In most states, driving a vehicle without auto insurance is illegal. Proof of auto insurance serves as evidence of financial responsibility in case an accident occurs.
Drivers must demonstrate that they can pay for damages, medical bills, or other costs in the event of an accident. Without this proof, you can face serious consequences, including losing your driver’s license, facing fines, or having your car registration suspended.
For those involved in a car accident without insurance in Colorado, we’ve compiled some information to help you figure out your next steps.
Are there penalties for driving without insurance in Colorado?
All drivers in Colorado must carry liability insurance, at the very least. Without the minimum coverage, you will face penalties. To prevent penalties, you’re required to show proof of this insurance when you register your vehicle.
The minimum amount of liability insurance required by Colorado law is:
- $25,000 for bodily injury or death to any person in an accident;
- $50,000 for bodily injury or death to all persons in any one accident; and
- $15,000 for property damage in any one accident.
Additional coverage, such as uninsured motorist coverage or comprehensive and collision coverage, are available insurance options. However, they’re not required by Colorado law.
If you drive any motor vehicle without insurance, you can face penalties such as:
- A $500 minimum fine for the first offense
- A $1,000 minimum fine for the second or third offense
- Community service
- License suspension
- Points on your license
Keep in mind that these penalties are simply for driving without insurance, not if you have an accident without insurance. If you are involved in a car accident and you don’t have insurance, the consequences and costs can be even more severe.
What if I have car insurance, but no proof?
Not having car insurance is different from having insurance but not being able to prove that you do. If you don’t have your insurance policy ID card or you cannot prove that you have insurance in some other way at the time of the accident, you might get a citation.
However, a law enforcement officer can often find your policy in the state insurance database, which is updated weekly in Colorado.
If you’re issued a citation and your policy was not located, your citation might be dismissed if you can provide proof of valid insurance to the court.
What happens if I’m responsible for the car accident?
Colorado is an at-fault state or “tort” state. That means Colorado drivers must seek compensation for any injuries or damage from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
This is different from a no-fault state, where anyone injured in a car accident could seek compensation from their own insurance policy.
If you are responsible for a car accident in Colorado and you don’t have insurance, the other party can sue you. They can seek damages, or compensation, for their medical bills, vehicle damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Without insurance, you’d have to pay the other party out of your own pocket. That can easily be around tens of thousands of dollars for medical care and vehicle repair for the other driver, not to mention your own.
Plus, if you do shop for insurance following the accident, you might expect to pay more costly rates than before the accident.
What if the other driver caused the car accident?
If you’re involved in an accident but were not responsible for it, you can still face the penalties of driving without auto insurance. You may also be liable for your own vehicle damage or medical care.
Although Colorado is not included, some states have “no-pay, no-play” laws, which prevent you from filing lawsuits against another driver if you’re uninsured.
Contact a car accident attorney if you’ve been in an uninsured accident
The best step you can take after you’ve been involved in an uninsured car accident in Colorado? Contact an experienced car accident attorney as soon as you can. Determining fault can be a complex and long process, made worse if you do not have auto insurance. A lawyer can examine the details of your accident and help you figure out your options and legal rights.
Norton Frickey P.C. helps injured victims and their families in Colorado Springs receive the compensation they deserve.