance company that you deserve compensation, car insurance Colorado. Thus, the settlement process in both states is nearly the same. You may have to jump a very small hurdle in a no-fault state by showing that you have a “permanent injury”, but that is fairly easy to do with the opinion of your treating doctors.

Example no-fault statute/law from a no-fault state: Florida.

627.737 Tort exemption; limitation on right to damages; punitive damage.

(1) Every owner, registrant, operator, or occupant of a motor vehicle with respect to which security has been provided as required by ss. 627.730627.7405, and every person or organization legally responsible for her or his acts or omissions, is hereby exempted from tort liability for damages because of bodily injury, sickness, or disease arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance, or use of such motor vehicle in this state to the extent that the benefits described in s. 627.736(1) are payable for such injury, or would be payable but for any exclusion authorized by ss. 627.730627.7405, under any insurance policy or other method of security complying with the requirements of s. 627.733, or by an owner personally liable under s. 627.733 for the payment of such benefits, unless a person is entitled to maintain an action for pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience for such injury under the provisions of subsection (2).

(2) In any action of tort brought against the owner, registrant, operator, or occupant of a motor vehicle with respect to which security has been provided as required by ss. 627.730627.7405, or against any person or organization legally responsible for her or his acts or omissions, a plaintiff may recover damages in tort for pain, suffering, mental anguish, and inconvenience because of bodily injury, sickness, or disease arising out of the ownership, maintenance, operation, or use of such motor vehicle only in the event that the injury or disease consists in whole or in part of:

(a) Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function.

(b) Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement.

(c) Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement.

(d) Death.

(3) When a defendant, in a proceeding brought pursuant to ss. 627.730627.7405, questions whether the plaintiff has met the requirements of subsection (2), then the defendant may file an appropriate motion with the court, and the court shall, on a one-time basis only, 30 days before the date set for the trial or the pretrial hearing, whichever is first, by examining the pleadings and the evidence before it, ascertain whether the plaintiff will be able to submit some evidence that the plaintiff will meet the requirements of subsection (2). If the court finds that the plaintiff will not be able to submit such evidence, then the court shall dismiss the plaintiff’s claim without prejudice.

(4) In any action brought against an automobile liability insurer for damages in excess of its policy limits, no claim for punitive damages shall be allowed.

Thus, in a PIP state like Florida, your car accident lawyer must first prove one of the following in order to go after the at-fault driver

(a) Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function.

(b) Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement.

(c) Significant and permanent sc

Thus, in a PIP state like Florida, your car accident lawyer must first prove one of the following in order to go after the at-fault driver:

(a) Significant and permanent loss of an important bodily function.

(b) Permanent injury within a reasonable degree of medical probability, other than scarring or disfigurement.

(c) Significant and permanent scarring or disfigurement.

(d) Death.

Colorado used to be a PIP, no-fault state all the way up until 2003. Then, the Colorado legislature felt like it was better to change to a “fault” state. Normally, in a fault state like Colorado, car insurance Colorado requires the at-fault party to be responsible for your damages and medical bills. Most people in Colorado do carry $5,000 in med pay coverage (medical payments coverage). Car insurance Colorado, car accident victims can use this $5,000 to cover their medical bills from the car accident. Then, when this $5,000 is all used up, their personal injury attorney who is following the rules of car insurance Colorado will make a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company.

No-fault states save money on car insurance. Fault states are a bit more complicated in that you must seek recovery against the at-fault driver’s insurance company and your car accident attorney under car insurance Colorado and the laws must prove your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, etc. So, in fault states like Colorado, you definitely need a very experienced car accident lawyer who is well versed in car insurance Colorado.

Colorado’s requirement for car insurance Colorado

In Colorado, which is a fault state, a driver must carry the following coverages to comply with car insurance Colorado:

All Colorado drivers are legally obligated or mandated to carry liability insurance coverage in the following minimums for car insurance Colorado: 

    • Bodily Injury (BI) – $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident. This coverage applies to accidents involving the death or injury of another person. Most insurance experts advise drivers/owners to carry at least a $100,000/$300,000 bodily injury policy ($100,000 per person and $300,000 per occurrence). I recommend getting the most coverage you can afford as it could lead to financial ruin if you do not have enough coverage.
    • Property Damage (PD) – $15,000 per incident in the minimum state requirement. Property damage liability coverage insures you for damage you do to someone else’s property. Most of the time this means the damage you cause to another vehicle, but it can also provide coverage if you slam into a utility pole, someone’s house or building, fire hydrant, etc.

To make sure you are really covered in case of a disastrous car crash, I would recommend that your purchase the following additional coverages that are not really mandatory for Colorado drivers, under car insurance Colorado:

  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UM/UIM) – As I explained in my Uninsured/Underinsured motorist article on my website, this very important coverage will cover your medical bills, money damages if you are hit by an at-fault uninsured driver. If the at-fault driver does have bodily injury coverage, but not enough to cover your injuries and damages, then you can use your underinsured coverage pursuant to car insurance Colorado. If you deny this coverage, then your insurance adjuster has to get you to sign a waiver, denying this coverage. If the insurance company cannot produce a signed waiver, then you will automatically be entitled to this coverage.
  • Collision Coverage– This coverage will cover your car damage if you hit other objects like another car, a fire hydrant, a house, a commercial building, etc.
  • Comprehensive – this is coverage for non-accident related claims like theft, hail, someone keys your car, bad weather damage, you hit a deer, etc.
  • Medical Payments (Med Pay coverage) – Med Pay coverage is not mandatory, but I highly recommend getting this very important coverage which will cover your medical bills when injured in a vehicle accident. Helps cover a portion of your injuries arising from an accident, particularly your medical and hospital bills. Get as much of this coverage as you can afford! It is very cheap, sometimes costing only $10 per month, but saving you immensely on medical bills. As of 2009, insurance companies have to offer med pay to you and if you decline, you must sign a waiver of this coverage.