The Colorado Division of Insurance (DOI) states that if you own an automobile in Colorado you are required to purchase auto insurance. By law, you are required to carry Liability insurance to provide financial protection in the event you injure someone else or damage someone else's property while operating your automobile.
Automobile Liability insurance is generally defined as coverage for bodily injury you cause to another person or for property damage you cause to another person's property through negligent use of your vehicle. The minimum amount of Liability insurance required by Colorado law is as follows:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury;
- $50,000 per accident for bodily injury; and
- $15,000 per accident for property damage.
Additional coverage Uninsured Motorist coverage, Comprehensive and Collision are available, but not required. Since Jan. 1, 2009, Colorado also requires mandatory Medical Payment coverage (med-pay) with all insurance policies. Consumers may refuse this coverage in writing however.
The Colorado Revised Statute 42-4-1409 discusses the state financial responsibility / compulsory insurance law. This states that no owner of a motor vehicle required to be registered in this state shall operate the vehicle or permit it to be operated on the public highways of this state when the owner has failed to have a complying policy or certificate of self-insurance in full force and effect as required by law. Not abiding by this law is a class 1 misdemeanor traffic offense.
If you are caught driving without insurance there are severe penalties. A first offense for driving without insurance comes with fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500), so it could be even more, and 4 points being placed onto your CO motor vehicle record (MVR).
A second a second or subsequent conviction under this section of CO law within a period of five years following a prior conviction under this section comes with a minimum mandatory fine of not less than one thousand dollars ($1000) and a license suspension of 4 months. A third violation comes with penalties which can include a minimum fine of $1000, community service, and an 8 month license suspension.
The Colorado Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) also notes that if you have been found guilty of driving without insurance the state of Colorado requires that you file future proof of automobile liability insurance in the form of an SR 22 for three years. If you fail to do this and continue to drive without insurance your license can be suspended.
If you are at fault in an accident there are more steps to take since you will now be held personally responsible for the damages you caused to others. The Colorado DMV states that you must comply with the Financial Responsibility Act requirements, such as filing an accident report or, if not insured, posting security in the amount of damages, filing an SR22 with the Colorado Department of Revenue's Motor Vehicle Division, entering into an agreement to pay the other party, and being released by the other party or being adjudicated not liable for damages. The responding officer also has the option of confiscating your driver's license and serving you with a notice that suspends your driver's license in seven days for driving without insurance.
If your driver's license is surrendered to the officer or the Colorado Department of Revenue's Motor Vehicle Division, you will be required to pay a $5.00 fee to replace the license even if it has not actually been suspended. You must act within seven days to avoid suspension by filing future proof of liability insurance, in the form of an SR22, to be maintained for three years. In addition, you may be issued a summons for no liability insurance and have to appear in court to handle that matter separately.
If you were to continue to drive without insurance and are caught within 5 years of your first conviction for this offense than you will face a higher fine and a longer license suspension at least plus the penalties surrounding any accident you may be in. If your license is already suspended for not maintaining a SR-22 from your first violation of being uninsured, than you would also face charges for driving with a suspended driver's license.
If you are driving an uninsured car and are not the owner you can still be cited for driving without insurance. You are subject to the same Colorado laws and may still have your license confiscated, be served with a notice that suspends your driver's license within seven days, and be issued a summons for no Liability insurance and a court appearance.