Why is Car Insurance in Colorado So Expensive?

Almost everywhere in the United States, car insurance is a necessity if you’re a motorist. Going without car insurance is an invitation to personal and financial disaster — and yet uninsured drivers are a problem nationwide. Auto insurance can be difficult to afford in this troubled economy — and that’s particularly true in Colorado, where premiums tend to be much higher than the national average. But why is this? And what can be done about it? Read on to find out more.

Average Car Insurance Premiums in Colorado

So how much do Colorado drivers pay for their car insurance, and why? The average car insurance premium in Colorado is $1,687 per year — 10% more than the national average. Why are Colorado drivers paying $160 more a year? A few reasons:

High-density cities. Larger cities with denser populations naturally command higher insurance premiums. A denser population means denser traffic, which means more opportunities for accidents and property damage. Not only that, but larger cities are more prone to car theft, vandalism, and break-ins — another common source of insurance claims.

Climate. Colorado is known for its heavy snowfall, a boon to skiers and winter sport enthusiasts, but not so great when it comes to driving. Colorado is also prone to hailstorms, which can cause significant damage to vehicles. Both of these contribute to frequent and expensive insurance claims.

Bad Driving. We all have a state we talk about as having “the worst drivers,” but reckless and distracted driving is a legitimate problem in Colorado. The state has seen a spike in traffic violations and accidents recently — in no small part due to motorists talking on the phone or texting while driving. Risky driving behavior is a red flag for insurance companies, and it can lead to higher premiums for everyone — not just the offending drivers.

Legalized Marijuana. Since the legalization of marijuana in Colorado, the state has seen an increase in impaired driving incidents. In 2020, marijuana-impaired driving played a part in 48 traffic fatalities. Operating a motor vehicle under the influence can be highly dangerous — as already attested by the alcohol-related fatalities in Colorado for that year, which total 574.

Uninsured Motorists. Finally, we come back to the problem of uninsured drivers. When they find it difficult or impossible to afford car insurance, some motorists simply drop it. But when a driver is uninsured and gets in an accident, the insurer of the other party must foot the entire bill — which is then passed on to other policyholders in the form of higher premiums.

How to Lower Car Insurance Rates in Colorado.

If your insurance rates in Colorado are going up or you’re having difficulty keeping up with payments, there are things you can do to help bring payments down without dropping your auto insurance.

Practice safe driving habits. The best advice is also the most obvious: avoiding accidents and traffic violations is by far the easiest way to keep your insurance premiums down. Follow traffic rules, don’t drive under the influence, and keep a clean driving record. You might even consider taking a defensive driving course. This can even lead to lower auto insurance premiums as time goes on.

Adjust your coverage. If you have an older vehicle that might have less value than the premiums you’re paying on it, consider dropping comprehensive and collision coverage and just keep the (mandatory) liability coverage. If you choose to go this route, make sure you have the means to pay for vehicle damage and medical treatment out of pocket — a tricky proposition if you’re already struggling to make ends meet. You might also consider raising your deductible — you’ll pay more out of pocket in case of an accident, but your monthly premiums will be lower.

Shop around and compare. You don’t necessarily have to stay with your existing auto insurance company. Using online tools to shop around and compare rates in Colorado can make a big difference. As Renata Belasco from The Zebra points out, not all insurance companies are treated equally — some companies definitely offer lower premiums than others, just as some have higher customer satisfaction ratings than others. There could be major benefits to taking the time to comparison shop.

Change your transportation situation. If you’re serious about cutting costs, you might think about switching from that luxury SUV to an older, cheaper vehicle. Newer cars with more sophisticated technology tend to cost more to maintain and repair, which means they also cost more to insure. In addition, some cars are far more of a magnet for thieves than others.

Other ways to change how you get around might include joining a car share or carpooling group, maybe even leaving your car at home enough to get a low mileage discount. Or you might embrace carless alternatives like biking or public transportation!


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