Car Insurance Requirements in Iowa (2024)

Iowa law requires you to carry liability coverage of at least 20/40/15.

Chris Schafer
Written byChris Schafer
Chris Schafer
Chris SchaferSenior Editor
  • 15+ years in content creation

  • 7+ years in business and financial services content

Chris is a seasoned writer/editor with past experience across myriad industries, including insurance, SAS, finance, Medicare, logistics, marketing/advertising, and many more.

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Daria Kelly Uhlig
Daria Kelly Uhlig
  • Licensed Realtor with 10+ years in personal finance content

  • Contributor to Nasdaq and USA Today

Daria is a licensed Realtor and resort property manager specializing in personal finance, real estate, and insurance topics. In her spare time, she practices photography.

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Updated April 17, 2024

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Auto insurance becomes an important part of your legal and financial responsibilities as soon as you start driving. The type of insurance and the amount of coverage you need depend on the laws of the state where you drive. In Iowa, the law requires drivers to carry proof of financial liability coverage whether the car is registered in Iowa or elsewhere.

In Iowa you’re required to carry bodily injury liability amounting to $20,000 for a single person and $40,000 in coverage for two or more people. You’re also responsible for carrying $15,000 in property damage liability.

Here’s what else you need to know about your insurance requirements in Iowa.

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Iowa car insurance requirements

Iowa requires drivers to have and carry proof of financial liability insurance coverage. Liability insurance coverage protects you if you injure another party or damage their property. To meet Iowa’s definition of liability insurance, your coverage must extend to anywhere in the U.S. or Canada.[1]

Bodily injury coverage

Bodily injury coverage kicks in if you or another driver injures or kills someone while driving your car. Iowa law requires that you have at least $20,000 for the injury or death of one person in one car accident and at least $40,000 for the injuries or deaths of two or more people in one accident.[2]

If, for example, you rear-end the car in front of you at a red light and injure the other driver, the minimum liability insurance would cover up to $20,000 of expenses resulting from their injury. Liability insurance wouldn’t cover your own injuries.

If the driver and their passenger were both injured, your minimum liability insurance would cover up to $40,000 in expenses resulting from their injuries, even if those expenses totaled $50,000. In this case, you’d have to pay the additional $10,000 out of pocket.

Property damage coverage

Property damage liability coverage reimburses other people when you damage or destroy their property while driving. This property might include their car, items inside the car, a fence, a building, or another object.

You’ll need at least $15,000 in property damage coverage per accident to drive legally in Iowa. Note that property damage coverage only reimburses damage to other people’s property. It doesn’t cover damage to your car or to the property in your car.

To see how this works in practice, say you lose control of your car and crash into a homeowner’s fence. With minimum coverage, your insurance would pay up to $15,000 toward the damages.

Iowa Automobile Insurance Plan

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/150x150/2f2def254a/states_iowa.svg

    Iowa has a special insurance program for high-risk drivers who can’t find coverage on their own. It’s called the Iowa Automobile Insurance Plan, and it’s available only to drivers who, in the last 60 days, have tried and failed to find coverage at rates equal to or lower than those offered by the plan.

Do you need more than state-minimum coverage in Iowa?

Liability-only insurance covers you when you cause an injury or damage property while you’re driving, but it doesn’t cover your own damages. You need full coverage for that. And the state-minimum liability might not provide enough protection to compensate the other party’s medical bills and other damages. That’s why insurance agents often recommend purchasing more than minimum coverage.

Whether you should take that advice depends on your situation. If you’re financing a car, your lender probably requires you to have full coverage, which includes collision coverage for crashes with another vehicle and comprehensive coverage for other types of mishaps.

Keep in Mind

Even if your car is paid off, you might consider full coverage if you drive an expensive car or have a teen driver in the house. Full coverage is more expensive, but it could be well worth the extra protection.

If, on the other hand, you have an older, low-value car or are an infrequent driver who mostly drives locally, full coverage might not be worth the extra cost.

The cost of liability-only car insurance in Iowa

With liability-only premiums averaging $62 per month, Iowa has the sixth-lowest average premiums in the U.S. But considering how important it is to protect your assets by reimbursing other parties for injuries or property damage you cause, it’s important to shop around for the best coverage as well as the best price.

The following average quotes demonstrate how variable auto insurance rates can be in Iowa.

The below rates are estimated rates current as of: Wednesday, April 17 at 12:00 PM PDT
Insurance CompanyAverage Monthly Quote
Auto-Owners22
USAA23
GEICO25
American Family27
Allstate28
Farmers32
Safeco38
Nationwide43
Travelers43
Progressive51
Dairyland52
Midvale Home & Auto58
Bristol West58
Direct Auto63
Liberty Mutual64
The General89
Foremost96
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

The cost of full-coverage car insurance in Iowa

Compared to other states, Iowa doesn’t rank as cheap for full coverage as it does for liability only. Its $163 average monthly full-coverage premium is the 15th lowest. However, it pays to repair or replace your own vehicle if you hit another car or a deer or if your car is stolen, vandalized, or suffers damage from a fire or fallen tree. That can add up to tens of thousands of dollars in additional coverage.

Here’s a sampling of quotes you might encounter for full coverage in Iowa.

The below rates are estimated rates current as of: Wednesday, April 17 at 12:00 PM PDT
Insurance CompanyAverage Monthly Quote
Auto-Owners44
USAA47
GEICO51
American Family54
Allstate58
Farmers66
Safeco85
Nationwide88
Travelers88
Progressive104
Midvale Home & Auto105
State Auto121
Direct Auto127
Dairyland153
Liberty Mutual188
Bristol West196
The General200
Foremost204
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

Penalties for driving without proof of insurance in Iowa

Driving without proof of insurance is a serious violation in Iowa, and the consequences can be costly. According to the Iowa Code, if an officer pulls you over and finds you don’t have proof of insurance, the officer can:

  • Issue a warning: You may receive a warning, in which case, you should purchase a policy quickly to avoid a worse outcome later on.

  • Issue a citation: If you receive a citation, you may drive the vehicle for up to 48 hours for the purpose of removing it from the road.

  • Issue a citation and remove the vehicle’s license plates and registration card: In this case, you’d need to have the vehicle towed home.

  • Issue a citation, remove the vehicle’s license plates and registration, and impound the vehicle: The vehicle stays impounded until the owner shows proof of insurance and pays any fines they’ve incurred.

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Optional car insurance coverages to consider

Minimum liability insurance might not provide all the protection you need. However, you can add other coverages to round out your auto insurance policy, including:

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/169fdfde11/liability-coverage.svg

    Collision coverage

    Collision insurance covers damage to your vehicle when you hit another vehicle or an object or flip your car. Collision coverage also pays for pothole damage.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/665da91bf7/comprehensive-coverage.svg

    Comprehensive coverage

    Comprehensive insurance reimburses damage from non-collision accidents and other covered events, such as fire, vandalism, fallen trees, hail, and impacts with animals.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/4c9753bdbe/medical-payments.svg

    Medical payments coverage

    Medical payments coverage pays for medical expenses if you’re involved in a car accident and require care.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/5285c4cd74/uninsured-or-underinsured-motorist-coverage.svg

    Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage

    Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage pays for your damages when an uninsured or underinsured driver is at fault. Auto insurance companies must offer this coverage with liability insurance, but you’re not obligated to accept it.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/4c9753bdbe/medical-payments.svg

    Medical payments coverage

    MedPay is medical payment insurance that pays your medical expenses while you wait for your insurance claim check. This is different from personal injury protection, or PIP, which is available in no-fault states and allows injured parties to collect medical expenses from their own insurance company regardless of who’s at fault.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/100x100/3220fb55f1/broken-windshield.svg

    Glass coverage

    Glass coverage pays for damage to your windshield and, in some cases, to other windows and your sunroof.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/abffe6238f/financial-protection.svg

    Gap coverage

    Your insurance policy probably won’t cover more than your car’s market value, even if you owe more than that on the loan or lease. Gap insurance covers this difference in the event of a total loss.

Iowa car insurance requirements FAQs

Going without car insurance — or the right insurance for your needs — can result in serious legal and financial consequences. Understanding Iowa’s rules about auto insurance will keep you on the right side of the law.

  • Does Iowa require car insurance?

    Yes, drivers must carry insurance on vehicles they drive in Iowa. At a minimum, you’ll need:

    • $20,000 per person in bodily injury liability

    • $40,000 per accident in bodily injury liability

    • $15,000 per accident in property damage liability

  • Do you need car insurance to register a car in Iowa?

    No. To register your car in Iowa, you’ll only need these three things:

    • Vehicle title

    • Completed title or registration application

    • Bill of sale

  • Do you have to have insurance to drive a car in Iowa?

    Yes. You’ll need at least the minimum required liability coverage and proof of financial responsibility to drive in Iowa.

  • Does insurance follow the car or the driver in Iowa?

    Auto insurance follows the car in Iowa. That means the policy extends coverage to the owner and anyone they list on the policy, as well as to anyone driving the vehicle with the insured’s permission.

  • Is Iowa a no-fault state for car insurance?

    No. Iowa is an at-fault state, which means the party who causes the damage is responsible for paying the associated expenses. If, for example, someone runs a stop sign and hits your car, you’ll file a claim with their insurance company. If you cause an accident, the other party will file a claim with your insurance company.

Methodology

Insurify data scientists analyzed more than 90 million quotes served to car insurance applicants in Insurify’s proprietary database to calculate the premium averages displayed on this page. These premiums are real quotes that come directly from Insurify’s 50+ partner insurance companies in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quote averages represent the median price for a quote across the given coverage level, driver subset, and geographic area.

Unless otherwise specified, quoted rates reflect the average cost for drivers between 20 and 70 years old with a clean driving record and average or better credit (a credit score of 600 or higher).

Liability-only premium averages correspond to policies with the following coverage limits:

  • Bodily injury limits between state-minimum rates and $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident
  • Property damage limits between $10,000 and $50,000
  • No additional coverage
Full-coverage premium averages correspond to the same bodily injury and property damage limits in addition to:
  • Comprehensive coverage with a $1,000 deductible
  • Collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible

Quotes for Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, State Farm, and USAA are estimates based on Quadrant Information Services’ database of auto insurance rates.

Sources

  1. Iowa Legislature. "321A.21 “Motor vehicle liability policy” defined.."
  2. Iowa Insurance Division. "Auto Insurance."
Chris Schafer
Chris SchaferSenior Editor

Chris is Insurify’s Senior Editor for home insurance. He’s a seasoned writer/editor with past experience across myriad industries, including insurance, SAS, finance, Medicare, logistics, marketing/advertising, and many more. He is passionate about breaking down complex subject material to make important information accessible to everyone. 

Chris began his career as a journalist, managing two weekly newspapers, then moving into marketing and content marketing roles. Before joining Insurify, Chris served as the content strategy manager at Siteimprove and as the content manager at Brandpoint, where he managed a team of content creators. 

Away from work, Chris is an active hockey player and proud father of two rambunctious little girls. Chris holds a Bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in mass communications from the University of Minnesota. 

Daria Kelly Uhlig
Daria Kelly Uhlig
  • Licensed Realtor with 10+ years in personal finance content

  • Contributor to Nasdaq and USA Today

Daria is a licensed Realtor and resort property manager specializing in personal finance, real estate, and insurance topics. In her spare time, she practices photography.

Featured in

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