Car accidents are devastating—but are made even worse if you or the other driver is uninsured. In 2012, 16.2 percent of Coloradans were uninsured, higher than the national average of 12.6 percent. There’s no way to ensure the other driver hasn’t skipped out on car insurance—but at least you can make sure you’re protected.
Colorado changed from a “no-fault” to a “fault” based system in 2003, and added new insurance requirements in 2009. State law now requires that all drivers have a minimum of liability insurance, which covers only the other driver and car if the accident is your fault. Insurance requirements vary from state to state, so here is a quick guide to the different types of Colorado auto insurance available to you.
Liability Insurance: Liability insurance is Colorado’s minimum required auto protection. It kicks in if another driver files a lawsuit claiming you were “at fault” for an accident. Colorado requires motorists to carry liability insurance with the following limits:
- $25,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person
- $50,000 bodily injury liability coverage per accident
- $15,000 property damage liability coverage per accident (not including damage to the insured’s vehicle)
For severe accidents, $15,000 often won’t be enough to cover damage done to another vehicle. If you’d like to give yourself even more protection, you can also choose higher limits. Personal injury protection (or PIP) can come in handy with liability insurance, but is not required by Colorado law. PIP can be helpful if you get in an accident with an uninsured driver and need to pay your own medical bills.
Comprehensive Coverage: Comprehensive coverage protects your car against issues outside the realm of car accidents, like theft, vandalism, fire, flood, bad weather damage, and glass damage. Comprehensive coverage combined with collision coverage fully covers any physical damage to your vehicle. Comprehensive coverage isn’t required, but it’s recommended when living in Colorado, where there’s a high risk of weather damage such as hail, wind, wildfires, and floods.
Collision Coverage: Collision insurance covers your automobile if hits, or is hit by another vehicle or object. It also covers severe car damage, such as unintentionally rolling or flipping your vehicle. Colorado law does not require this, but many insurers require that you purchase collision coverage or comprehensive coverage. Some drivers think that they’ll never wreck their own cars because any accidents are caused by other drivers. However, research shows that average drivers experience some type of crash—from severe pileups to fender benders—at least once every 17.9 years. Whether you consider yourself an “average driver” or not, it’s a good idea to be insured in case of a smash.
Uninsured Motorist Protection: Colorado does not require this protection, which, as it says, protects you if you’re involved in an accident with someone who either has no insurance or has only a small amount of insurance. But considering that one in eight US drivers are uninsured, it’s a good idea to have this extra insurance. In some cases, uninsured drivers will have the Colorado-required liability insurance, but won’t have enough to cover your medical bills. If you find yourself in a situation like this, uninsured motorist protection can help you take care of yourself and your loved ones.
Though it can be tempting—especially for those on a budget—it’s never wise to skip out on auto insurance. In the event of a car accident, driving without insurance can hit your wallet hard. If you’re feeling skeptical, do your research—most insurers even offer discounts if you purchase multiple coverage options. At the least, you need to meet the mandatory auto insurance requirements—but if you’re looking to protect yourself from unforeseen costs, consider spending extra on further insurance protection.
If you were injured in an accident with an uninsured driver, contact a knowledgeable Denver auto accident lawyer who can help evaluate your individual case and ensure your legal rights are protected.