Colorado, known as the “Centennial State,” is a haven for motorcycle riders, offering a wide range of stunning landscapes, from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Plains.
All motorcycle owners in Colorado should understand the state’s insurance requirements & safety regulations before operating a motorcycle.
Insurance requirements are designed to protect you and other drivers in the event of an accident or collision – by ensuring financial responsibility for damages and injuries.
Colorado Motorcycle Insurance Requirements
To comply with Colorado’s motorcycle insurance requirements, your policy must include the following coverage limits:
- $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $15,000 property damage liability per accident
These coverage requirements are sometimes noted as a “25/50/15” plan.
Motorcycle insurance requirements in Colorado are overseen by the Colorado Department of Revenue (DOR) and the Colorado Division of Insurance.
Note: Requirements can change in the future. For updated information about motorcycle insurance requirements in CO, consult: Colorado DMV & Colorado DORA.
Motorcycles & Two-Wheeled Vehicles: Defined in CO
In Colorado, motorcycles and other two-wheeled vehicles are legally defined as follows:
Motorcycle: A motor vehicle with a seat or saddle for the rider, designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, and excludes tractors and motorized bicycles.
Motor-driven cycle: A motorcycle with a motor that displaces less than 150 cubic centimeters.
Motorized bicycle (moped): A two-wheeled vehicle equipped with a motor that has a maximum piston displacement of 50 cubic centimeters or less, is incapable of speeds greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground, and meets specific equipment requirements.
Note: Definitions are based on the Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 42 – Vehicles and Traffic, Article 1 – Definitions.
Insurance Requirements for Smaller Vehicles in Colorado
Below are some smaller, non-car vehicles that require insurance in Colorado:
Motorcycles: All motorcycles, including those with three wheels or more, must have liability insurance coverage in Colorado.
All-terrain vehicles (ATVs): Insurance is required for any ATV operated on public lands in Colorado, and additional coverage may be necessary depending on the specific use or location.
Utility vehicles (UTVs): Insurance coverage is necessary for UTVs operated on public roads or lands in Colorado.
According to the Colorado Revised Statutes, Title 42 – Vehicles and Traffic, Article 7 – Financial Responsibility, all motorcycles and certain off-road vehicles operated on public roads or lands in Colorado must have liability insurance coverage.
Common Motorcycle Laws in CO
Included below are some common laws to understand while operating a motorcycle in the state of Colorado:
- Lane splitting: Lane splitting, or riding between lanes of traffic, is not legal in Colorado.
- Helmet use: Colorado law requires all motorcycle riders and passengers under 18 years old to wear a helmet while riding. Riders 18 years and older are not required to wear a helmet but are encouraged to do so for safety purposes. All helmets must meet the safety standards set by the Department of Transportation.
- Exhaust: Colorado law prohibits the use of modified or altered exhaust systems that increase noise levels beyond certain decibel limits.
- Eyewear: Riders in Colorado are required to wear protective eyewear unless their motorcycle has a windshield.
- Passenger: A passenger can only ride on a motorcycle if the bike is equipped with a designated passenger seat and footrest.
- Mirrors & lighting: Motorcycles must be equipped with at least one rearview mirror and have proper lighting, including brake lights, tail lights, and turn signals.
- Turn signals: Colorado law requires motorcycles to have functioning turn signals.
- Headlights: Motorcycles must have at least one working headlight, which must be used during daytime and nighttime hours.
- Seat & footrest: All motorcycles must have a seat for the rider, as well as a footrest.
- Endorsement: To legally operate a motorcycle in Colorado, you must have a Class M motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license.
Additional Insurance for Motorcyclists in CO
As a motorcyclist in Colorado, you may want to consider additional insurance beyond the state’s minimum requirements:
- Collision Coverage: This coverage can help cover the cost of repairs or replacement if your motorcycle is damaged or totaled in an accident.
- Comprehensive Coverage: This coverage can help cover the cost of repairs or replacement if your motorcycle is stolen or damaged by factors such as weather, fire, or vandalism.
- Uninsured & Underinsured Motorist Coverage: This coverage can help protect you if you’re involved in an accident with a driver who has zero insurance or lacks adequate insurance to cover damages.
- Medical Payments Coverage: This coverage can help cover medical expenses for you or your passengers in the event of an accident.
- Roadside Assistance Coverage: This coverage can provide assistance if your motorcycle breaks down while you’re on the road, including services such as towing, fuel delivery, and battery jump-starts.
- Custom Parts & Equipment Coverage: If you have customized your motorcycle with aftermarket parts or accessories, this coverage can help cover the cost of repairs or replacement if they are damaged or stolen.
Proof of Insurance & Penalties
In Colorado, all motorists, including motorcyclists, are required to carry proof of insurance while operating their vehicle.
This proof of insurance should be presented when requested by a law enforcement officer during a traffic stop or after an accident.
Penalties for failing to provide proof of insurance can include:
- First Offense: Fine of up to $500, four points added to your driving record, and license suspension until you can provide proof of insurance.
- Second Offense: Fine of up to $1,000, four points added to your driving record, and license suspension for up to four months.
- Third & Subsequent Offenses: Fine of up to $1,000, eight points added to your driving record, and license suspension for up to eight months.
In addition to the penalties for failing to provide proof of insurance, motorcyclists who are involved in an accident without insurance coverage may face significant financial and legal consequences.
FAQs: Motorcycle Insurance in Colorado
Included below are some FAQs (frequently asked questions) about motorcycle insurance and riding in Colorado.
Is lane splitting legal in Colorado?
No, lane splitting is not legal in Colorado. Riders must adhere to normal traffic laws and should not ride between lanes of traffic or share a lane with another vehicle.
Are helmets required while riding your motorcycle in CO?
In Colorado, helmets are not required for riders and passengers who are 18 years of age or older.
However, it is highly recommended to wear a helmet that meets the Department of Transportation’s safety standards for added protection.
Do I need a special license or endorsement to ride a motorcycle in Colorado?
Yes, you need a Class M motorcycle endorsement on your Colorado driver’s license to legally operate a motorcycle in the state.
You can obtain a Class M endorsement by passing a written test and either completing a motorcycle training course or passing a skills test.
Can I get discounts on my motorcycle insurance policy in Colorado?
Most insurance companies offer discounts on motorcycle insurance policies.
Discounts may come from things like: completing a motorcycle safety course, being a member of a motorcycle club, having multiple policies with the same company, and/or having a clean driving record.
Is it possible to lower my insurance premium?
Some ways to lower your motorcycle insurance premium include maintaining a clean driving record, taking a motorcycle safety course, choosing a higher deductible, and shopping around for the best insurance rates.
Are scooters & mopeds subject to the same insurance requirements as motorcycles?
In Colorado, scooters and mopeds with an engine displacement of 50cc or less are not subject to the same insurance requirements as motorcycles.
However, it is always a good idea to have insurance coverage to protect yourself and others on the road.
Check with your insurance provider for specific details and requirements based on your vehicle.
What happens if I ride without insurance?
Operating a motorcycle without sufficient insurance in Colorado is illegal.
If you are caught riding without insurance, you could face fines, suspension of your license, motorcycle impoundment, and other legal penalties.
What factors influence the cost of motorcycle insurance in CO?
Common variables that influence the cost of motorcycle insurance in Colorado include:
- Age & sex
- Driving history
- Type of motorcycle operated
- Location (within CO)
- Frequency of riding
In general, young riders who live in urban areas with heavy traffic tend to have the highest insurance rates.
Finding the best deal on motorcycle insurance in Colorado
To find the best deal on motorcycle insurance in Colorado, it is generally smart to do a bit of research and compare quotes from several insurance companies.
This website has a free online tool that allows you to compare quotes from leading insurance providers in your specific location.
By entering your Zip Code and selecting the type of coverage you want, you can view and compare costs to find an ideal policy based on both requirements and personal preferences.