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Colorado Auto Insurance [Rates + Cheap Coverage Guide]

Colorado Statistics SummaryDetails
Roadway Miles88,740
Vehicle Miles49 Billion
Vehicles Registered4,632,430
Most Popular VehicleSubaru Outback
Uninsured Drivers13.3%
Total Traffic Fatalities648
Speeding Fatalities230
DUI Fatalities177
Full Coverage Average Annual Premium$981.64

Liability Average Annual Premium$520.04
Collision Average Annual Premium$287
Comprehensive Average Annual Premium$174.61
Two Cheapest ProvidersGeico and State Farm

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If you’re living in Colorado, you’re lucky. The recreational activities at your doorstep are endless and the beauty around you is breathtaking.

You may have noticed your auto insurance rates rising recently. In fact, auto insurance in Colorado has been rising three times the pace of inflation, according to the Denver Post.

Higher bills are something no one looks forward to. But what choice do you have? You don’t have to feel stuck. We’ll help you navigate the insurance requirements as well as help you find ways to save.

One great way to save is to compare auto insurance quotes and find the lower rate and then switch to that company. You can compare quotes right here for free.

Table of Contents

Colorado Auto Insurance Coverage and Rates

The average Colorado resident drives just under 37 miles a day for a total of 13,443 in a year. Every mile on the road is a mile of risk for something to go wrong, especially when you live where ice and snow are possible half the year.

You need auto insurance, but knowing how to get started finding the right kind of coverage can feel overwhelming.

You don’t need to worry. We’ll help you learn what is required, what you might want, and where you can find it for the best price.

Colorado Minimum Coverage

Colorado is a “fault” state. If you cause an accident, you are responsible to pay for all the damages. The state of Colorado requires auto insurance with the minimum limits of 25/50/15 for anyone who drives. This is known as “basic coverage.”

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage can be rejected in writing. If not rejected, it will automatically be applied to a basic policy.

Colorado Minimum Coverage Requirements

Colorado Minimum Coverage RequirementsRate
Bodily Injury Liability$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
Property Damage Liability$15,000 per accident
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage*$25,000 per person
$50,000 per accident
Medical Payments (MedPay)*$5000
Colorado Minimum Coverage Requirements

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*May be waived if rejected. UUM must be rejected in writing. MedPay may be rejected in writing or in the same way you buy insurance.

If on the off chance, you have 25 or more vehicles registered in your name, you have the option to self-insure. According to the Colorado General Assembly:

Self-insurance. Any individual who has over 25 vehicles registered to his or her name may qualify as a self-insurer by applying for a certificate of self-insurance from the state Insurance Commissioner.

The Insurance Commissioner must ensure that the individual will be able to pay the minimum coverage for auto insurance in Colorado. For more information on self-insurance, contact the state’s Division of Insurance within the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA).

The average person doesn’t have 25 vehicles! So, chances are pretty high you need traditional auto insurance. Now you know how much insurance you’re required to have.

We can take a look at what residents of other states are paying for their minimum coverage.

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But is the requirement enough? Probably not if you have assets or future assets to protect. Imagine you have the minimum required limits and you cause an accident that totals a $60,000 truck. Your policy will pay the $15,000 limit, and you’ll be responsible for the remaining $45,000.

Most experts recommend liability limits of 100/300/50.

The Wall Street Journal recommends the following rule of thumb in regards to insurance coverage limits:

Make sure you’re covered for an amount equal to the total value of your assets (Add up the dollar values of your house, your car, savings, and investments).

Keep in mind that basic coverage provides you with liability protection. It does not pay to repair or replace your vehicle following an accident that you cause or after non-accident related damage. Full coverage, which includes comprehensive and collision insurance, is what you need for that protection.

If you have a lease or loan, you will likely be required to carry full coverage.

Take a look at our comparison chart for average coverage costs.

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Next up, we’ll look at the average Colorado resident and what he or she pays for auto insurance. What you pay will probably vary from this, but this will give you a baseline idea.

Premiums as a Percentage of Income

Your Disposable Personal Income (DPI) is what you make after taxes have been taken out. The table below shows Colorado auto insurance as a percentage of income:

Annual Full Coverage
Average Premiums
Monthly Full Coverage
Average Premiums
Annual Per Capita
Disposable Personal Income
Monthly Per Capita
Disposable Personal Income
Percentage of Income

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Basic coverage is what is required by law. Full coverage includes liability, comprehensive, and collision insurance. We’ll break down the average cost of each.

Type of CoverageAverage Annual Cost
Full Coverage$981.64

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We’ve examined some statistics about what auto insurance costs the average Coloradan. Now, we’re going to look at an important statistic concerning insurance companies: loss ratio.

Loss Ratio

Why does this stat matter? What is a loss ratio? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2H_FkXcmAIM

Well, a loss ratio shows you the comparison of the premiums taken into the claims paid out. It matters because it shows you where a company’s money is going: into the company or back to the consumer.

Murphy and Prachthauser sum it up well:

Lower pay loss ratio means the insurance company is paying more for salaries, defense costs, and advertising, rather than paying the policyholders who purchased their coverage. All other things being equal, try to find auto insurance companies with a higher pay loss ratio.

Type of Coverage201220132014
Medical Payments (MedPay) 85.64%82.53%77.44%
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage96.63%96.81%95.82%

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Add-ons, Endorsements, Riders

Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage is included in a basic policy unless the consumer rejects it in writing. Before you reject it, consider the following statistics about uninsured motorists in Colorado:

Percentage of Motorists without InsuranceColorado's Rank Nationally

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Over 13 percent of Colorado drivers don’t have insurance! If they cause an accident with you and you don’t have Uninsured Motorist Coverage, you will wish you did.

Medical Payments is another coverage that is included in a basic Colorado policy but can be rejected in writing or in the form in which the policy was purchased (e.g. internet or phone).

There are several additional coverage options that you can learn more about to decide if they’re a good choice for your situation. We’ll look at those right here:

  • Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP)
  • Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP)
  • Rental Reimbursement
  • Emergency Roadside Assistance
  • Mechanical Breakdown Insurance
  • Non-owner Auto Insurance
  • Modified Auto Insurance Coverage
  • Classic Auto Insurance

Pay-by-the-mile auto insurance plans are growing in popularity, but currently, there are no companies offering by-the-mile plans in Colorado.

Progressive and Allstate both offer usage-based programs in Colorado. With these programs, you can get a discount based on how well and how much you drive.

Average Auto Insurance Rates by Age & Gender in CO

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As we can see from the chart above, young males in Colorado Typically pay more on average for auto insurance. However, the factor that decreases rates the most is actually age, not gender. As both males and females approach their mid-twenties, rates start to level out.

Cheapest and Most Expensive Colorado Insurance Rates by ZIP Code

Live in a neighborhood with busy roads or frequent thefts? Insurers may charge you more. The chart and tables below show which ZIP codes have the most expensive and cheapest rates.

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Cheapest ZIP Codes in Colorado CityAverage Annual Rate by ZIP Codes
81504GRAND JUNCTION$3,291.13
81505GRAND JUNCTION$3,299.49
81507GRAND JUNCTION$3,312.39
81501GRAND JUNCTION$3,314.33
80525FORT COLLINS$3,334.66
81503GRAND JUNCTION$3,338.85
81506GRAND JUNCTION$3,346.16
80521FORT COLLINS$3,347.76
80526FORT COLLINS$3,361.56
80528FORT COLLINS$3,393.99
80524FORT COLLINS$3,397.23
81523GLADE PARK$3,420.49

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Denver’s average rates are nearly $500 higher than Grand Junction’s.

Most Expensive ZIP Codes in Colorado CityAverage Annual Rate by ZIP Code

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Cheapest and Most Expensive Colorado Insurance Rates by City

ZIP codes only give insight into a few cities’ rates, so let’s take a look at auto insurance rates by city.

Cheapest Cities in Colorado Average Annual Rate by City
Grand Junction$3,322.24
Fort Collins$3,388.15
Glade Park$3,420.49
Glen Haven$3,468.96
Monte Vista$3,488.11

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Clifton and Grand Junction have the cheapest auto insurance rates in the state.

Most Expensive Cities in Colorado Average Annual Rate by City
Cherry Hills Village$4,274.05
Pueblo West$4,237.11
Deer Trail$4,231.16
Fort Carson$4,204.82
Idaho Springs$4,194.17
Indian Hills$4,187.74
Buffalo Creek$4,171.50

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Colorado Auto Insurance Companies

You have so many options for who to use as your insurer. It’s hard to know where to begin. Who’s going to give me the best rates? Who is going to be the easiest to work with? Who’s good?!

We’ll answer those questions and show you how to get started finding the best insurance company for you.

When you choose an auto insurance company, its reputation matters as much as or more than its rates. We’ll show how the largest companies rate in the areas of financial stability and customer satisfaction.

Financial Ratings

AM Best is a credit rating agency. They evaluate insurance companies and then give them a grade based on their financial stability. The table below shows the ten largest insurance companies in Colorado by market share with their AM Best rating.

CompanyAM Best Rating
American FamilyA
Liberty MutualA
State FarmA++

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Customer Satisfaction Ratings

J.D. Power 2018 Customer Satisfaction Index Ranking of Auto Insurance Companies – Southwest Region
CompaniesRankingJ.D. Power Circle Rating™
CSAA Insurance8395
The Hartford8385
State Farm8294
American Family8193
Liberty Mutual8113
Southwest Region8193
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Companies in Colorado With the Least and Most Complaints

When you deal with an insurance company, ideally, you’ll work together and both be satisfied with the outcome. That doesn’t always happen, and when the consumer is dissatisfied, he or she can file a complaint. Those complaints, whether justified or not are considered in the complaint ratios shown below.

Obviously, a large company will have more complaints than a small company due to the sheer volume of business they conduct, so what matters more than the number of complaints is the complaint ratio.

How many complaints does a company receive per one million dollars of business? The answer is the complaint ratio.

These are the companies that had the best complaint ratios in the state.

Company NameTotal ComplaintsConfirmed ComplaintsComplaint RatioCompany NameTotal ComplaintsConfirmed ComplaintsComplaint Ratio
AIG 000MetLife430.17
Essentia000Nationwide Agribusiness 630.18
Farmers Alliance Mutual 000360 Insurance 110.2
Grange 000Farmers53180.2
Great Northern 100.08USAA32110.2
Country Preferred 200.09Geico 620.21
Travelers Home and Marine 200.12Liberty Mutual43160.21
Amica Mutual 420.15State Farm174620.21
SECURA Supreme 100.15Horace Mann 100.22

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Next are the companies that had the worst complaint ratios.

Company NameTotal ComplaintsConfirmed ComplaintsComplaint RatioCompany NameTotal ComplaintsConfirmed ComplaintsComplaint Ratio
Occidental Fire & Casualty 21512.36Financial Indemnity 811.03
Young America 39152.74Permanent General of Ohio49150.95
Loya 76272.49Safeway 1950.91
Mendota 28132.45Central Mutual 410.88
National General 1131.78Nationwide Affinity 830.85
Alpha Property & Casualty621.39Nationwide Mutual 1020.84
Arizona Automobile 4181.37IDS Property Casualty 1430.79
Twin City Fire 4421.18Liberty Mutual Fire 1030.78
Permanent General 721.16Viking Insurance 410.75

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Complaint Ratios for Colorado’s 10 Largest Auto Insurers

Here’s how the largest companies by market share compare for complaint ratios.

Insurance CompanyMarket SharePremiums WrittenComplaint Ratio
State Farm Group19.81%$906,918 0.19
USAA Group10.20%$467,079 0.16
GEICO9.89%$452,585 0.28
Progressive Group9.62%$440,274 0.75
Allstate Insurance Group8.49%$388,445 0.34
American Family Insurance Group8.41%$384,892 0.3
Farmers Insurance Group7.22%$330,473 NR
Liberty Mutual Group6.97%$319,166 0.36
Travelers Group2.82%$129,187 NR
Nationwide Corp Group2.00%$91,547 0.17

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Colorado Auto Insurance Rates by Company

Below is a list of the most expensive and the cheapest auto insurance companies in Colorado by their average rates.

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Cheapest CompaniesAnnual RateMost Expensive CompaniesAnnual Rate
USAA$782.90American Hallmark$4,408.66
USAA Casualty$807.74LM Insurance Corporation$3,761.54
Hartford Casualty$819.44LM General$3,397.64
Progressive Direct$845.84Metropolitan Casualty$2,751.98
National General Assurance$863.50Metropolitan Property and Casualty$2,733.37
Owners$866.89Pharmacists Mutual$2,667.51
Horace Mann$898.52Electric$2,276.12
Nationwide Private Client$904.90Safeway$2,133.85
The Cincinnati$909.15Employers Mut Cas Co$2,107.18
Nationwide Mutual$923.95Safeco Insurance Company of America$1,979.75
IDS Property Casualty$925.55National Farmers Union Prop & Cas$1,851.67
Garrison Property and Casulty$950.27Arizona Auto$1,837.51
CSAA General$956.30360$1,799.90
Nationwide Agribusiness$993.66Country Casualty$1,727.11
Farmers Insurance Exchange$1,032.77Amica Mutual$1,658.20
United Fire & Casualty$1,034.94American National General$1,638.35
Geico Casualty$1,058.89Encompass Indemnity$1,613.30
Colorado Farm Bureau Mutual$1,069.23Mendota$1,600.02
Grange Insurance Association$1,080.59Allstate Fire and Casualty$1,548.48

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Largest Auto Insurance Companies in Colorado

Insurance CompanyPremiums WrittenMarket Share
State Farm Group$906,91819.81%
USAA Group$467,07910.20%
Progressive Group$440,2749.62%
Allstate Insurance Group$388,4458.49%
American Family Insurance Group$384,8928.41%
Farmers Insurance Group$330,4737.22%
Liberty Mutual Group$319,1666.97%
Travelers Group$129,1872.82%
Nationwide Corp Group$91,5472.00%

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There are hundreds of licensed insurers to choose from in Colorado, 858 to be exact.

DomesticForeignTotal Number of Licensed Insurers

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Comparing quotes will help you know where to get started.

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Once you find the company that offers the best rates to you, do some more research into their financial rating, customer satisfaction rating, and complaint ratios. Then, you can confidently choose your insurer.

Don’t stop now that you know how to choose an insurance company! Make sure your rates stay as low as possible by being a good driver. We’ll show you the laws you need to know to keep your driving record clean.

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Colorado Laws

It would take a long time to memorize every law in Colorado. It’s important to follow the laws, but it can be confusing. We’ll help clear the confusion by listing some of the driving laws most important to know.

Auto Insurance Laws

Insurance companies in Colorado don’t have free reign to set rates however they want. Although they have leeway, they are governed.

Auto Insurance Rate-setting Regulations

While rates are regulated by “open competition,” if the insurance commissioner decides the rates are excessive or could be harmful to the company’s solvency, the commissioner will regulate the rates.

High-risk Insurance

If your license has been revoked or suspended, you may need to file an SR-22 to have your licenses reinstated. The SR-22 form is available from your insurance company but it is not an insurance policy.

The form is just assurance that you will have auto insurance coverage. If your policy is canceled, the form ensures the insurer will notify the DMV of insurance cancellation, at which point, your license will be suspended.

You can change insurance companies while you’re required to file an SR-22, but you must get a new SR-22 with the new company before the old one goes out of effect.

Your license may be suspended for any of the following:

  • A DUI conviction
  • Driving without insurance
  • Repeat traffic offenses

Windshield Coverage

Some insurance companies may offer windshield replacement with comprehensive coverage, but there are no laws requiring insurers to cover windows.

Automobile Insurance Fraud in Colorado

The insurance industry estimates that fraud accounts for 10 percent of its operating costs. Why does that matter? If 10 percent of an insurance company’s income goes to fraudulent activities, that essentially means 10 percent of your premiums are being thrown away.

If companies didn’t have to throw that money out, they could reduce your rates.

There are two classifications of fraud: hard and soft.

  • Hard Fraud – A purposefully fabricated claim or accident
  • Soft Fraud – A misrepresentation of information to the insurance company

Soft fraud is more common than hard fraud. Twenty to 40 percent of consumers admitted to lying to their insurer about one of the following:

  • Number of annual miles driven
  • Number of drivers in the household
  • How the vehicle would be used

Committing insurance fraud is a crime, even if you’re “just” telling a white lie to get a lower rate. If you suspect insurance fraud, you can fill out and turn in this form.

Misrepresentation to an insurance company is considered a misdemeanor and falsifying claims is a class 5 felony.

Colorado has employed an Insurance Fraud Unit to investigate fraudulent activity throughout the state. According to the Attorney General’s Office, The Unit also works closely with other agencies including the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), Colorado Division of Insurance, FBI, and local police departments.

They are working to eliminate insurance fraud in the state.

Statute of Limitations

The length of time you have to make a claim in Colorado cannot exceed the state’s statute of limitations.

Property Damage Bodily Injury
Three yearsThree years

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The clock starts ticking on the day of the accident. Any lawsuit or claim about that accident will be dismissed if it’s made more than three years after that date.

In the case of an accident-related fatality, the statute of limitations is two years from the day of death.

Vehicle Licensing Laws

These are important laws to get familiar with. Your car has to be registered and insured to go on the road. If not, you’ll pay.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

Colorado has a Motorist Insurance Information Database (MIIDB) program to which the police and DMV have access. Registration information is updated in the MIIDB daily and insurance information is updated weekly or more. The following table lists the penalties for driving without insurance in Colorado:

PenaltyFirst OffenseSecond Offense
Fine$500 minimum$1,000 minimum
License SuspensionUntil you show proof of insurance to the DMV Four months
Community ServicePossible up to 40 hoursPossible up to 40 hours

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Proof of Insurance

The following forms of proof of insurance are accepted in Colorado

  • Electronic – picture of a current insurance card or pdf file of coverage on a phone, tablet, or another electronic device
  • Insurance Card
  • Declaration Page
  • Letter/Binder – from the insurance company on their letterhead

Affidavit of Non-use

According to the Colorado DMV, “Colorado residents who wish to register vehicles that will not be operated for a period of time or are temporarily residing out of state with valid out of state insurance, may complete the Affidavit of Non-use and submit it to their county motor vehicle office.”

Teen Driver Laws

Since adopting Graduated Driver Licensing laws in 2002, teen motor vehicle fatalities have dropped 67 percent! Here are the restrictions and requirements parents and teens need to know.

RestrictionsLearner's PermitRestricted LicenseUnrestricted License
Age15 – if enrolled, attending, and participating in driver's ed
15 1/2 – if completed a four-hour driver-awareness course
16 – if none of above
If under 18, one year after obtaining learner's permit17 – if held restricted license 12 months
18 – otherwise
PassengersMust be supervised by a licensed parent/guardian or their licensed adult appointeeFirst six months – no passengers under 21
Second six months – limit of one passenger under 21
(exceptions: siblings, family emergencies)
No restrictions
HoursNo restrictionsFirst year – no driving between midnight and 5 a.m. (exceptions: presence of a parent/guardian, driving to and from school activities or work, family emergency, being an emancipated teen)No restrictions
Cell Phone UseForbiddenForbiddenForbidden if under 18
Pre-requisitesIf under 18, parent or guardian must sign an affidavit of liabilityCompletion of 50 hours supervised driving, 10 of which at nightIf under 18, holding a restricted license for one year

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Older Driver License Renewal

Older drivers must get their licenses renewed every five years, which is the same requirement for the general population. The only difference is how they can renew. The exceptions to getting a license renewed in person are as follows:

  • General population – limited to two consecutive renewals online before having to go in person or every other renewal by mail
  • Over 66 years old – every other renewal may be by mail

New Resident Licensing

If you’ve recently moved to Colorado, you may be curious about when you’re required to get a Colorado license. The Colorado DMV website says you need a Colorado license within 30 days of residency. The residency requirements are as follows:

  • Own or operate a business in Colorado OR
  • Are gainfully employed in Colorado OR
  • Reside in Colorado for 90 consecutive days

Your valid driver’s license from your previous state of residence should be enough for you to not have to take a driving or written exam. When you go to the DMV to get a Colorado license, be prepared with the following documentation:

  • A valid driver license from the previous state of residence
  • Proof of your social security number
  • Two proofs of current Colorado address
  • Proof of lawful presence
  • Money for fees

After becoming a Colorado resident, you must register your vehicle within 90 days.

License Renewal

Driver licenses must be renewed every five years. You should not wait until your license expires.

Renewals may be completed online, in person, or by mail. There are restrictions on renewing online or by mail:

  • May renew by mail only every other renewal
  • Limited to two times in a row renewing online
  • Those 66 years and older are limited to renewing by mail every other renewal at most

Rules of the Road

Colorado is a fault state, so the person at fault in an accident is responsible to pay for damages done to the other party. A fault state is also known as a tort state.

Keep Right and Move Over Laws

When driving, you must keep right when traveling slower than the average speed of traffic around you. On roads with a speed limit of over 65 mph, the left lane is reserved for passing.

When stationary vehicles with emergency lights are present, drivers must vacate the lane nearest those vehicles if safe to do so, or they must slow down.

Speed Limits

Type of RoadwaySpeed Limit
Rural Interstates75 mph
Urban Interstates65 mph
Other Limited Access Roads65 mph
Other Roads65 mph

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Seatbelt Laws

Colorado requires drivers and front-seat passengers 16 years old and older to wear a seatbelt. A violation is a secondary offense. You can’t be pulled over for no seatbelt use alone. But you can be pulled over for another offense and ticketed for failure to wear a seatbelt. The minimum fine is $65.

For unbelted passengers under 16 years old, the offense is primary and you may be pulled over for that reason alone.

Riding in the cargo section of a pick-up truck is prohibited unless the cargo area is fully or partially enclosed on all four sides.

Car Seat Laws

Type of Car Seat RequiredAgeWeight
Rear-facing Child Safety SeatUnder 1 year oldUnder 40 pounds if under 1 year old
Under 20 pounds if over 1 year old
Forward-facing or Rear-facing Child Safety Seat1–4 years old20–40 pounds
Forward-facing Safety Seat, Booster Seat, or With Safety Belt-Positioning Device4–8 years oldOver 40 pounds
Seat Belt or Child Restraint SystemOver 8 years oldNo weight restrictions when over 8 years old

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Car seat laws in Colorado are primary and you can be pulled over for violating them. The table above lists car seat requirements and child safety seat laws in Colorado. The penalty is a $65 fine and a six dollar surcharge.


The following insurance companies offer coverage for ridesharing services:

  • Farmers
  • USAA
  • Geico
  • Allstate
  • SafeCo
  • State Farm
  • MetLife
  • American Family

The level of coverage available for ride-sharing varies. Some of these companies won’t provide coverage while a customer is in the car, others will with a surcharge, but none of these companies will drop you for offering ride-sharing services.

Colorado was the first to pass a regulatory bill for ridesharing companies in 2014. The bill requires ride-sharing companies to provide their drivers with insurance from the app on to app off. Experts say this bill protects other consumers from rising insurance costs to subsidize ride-sharing insurance costs.

Automation on the Road

Red Light Cameras

Statewide or localized?Statewide (requires local ordinance)
Violations?Red light
Who receives citation?Vehicle owner
Who is liable?Driver
What image is captured?Tag and driver
Penalty?$75, no points

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Red light cameras are used in Colorado. The fine for a violation is $75 and there are no points added to your record. If you are stopped in person for a red light offense, the fine is $110, and four points are added to your license.

Speed Enforcement Cameras

Speed Enforcement FactsDetails
Statewide or localized?Restricted to construction and school zones, residential areas, or adjacent to a municipal park; requires local ordinance and officer must be present
Citations issued to whom?Owner
Who is liable?Driver
What image is captured?Tag and Driver
Penalty?$40 maximum fine ($80 in school zones), no points, warning only for first violation within 10 mph of speed limit

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Speed enforcement cameras are also used in Colorado. If you are stopped the traditional way, the fine is $151, and four points are added to your license.

Puffing Laws

When it’s cold outside and your vehicle has frost on the windshield, you may be tempted to start it and let it warm up while you go back inside. That’s called “puffing” and in Colorado puffing is illegal. The reasoning behind this law is to prevent vehicle theft.

The only exception is that you can use remote start if you have it because then your vehicle is locked and the keys aren’t in the ignition.

Safety Laws

Without a standard, each person would decide for himself or herself how to drive best. Sometimes they’d make good decisions, and sometimes not.

DUI Laws

The first three DUI offenses are classified as misdemeanors. The fourth and following offenses are class 4 felonies. There is no official lookback period, so any DUI, no matter how far in the past can be considered in your sentence.

Colorado has two levels of intoxicated driving offenses:

  • Driving Under the Influence (DUI) – Blood alcohol content 0.08 percent or higher
  • Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) – Blood alcohol content 0.05 percent to 0.07 percent

The penalties for driving under the influence in Colorado are below:

Penalty TypeFirst Driving While Ability
Impaired (DWAI)
First Driving Under the Influence (DUI)Second DUI or DWAIThird and Subsequent DUIs and DWAIs
Revoked LicenseEight points on licenseNine monthsOne yearTwo years
ImprisonmentTwo days to 180 daysFive days to one year10 days to one year60 days to one year
Community Service24 to 48 hours24 to 48 hours48 to 120 hours48 to 120 hours

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A law went into effect recently eliminating a loophole and mandating all persons with a felony DUI conviction to spend time behind bars.

Drug-impaired Driving Laws

Driving under the influence of drugs is illegal and is subject to the same penalties as driving under the influence of alcohol.

Distracted Driving Laws

Hand-held banNo
Young drivers all cellphone banUnder 18 years old
Texting banAll drivers

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The table above outlines the cellphone and texting restrictions in Colorado. The penalties for using a handheld device illegally while driving are as follows:

Class of DriverFirst OffenseSecond and Subsequent Offenses
Minor Drivers (all cellphone use)Class A traffic infraction
One point on license
$50 fine
One point on license
$100 fine
Adult Drivers (text messaging)Class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense
Four points on license
$300 fine
Bodily injury or proximate cause of death to another, class 1 misdemeanor
Four points on license
$1000 fine and/or up to one year imprisonment

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The point system for minors under 18 years old using a handheld device while driving are as follows:

TimeframePoints requiring suspension
Within 12 months6
At any point before turning 187

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The point system for 18 to 21-year-olds using a handheld device while driving are as follows:

TimeframePoints requiring suspension
Within 12 months9
Within 24 months12
At any point between ages 18 and 2114

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The point system for adults 21 and older using a handheld device while driving are as follows:

TimeframePoints requiring suspension<
Within 12 months12
Within 24 months18

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Colorado Can’t-miss Facts

There are a lot of interesting facts about Colorado. We’re going to focus on some of the facts related to driving that are interesting and helpful to know.

You don’t want to miss what’s next: The hottest vehicles for thieves. Is your car on the list?

Vehicle Theft in Colorado

Even in the safest cities and states, you need to cautious of potential vehicle thefts. Vehicle thefts are rising in the state.

Top Make and Model for Theft

The table below shows the top 10 most stolen vehicles in Colorado.

RankMake/ModelYear of VehicleThefts
1Honda Civic19971380
2Honda Accord19971167
3Ford Pickup (Full Size)2005595
4Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee1999594
5Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)2000450
6Dodge Pickup (Full Size)2001308
7Subaru Legacy1996215
8Acura Integra1994208
9Toyota Camry1989203
10Toyota Corolla2014170

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Vehicle Theft by City

Now, we’ll look at the top 10 Colorado cities by the number of thefts:

CityNumber of Thefts
Colorado Springs1,928
Commerce City183

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Risky and Harmful Behavior

For your information, we’ve listed the statistics of driving-related fatalities below by county.

Read also about the penalties for a drunk driving conviction in Colorado.

Fatality Rates by County

El Paso6353484877

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Fatality Rates Rural Versus Urban

Type of Roadway2008200920102011201220132014201520162017

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Fatalities by Person Type

Person TypeVehicles Type20132014201520162017
OccupantsPassenger Car141176163187199
OccupantsLight Truck – Pickup7756776678
OccupantsLight Truck – Utility85708585104
OccupantsLight Truck – Van146212427
OccupantsLight Truck – Other00102
OccupantsLarge Truck1110131826
OccupantsTotal Occupants331319364383437
MotorcyclistsTotal Motorcycle8794106125103
NonoccupantsBicyclist and Other Cyclist1210131616
NonoccupantsOther/Unknown Nonoccupants22550
NonoccupantsTotal Nonoccupants647577100108
Occupants, Motorcyclists, and NonoccupantsTotal Traffic-elated Fatalities482488547608648

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Fatalities by Crash Type

Crash Type20132014201520162017
Total Fatalities (All Crashes)*482488547608648
(1) Single Vehicle284273305344335
(2) Involving a Large Truck5663648687
(3) Involving Speeding151168217211230
(4) Involving a Rollover197166195212228
(5) Involving a Roadway Departure287285304295330
(6) Involving an Intersection (or Intersection Related)118127153200190

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(1) Crash Involved Only One Coded Vehicle
(2) Crash Involved at Least One Large Truck
(3) Crash Involved at Least One Vehicle Speeding
(4) Crash Involved at Least One Vehicle That Rolled Over
(5) Crash Involved at Least One Vehicle That Departed the Roadway (FHWA Definition)
(6) Crash Occurred Within an Intersection or Within the Approach to an Intersection
*A Fatality Can Be in More Than One Category. Therefore the Sum of the Individual Cells Will Not Equal the Total Due to Double Counting

Fatalities Involving Speeding by County

County201520162017Three-year Total
El Paso15222966

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Fatalities in Crashes Involving an Alcohol-impaired Driver by County (BAC 0.08 percent or greater)

County201520162017Three-year Total
El Paso17202461

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Teen Drinking and Driving

Unfortunately, Colorado ranks number seven nationally for under 18 drunk driving arrests.

DUI Arrests Under 18

Number of ArrestsArrests per One Million PeopleRank Nationally

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Under 21 Drinking and Driving Fatalities

Per every 100,000 people, Colorado experienced 1.2 alcohol-related fatalities for residents under 21 years old. Colorado ranks at exactly the U.S. average for deaths per capita in that age group.

EMS Response Time

Location of IncidentTime of Crash to EMS NotificationNotification to ArrivalArrival at Scene to Hospital ArrivalTime of Crash to Time of Hospital Arrival

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How does the commute look for Colorado residents? How many own a car? How do they get to work? We’ll answer those questions next.

Car Ownership

In Colorado, 40.9 percent of households owned two cars in 2018. That’s slightly above the national average of 40.3 percent.

Commute Time

The average commute time lasted 23.7 minutes in 2018, which is slightly lower than the national average. A little more than 2 percent of workers have “super commutes,” which are 90 minutes or longer.

Commutes do have an effect on your rates, but they are not nearly as important to companies as some other factors.

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Commuter Transportation

Almost 75 percent of Coloradoans drive alone on their daily commute. Equal numbers of workers either carpooled or worked at home at 8.5 percent.

Top Cities for Traffic Congestion

CityHours Spent in TrafficPeak (Time in Traffic)Daytime (Time in Traffic)Overall (Time in Traffic)
Colorado Springs158%6%7%

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Now, you have a great foundation for understanding what you need for insurance, what you can expect your rates to be, and how you can stay safe and obey the traffic laws.

Get started on the path to saving by entering your ZIP code below and comparing auto insurance quotes side-by-side for free!


  1. https://www.naic.org/prod_serv/AUT-PB-14.pdf
  2. https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dora/insurance-complaint-ratio-and-complaint-index-information#Interactive%20Reports
  3. https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dmv/sr22-and-insurance-information
  4. https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/images/olls/crs2016-title-18.pdf
  5. https://coag.gov/file-complaint/insurance-fraud/
  6. https://www.stopfraudcolorado.gov/fraud-center/insurance-fraud.html
  7. https://leg.colorado.gov/sites/default/files/images/olls/crs2016-title-13.pdf
  8. https://www.colorado.gov/driveinsured/
  9. https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/dmv/registration-requirements

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