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Iowa’s Minimum Car Insurance Requirements

Iowa has thousands of miles of public roadways—many of them lined with corn on both sides—and more than two million licensed motorists. Although most of these drivers obey the local traffic laws most of the time, you cannot rely on everyone to operate their vehicle in a cautious and predictable manner.

At the end of the day, even the most conscientious motorists can end up in a catastrophic collision with a drunk, distracted, or reckless driver. In the state of Iowa alone, 331 people died in traffic crashes in 2017, and many more were hurt as the direct result of someone else’s negligence.

Recovering from serious accident injuries is not only physically demanding and emotionally draining, but it can also be financially devastating. Fortunately, individual motorists in the state of Iowa must purchase a certain amount of liability coverage, which ultimately serves to protect everyone on the roads.

Because Iowa is a tort state, those who cause collisions by driving in a negligent manner are financially liable for any damages that result. By naming these parties in a personal injury claim, accident victims can secure compensation for:

  • Medical bills and any subsequent physical therapy;
  • Lost income and benefits;
  • Loss of earning capacity;
  • Emotional distress;
  • Loss of consortium; and
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.

As long as the at-fault party has adequate liability coverage, his or her insurance provider should cover the above damages for any third-party claimants. If the negligent motorist is uninsured or underinsured, there may be other avenues of compensation for the accident victim to pursue; however, working with an auto insurance provider is typically the easiest way to secure funds following a car wreck.

To ensure people have access to the money they deserve, tort states have car insurance requirements for motorists who wish to register a vehicle. In Iowa, for example, these mandatory coverage amounts include:

  • At least $20,000 in bodily injury per person;
  • At least $40,000 in bodily injury per accident; and
  • At least $15,000 in property damage per accident.


Iowa's Minimum Car Insurance Requirements

All drivers in the state of Iowa are required to carry insurance coverage that meets the 20/40/15 minimum limits.

The state also urges motorists to purchase at least $20,000 in uninsured motorist bodily injury per person and at least $40,000 per incident, but you have the right to waive this coverage. If you were to get in a collision with an uninsured motorist, though, this kind of supplemental policy would essentially pay for itself.

Unfortunately, getting into such a crash is more likely than most drivers realize. According to the Insurance Information Institute, nearly 9 percent of the licensed motorists in Iowa were uninsured in 2015.

What Kinds of Factors Affect the Cost of Car Insurance in Iowa?

Most motorists who fail to obtain adequate liability coverage do so because of their financial limitations. There are a lot of factors that affect the cost of car insurance, and for some drivers, premiums can be fairly pricey because of their circumstances. Factors that affect rates include:

  • Your age, gender, and driving experience;
  • Your driving habits, including commute distance and frequency;
  • The make, model, year, and safety rating of your vehicle;
  • Your driving record;
  • Your marital status; and
  • The age and driving record of any other licensed motorists in the household who will be driving your vehicle.

Fortunately, there are ways to secure affordable car insurance in Iowa, even if one or more of the above factors is working against you. For example, major insurance providers often offer discounts for policyholders who complete a defensive driving course or install a tracking device in their vehicle that will record their driving habits. Shopping around can also yield reasonable rates, as can bundling all of your coverage—life, homeowners, and auto—by purchasing it from the same provider.