Iowa car insurance laws

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If you own a vehicle that is registered in the state of Iowa, you are required by law to carry car insurance. Auto insurance protects your legal and financial responsibility if you cause an accident. Without it, you could face serious consequences, like hefty fines and license suspension.

Every state has different car insurance laws, so whether you currently live in Iowa or are planning a move to the state, understanding the unique insurance requirements is important. Not to mention, driving uninsured puts you at risk. Here is some recent accident data for Iowa:

  • In 2016, there were 39,793 crashes in Iowa that resulted in property damage.
  • The same year, 5,047 people sustained minor injuries in a crash.
  • There were 355 fatal accidents in Iowa in 2016.

Car insurance laws in Iowa

Iowa car insurance laws require drivers to carry a minimum amount of coverage. Iowa minimum car insurance is abbreviated as 20/40/15, which includes personal liability insurance. The policy limits required in Iowa include:

  • $20,000 for bodily injury liability coverage per person
  • $40,000 for bodily injury liability coverage per accident
  • $15,000 for property damage liability coverage per accident

Iowa car insurance laws also require drivers to carry uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist coverage. Minimum is $20,000/$40,000 respectively. However, this coverage can be rejected in writing.

In Iowa, personal liability insurance protects you in the event of an at-fault accident. Bodily injury liability coverage pays for the other driver’s medical expenses if they get injured in the crash. Property damage liability coverage will pay for the other driver’s car repairs if there is damage.

Liability insurance in Iowa

Iowa’s auto insurance requirements only include personal liability insurance. However, it is important to know that a minimum coverage car insurance policy does not provide any protection for your own vehicle, nor does it pay for your medical expenses if you get injured in a collision you cause.

It is recommended by insurance experts that most drivers purchase more coverage than what is required. There is no guarantee that a minimum coverage policy will cover your full legal and financial responsibilities in an at-fault accident. You may have to pay the difference out-of-pocket, and if the other driver takes you to court, your personal assets could also be at stake.

For additional protection, purchasing a full coverage policy with collision, comprehensive and medical payments coverage is a good investment. Collision insurance pays for your vehicle’s repairs after a covered accident, and comprehensive insurance will pay for your vehicle’s repairs following a non-collision incident, such as a hail storm. Medical payments coverage will help pay for your medical bills if you get injured in a covered crash.

Is Iowa a no-fault state?

No, Iowa is considered a fault state. When a driver causes an accident in a fault state, their insurance company will compensate the other driver for their medical expenses and vehicle damages. In a no-fault state, each driver’s insurance company automatically covers their own medical expenses, regardless of which driver was responsible for the collision. Drivers in no-fault states are required to carry personal injury protection (PIP) as part of a minimum coverage policy.

Penalties for driving without insurance in Iowa

Driving uninsured in Iowa is illegal. If you get pulled over by law enforcement and are unable to provide proof of insurance, the officer may issue a warning or a citation, in which case you have two days to provide proof of updated coverage. In more serious cases, the officer may issue a citation, remove the vehicle’s license plates, revoke the registration and impound the vehicle.

After two or more offenses, drivers will receive a fine of up to $250, and may have their driver’s license suspended. In order to reinstate their driving privileges, Iowa drivers are required to purchase SR-22 insurance.

Additional auto insurance coverage options in Iowa

Drivers are required to carry personal liability insurance to meet the Iowa insurance laws. However, there are a number of optional coverages that drivers may consider purchasing for more protection. Here are some of the endorsements that can be beneficial:

  • Gap insurance: Iowa drivers who lease or finance their car may benefit from gap insurance. If your car gets totaled, gap insurance will cover the difference between your car’s diminished value and the remaining loan balance.
  • Accident forgiveness: Accident forgiveness may keep your car insurance premium from increasing after your first covered crash. Some insurance companies require you to be claim-free for a certain number of years before you can purchase accident forgiveness.
  • Rental car reimbursement: Rental car reimbursement will cover the cost of a temporary rental vehicle if your car gets damaged in a covered claim and needs to be repaired.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best car insurance company in Iowa?

The best car insurance company in Iowa varies, because it is different for every driver. It depends on factors like what type of coverage you want, what discounts you can qualify for, your budget and more. To find the best provider for you, shop around and get quotes to see which company can offer the lowest price.

What is the cheapest car insurance in Iowa?

The cheapest car insurance companies in Iowa are USAA, Iowa Farm Bureau, Geico, Auto-Owners and Progressive, based on our sample quotes. However, keep in mind that rates are personalized, so there is not one provider that is the cheapest option for every driver.

What is the average cost of car insurance in Iowa?

The average cost of car insurance in Iowa is $1,260 per year for a full coverage policy. Drivers in Iowa pay cheaper rates than the average American. For comparison, the average annual cost of car insurance in the United States is $1,674 for full coverage.

What car insurance discounts are available in Iowa?

Most car insurance companies in Iowa offer discounts that may help drivers get a lower rate. You may be able to find savings for good students, safe drivers, being claim-free, bundling your policies, paying your annual premium in full and taking a defensive driving course. You can also work to get a better rate by raising your deductible and improving your credit score.

Written by
Elizabeth Rivelli
Insurance Contributor
Elizabeth has two years of experience writing for insurance domains such as Bankrate.com, The Simple Dollar, Coverage.com and NextAdvisor, among others. In addition to auto insurance, Elizabeth regularly writes about home insurance, renters insurance and life insurance. She also covers industry trends and general insurance education.
Edited by
Insurance Editor