Colorado auto insurance: Legally, what coverage do I need in my auto insurance policy?

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Across the country there are, on average, 6 million car accidents every year. One of the most difficult things we deal with at the Dible Law Firm is when clients are injured, through no fault of their own, and there is no insurance coverage to help them pay medical bills or compensate them for the time they have missed from work due to the accident.  One recent study found that more than 16% of drivers in Colorado are not insured. That’s 1 in every 6 people drivers on the road. This is even higher than the national average of 13% of drivers being uninsured.  If you are hit by one of these drivers, they will rarely have the ability to pay out of pocket for your injuries and expenses.  A careful examination of your own automobile insurance coverage can help to protect you from ever being in this situation.

No matter what company you buy auto insurance from, there are two broad types of coverage:

  1. Property Damage Coverage
  2. Injury Coverage

Liability Coverage

For our purposes, injury coverage will be the focus.  Within injury coverage there are also two categories of insurance, coverage that protects others and coverage that protects you.  Coverage that protects others is called liability coverage, and every driver in Colorado is required by law to carry $25,000 per person/$50,000 per incident of liability coverage in order to drive legally.   This means that if you were to cause a collision, and you had minimum insurance levels, your insurance would cover injuries to any one person up to $25,000, and multiple people up to $50,000.  For example, this coverage would be enough to cover injuries to 2 people totaling $25,000 each, or 3 people up to $16,666.66 each.  You can always carry more liability coverage, but can never carry less than the $25,000/$50,000.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage

To protect yourself against other drivers’ negligence, you should strongly consider buying uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage.  In Colorado your insurance company has to offer you an amount of UM/UIM coverage equal to your liability coverage limits.  You can only reject this coverage if you do so in writing.  We strongly recommend that everyone carry UM/UIM coverage, and with as high of limits as possible.  UM/UIM coverage acts to protect you in two ways.  First, if you are hit by driver who is not insured, your own coverage steps in to help you with medical bills and expenses.  Secondly, if you are hit by driver who has insurance coverage, but the amount of your medical bills and damages exceeds their liability policy limit, your underinsured motorist policy stacks on top of the insurance policy of the driver who hit you, thus keeping you from having to pay the bills and expenses above their policy limit out of your own pocket.    UM/UIM coverage is extremely important to protect yourself again uninsured drivers, or serious injury by a driver who has lower limits.

Medical Payments Coverage

Another type of insurance coverage that acts to protect you in case you are involved in a collision is medical payments coverage (MPC).  MPC helps to cover the cost of any medical bills you incur as a result of the collision, even if you are the driver at fault.  MPC can be applied to your insurance deductible, or other out of pocket expenses to keep from having to take money from your savings to pay ER, ambulance or doctor’s bills. This coverage usually starts at $5,000 per person in your vehicle per collision, and can usually go higher.  That means if you have a family of 4 in your car, and you are in a collision each of the four people in your family is covered for up to $5,000 in medical expenses related to that collision.

While insurance coverage is often confusing, we hope that this post helps to clarify the types of coverage you should look at to help you in case you are ever injured.  Taking a little time to review what insurance coverage you have on your own policy can go a long way towards protecting you if you ever have the misfortune of being hit by another driver. If you have been injured in an accident, it’s always a good idea to talk to a personal injury attorney to review your legal options. Call the Dible Law Firm for a 100% free consultation today.



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