Iowa Car Insurance Guide [Rates + Cheap Coverage Guide]

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Iowa Car Insurance Guide [Rates + Cheap Coverage Guide]

Marissa Hayes is a technical editor and contributing writer for Insurantly.com. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history, and she was the editor of the literary...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance...

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Reviewed byDaniel Walker
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UPDATED: Jul 30, 2020

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Iowa Car Insurance Guide [Rates + Cheap Coverage Guide]

SummaryStatistics
Annual Road MilesTotal in State: 114,442
Vehicle Miles Driven: 33,161 million
VehiclesRegistered in State: 3,447,049
Total Stolen: 4,342
State Population3,156,145
Most Popular VehicleChevrolet Silverado 1500
Uninsured Motorists8.70%
State Rank: 38th
Total Driving Fatalities2008-2017
Speeding: 612
Drunk Driving: 917
Average PremiumsLiability: $299.18
Collision: $219.75
Comprehensive: $171.58
Cheapest ProvidersUSAA and State Farm Mutual Auto
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Iowa is an oft-overlooked state. The Hawkeye State has more adventure to it, however, than most drivers may realize. As you roam through the state, you’ll pass thriving towns, active farming communities, and historical sites, many of which reflect the history of chief Black Hawk, the man who gave the state his nickname.

If you’re going to do that much driving, though, you’re going to need car insurance.

Researching car insurance providers if far from easy. First, you have to break down the number of insurers there are in your state. Then, you have to compare their benefits, coverage, and costs. It can take hours just to scratch the surface.

This comprehensive guide to car insurance in Iowa will help you navigate discounts, loss ratios, the rule of the road, and more.

Ready to get started? Read on to learn more!

If you want to get an early start on your exploratory research, why not use our FREE online tool? Just enter your zip code, and you’ll be able to find affordable car insurance rates in your area.

Table of Contents

Iowa Car Insurance Coverage and Rates

Car insurance all across the United States can be complicated to parse. That said, Iowa’s car insurance legalities and policies are a little more confusing to navigate. How can you tell what kind of coverage you need? The last thing you want to do is blow your budget on coverage that you’ll never use.

If you’re still figuring out what kind of car insurance is the best for you, never fear. In this section, we’ll touch on Iowa’s car insurance requirements and the different kinds of coverage you can use to protect yourself and your car.

Iowa’s Minimum Coverage

Let’s jump into the thick of it. Iowa doesn’t have a compulsory car insurance law in place. This means that, technically, you’re not required to have car insurance to drive on the road.

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Don’t think you’re off the hook, though. Iowa does have the Motor Vehicle and Financial Safety Act in place. This means that, if you happen to get into an accident, you’re required to show law enforcement officials proof of financial responsibility.

Iowa requires you to hold a minimum liability insurance policy per the Motor Vehicle and Financial Safety Act. This insurance breaks down as follows:

Note that these are only the minimum amounts the state of Iowa requires its drivers to operate with. If you drive without this coverage or otherwise don’t have a form of financial responsibility on hand, you could face serious consequences in the case of an accident.

Forms of Financial Responsibility

As mentioned, Iowa law requires you to hold a form of financial responsibility if you get into an accident on the road. But what, exactly, is a viable form within the state? Iowa law enforcement accepts the following in the case of an accident:

  • Valid liability insurance ID cards
  • A copy of your car’s current insurance policy
  • A valid insurance binder

Alternatively, you can provide proof that you’ve paid a fee to the Driver and Identification Services of Iowa to avoid getting in trouble with law enforcement.

That said, there are some circumstances in which law enforcement will not require you to show a form of financial responsibility. These include:

  • After an accident, your vehicle is still standing, stopped, or otherwise parked
  • Another person was non-consensually operating your vehicle at the time of the accident
  • You were the only person involved in the accident who suffered from injuries or property damage

All in all, it’s safe to keep a form of financial responsibility in your car, even if Iowa doesn’t legally require you to have vehicular coverage.

Premiums as a Percentage of Income

The cost of your insurance will come out of your per capita disposable income. That per capita disposable income consists of the amount of money you have available after you’ve paid your taxes for the year.

The average Iowa resident maintains a per capita disposable income of $38,820. On a monthly basis, then, Iowa residents have roughly $3,318 to spend on groceries, rent, utilities, and car insurance.

That’s a fair amount of pocket change until you consider the cost of living in Iowa. What percentage of income should drivers set aside for car insurance?

Iowa residents typically spend $683 on car insurance per year. That’s $56 out of the average monthly budget.

Iowa’s rates are, in fact, significantly lower than those available in other states across the U.S. This means it’s much easier for Iowa drivers to afford additional coverage.

Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates in IA (Liability, Collision, Comprehensive)

Speaking of additional coverage: not all car insurance plans are created equal. If you’re interested in investing in more than just minimum liability coverage, you’ll be able to look through a variety of plans, including those listed below.

Coverage TypeAnnual Costs (2015)
Liability$299.18
Collision$219.75
Comprehensive$219.75
Combined$672.01
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Note that the above data comes from the NAIC’s 2015 report. Rates as of 2019 and beyond will be more expensive than those listed here.

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Additional Liability

Loss Ratio201320142015
Medical Payments (Med Pay) 67%68%79%
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist49%68%71%
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A loss ratio over 100 percent suggests a company will pay out on claims, but it may also not be as financially stable as it could be. Comparably, a loss ratio below 60 percent suggests that while a company may be financially stable, it won’t be as willing to pay out on driver claims.

Add-Ons, Endorsements, and Riders

You can explore additional, optional coverage by considering some of the add-ons below. Click on the available links to learn more:

Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates by Age & Gender in IA

There are several different rumors surrounding gender and car insurance rates. Some suggest women have to pay more for their coverage than men, while others accuse men of being reckless drivers. As you can see in the table below, there are variations in rates, but gender isn’t always the most significant variable:

CompanyMarried 35-year old femaleMarried 35-year old maleMarried 60-year old femaleMarried 60-year old maleSingle 25-year old femaleSingle 25-year old maleSingle 17-year old femaleSingle 17-year old male
Allstate F&C$1,958.15$1,879.95$1,740.38$1,771.40$2,131.19$2,192.58$5,666.77$6,380.74
American Family Mutual$1,947.49$1,947.49$1,742.43$1,742.43$1,947.49$2,345.27$5,205.52$7,296.86
Farmers Insurance Co$1,505.56$1,534.33$1,348.08$1,472.79$2,038.46$2,181.07$4,551.35$4,851.93
Geico Cas$1,871.32$1,677.39$1,676.90$1,535.68$1,767.80$1,635.28$4,252.86$3,954.88
Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance$1,773.80$1,821.30$1,580.35$1,687.66$2,007.84$2,184.45$4,078.71$5,280.35
Progressive Northern$1,685.12$1,622.63$1,389.61$1,441.50$2,027.39$2,192.49$4,131.25$4,663.86
Safeco Insurance Co America$2,110.02$2,290.23$1,856.34$2,255.89$2,390.92$2,636.91$10,248.60$11,534.94
State Farm Mutual Auto$1,445.98$1,445.98$1,270.07$1,270.07$1,625.39$1,851.50$3,914.70$4,964.07
Travelers Home & Marine Ins Co$2,442.49$2,492.53$2,373.90$2,380.26$2,541.28$3,002.33$10,858.60$17,313.68
USAA$1,239.37$1,253.71$1,136.98$1,159.77$1,487.70$1,643.44$3,345.14$3,552.75
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Age contributes more to rate fluctuation than does gender. Young male drivers, for example, will pay far more for their car insurance coverage than older male drivers.

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Iowa Car Insurance Companies

With the basics out of the way, we can move on and tackle the challenge that is all of Iowa’s potential providers. There are several vying for your attention, and it can be difficult to parse the best deal for you through the noise. You want great coverage and a great rate — but who’s going to give it to you?

Here, we’ve collected data on all of Iowa’s top car insurance providers. You’ll find their financial ratings, customer reviews, loss ratios, and comparable rates.

Ready to learn more? Then read on to figure out which car insurance provider will give you the best deal.

Let’s take a closer look at how ZIP codes affect car insurance in Iowa.

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The Largest Companies’ Financial Ratings

A company’s financial ratings reflect their ability to meet consumer needs and to attend to consumer claims. You should look into your preferred provider’s financial rating if you’re worried about needing significant coverage in the future.

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Here, we’ve gathered together data on Iowa’s top providers so you can see how the market shakes out:

Company NameAM RatingsDirect Premiums WrittenLoss RatioMarket Share
Allstate Insurance GroupA+$56,70260.70%3.23%
American Family Insurance GroupA$111,22769.86%6.33%
GeicoA++$64,04478.07%3.65%
Grinnell Mutual GroupA$78,94571.86%4.49%
IMT Mutual Holding GroupNR$57,49870.27%3.27%
Iowa Farm Bureau GroupNR$119,30867.98%6.79%
Nationwide Corp GroupA+$180,62151.49%10.28%
Progressive GroupA+$285,10763.34%16.23%
State Farm GroupA++$389,03263.96%22.14%
West Bend Mutual Insurance CoA$38,49858.38%2.19%
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Remember, loss ratios aren’t perfect when they hit 100 percent. Instead, you’ll want to work with a company that’s somewhere between 60-80 percent, depending on your personal perspectives.

Companies with the Best Ratings

Customer service can make or break a car insurance provider. As you can see, this study presented by J.D. Power breaks down Iowa’s largest providers by their ability to meet consumer needs.

JD Power auto insurance ratings Northwest region

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Geico is one of the larger car insurance providers with a strong customer satisfaction rating, but Shelter beats the pack.

Companies with the Most Complaints in Iowa

Who doesn’t want to hear a little gossip while shopping for car insurance? Take a look at the table below to see which of Iowa’s largest car insurance providers have received the most complaints over the years:

CompanyComplaint Ratio 2017Total Complaints 2017
State Farm Group0.441482
Allstate Insurance Group0.98163
Progressive Group0.75120
Nationwide Corp Group0.2825
Geico.0076
Iowa Farm Bureau Group2.663
IMT Mutual Holding Group2.421
American Family Insurance Group0.00
Grinnell Mutual Group0.00
West Bend Mutual Insurance Co00
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Iowa Car Insurances Rates by Company

We know your budget is one of the biggest factors you have to consider when choosing a car insurance provider. That’s why we’ve gathered a list of the most affordable providers in Iowa for you to look through:

CompanyAverage CostAmount Compared to State AveragePercentage Compared to State Average
State Farm Mutual Auto$2,223.47-$734.72-33.04%
Geico Cas$2,296.51-$661.68-28.81%
Progressive Northern$2,394.23-$563.96-23.56%
Farmers Insurance Co$2,435.45-$522.75-21.46%
Nationwide Agribusiness Insurance$2,551.81-$406.39-15.93%
Allstate F&C$2,965.14$6.950.23%
American Family Mutual$3,021.87$63.672.11%
Safeco Insurance Co America$4,415.48$1,457.2933.00%
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Commute Rates by Company

Some car insurance providers change your rates based on how much you drive during a year. An average mileage of 12,000 miles or more will typically raise your rate, but not always.

CompanyCommute Distance and Annual MileageAnnual Average Rate
Allstate10 miles commute. 6,000 annual mileage.$2,894.65
Allstate25 miles commute. 12,000 annual mileage.$3,035.64
American Family10 miles commute. 6,000 annual mileage.$2,986.61
American Family25 miles commute. 12,000 annual mileage.$3,057.13
Farmers10 miles commute. 6,000 annual mileage.$2,435.45
Farmers25 miles commute. 12,000 annual mileage.$2,435.45
Geico10 miles commute. 6,000 annual mileage.$2,251.26
Geico25 miles commute. 12,000 annual mileage.$2,341.77
Liberty Mutual10 miles commute. 6,000 annual mileage.$4,415.48
Liberty Mutual25 miles commute. 12,000 annual mileage.$4,415.48
Nationwide10 miles commute. 6,000 annual mileage.$2,551.81
Nationwide25 miles commute. 12,000 annual mileage.$2,551.81
Progressive10 miles commute. 6,000 annual mileage.$2,394.23
Progressive25 miles commute. 12,000 annual mileage.$2,394.23
State Farm10 miles commute. 6,000 annual mileage.$2,169.94
State Farm25 miles commute. 12,000 annual mileage.$2,277.01
Travelers10 miles commute. 6,000 annual mileage.$5,425.63
Travelers25 miles commute. 12,000 annual mileage.$5,425.63
USAA10 miles commute. 6,000 annual mileage.$1,784.77
USAA25 miles commute. 12,000 annual mileage.$1,919.94
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Six major factors affect car insurance rates in Iowa. Which auto insurance factors will affect rates the most? Find out below:

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Coverage Levels by Company

The amount of coverage you’re interested in is going to change the amount a car insurance company will charge you, as you can see below:

CompanyCoverage LevelAnnual Average
AllstateHigh$3,072.83
AllstateMedium$2,968.91
AllstateLow$2,853.70
American FamilyHigh$2,840.53
American FamilyMedium$3,189.92
American FamilyLow$3,035.16
FarmersHigh$2,530.66
FarmersMedium$2,443.15
FarmersLow$2,332.54
GeicoHigh$2,411.84
GeicoMedium$2,297.14
GeicoLow$2,180.55
Liberty MutualHigh$4,601.36
Liberty MutualMedium$4,407.47
Liberty MutualLow$4,237.62
NationwideHigh$2,455.20
NationwideMedium$2,539.43
NationwideLow$2,660.79
ProgressiveHigh$2,521.62
ProgressiveMedium$2,402.19
ProgressiveLow$2,258.89
State FarmHigh$2,318.68
State FarmMedium$2,236.04
State FarmLow$2,115.69
TravelersHigh$5,666.01
TravelersMedium$5,507.84
TravelersLow$5,103.05
USAAHigh$1,941.61
USAAMedium$1,858.31
USAALow$1,757.16
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Credit History Rates by Company

Your credit history reflects your ability to pay back the money you owe to other organizations. Naturally, car insurance providers will consider this variable when giving you a rate.

CompanyCredit HistoryAnnual Average
AllstateGood$2,533.59
AllstateFair$2,817.56
AllstatePoor$3,544.28
American FamilyGood$2,380.74
American FamilyFair$2,831.65
American FamilyPoor$3,853.23
FarmersGood$2,195.20
FarmersFair$2,317.58
FarmersPoor$2,793.56
GeicoGood$1,833.13
GeicoFair$2,296.52
GeicoPoor$2,759.89
Liberty MutualGood$3,061.08
Liberty MutualFair$3,889.40
Liberty MutualPoor$6,295.97
NationwideGood$2,127.45
NationwideFair$2,427.31
NationwidePoor$3,100.67
ProgressiveGood$2,069.08
ProgressiveFair$2,284.84
ProgressivePoor$2,828.78
State FarmGood$1,544.99
State FarmFair$1,958.88
State FarmPoor$3,166.55
TravelersGood$4,964.86
TravelersFair$5,210.35
TravelersPoor$6,101.70
USAAGood$1,449.06
USAAFair$1,673.05
USAAPoor$2,434.97
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The better your credit is, the less you have to pay.

Driving Record Rates by Company

Your driving history reflects your ability to drive carefully on the road. Car insurance providers each give a different rate to your history, as you can see below.

CompanyRecordAverage Annual Cost
AllstateClean record$2,520.15
AllstateWith 1 accident$3,051.76
AllstateWith 1 DUI$3,470.40
AllstateWith 1 speeding violation$2,818.27
American FamilyClean record$2,181.69
American FamilyWith 1 accident$3,194.70
American FamilyWith 1 DUI$4,146.29
American FamilyWith 1 speeding violation$2,564.80
FarmersClean record$2,075.02
FarmersWith 1 accident$2,574.18
FarmersWith 1 DUI$2,612.59
FarmersWith 1 speeding violation$2,479.99
GeicoClean record$1,739.14
GeicoWith 1 accident$2,430.59
GeicoWith 1 DUI$3,150.98
GeicoWith 1 speeding violation$1,865.34
Liberty MutualClean record$3,813.55
Liberty MutualWith 1 accident$4,718.68
Liberty MutualWith 1 DUI$4,811.37
Liberty MutualWith 1 speeding violation$4,318.32
NationwideClean record$1,845.32
NationwideWith 1 accident$2,653.56
NationwideWith 1 DUI$3,619.74
NationwideWith 1 speeding violation$2,088.61
ProgressiveClean record$1,925.00
ProgressiveWith 1 accident$3,153.79
ProgressiveWith 1 DUI$2,088.27
ProgressiveWith 1 speeding violation$2,409.88
State FarmClean record$2,058.27
State FarmWith 1 accident$2,388.67
State FarmWith 1 DUI$2,223.47
State FarmWith 1 speeding violation$2,223.47
TravelersClean record$3,954.60
TravelersWith 1 accident$5,272.67
TravelersWith 1 DUI$7,060.59
TravelersWith 1 speeding violation$5,414.68
USAAClean record$1,414.93
USAAWith 1 accident$1,899.66
USAAWith 1 DUI$2,470.24
USAAWith 1 speeding violation$1,624.60
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As you might guess, high-risk drivers often have to pay more for their car insurance coverage than low-risk drivers.

Number of Insurers in Iowa

Domestic and foreign insurers are titles that don’t use their titular terms in the traditional sense. Domestic providers are providers who are present only in a specific state. Foreign insurers, comparatively, are providers who make their policies available just about everywhere.

Iowa’s domestic and foreign providers break down as follows:

  • Domestic: 73
  • Foreign: 860

As you can see, there are far more foreign providers operating in Iowa than domestic. That doesn’t mean you should count out your local insurance provider, but it does suggest that foreign providers may have a more significant support system for you to utilize.

Iowa State Laws

No one can memorize an entire state’s laws without significant practice (and a law degree). Even if you try to make note of all of your state’s driving laws, you’re likely to miss one or two as they’re updated.

That said, it’s important to know what kind of legalities apply to the road in your state.

We want to help Iowa drivers stay legal on the road. That’s why this section of our comprehensive guide will touch on the different legalities that maintain road safety in the state.

Car Insurance Laws

Car insurance laws vary by state. It’s best to start at the beginning when trying to understand their intricacies. Iowa, for example, does not require any of its drivers to hold car insurance. That said, the Motor Vehicle and Financial Safety Act ensures that holding insurance benefits drivers throughout the state.

Though there are no insurance laws in Iowa dictating that you have to own car insurance, the state makes the option appealing, even beyond the basic benefits of car insurance ownership.

High-Risk Insurance

If you have a spotty driving history, you may have to seek out high-risk insurance. High-risk insurance, or an SR-22, is a type of insurance that high-risk drivers are required to add to their existing coverage after a conviction or similar punishment.

You may be required to get an SR-22 if you’ve received any of the following:

  • DUI conviction
  • Reprimand for driving without insurance
  • Reprimand for driving with a suspended license
  • Reprimand for leaving the scene of an accident

Low-Cost Insurance in Iowa

Iowa does not offer car insurance programs for low-income families that would ease the pressure of paying for car insurance. However, drivers can seek out discounts to make the cost of insurance more bearable.

Be sure to ask your provider of choice if you or your family are eligible for any of the following:

  • Accident-Free Discount
  • Affiliation Discount (this would be any discounts through your employer, school, team, etc.)
  • Anti-Theft Discounts (i.e. if you have alarms, tracking systems, etc on your vehicle)
  • Auto-Pay Discounts (if you were to set up automatic payments from checking – some providers refer to it as a Paper-Saving Discount)
  • Good Student Discount
  • Homeowner’s Discount
  • Multi-car Discount
  • Green/Hybrid Car Discount (if you own/lease a hybrid or electric vehicle)

Be sure you shop around to find the best coverage for you that is equally cost-effective.

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Windshield Coverage

Accidents are called accidents for a reason. No one can readily predict when one is going to occur. Your windshield, for example, may break when you hit another car or when a pebble flies up from the road and hits the glass.

Unfortunately, Iowa state and insurance laws do not require car insurance providers operating within the state to replace the broken or cracked windshield on your car.

That said, some providers will include windshield coverage among their add-ons. Comprehensive coverage, too, is likely to include windshield coverage. That’s all the more reason to take on the cost of insurance in Iowa, even if it isn’t legally required.

Automobile Insurance Fraud in Iowa

The insurance industry sees 10 percent of its operating costs go to enduring fraudulent claims or accounts over a year. There are two different types of automobile fraud.

  • Hard fraud sees a driver deliberately falsifying a claim or faking an accident to receive compensation
  • Soft fraud sees a driver padding a claim or misrepresenting accident information to an insurance provider

Soft fraud is the more common of these two types of fraud.

Tthough you may think you’re telling a white lie, soft fraud is considered a misdemeanor, and lying on your claim is considered a Class 5 Felony.

Statute of Limitations

After you get into an accident, you have a limited amount of time to file an applicable claim with your car insurance provider. This time is referred to as a statute of limitations. In Iowa, the statutes of limitations break down as follows:

  • Personal Injury Claims: Two Years
  • Property Damage Claims: Five Years

Clean Claims in Iowa

Iowa does have a few state-specific laws, namely, the one outlining the legalities of the claims drivers can submit to their providers. Insurers are required by law to respond to any claims a driver may submit while protected by that applicable provider’s coverage.

Vehicle Licensing Laws

Each state has different requirements regarding the financial forms of proof you’re required to carry as a representation of your coverage through a provider. Likewise, each state will require different things of drivers looking to renew their licenses and registrations.

This section will touch on those variations, not to mention the different kinds of licenses you might receive as an Iowa resident.

As a reminder, the following documents serve as proof of insurance in Iowa:

  • Proof of payment to Driver and Identification Services
  • A printed or electronic representation of your car insurance coverage

Teen Driver Laws

Most teenagers are eager to get behind the wheel of a car. Teens need to be at least 14 in Iowa to start learning to drive. At this age, they can apply for a learner’s license or permit, so long as they meet the following requirements:

  • Maintain a mandatory holding period of 12 months
  • Drive 20 hours with adult supervision, with a minimum of 2 at night
  • Wait until age 16 to receive a full license

Restricted teen licenses require teen drivers to abide by the following rules:

  • No passengers beyond family members, with exceptions made at parents’ discretion
  • Nighttime driving restrictions between 12:30 a.m. and 5 a.m., lifted after age 17 with 12 months of driving experience or at 18 — whichever comes first

License Renewal Procedures

Drivers under the age of 70 and who don’t have an intermediate license need to renew their licenses on an eight-year cycle. Drivers only have to renew their licenses in person every other cycle, meaning that you can go up to 16 years without visiting the DMV. In between that time, you can renew your license via mail or the Internet.

Every time you renew your license in person, however, you’ll need to provide a representative with proof of adequate vision, under Iowan law.

Older Driver License Renewal Procedures

Drivers who are 72 years old or older must renew their licenses in person on a two-year cycle. These drivers must also provide proof of adequate vision upon every visit and are unable to submit renewal forms by mail or online.

New Residents

If you’re moving to Iowa, you need to be sure your car insurance coverage fits with the state’s minimum required liability. As a reminder, Iowa requires the following:

  • $20,000 for the injuries of a single party
  • $40,000 for the injuries of more than one individual
  • $15,000 for property damage

Though car insurance isn’t required by law in Iowa, you’ll receive benefits if you drive with it, including financial assistance in case of an accident.

Negligent Drivers

Reckless driving and negligent driving are both against the law in Iowa, and yes, there is a difference between the two practices. When a person drives recklessly, they risk a misdemeanor for endangering other people or property. Legal consequences of this behavior include:

  • 30 days in jail
  • Fines between $25-$625
  • Five- to 30-day license suspension

The penalties for negligent driving, or the death of another person as a result of reckless driving, can be seen below:

Homicide OffenseFelony TypeJail timeLicense RevocationAdditional Penalties
Reckless driving while intoxicatedClass B FelonyUp to 25 years6 yearsComplete drinking and driving program; may have to complete substance abuse program
Recklessness and/or fleeing from an officerClass C FelonyUp to 10 yearsUp to 1 year$1,000 to $10,000 in fines
Drag racingClass D FelonyUp to 5 yearsUp to 1 year$750 to $7,000 in fines
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Unintentional homicides are still homicides, and you could face serious consequences if you don’t drive with care.

Iowa Rules of the Road

From laws and legalities, we move to the rules of the road. These rules are designed to keep individual drivers a little safer while navigating from Point A to Point B. If you want to learn more and avoid an inadvertent ticket, read on.

Fault vs. No-Fault

As previously mentioned, Iowa is an at-fault state. This means that, at the time of an accident, one driver will be determined as the “at-fault” party — the party who was responsible for the accident. That party will then have to take on the financial responsibilities of both the injured party and their own vehicle, as any costs arise concerning the accident.

Keep Right and Move Over

If you are driving more slowly than the posted speed limit, or if you are not looking to pass a car in front of you, then Iowa law dictates that you must remain in the right-hand lane of the applicable interstate.

You must also move over for vehicles that have their lights flashing, regardless of whether or not they’re clearly marked as emergency vehicles. These vehicles include but are not limited to:

  • Police cruisers
  • Ambulances
  • Firetrucks
  • Tow trucks
  • Recovery vehicles

Speed Limits

Speed limits will vary based on the part of Iowa you’re traveling through. Even though you may be tempted to play at racing the other cars around you, don’t. You can face serious consequences if you get caught speeding.

Rural InterstatesUrban InterstatesOther Limited Access RoadsOther Roads
70 mph55 mph75 mph65 mph
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Note, too, that the aforementioned speeds are the maximum speeds for their applicable areas.

Seat Belt and Car Seat Safety

Iowa wants all drivers and passengers to take to its roadways safely. That’s why the state has strict seat belt and car seat laws in place, as you can see in the table below.

Safety Belt RulesDetails
Effective SinceJuly 1, 1986
Primary EnforcementYes
Age/Seats Applicable18+ years old in all seats
1st Offense Fine$25 plus fees
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Note that driving without a seat belt can result in primary enforcement. That means law enforcement representatives do not need any other reason to pull you over if they spot you driving without a seat belt.

The rules of the road — or, in this case, of seat belts — are just as strict for children as they are for adults, as you can see below.

AgeType of Seat Required
Less than one year old and under 20 poundsRear-facing car seat
Between one and six years oldSafety seat or booster seat
Between 6 and 11Child restraint system or safety belt
Up to 18 years oldSafety belt
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All that said, there are no laws in Iowa dictating whether people can ride in the back of cargo trucks. This doesn’t mean you can host a country music video–worthy party, but you can ride around from place to place legally — so long as you do so safely.

Ridesharing

Ridesharing has seen a distinct uptick over the past few years. Uber and Lyft now serve as viable career opportunities for drivers willing to share their time and vehicles. Before you start working for one of these employers, though, you need to make sure that your car insurance covers ridesharing.

The following Iowa insurers have ridesharing insurance on their rosters:

  • Famers
  • State Farm
  • USAA

Automation on the Road

Iowa is one of 32 states that has issued forth legislation dictating the different ways self-driving vehicles and other automated vehicles can operate on its roadways.

Just what, though, is an automated vehicle? Self-driving vehicles are still being tested around the United States, but they’ve yet to take to the roads. Right now, “automation” refers primarily to platooning technology, or technologies designed to keep groups of vehicles together while traveling on the road. Trucks and buses typically use these sorts of technologies to stay within a reasonable distance of one another.

Safety Laws

There are some legalities that drivers have no say in. There are others, however, that arise as a response to drivers’ behavior. This section will explore Iowa’s DUI and distracted driving laws, both of which arose in response to the state’s fatality statistics.

DUI Laws

Drinking and driving is never a good idea. In 2017 alone, Iowa saw 88 alcohol-related fatalities, all of which could have been avoided if someone had decided to rely on a designated driver.

In response to these statistics, Iowa has developed strict DUI laws, as you can see below:

Impaired Driving Law in IowaDetails
Name for OffenseOperating While Intoxicated (OWI)
BAC Limit0.08
High BAC Categories0.15
Criminal Status- 1st serious misdemeanor
- 2nd aggravated misdemeanor
- 3rd+ class D felony
Look Back Period12 years
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Every time a driver fails to abide by these laws, their penalties will worsen:

Number of OffenseLicense Suspension or Revocation and IID lockIID LockImprisonmentFineOther
1st Offense180 days (may apply for temporary restricted license)Must install IID if crash occurred or BAC > .1048 hours up to 1 year; min 48 hours may be served in OWI program with law enforcement security$625 up to $1,250 OR community service- Complete substance abuse evaluation and treatment program

- Might be assigned a reality education substance abuse prevention program
2nd Offense2 years (not eligible for temporary restricted license for 45 days)not specified7 days to 2 years$1,875 to $6,250Same as 1st offense
3rd Offense6 years (not eligible for temporary restricted license for 45 days)not specified30 days to 5 years$3,125 to $9,375Same as 1st offense
4th OffenseSame as 3rd offenseSame as 3rd offenseSame as 3rd offenseSame as 3rd offenseSame as 1st offense
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Fines, jail time, and a suspended license are only accessories to the true consequences of drinking and driving: a lifetime of regret. If you’ve had too many drinks, work with a friend to get home safely, reach out to a rideshare program, or sleep it off. Don’t put your life or another driver’s life at risk.

Marijuana-Impaired Driving

Iowa is one of a few states that’s instituted a zero-tolerance THC-impaired driving law. This means that if you’re caught driving while high, you could face consequences comparable to those that a drunk driver would face.

Distracted Driving Laws

Texting and driving has just as significant an impact on your ability to stay on the road as driving while intoxicated does. The rise of the smartphone, however, has made it more tempting for drivers to reach out to other people while on the road.

In response, Iowa has instituted handheld and texting laws, as you can see below:

Laws on Cellphones while DrivingDetails
Hand-held banNone
All use banLearner's permit and intermediate license holders
Texting banAll drivers
EnforcementPrimary
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Again, primary enforcement means law enforcement needs no other reason to pull you over if you’re spotted texting and driving. Leave the texting for when your trip is done to stay safe and to avoid unnecessary consequences.

Driving in Iowa

With the law under your belt, you can dive into the dangers of Iowa’s roadways. Iowa is full of wildlife and exciting things to see, but you still need to be careful on the road. Iowa currently ranks as fifth in the nation for deer-related collisions. You’ll need to keep your eyes peeled while on the road, that much is clear.

For more information about fatalities and collisions in Iowa, keep on reading.

Vehicle Theft in Iowa

Sports cars aren’t always the cars stolen most frequently, especially in Iowa. Take a look at the list below to see which vehicles most commonly go missing in Iowa.

Vehicle Make and ModelVehicle YearTotal Stolen
Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)2002258
Ford Pickup (Full Size)2001198
Chevrolet Impala2005101
Dodge Pickup (Full Size)200493
Ford Taurus200377
Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee200565
GMC Pickup (Full Size)200760
Toyota Camry199759
Dodge Caravan200556
Pontiac Grand Prix199956
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That said, different cities have higher risks of vehicular theft than others, as detailed here:

CityNumber of Vehicle Thefts
Adel2
Albia5
Algona1
Altoona14
Ames34
Anamosa2
Ankeny36
Bettendorf12
Bloomfield6
Blue Grass0
Boone15
Buffalo2
Camanche0
Carlisle3
Carroll11
Carter Lake25
Cedar Falls24
Cedar Rapids297
Centerville13
Chariton5
Charles City3
Cherokee2
Clarinda11
Clear Lake8
Clinton45
Clive18
Coralville11
Council Bluffs541
Cresco0
Davenport239
De Witt3
Decorah3
Denison10
Des Moines850
Dubuque60
Dyersville3
Eagle Grove3
Eldora2
Eldridge4
Emmetsburg1
Estherville4
Evansdale2
Fairfield9
Forest City4
Fort Dodge84
Fort Madison12
Glenwood13
Grinnell6
Grundy Center0
Hampton0
Hawarden1
Hiawatha7
Humboldt10
Indianola19
Iowa City82
Iowa Falls1
Jefferson0
Johnston9
Keokuk27
Le Claire1
Le Mars10
Leon1
Lisbon0
Manchester4
Maquoketa6
Marengo0
Marion17
Marshalltown37
Mason City30
Monticello2
Mount Vernon1
Muscatine23
New Hampton0
Newton18
North Liberty11
Norwalk1
Oelwein6
Orange City3
Osage1
Osceola14
Oskaloosa8
Ottumwa69
Pella2
Perry8
Pleasant Hill8
Prairie City1
Red Oak6
Sergeant Bluff1
Sheldon4
Shenandoah9
Sioux City240
Spencer4
Spirit Lake5
State Center1
Storm Lake11
Story City0
Toledo2
Urbandale25
Vinton3
Walcott0
Washington7
Waukee1
Waukon0
Waverly8
Webster City12
West Burlington8
West Des Moines76
West Liberty1
Williamsburg0
Wilton1
Windsor Heights6
Winterset2
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Road Fatalities in Iowa

There are other roadway concerns you’ll need to keep an eye out for beyond theft. As you’re driving through Iowa, make sure you watch out for the other drivers on the road to better avoid becoming a statistic.

Here’s what you need to know to drive safely on Iowa’s interstates.

Most Fatal Highway in Iowa

According to Geotab.com, I-80 Is the most dangerous highway in Iowa. The roadway sees roughly 15 fatal crashes on a yearly basis. It’s so commonly used, though, because over a third of the population lives along the roadway.

Traffic Fatalities by Weather Condition and Light Condition

Different weather and light conditions can impact the way that drivers can operate on the road. Take a look at how both factors cause fatalities:

Weather ConditionDaylightDark, but LightedDarkDawn or DuskOther / Unknown
Normal1462185141
Rain43400
Snow/Sleet40300
Other32310
Unknown30301
TOTAL1602698152
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Fatalities by County

We can’t control the weather or the nature of the highway we’re driving on. There are some fatalities, however, that we have a little more control over.

Road Type2003-20052004-20062005-20072006-20082007-2009
Rural345348364347335
Urban8278818675
Total427426445432410
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Traffic Fatalities by Road Type

Location also impacts the likelihood of a car accident, as you can see in the table below:

Person Type20132014201520162017
Passenger Car130117111152109
Light Truck - Pickup3853715354
Light Truck - Utility4332425442
Light Truck - Van2617123217
Light Truck - Other01000
Large Truck101161118
Bus00002
Other/Unknown Occupants6154810
Total Motorcyclists4152416048
Pedestrian2019252223
Bicyclist and Other Cyclists34585
Other/Unknown Non-occupants01322
Total317322320402330
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Person type is also likely to impact fatality statistics. “Person type” here refers to a person’s relationship to a vehicle as opposed to any other demographic statistics.

Fatalities by Crash Type

There are also specific crash types that most frequently result in fatalities:

Crash Type20132014201520162017
Single Vehicle169167168203182
Involving a Large Truck6148617067
Involving Speeding5145499470
Involving a Rollover109110115110124
Involving a Roadway Departure185208185231207
Involving an Intersection (or Intersection Related)788510211385
Total Fatalities (All Crashes)317322320402330
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Five-Year Trend for the Top 10 Counties

The table below relays the top 10 counties in Iowa that happen to see the most accidents over a year.

County20132014201520162017
Black Hawk County12510118
Cerro Gordo County367612
Dubuque County494410
Iowa County21589
Johnson County785168
Linn County121452016
Marshall County354412
Polk County2619202827
Pottawattamie County916131312
Scott County111321198
Top Ten Counties Total113111124151122
All Other Counties Total203209196251208
Overall Total316320320402330
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Fatalities Involving Speeding

It’s always tempting to start speeding on Iowa’s open roads. That said, Iowa sees its fair share of speedsters — and its speeding-related fatalities, as you can see in the table below:

County Name20132014201520162017
Adair County00000
Adams County00000
Allamakee County21010
Appanoose County10230
Audubon County00001
Benton County10040
Black Hawk County11341
Boone County02020
Bremer County00000
Buchanan County00010
Buena Vista County00000
Butler County00100
Calhoun County00001
Carroll County02000
Cass County01061
Cedar County00111
Cerro Gordo County10109
Cherokee County00010
Chickasaw County01000
Clarke County10010
Clay County12000
Clayton County00010
Clinton County00100
Crawford County00120
Dallas County20040
Davis County00110
Decatur County00001
Delaware County00000
Des Moines County01000
Dickinson County20001
Dubuque County01123
Emmet County00000
Fayette County05012
Floyd County10000
Franklin County00000
Fremont County00002
Greene County00000
Grundy County00000
Guthrie County01000
Hamilton County00010
Hancock County00000
Hardin County01000
Harrison County10000
Henry County00110
Howard County10000
Humboldt County00000
Ida County00000
Iowa County00035
Jackson County00001
Jasper County22112
Jefferson County00000
Johnson County10013
Jones County00000
Keokuk County10000
Kossuth County00100
Lee County01121
Linn County22175
Louisa County00100
Lucas County00000
Lyon County00000
Madison County02011
Mahaska County10011
Marion County00111
Marshall County03000
Mills County01001
Mitchell County00000
Monona County01012
Monroe County00000
Montgomery County00000
Muscatine County00001
O Brien County00000
Osceola County00001
Page County10000
Palo Alto County00000
Plymouth County00002
Pocahontas County01000
Polk County847125
Pottawattamie County31140
Poweshiek County01010
Ringgold County00010
Sac County20022
Scott County43953
Shelby County00210
Sioux County00101
Story County00121
Tama County00022
Taylor County10011
Union County00000
Van Buren County00000
Wapello County00000
Warren County22101
Washington County00000
Wayne County00000
Webster County10221
Winnebago County00001
Winneshiek County00001
Woodbury County51660
Worth County00000
Wright County20001
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Fatalities Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver

Drinking and driving is extremely dangerous for both the driver and for any pedestrians standing nearby. The below table relays alcohol-related accidents, including accidents involving teenage drivers who are intoxicated when they get behind the wheel in Iowa:

County Name20132014201520162017
Adair County05020
Adams County00000
Allamakee County21121
Appanoose County11130
Audubon County01002
Benton County33131
Black Hawk County31211
Boone County20110
Bremer County10000
Buchanan County00110
Buena Vista County01100
Butler County11001
Calhoun County01013
Carroll County03012
Cass County11140
Cedar County10101
Cerro Gordo County11028
Cherokee County00110
Chickasaw County01010
Clarke County00000
Clay County00000
Clayton County22110
Clinton County11100
Crawford County00000
Dallas County34341
Davis County00000
Decatur County01002
Delaware County20000
Des Moines County11131
Dickinson County00011
Dubuque County12101
Emmet County10000
Fayette County01010
Floyd County10000
Franklin County20001
Fremont County11012
Greene County00020
Grundy County10000
Guthrie County01100
Hamilton County00020
Hancock County30002
Hardin County01110
Harrison County01100
Henry County10110
Howard County00000
Humboldt County21011
Ida County00100
Iowa County00112
Jackson County01010
Jasper County10011
Jefferson County00000
Johnson County13071
Jones County13100
Keokuk County11000
Kossuth County10100
Lee County21331
Linn County44041
Louisa County02100
Lucas County00011
Lyon County20000
Madison County10320
Mahaska County02100
Marion County11010
Marshall County21015
Mills County11011
Mitchell County10010
Monona County10222
Monroe County00210
Montgomery County00100
Muscatine County00021
O Brien County10100
Osceola County01012
Page County11000
Palo Alto County00001
Plymouth County00011
Pocahontas County01001
Polk County767106
Pottawattamie County43335
Poweshiek County12001
Ringgold County00000
Sac County02000
Scott County651061
Shelby County10000
Sioux County10010
Story County01101
Tama County30003
Taylor County10001
Union County00020
Van Buren County00000
Wapello County00121
Warren County20612
Washington County02002
Wayne County00002
Webster County20022
Winnebago County01000
Winneshiek County10121
Woodbury County61421
Worth County01000
Wright County20101
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EMS Response Time

No one can predict when or where an accident will take place. Even so, when they do take place, you want to know that emergency services will be able to make it to your location with relative haste. In Iowa, EMS response times will vary based on your location, as you can see in the table below:

Type of CrashTime of Crash to EMS
Notification
EMS Notification to
EMS Arrival
EMS Arrival at Scene
to Hospital Arrival
Time of Crash to Hospital
Arrival
Rural6.21 min12.11 min32.39 min50.57 min
Urban3.88 min6.28 min19.72 min28.20 min
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In rural areas, you’ll typically make it to a hospital within an hour of an accident taking place. In urban areas, you’ll get to a hospital within half an hour to your accident.

Transportation

With additional information about Iowa’s fatalities at hand, you can make more responsible decisions about how you drive on the road. That said, what does driving in Iowa look like on a daily basis?

Car Ownership

As is the case throughout most of the nation, Iowa residents typically own two cars per household. A significant portion more owns three vehicles, while residents with a single car list near 17 percent of the population.

Commute Time

Good news for commuters: the average commute in Iowa only takes 18 minutes. The national average comes in at 25.3 minutes, making Iowa an easy state for folks going to and from work in the morning.

Commuter Transportation

Most drivers in Iowa prefer to make their way to and from work on their own. This habit lends itself to some early-morning and late-afternoon traffic, but it does mean that you — if you’re not carpooling, like 9 percent of the population — get to control what you listen to on the radio.

Traffic Congestion in Iowa

Finally, it’s worth noting that none of Iowa’s cities rank on the INRIX’s Global Traffic Scorecard, an international scorecard that tracks congestion all around the world. With an average commute of 18 minutes each way, it makes sense that Iowa has thus far remained off of this list.

And with that, we’ve come to the end of this comprehensive guide to all things related to Iowa’s car insurance. If you want to start comparing rates in your area ASAP, you can use our FREE online tool. Just enter your zip code to get started.

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State Minimum Car Insurance Rates Nationwide
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Factors Affecting Auto Insurance Rates in Iowa
State Minimum Car Insurance Rates Nationwide
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