How to Renew a Colorado Car Registration
The most convenient method to request a Colorado vehicle registration renewal is to submit your application via the internet. Car owners can also submit a paper application by mail or in person through their local Department of Revenue (DOR) location. Note that the option to renew car registration online in CO is currently not available in all counties. To complete the procedure, you will generally be required to:
- Confirm your identity.
- Provide certain details regarding your vehicle.
- Submit proof of a valid car insurance policy and a passed vehicle emissions test (if required).
- Pay the CO car registration costs.
Note: Depending on the application method, the steps in the process may vary.
Learn more about the topic of renewing car registrations in CO in the below sections.
When to Renew Your Colorado Car Registration
Renewing vehicle registrations in Colorado is a mandatory procedure that must be completed on an annual basis, as the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) of the state Department of Revenue issues year-long registration documents. Car owners can initiate the process to renew car registrations in CO up to a month before their registration's date of expiration. Note that the CO DMV also grants a one-month grace period after the last day of validity of the registration card. Drivers who renew their expired car registrations during this month will not be required to provide a late fee payment. The late DMV registration fees in CO will increase with each passing month for a total amount of four payable months.
To remind drivers of their approaching car registration renewal periods, the DMV in CO sends out renewal reminders approximately one month prior to the document's date of expiration. Even if you do not receive the renewal notice, you are still required to complete the procedure in due time, since driving a vehicle with an expired registration card in CO is against the law.
Note: In case of a change of residence, complete the DMV address change procedure in order to ensure you receive all future renewal notices.
How to Renew Your Colorado Car Registration
The process to renew vehicle registrations in Colorado can be completed via the following methods: online, in person and by mail. While drivers are able to successfully request a CO DMV registration renewal by submitting a paper application through a local CO Revenue Office, the online option is only available to applicants who meet certain eligibility requirements. Explore the sections below for details on the available renewal methods.
The fastest way to renew auto registrations in Colorado is to submit an online application. Prior to utilizing the option to renew vehicle registrations online in CO, car owners must ensure they fulfill certain eligibility requirements. Holders of CO registration cards will be allowed to renew their documents via the internet only if they:
- Are residents of a county that participates in the internet renewal program.
- Are renewing DMV registrations in CO prior to, or within their grace period.
- Have a valid email address and a credit card or checking account for payment purposes..
- Have met the required emissions check and liability insurance requirements
Note: Certain license plate types, such as apportioned truck, trailer or tractor plates are not eligible for the online registration renewal.
To initiate the procedure to renew auto registrations online, applicants will first be required to enter their vehicle's plate number. You will then be allowed to proceed with your application if the system authenticates that it has your emissions and insurance information on file, as well as your current registration. After verifying your vehicle's information and paying the CO DMV registration fees, your request will be accepted. The department will mail out the renewed tags within 15 days of confirming the fee payment.
Note: When using the internet option, drivers can renew auto registrations in CO for several vehicles with the same online transaction.
Car owners can also complete the Colorado DMV registration renewal by mailing their application to the address displayed on their renewal notice. Drivers who did not receive the DMV reminder can contact their local CO DOR branch to inquire about the details of the mail-in procedure. When completing the process of renewing auto registrations in CO by mail, applicants may also be required to include proofs of a passed emissions test and valid car insurance coverage, if they have not done so already. The application letter must contain payment for the applicable registration fees as well.
Note: If you choose to renew car registrations by mail, send your request as soon as possible in order to account for the post delivery times.
Renewing car registrations in Colorado in person is the most common method of completing the renewal process. Drivers can submit their application for an CO auto registration renewal through their county's Revenue Branch. When submitting the renewal request in person, you will be required to complete these steps:
- Present your renewal notice and/or details regarding your vehicle and last-year registration.
- Submit proofs of liability insurance coverage and emissions examination (if required).
- Pay the CO car registration fees.
Note: Applying for a car registration renewal in person is also a method reserved for drivers who have to submit proofs of insurance and emissions testing, as they are unable to submit certified evidence documents via the internet.
Liability Insurance Requirements
Prior to initiating the procedure to renew auto registrations in Colorado, applicants must ensure that their car insurance coverage has not been discontinued. Prior to processing your application for a CO vehicle registration renewal, the state DMV will check the status of your car insurance policy. Drivers whose coverage has lapsed will first be required to obtain the minimum auto insurance package and submit the proof of validity to their local office of the CO DMV.
Some of the accepted forms of proof of a car insurance policy include, but are not limited to:
- A valid insurance card.
- An official letter from your insurance company.
- A copy of your auto insurance policy.
- An electronic proof submitted by the insurance company directly to the DMV.
Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to obtain different types of car insurance policies, such as vehicle-specific coverage for a personal use vehicle or a commercial coverage for a fleet of vehicles and operators. Drivers can also maintain a fund for self-insurance, instead of purchasing a policy.
Vehicle Registration Fees in CO
An important step in the process of renewing auto registrations in Colorado is to provide payment for the renewal fees. The total amount of DMV registration costs in CO varies based on factors such as the vehicle's weight, overall value and date of purchase and the type of plates that were ordered. The current applicable fees differ from county to county. Prior to submitting a request for a CO car registration renewal, contact your local DOT Revenue Office for information about your county's specific car registration costs.
While the renewal fees vary across counties, the penalty fee for a late renewal is uniform across the state. The DMV in CO requires the payment of a $25 late fee for each month of lapse of registration. For instance, car owners who renew their registration three months after the end of their grace period, will have to pay an additional $75 fee. The late fee amount cannot exceed more than $100. Drivers will also be required to pay an annual ownership tax, regardless of their county of residence. Depending on the method used to apply for a renewal, the accepted forms of payment may vary.
Note: Certain groups of car owners may be eligible for free-of-charge license plates, such as Purple Heart recipients or disabled veterans.
CO Vehicle Registration for Military Members
To submit an application for a Colorado car registration renewal while on military duty outside of the state, applicants may utilize the standard DMV registration renewal methods and complete the procedure via the internet or by phone. Call or email the DMV in CO prior to initiating the process to learn more about the available application methods. Regardless of whether or not you are able to renew your car registration while on active duty, you can still do so through a local office of the state DOR, upon your return with the state. Some groups of current or ex-military members may be exempt from paying the auto registration costs in CO, as stated above. In such cases, the DMV automatically renews the owner's military plates.
Note that members of the military serving outside of the state who fail to renew their registrations by the end of the grace period will be exempt from paying any late registration fees.
Non-resident military members serving within the state may be eligible for an exemption from the annual vehicle taxes. Active duty personnel on service in Colorado will be required to submit the DMV Affidavit of No residence and Military Service Exemption from Specific Ownership Tax to their local CO DMV branch.
New Colorado Resident
Applying for a Colorado auto registration renewal as a new state resident is a procedure that can only be completed a year after obtaining an original CO car registration. Car owners with out-of-state documents will be required to apply for their first registration card in Colorado within 90 days of establishing state residency.
To finalize the CO car registration procedure after moving within the state, visit a local CO DOR office and complete these steps:
- Have your Vehicle Identification Number verified by a CO law enforcement office, a motor vehicle dealer or an emissions testing station.
- Convert your out-of-state title into a CO car title.
- Present a valid identification document.
- Submit proof of liability insurance and emissions testing (if required).
- Pay the mandatory car registration costs in CO.