All drivers know that motor vehicle insurance is required in Colorado, so if there is an accident someone’s coverage should pay – right? Not necessarily, studies have revealed that about 15 per cent of Colorado drivers do not have coverage. This reality demonstrates the need for consideration of adding uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage to your own insurance policy.
Uninsured motorists’ coverage provides coverage for the insured and occupants of the insured vehicle. The benefits are available when an accident is caused by an uninsured motorist. This coverage typically provides compensation for what are considered general damages, such as pain and suffering, and special or economic damages. The coverage will also provide benefits for the insured if injured as a pedestrian by an uninsured motor vehicle. Note that all benefits will be capped by your policy limits, so discuss the appropriate level of coverage with your agent.
Underinsured motorist coverage is very similar, but offers protection to the insured when the policy limits of the responsible driver do not adequately cover the damages suffered by the insured. The minimum amount of liability insurance required by Colorado law is as follows:
- $25,000 per person for bodily injury;
- $50,000 per accident for bodily injury; and
- $15,000 per accident for property damage
For most serious accidents, policy limits which satisfy the insurance requirement are far from adequate for damages actually experienced by the insured. With underinsured coverage, your own policy would provide benefits for damages above the driver’s limits up to your policy limits.
In Colorado, uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is optional. But the state recognizes the deficiencies of the current system and so requires that an insured be informed of the availability of the added coverage, and if the insured chooses to not purchase this coverage then a signature is required on a form acknowledging that the uninsured/underinsured coverage was offered and declined.