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What types of common insurance are needed?
Which types of insurance are required -- and which are recommended?
What factors should I consider before I purchase any insurance?
One step at a time. Choosing insurance doesn't have to be a daunting task - use our consumer tips pages to get educated before you buy.
There are many choices to consider when selecting insurance, including:
Isit a good fit? Consider your ultimate goals when purchasing insurance to be sure the policy offers the coverage you want and fits your needs.
Resources and Tools
The Colorado Division of Insurance offers many resources to help you understand insurance options, to compare companies’ customer service and rates,
and to learn about types of coverage offered in various lines of insurance.
The Division of Insurance provides a rates and forms report search that allows anyone to obtain and compare information on current insurance rates.
Health Care Reform
Complaint Index / Complaint Ratios Report
Larger companies will typically have more complaints than smaller companies, so seeing the amount of business a company does in Colorado allows the consumer to compare the percentage of other consumers who filed complaints against a company, regardless of company size.
Tell it like it is.
Discount Health Plans and Discount Medical Cards Technically, these are not insurance so the Division of Insurance does not regulate these plans. However, if the card or plan is represented as an "insurance" plan, it falls under the jurisdiction of the Division. Be aware that state laws protecting buyers of insurance will not protect people who buy Discount Health Plans or Discount Medical Cards.
Be sure the health plan you select provides the coverage you need. Some consumers have been fooled into purchasing "health plans" that are not insurance and do not provide the coverage needed when there is a medical crisis or health event.
If you have questions about a health benefit plan or health “discount” plan, find out if the company is registered to sell insurance in Colorado before you agree to the policy or make a payment. If it’s not really health insurance, you may be out of luck when you need medical help and file a claim.
CoverColorado – State Health Insurance program for people who are otherwise not insurable
CoverColorado is a non-profit entity created by the Colorado Legislature to provide medical insurance for eligible Colorado residents who, because of a pre-existing medical condition, are unable to get coverage from private insurers.
CoverColorado also serves as the state’s plan for individuals who are eligible under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, otherwise known as HIPAA.
Senior Health. The State Health Insurance Assistance Program, within the Colorado Division of Insurance, helps people enrolled in Medicare with questions about health insurance. Topics addressed by the program include Medicare, Medicare supplement insurance (Medigap), Medicare HMOs, Medicaid assistance for people on Medicare, and long-term care insurance.
Auto insurance. (Required.) You must have car insurance if you own and drive a car. If you are driving a car you do not own, you must be sure it is insured and you are covered, either by your own policy or by the owner, in some cases.
Medical Payments coverage of Med-Pay (Mandatory Offer/Recommended.)
Consumers have the option of “opting out” which means they can state in writing they do not want the additional medical coverage as part of their automobile insurance. Although each consumer must make the decision, Med-Pay is recommended for those individuals who do not have the financial resources to pay the immediate medical costs often associated with a car accident.
GAP Insurance (Guaranteed Asset Protection) pays the difference between the loan amount and the market value of the car. As soon as you drive a new car off the lot, it typically depreciates in value. If your car is totaled and there is a difference between the value of the vehicle and the loan amount, gap insurance pays the difference subject to the terms and conditions of the policy. Typically, financed GAP coverage will not pay for the amount of the loan that may have been rolled over from a previous loan. For example, if you trade in your vehicle with a loan balance and roll that loan balance in to a new loan the GAP coverage may not cover that amount rolled over.
Umbrella Liability Coverage. Personal umbrella liability insurance is designed to protect against a catastrophic lawsuit or judgment. It provides expanded coverage and increases the amount of your liability protection beyond the basic coverage provided under auto insurance, homeowners and/or renters policies.
An umbrella policy kicks in when the limit is reached on the underlying liability coverage in your homeowners, renters, condominium or automobile policy. In addition to offering financial protection for events such as personal injury, either on your property or when caused by your vehicle, an umbrella policy may also cover you for things such as libel and slander.
Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) is extra insurance that most lenders require as part of a contract to purchase a home. Homeowners who obtain loans that are more than 80 percent of their new home’s value to protect financial institutions must purchase private mortgage insurance as part of the loan contract.
PMI allows individuals to purchase a home with less than a 20 percent down payment. Private mortgage insurance protects the lender (not the buyer), if the buyer defaults on the loan.
Title Insurance. When a house, building or other property is bought and sold, all the parties involved want to be sure the “title” or transfer of ownership is clear. Title insurance protects the owner and the lender against loss arising from problems connected to the title to the property.
Flood insurance is not included in typical homeowners insurance and must be purchased separately.
Homeowners insurance (dwellings and structures) insures your real and personal property if you own a house, townhouse or condominium. If your property is damaged, insurance will pay for repairs or rebuilding to the terms of your policy, to include your personal items in the home, attached and free standing structures (based on limits in your policy).
In addition to the insurance listed above, some professionals and businesses are required to carry certain types of insurance.
Here are some examples:
- many professionals, including doctors, attorneys, and building contractors are required to carry professional liability insurance;
- individual mortgage brokers doing business within the state of Colorado are required to carry liability insurance that includes Errors & Omissions insurance, in addition to other licensing and surety bond requirements;
- most employers are required to carry Workers Compensation insurance;
- business owners should also know requirements for property, liability, and replacement insurance for the specific type of business. In some cases, the insurance is recommended, but not required by law.
Link to information and requirements on starting a business in Colorado.
The insurance industry creates additional types of insurance to meet consumer needs and the changing marketplace. Travel insurance, pet insurance, and credit insurance are all fairly new types of coverage. You must evaluate the premium costs and potential benefits to see if these products will work for your situation.
Types of Insurance Regulated by the Colorado Division of Insurance (partial list)
Accident • Annuities • Automobile Insurance • Bail Bonds • Commercial Property • Condominium Insurance • Credit Insurance • Dental Insurance • Farm/Crop • Fire • Pre-Need Funeral Insurance • General/Professional Insurance • Health/Medical • HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) • Homeowners • Liability • Life Insurance • Long-Term Care • Medicare Supplement • Pet Insurance • Personal Property Insurance • Renters Insurance • Title Insurance • Travel Insurance • Viatical (Third Party Life Insurance)
Types of Insurance which may be regulated, or partially regulated, by another department or agency
Some types of insurance or insurance products are not under state jurisdiction. For example, if you have health insurance through your employer that is self-funded (the employer provides health or disability benefits to employees and assumes the direct risk for payment of claims), this type of insurance is called an ERISA plan and is under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government. Generally, under this type of plan, the employer hires an insurance company to act as a "third-party administrator" for the employer's health care plan, providing claims processing but not accepting any risk.
Some workers' compensation issues are handled by the Division of Insurance, and others by the Division of Workers Compensation. The Division of Workers Compensation is part of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment. (It is not part of the Division of Insurance, which resides in the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies.) Both of these state agencies have some responsibilities for regulating Workers Compensation Insurance in Colorado.
The Division of Insurance oversees licensure of insurers and agents, rating, underwriting, requirements for provision of risk management services, experience modification factor concerns, and data reporting.
The Division of Workers Compensation handles any issues associated with a claim, along with proof of coverage questions or issues regarding who must be covered by workers' compensation.
Please feel free to contact us if you are not certain where your question or complaint should go, and we will make sure you are routed to the correct agency for resolution.