Automobile owners in Colorado are required to carry liability insurance. Liability insurance covers bodily injury to another person or property damage to another’s vehicle or property when the insured is at fault for an accident. The following minimum coverages are required by the state, although higher coverages may be purchased:
Penalties for driving without insurance in Colorado
Auto insurance is required in Colorado. You need proof of insurance both when registering your vehicle and anytime you are driving. Colorado compares its database of registered vehicles with a list of insured vehicles provided by all the insurance companies in Colorado. If the state finds a vehicle which is registered, but uninsured it sends the policyholder a notice. If you are caught driving without proof of insurance, the penalties are steep (Colorado Statute 42-4-1409):
Q. What can I do if I am uninsured and my license has been confiscated?
A. If your license is surrendered to the officer or the Motor Vehicle Division, you will be required to pay a 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. The SR22 form is obtained from an insurance company. In addition, you may be issued a summons for no liability insurance and have to appear in court to handle that matter separately. The driver also has the option of requesting a motor vehicle hearing.
Q. What if my license is suspended?
A. You must pay a $40 reinstatement fee and file future proof of liability insurance, in the form of an SR22, with the Motor Vehicle Division, to be maintained for three years. The SR22 form is obtained from an insurance company.
Q. How do I request a motor vehicle hearing?
A. You must show a current auto insurance policy in your name and make the request for a hearing, in writing, at any Driver License office or mail your request to the Motor Vehicle Division, Driver Service Section, Denver, CO 80261. (A street address is not necessary.)
Q. What if the reason for contact with an officer was due to an accident?
A. You must also 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 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 license and serving you with a notice that suspends your driver’s license in seven days.
Q. What if I am stopped by a law enforcement officer and do not have my insurance information with me?
A. The officer has the ability to check the insurance database and, if your vehicle shows as insured, you may still be issued a summons for no liability insurance in possession and have to appear in court. It is still your responsibility to have automobile insurance in the vehicle when driving.
Q. What happens if I have a license but am stopped while driving someone else’s uninsured vehicle?
A. You are still subject to the same laws. You 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.
Colorado’s Uninsured Motorist Database
In 1997, House Bill 1209 was enacted. This legislation required the Motor Vehicle Division to contract with a provider to develop and maintain a database of insured vehicles. The law requires any insurance company that writes vehicle liability policies in Colorado to report new business and canceled policies at least monthly. As of January 1, 2005, the penalties for driving without insurance increased.
To ensure that Colorado motorists comply with mandatory auto insurance laws. The intent of the law is to reduce the rising number of uninsured drivers in Colorado.
The Colorado Department of Revenue manages Colorado’s Uninsured Motorist database. The database collects information from insurance company records on your vehicle identification number (VIN), make and year of your vehicle, and the name, date of birth, driver’s license number and address of each named insured or owner listed on your vehicle’s insurance policy. This information allows for a match to the state’s own vehicle registration records.
Insurance Companies and the Insurance Database
Insurance companies must report new policyholders to the Colorado Department of Revenue at least monthly, by the seventh working day of each month. Companies face a $250 per day fine for each day these reports are not received on time. Some insurance companies voluntarily provide the information on an earlier basis. Insurance companies have ten days to report canceled policies. Most submit information electronically.
To reinstate your license after a DUI, your auto insurance company must file an SR22 certificate with the DMV. SR22 insurance verifies your fulfillment of Colorado’s minimum liability requirements for the next three years.
Failure to pay your insurance premium will result in a suspended license.