CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH A LAWYER for free about How insurance deductibles work after a car accident.

While many people believe that insurance policies should cover all of the damages for auto-accidents, this is not always the case. Even when you are not at fault for the accident, you may be required to pay for some initial out-of-pocket expenses, as a part of your deductible, before your insurance policy will begin to cover expenses. However, making these initial out-of-pocket payments does not prevent you from recovering the full costs, including compensation for your deductible, later in the legal process.

If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident or if you are dealing with an insurance company after being involved in a car accident, call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation. Our team of car accident attorneys in Denver, Colorado, has extensive experience with insurance policies and fault attribution for car accident cases. We will do everything necessary to help you maximize your potential for recovery.

Colorado Driving Statistics

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation’s 2021 Problem Identification Statewide Report, there were 121,648 traffic collisions and 596 traffic fatalities across the state of Colorado in 2019. Moreover, research from the Insurance Information Institute suggests that in 2015 alone (the latest date for which stats are available), approximately 13.3% of all active drivers in Colorado were operating their vehicle uninsured. Currently, Colorado ranks as the 19th worst state for uninsured motorist collisions.

What Type of Car Insurance Policy Do You Have?

In almost every state, driving without car insurance violates the law. Uninsured motorist laws are especially strict in states like Colorado, which impose a scheme of increasing penalties for repeated violations.

In Colorado, motorists are required to provide proof of insurance both when registering their vehicle and anytime they are driving. Colorado officers routinely compare the registration and license plate information of active vehicles on the roadways with those stored in a database of registered vehicles provided by all the insurance companies in Colorado.

If a police officer or state trooper finds a stationary vehicle which is registered but uninsured, it will send the policyholder a notice. If, however, the police officer finds a motorist in the act of driving without proof of insurance, the penalties are steep (Colorado Statute 42-4-1409):

  • Automatic four "points" against your driver license.
  • If it is the driver's first offense, the court will impose a minimum $500 fine. Additionally, the judge will likely impose a suspension on the driver's license until the driver can show proof of insurance to their local jurisdiction's Division of Motor Vehicles.
  • If it is the driver's second offense, the court will impose the minimum of a $1,000 fine, and the judge will likely impose a longer suspension on the driver's license, i.e., for at least four months.
  • If it is the driver's third or more offense, the court will impose the minimum of a $1,000 fine and the judge will increase the suspension period on the driver's license for at least eight months.
  • Regardless of whether it is a motorist's first or repeated offense, the courts may impose additional hours community service, up to 40 hours.

Car insurance policies contain numerous provisions, but two key provisions of any insurance policy are the "coverage" and "deductible."


Insurance coverage refers to the amount of risk or liability that is covered for an individual or "insured" by way of the insurance company or "insurer."  While most drivers pay for multiple coverages within their larger insurance policy, the typical coverages that most drivers possess can be characterized as belonging to five categories:

  • Auto-Liability Coverage: This type of coverage compensates for injuries or damages to third parties and their property and does not cover any damages or injuries to the driver or the driver’s property.
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): This type of coverage, commonly known as “no-fault insurance,” is a component of nearly all car insurance plans; it covers the medical expenses associated with a car accident. PIP can compensate for the medical expenses of both the injured driver as well as any injured passengers in the vehicle.
  • Collision Coverage: This type of coverage helps to pay for any expenses involved with repairing or replacing a car if it is damaged in an accident. Collision coverage typically does not cover any damage to a vehicle that is not related to driving (such as theft, vandalism, or hail).
  • Comprehensive Coverage: This type of coverage, also known as “other than collision” coverage, covers the costs of damage to a car for non-collision related claims. It is basically the inverse of Collision Coverage.
  • Uninsured motorists: Unlike the other categories, uninsured motorists will be required to pay out-of-pocket for any damages/injuries they caused or sustained in an accident.

While some coverage policies are optional, many states require motorists to carry different liability minimums for certain areas of coverage. The minimum liability requirements in Colorado are:

  • $25,000 per person for bodily injury
  • $50,000 per accident for bodily injury
  • $15,000 per accident for property

If you or a loved one are interested in becoming a driver or in modifying their existing car insurance, consult with an attorney to find out which coverages are required in Colorado and which you might consider adding to your policy.


A car insurance deductible refers to the fixed amount of money that the insured agreed to pay up front (in the event of an accident) in order to trigger their policy coverage. When the repairs for the driver's vehicle is more than the deductible, then the insurance company will cover the rest up to the policy limit. For example, if you have a $300 deductible and it costs $5,000 to fix your car, you’ll be required to pay $300 and the insurance company will pay the remaining $4,700.

When drivers negotiate an insurance contract with an insurer, they are generally able to choose their own deductible amount. A driver's deductible has a massive effect on the driver's yearly or monthly insurance rate. An insurance rate refers to the amount of money that a person must pay to receive a specific amount of insurance coverage.

The deductible and the insurance rate are inversely related, meaning the higher that a driver sets their deductible, the lower their insurance rate will be in the long run. Likewise, if a driver opts for a relatively low deductible, your insurance rate will be higher since your insurer will have to pay for the majority of your repairs.

When Am I Required to Pay for a Deductible?

While the deductible refers to the initial out-of-pocket costs that an insured must pay before they can be compensated from their insurance company, that does not mean that accident victims cannot receive compensation for this out-of-pocket expense.

Determining who will ultimately bear the costs of paying for the deductible after an automobile accident will depend entirely on who is at fault for the injury or damage. Therefore, it is crucial that accident victims be diligent about documenting their injuries and damages as well as any evidence that can help with attributing fault in the future. All of this evidence should first be submitted to the accident victim's insurer in the form of an accident/insurance claim; later it may be used for settlement or litigation purposes.

While the accident victim's insurance provider investigates who was at fault for the accident, they can proceed by paying their deductible and getting the remainder of their car fixed using insurance payments. If the insurance company determines that the "victim" was really at fault for the accident, then they won’t receive compensation for their deductible. However, if the insurance company determines that another party was at fault for the accident, they may choose to file a claim against the at-fault party’s insurance company to cover the victim's deductible and any additional repairs the insurance company had to make to cover the damages to the victim.

Get a Free Consultation for Your Auto-Insurance Case from Zinda Law Group

At Zinda Law Group, our car accident lawyers in Denver have helped many insurance claimants and their beneficiaries get their lives back on track after suffering injuries, death, and financial losses. We understand that insurance companies will do whatever it takes to pay out as little as possible, so we advocate to compel them to fully compensate their insured. 

Our firm believes that injured clients in Colorado should not have to worry about their ability to afford high-quality legal representation. This is why we offer 100% free consultations.  Zinda Law Group operates on a contingency fee basis, meaning you will pay nothing unless we achieve a favorable settlement, judgment, or verdict for your claim. That’s our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.

If you or a loved one has been injured or experienced property damage in an automobile accident in the Denver area, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to receive your free consultation with our personal injury attorneys today. We are also offering free virtual consultations during the COVID-19 crisis.

Meetings with attorneys are available by appointment only.