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Uninsured Drivers on the Rise in Colorado

Posted in Blog on April 17, 2015

Being in an accident is difficult and stressful enough, but the situation can become even more frustrating if the other driver is uninsured. Unfortunately, if you live in Colorado, that nightmare scenario may just be what happens to you despite the state’s requirements that all drivers carry automobile insurance.

Premiums Fall but the Uninsured Rate Rises

As reported by The Denver Post, Colorado is once again listed as one of the top ten states in the United States with uninsured drivers. The Insurance Research Council recently released a report stating that the uninsured rate for Colorado drivers is at 16.2 percent, which works out to around 600,000 people or approximately one out of every six drivers.

Colorado drivers used to pay higher premiums for auto insurance before 2003 when the state was not considered a “no fault” state. During the 1990s, per the IRC, around 30 to 40 percent of all the state’s drivers were uninsured, and Colorado led in the number of uninsured drivers in the country for the entire decade.

Insurers pushed the idea that once premiums fell, more drivers would get insurance, and Colorado became a “no fault” state in 2004. The shared responsibility between both drivers’ insurers, regardless of who is at fault, limits and controls losses.

The state stayed out of the top ten for uninsured drivers between 2005 and 2011, but the trend began to move backward around 2009 despite the lowered insurance rates. According to Bankrate analyst Stacy Jones, the average annual auto insurance premium cost for Colorado drivers is $848.25, below the country’s average of $884.39. Who Are The Uninsured? Patrick Schmid, Research Director at the IRC, noted that the group isn’t entirely sure about the shared characteristics of uninsured Colorado drivers.

One common school of thought is that the drivers are more reckless, while others believe that the uninsured are probably more careful. Claim data, according to the IRC, seems to back up the first group.

Accidents involving an uninsured motorists were found to be more severe and result in an increase of bodily injuries. Under Colorado law, driving without insurance is punishable by a $500 fine for the initial offense and a $1,000 fine for the second.

Drivers must have proof of insurance to register their vehicle, so drivers are likely getting insurance for registration and then dropping the coverage. This places all drivers at risk, since these uninsured motorists are not prepared or covered in the event of an accident.

While it is impossible to say whether hit and runs and uninsured motorists are connected, there is a potential link. Colorado has seen a sharp spike in these types of cases, with 5,447 reported over 2013, an average of over 14 instances per day.

One particularly tragic hit and run ended the lives of two young children, Za May Khan, 8, and his brother, Ah Zet Khan, who was only 6. The two were struck by a hit and run driver while walking back from the local mosque with their mother, who suffered a broken leg, a broken arm and a terrible loss.

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