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Motor Vehicle

Vehicle Insurance

The State of Colorado requires that all registered vehicles operating on Colorado roads be properly insured. All owners of Tax Class B & C vehicles (passenger, trucks (<16,000 lbs), motorhome, and motorcycle) are required to provide proof of insurance prior to vehicle registration/renewal. Be aware that this does not alter the legal mandate that ALL motor vehicle types are required to have appropriate insurance coverage.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
 
The Motor Vehicle Department will accept the following as proof of insurance coverage:

Valid Insurance Card
Declaration Page
Binder/letter from an insurance company on company letterhead

Laws

What is the history behind the laws?

In 1997, House Bill 1209 was enacted.  This legislation requires the Colorado Department of Revenue's Motor Vehicle Division to contract with a provider to develop and maintain a database of insured vehicles.  The bill also requires any insurance company that writes vehicle liability policies in Colorado to report new policyholders and canceled policies at least monthly to the provider.

In 1998, House Bill 1213 was enacted.  This legislation requires County Motor Vehicle Departments throughout the state to deny vehicle registrations for all Tax Class C (passenger, motor home and motorcycle) vehicles that do not have proof of insurance at the time of registration.

In 2000, House Bill 1024 was enacted. This legislation requires that owners of Class B vehicles, not insured commercially, provide proof of insurance prior to vehicle registration or renewal. Class B vehicles include light trucks, farm trucks, recreational trucks with an empty weight of 16,000 pounds or less, and sport utility vehicles classified as trucks.
 
What is the purpose of these laws?

To ensure that Colorado motorists comply with mandatory auto insurance laws.  The intent of these laws is to reduce the rising number of uninsured drivers and vehicles in Colorado.

Insurance Database

What information does the database contain?

The database contains information about your Colorado driver's license, vehicle, and any information submitted by insurance companies regarding insured vehicles and all individuals listed as insured on your policy.
 
What information is submitted by insurance companies?

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), make and year of the vehicle, and the name, date of birth, driver's license number, and address of each named insured or owner on the policy.  This information allows for a match to the State vehicle and driver files.

County Registration Information 

What if I am stopped by a law enforcement officer and do not have automobile insurance?

The database provides officers with another tool to verify insurance prior to taking further action.  If you do not show as insured on the database, the officer has the option of confiscating your driver's license, serving you with a notice that suspends your driver's license in seven days, and issuing a summons for no liability insurance and a court appearance.  You also have the option of requesting a motor vehicle hearing.
 
What can I do if I am uninsured and my driver's license has been confiscated?

If your driver's license is surrendered to the officer or the Colorado Department of Revenue's Motor Vehicle Division, you will be required to pay a $5.00 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.  You also have the option of requesting a motor vehicle hearing.
 
What if my driver's license is suspended?

You must pay a $40 reinstatement fee and file future proof of liability insurance, in the form of an SR22 with the Colorado Department of Revenue's Motor Vehicle Division, to be maintained for three years.  The SR22 form may be obtained from an insurance company.
 
How do I request a motor vehicle hearing?

You must show a current auto insurance policy in your name and submit a written request for a hearing at any Drivers License Office, or mail your request to the Motor Vehicle Division, Driver Service Section, Denver, CO 80261 (a street address is not necessary).
 
What if the contact with an officer was due to an accident?

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 Colorado Department of Revenue's 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's license and serving you with a notice that suspends your driver's license in seven days.
 
What if  I am stopped by a law enforcement officer and do not have my insurance information with me?

The officer has the ability to check the insurance database.  If your vehicle shows as insured, you may still be issued a summons for no proof of liability insurance in your possession and have to appear in court.  It is still your responsibility to have proof of automobile insurance in the vehicle when driving.
 
What happens if I have a driver's license but I am stopped while driving someone else's uninsured vehicle?

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.
 
What if I receive a notice identifying me as uninsured?

If your vehicle is identified as uninsured for three consecutive months in the database, you will receive a notice from Explore (the database vendor) requesting insurance information on the vehicle.  This notice will advise you that you have 45 days to provide the insurance information or your license plates will be subject to seizure.  The information that you provide to Explore will be verified with the insurance company.
 
What if I have insurance and receive a notice identifying me as uninsured?

You will need to check the VIN on your insurance policy against the VIN on your vehicle (the VIN is usually located on the driver's side dashboard) and the vehicle registration.  If the VIN on your policy does not match the vehicle and the registration, you will need to contact your insurance company for a correction to your policy.  If the VIN on the vehicle registration does not match the vehicle and your insurance policy, the vehicle's title and registration will need to be corrected.  This is accomplished by obtaining a proof of VIN inspection (available at emissions inspection stations, Colorado licensed dealers, and local law enforcement agencies) and taking this inspection and your registration to the State Titles Section or the Motor Vehicle Department along with your vehicle title, if you are in possession of that document.

What if I showed proof of insurance to the Motor Vehicle Department when I registered my vehicle, but now have a letter from Explore saying I am uninsured?

The Motor Vehicle Department will renew your vehicle registration when shown proof of insurance.  It is not the responsibility of our office, however, to contact Explore or your insurance company; the responsibility is yours.
 
What if I am unable to provide proof of insurance to the Motor Vehicle Department and my license plates are about to expire?

Your license plates cannot be renewed without proof of insurance.  You will be unable to drive your vehicle without a valid vehicle registration and license plates.
 
Upon purchase of a vehicle, will I be able to obtain a temporary permit from the Motor Vehicle Department without proof of insurance?

No, the Motor Vehicle Department cannot issue a temporary permit without proof of insurance.
 
My plates are expired and I need an emissions test to renew.  Can I obtain a temporary permit to get an emissions test without proof of insurance?

No, the Motor Vehicle Department cannot issue a temporary permit to get an emissions test without proof of insurance.
 
What type of proof of insurance is required?

A letter from your insurance agent or insurer on company letterhead verifying insurance coverage; the declaration page from the insurance policy; an insurance binder or policy; or an insurance card for your vehicle.  The Motor Vehicle Department will accept copies of any of these documents.
 
When I provide proof of insurance to the Motor Vehicle Department and obtain a current registration, will the insurance database automatically be updated to indicate that I have insurance?

No.  The Motor Vehicle Department will be able to register your vehicle when insurance proof is shown, but the insurance indicator on your record will remain as unknown "U" until the insurance database is updated by information provided by your insurance company.