Iowa Car Insurance Guide (Cheap Rates + Best Companies)

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Rachel Bodine

Insurance Feature Writer

Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

Insurance Feature Writer

Eric Stauffer

Licensed Insurance Agent

Eric Stauffer is an insurance agent and banker-turned-consumer advocate. His priority is educating individuals and families about the different types of insurance coverage. He is passionate about helping consumers find the best coverage for their budgets and personal needs. Eric is the CEO of C Street Media, a full-service marketing firm and the co-founder of, a financial educat...

Licensed Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2024

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It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.

Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident car insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We are not affiliated with any one car insurance company and cannot guarantee quotes from any single provider.

Our insurance industry partnerships don’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own. To compare quotes from many different companies please enter your ZIP code on this page to use the free quote tool. The more quotes you compare, the more chances to save.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about car insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything car insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by car insurance experts.

Iowa Statistic Summary
Road Miles 114,173
Registered Vehicles 3,409,279
State Population 3,156,145
Percentage of
Uninsured Motorists
Driving Deaths Speeding: 330 Drunk Driving: 68
Average Premiums Annually
Liability: $299.18 Collision: $219.75 Comprehensive: $183.53
Cheapest Provider: USAA

Iowa is home to many great small cities with catchy slogans such as Mallard which offers “We’re Friendly Ducks” and Granger, which says “Welcome, stranger, to friendly, Granger.” We’re all for being friendly and every town uses what it has to entice folks from not just flying or driving right on through town.

But perhaps our favorite small-town slogan is from Oakville, which says “This little town is like heaven to us. Don’t drive like hell through it.” We’ll have to take their word for it, but one thing we do know for sure is that when you’re driving through Iowa, you may be paying too much for car insurance.

What if there was a way to help you save on your car insurance? What if it could save you money? Would you take the time? I bet you would and that’s why we’ve compiled this guide to get you started.

And as the folks in Beaman say “You’re not dreamin…You’re in Beaman.” Everything you need to know about buying cheap car insurance in Iowa is in this comprehensive guide.

Enter your zip code below to get started.

Table of Contents

How to Get Iowa Car Insurance Coverage and Rates

The median household income in Iowa in 2017 was over $58,570, and drivers, on average paid over $1,058 for car insurance. That’s way too high for us. However, you feel about it, we think consumers in the Hawkeye State are spending way too much money on car insurance.

There has to be a better way.

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What’s Iowa Minimum Coverage?

State minimum auto insurance rates and minimum insurance requirements vary from state to state. Compare state to state below:

Though car insurance isn’t mandatory in Iowa, if you’re in an accident, according to the Motor Vehicle and Financial Safety Act, you must provide proof of financial responsibility. This proof could be your own liability insurance.

There are also other forms of financial responsibility which can be provided and we’ll cover in another section.

Iowa is an “at-fault” state. What does this mean?

The person who caused, or is at-fault, for an accident must pay any personal injury or property claims.
If you’re insured, your provider will cover losses up to the minimum liability amount. Iowa law requires drivers to have minimum liability coverage.

Liability insurance pays everyone — drivers, passengers, pedestrians, bicyclists, etc. — who are owed money for property damage and/or injuries resulting from a car accident that you or anyone under your policy has caused. Drivers in Iowa must have the following minimum liability insurance if their licenses have been suspended or revoked:

  • $20,000 to pay for the injuries of one person
  • $40,000 to pay for the injuries of more than one person
  • $15,000 to pay for property damage

Remember: these are only the minimum requirements. If the damages cost more, you will need to pay for them. We recommend that you buy more than the minimum liability amount of insurance for greater protection in case of an accident.

What is the Form of Financial Responsibility?

If you live in Iowa, the state law requires you to have a form of financial responsibility. A form of financial responsibility proves that you have valid insurance on your car or are able to pay for costs in an accident. Anytime you are pulled over by an officer or are in an accident, you must provide proof of financial responsibility.

Some acceptable forms of financial responsibility are the following:

  • Valid liability insurance ID cards
  • Copy of your current car’s insurance policy
  • Valid insurance binder (a temporary form of car insurance)

Iowa insurance laws can be confusing because a few loopholes could save you from having to prove financial responsibility at the time of an accident. According to the DMV, below are a few exceptions:

  • At the time of the accident, your vehicle was legally standing, stopped, or parked.
  • Someone was driving your vehicle without your permission at the time of the accident.
  • You were the only person to incur injuries or property damage as a result of the accident.

We know this may be confusing but, just remember you must have proof of financial responsibility on your person when operating a vehicle.

If you do not provide proof of financial responsibility after an accident, you will face fines and suspension of your license and car’s registration unless you provide proof of financial security.

In summary, the easiest way to avoid penalties and navigate tricky laws is to have Iowa’s required car insurance.

 What Percentage of Income are Insurance Premiums in Iowa?

The per capita disposable income in Iowa is $39,820. On average, residents spend $684 a year on car insurance. To put this amount in perspective, the countrywide, annual average for car insurance is $981.

This means people in Iowa pay considerably less than the countrywide average and less than neighboring states Illinois and Missouri who pay yearly amounts of $854 and $846, respectively.

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What are the Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates in IA (Liability, Collision, Comprehensive)?

One of the main concerns of every motorist in Iowa is the rising cost of insurance? The table below shows data provided by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners which is an agency dedicated to keeping up with the changing costs of car insurance.

Coverage TypeAnnual Costs (2015)

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Keep in mind with this information, however, that this data was pulled from 2015. Rates in 2019 will likely be higher than these values.

Up next, we take a look at loss ratios and what they mean to a company’s bottom line.

Is There an Additional Coverage in Iowa?

To gauge the financial health of insurance companies, you should look at its loss ratios. Loss ratios are explained as: the money auto insurance companies pay out in claims compared to the money they take in from premiums.

For example, an auto insurer collects $100,000 of premiums in a given year and pays out $55,000 in claims, the company’s loss ratio is 55 percent ($55,000 incurred losses/$100,000 earned premiums).

Check out the loss ratio for these two types of coverage in Iowa.

Loss Ratio201320142015
Medical Payments (Med Pay) 67%69%79%
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist50%68%72%

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You may want to consider adding additional coverages or higher levels of coverage to your auto insurance policy, to avoid paying out of pocket in the event of an accident. If you only get the basic liability limits on your policy, medical bills and payments could reach well into the thousands of dollars for those affected by uninsured drivers and force some into financial difficulty.

Are There any Add-ons, Endorsements, and Riders?

No one wants to have a car accident, but if you are, do you have enough protection for you and your family? Have you considered adding optional coverage to your policy? Do you even know what’s out there? Choosing from a list of insurance options can be daunting, and we know you want the best options for your family at the best price.

To help you decide, we’ve made a list of affordable options to add to your policy.

  • Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP)
  • Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP)
  • Rental Reimbursement
  • Emergency Roadside Assistance – If your car breaks down or you have a flat this addition to your policy will help you to pay for the cost of roadside repairs or tow when needed
  • Mechanical Breakdown Insurance – Need repairs that were not due to an accident then this type of coverage is for you.
  • Non-Owner Car Insurance – This type of coverage is perfect for you if you don’t own a car but still drive on occasion because it provides you with limited liability coverage even if the car you are driving isn’t registered to you.
  • Modified Car Insurance Coverage – This type of insurance for drivers covers most modifications made to your vehicle that may not be covered by your general policy should you be involved in an accident.
  • Classic Car Insurance – This type of coverage helps ensure a classic, antique or vintage car is protected.
  • Usage-Based or Pay-As-You-Drive Insurance

Any of the above coverages would be beneficial to add to your policy, so make sure to discuss any options you are interested in with your insurance provider.

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What are the Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates by Age & Gender in IA? wrote an article that says women pay more than $100,000 more for the same products as men do. In fact, gender discrimination in car insurance rates is such a problem that California and other states banned gender discrimination and created gender-neutral insurance plans.

Up next, we partnered with Quadrant Information Services to show you coverage rates that various folks in Iowa pay for car insurance.

CompanyMarried 35-year old female annual rateMarried 35-year old male annual rateMarried 60-year old female annual rateMarried 60-year old male annual rateSingle 25-year old female annual rateSingle 25-year old male annual rateSingle 17-year old female annual rateSingle 17-year old male annual rate
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
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
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
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

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As you can see from the data, teen drivers pay thousands more than older drivers do for car insurance.

Among the major carriers, State Farm and American Family have the exact same rates for most female and male drivers, excluding teenagers. In all instances, male teenage drivers pay more than any other demographic. As with all such information, your rates may be different depending on your location and other circumstances.

Keep in mind, one of the best ways to find cheap auto insurance is to look for companies that offer insurance discounts you are eligible for. Many companies offer bundling discounts if you choose to combine your auto policy with homeowners insurance, renters insurance, or other types of policies. Some also offer discounts to drivers who have anti-theft devices or other safety features on their cars. You might also want to look for an insurance provider that offers Accident Forgiveness or a usage-based insurance program. These programs provide you with an insurance discount for installing a mobile app on your phone or an electronic device in your vehicle that monitors your driving habits. Most of the major auto insurance companies offer a variety of discounts for you to choose from, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to find affordable car insurance.

Read more: American Family vs. State Farm Car Insurance

What are the Highest and Lowest Rates by Zip Code and City?

ZIP codes affect auto insurance because of factors like traffic, crime to name a few. Find out how your ZIP code stacks up in IA.

In addition to gender and age, where you live can affect your car insurance rates. We’ve collected data on the least and most expensive zip codes, so search to see where your zip code lands on the list. You’ll also see providers’ costs next to your zip code, providing a helpful snapshot into what you should be paying.

Here are the 25 ZIP codes in Iowa with the highest average annual car insurance rates.

CityZIP CodeAverage Annual Rate
Sioux Rapids51510$3,421.91
Oxford Junction50314$3,379.73
New Albin50308$3,327.01
Pilot Mound51561$3,249.84

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These 25 ZIP codes have the lowest average rates.

CityZIP CodeAverage Annual Rate
South Amana52243$2,613.15
Sioux City50012$2,643.57
Sioux City50014$2,651.87
Sioux City50010$2,661.70
Sioux City50011$2,663.37
Des Moines50013$2,676.23
Rose Hill52246$2,697.81
Blue Grass52240$2,719.12
Des Moines50006$2,764.17
Center Point52404$2,768.58

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Iowa City zip codes are among the cheapest places for car insurance, but it’s the most expensive in Council Bluffs. Below, we’ve listed the least and most expensive Iowa cities for car insurance.
Average annual car insurance rates are highest in these 25 cities in Iowa.

CityAverage Grand Total
Council Bluffs$3,604.85
Carter Lake$3,421.91
Sioux City$3,295.84
Pacific Junction$3,249.84
Silver City$3,228.19
Des Moines$3,218.42
Honey Creek$3,209.76
Red Oak$3,178.98

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And these 25 cities have the lowest average annual car insurance rates in the city.

CityAverage Grand Total
Iowa City$2,667.19
Le Grand$2,734.13
North Liberty$2,734.77
Story City$2,759.69
Iowa Falls$2,769.51
Clear Lake$2,774.04
Mason City$2,782.99

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Council Bluffs again emerges as the most expensive place to buy car insurance. Though it’s not the largest city in Iowa, it’s one of the state’s 10 largest cities. As this data shows, the population size of a city doesn’t determine insurance costs.

What are the Best Iowa Car Insurance Companies?

From the Iowa Caucuses to the Ottumwa cornfields of M.A.S.H legend Radar O’Reilly, folks in Iowa have a lot to discover and explore. One thing we know for sure is that most of those folks would rather be doing anything else instead of looking and searching for cheaper rates on car insurance.

That’s why we’ve done all of the work for you and researched the best insurance companies in Iowa, so you can make the best choice for your situation. We’ve looked at companies’ financial ratings, AM’s best ratings, and which companies have the most complaints.

Keep reading to learn about Iowa’s auto insurance providers.

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What is the Financial Rating of the Largest Companies?

Loss ratios play a large part in how secure a company is doing financially. That’s why we want to include AM Best ratings, which look at loss ratios to determine if a company has solid financial security.

So to see how the 10 largest companies in Iowa are doing, we’ve included the AM Best ratings for each.

Company Name AM Ratings Direct Premiums Written Loss Ratio Market Share
State Farm GroupA++$389,03263.96%22.14%
Progressive GroupA+$285,10763.34%16.23%
Nationwide Corp GroupA+$180,62151.49%10.28%
Iowa Farm Bureau GroupNR$119,30867.98%6.79%
American Family Insurance GroupA$111,22769.86%6.33%
Grinnell Mutual GroupA$78,94571.86%4.49%
IMT Mutual Holding GroupNR$57,49870.27%3.27%
Allstate Insurance GroupA+$56,70260.70%3.23%
West Bend Mutual Insurance CoA$38,49858.38%2.19%

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Which Companies have the Best Ratings?

JD Power Kansas

Geico ranks near the top of the list — proving that Geico is great at customer satisfaction.

Just because a company has a good rating for financial stability doesn’t mean their customers are always happy.

Let’s check out their record of official complaints.

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

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If a car insurance company’s complaint index is lower than one, they are better than the average. If the index is higher than one, they are worse than the average. Iowa Farm Bureau and IMT Mutual Holding Group have the highest complaint ratios in Iowa.

What are the Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in Iowa?

Nobody likes to be considered cheap, except when it comes to car insurance. In order to save money, you should be shopping around to see what’s available. The table below displays the top carriers in Iowa with their average rate for all drivers and compares it to the state average of all companies.

CompanyAverage Cost Amount 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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Looking at different providers can save a lot of money. For example, Progressive is $564 BELOW the state average, which, over time, could add up to thousands of dollars saved.

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What’s the Average Commute Rate?

At some companies, how far you drive to work each day influences your insurance rates. Beyond age, gender, location, marital status, and carrier, other factors that affect your quoted rates from each carrier are those that are specific to your individual situation such as how much coverage you want, credit history, and driving record.

The tables below compare such factors based on each carrier.

Company Daily CommuteAnnual MileageAnnual Average Rate
Allstate10 miles 6,000 miles$2,894.65
Allstate25 miles 12,000 miles$3,035.64
American Family10 miles 6,000 miles$2,986.61
American Family25 miles 12,000 miles$3,057.13
Farmers10 miles 6,000 miles$2,435.45
Farmers25 miles 12,000 miles$2,435.45
Geico10 miles 6,000 miles$2,251.26
Geico25 miles 12,000 miles$2,341.77
Liberty Mutual10 miles 6,000 miles$4,415.48
Liberty Mutual25 miles12,000 miles$4,415.48
Nationwide10 miles 6,000 miles$2,551.81
Nationwide25 miles 12,000 miles$2,551.81
Progressive10 miles 6,000 miles$2,394.23
Progressive25 miles 12,000 miles$2,394.23
State Farm10 miles 6,000 miles$2,169.94
State Farm25 miles12,000 miles$2,277.01
Travelers10 miles 6,000 miles$5,425.63
Travelers25 miles 12,000 miles$5,425.63
USAA10 miles 6,000 miles$1,784.77
USAA25 miles12,000 miles$1,919.94

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Most company rates don’t change when the drive is shortened to a 10-mile commute, except for Allstate, who offers rate reductions over $125.

Up next, a break-down of coverage level rates in Iowa.

What are the Coverage Levels Rates?

Do you want better coverage, but are reluctant to spend more money? You may be surprised some insurance carriers offer more coverage with minimal increases in rates.

Company Coverage Level Annual Average
American FamilyHigh$2,840.53
American FamilyMedium$3,189.92
American FamilyLow$3,035.16
Liberty MutualHigh$4,601.36
Liberty MutualMedium$4,407.47
Liberty MutualLow$4,237.62
State FarmHigh$2,318.68
State FarmMedium$2,236.04
State FarmLow$2,115.69

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For example, the data above shows Nationwide and Liberty Mutual have less than $400 increases from low to high coverage.

What are the Credit History Rates by Companies?

The quality of your credit score impacts your insurance rates. In Iowa, the average credit score is 695, which is above the nationwide average of 675. Basically, this means motorists may be able to pay less for their coverage based on their credit history.

The table below shows what you can expect to pay yearly on car insurance based on your credit history.

Company Credit History Annual Average
American FamilyPoor$3,853.23
American FamilyFair$2,831.65
American FamilyGood$2,380.74
Liberty MutualPoor$6,295.97
Liberty MutualFair$3,889.40
Liberty MutualGood$3,061.08
State FarmPoor$3,166.55
State FarmFair$1,958.88
State FarmGood$1,544.99

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If you have insurance through Liberty Mutual and have poor credit, you can expect to pay $3000 more for car insurance than someone with good credit.

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What are the Driving Record Rates?

A clean driving record is the EASIEST way to keep rates down. As you can see from the information below, at Liberty Mutual, just one speeding violation can raise your rate by over $500.

Company Record Average Annual Cost
AllstateClean record$2,520.15
AllstateWith 1 speeding violation$2,818.27
AllstateWith 1 accident$3,051.76
AllstateWith 1 DUI$3,470.40
American FamilyClean record$2,181.69
American FamilyWith 1 speeding violation$2,564.80
American FamilyWith 1 accident$3,194.70
American FamilyWith 1 DUI$4,146.29
FarmersClean record$2,075.02
FarmersWith 1 speeding violation$2,479.99
FarmersWith 1 accident$2,574.18
FarmersWith 1 DUI$2,612.59
GeicoClean record$1,739.14
GeicoWith 1 speeding violation$1,865.34
GeicoWith 1 accident$2,430.59
GeicoWith 1 DUI$3,150.98
Liberty MutualClean record$3,813.55
Liberty MutualWith 1 speeding violation$4,318.32
Liberty MutualWith 1 accident$4,718.68
Liberty MutualWith 1 DUI$4,811.37
NationwideClean record$1,845.32
NationwideWith 1 speeding violation$2,088.61
NationwideWith 1 accident$2,653.56
NationwideWith 1 DUI$3,619.74
ProgressiveClean record$1,925.00
ProgressiveWith 1 speeding violation$2,409.88
ProgressiveWith 1 accident$3,153.79
ProgressiveWith 1 DUI$2,088.27
State FarmClean record$2,058.27
State FarmWith 1 speeding violation$2,223.47
State FarmWith 1 accident$2,388.67
State FarmWith 1 DUI$2,223.47
TravelersClean record$3,954.60
TravelersWith 1 speeding violation$5,414.68
TravelersWith 1 accident$5,272.67
TravelersWith 1 DUI$7,060.59
USAAClean record$1,414.93
USAAWith 1 speeding violation$1,624.60
USAAWith 1 accident$1,899.66
USAAWith 1 DUI$2,470.24

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A better record equals better rates. We encourage you to obey posted speed limit signs and NOT drink and drive.

What are the Largest Car Insurance Companies in Iowa?

State Farm Group$38,9032 63.96%22.14%
Progressive Group$285,107 63.34%16.23%
Nationwide Corp Group$180,621 51.49%10.28%
Iowa Farm Bureau Group$119,308 67.98%6.79%
American Family Insurance Group$111,227 69.86%6.33%
Grinnell Mutual Group$78,945 71.86%4.49%
IMT Mutual Holding Group$57,498 70.27%3.27%
Allstate Insurance Group$5670260.70%3.23%
West Bend Mutual Insurance Co$38,498 58.38%2.19%

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What’s the Number of Property and Casualty Insurance Companies in Iowa?

Domestic insurance means a company is formed under Iowa’s state laws, whereas a foreign provider is formed under the laws of any other state in the country.

  • Domestic Insurers: 73
  • Foreign Insurers: 860

Comparing quotes will help you know where to get started. Once you find the company that offers the best rates to you, do some more research into their financial rating, customer satisfaction rating, and complaint ratios. Then, you can confidently choose your insurer.

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What are the Iowa State Laws?

In Iowa, you’d be better off playing a one-armed bandit at Prarie Meadows Casino than offering to pay a one-armed piano player to perform their favorite tune.

As crazy as it may seem, in Iowa, a one-armed piano player must perform for free. And for you fellows sporting a mustache, don’t even try and kiss your girlfriend in public, because that’s against the law, too.

We know, state laws are odd and sometimes confusing and vary from state to state. New residents may receive tickets for laws they didn’t know existed.

Next, we help you uncover what the laws are, so check out our roundup of Iowa’s driving laws.

What are the Iowa’s Car Insurance Laws?

Insurance companies are subject to certain rules and regulations.

Let’s look at some of the specific laws for consumers regarding car insurance.

How to Get Windshield Coverage

Iowa law doesn’t require insurers to replace cracked or broken windshields. If you want windshield coverage, you will need comprehensive insurance and you will have to examine carefully how the different insurance providers handle windshield claims. Basically, if you have comprehensive coverage, your insurer will likely pay for the repairs.

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How to Get High-Risk Insurance

If you have a bad driving record, it may be difficult to find an insurance company that is willing to insure you as a driver. Luckily, in most states, insurance companies have made programs available to provide affordable coverage for those who are high-risk drivers.

High-risk insurance is likely the last thing you want to purchase. Sometimes, though, accidents happen and the law will require you to have high-risk insurance. If you are required to have high-risk insurance, you must fill out an SR-22 form.

An SR-22 form requires you to have the MINIMUM amounts of liability insurance in Iowa. Iowa laws are confusing.

One thing to remember: drivers aren’t necessarily required to have minimum car insurance — just proof of financial responsibility if they are in an accident.

Is There an Automobile Insurance Fraud in Iowa?

What is automobile insurance fraud?

  • Creating a claim for damages or injuries that NEVER occurred (such as faking an accident)
  • Adding “extra” costs onto a claim that is legitimate
  • failing to be completely truthful when completing your application(s) – also known as application fraud or rate avoidance

What’s the Statute of Limitations?

If you are in a car accident in Iowa, there is a statute of limitations if you want to file a claim.

  • Property Damage Liability Coverage – Two Years
  • Bodily Injury  Liability Coverage– Five Years

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What does Iowa’s Clean Claim Law mean?

In Iowa, the law requires insurers to respond to claims that their customers submit. Insurers that don’t respond to claims can be legally pursued. It is important to note that while the law requires insurers to respond to claims, insurers may “conveniently” forget benefits that you are privy to.

Make sure you know what’s covered in your policy in case of an accident. You want ALL of the benefits you’ve been paying for and are entitled to receive.

What are Iowa’s Vehicle Licensing Laws?

Iowa, just like every other state, has mandatory licensing laws in addition to the statute of limitations and car insurance laws, which we previously covered.

Up next, we delve further into the state’s licensing requirements for teen drivers, older drivers, the general population and much more.

Is REAL ID Required in Iowa?

Iowa is in full compliance with the REAL ID Act passed by Congress and enforced by Homeland Security. This means that a driver’s license or state ID issued by the Hawkeye State is an acceptable form of identification at federal facilities, airports, and nuclear power plants.

As of October 1, 2020, anyone wishing to fly on a commercial flight or enter a federal facility must have a REAL ID-compliant form of identification.

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What are the Teen Driver Laws?

To begin driving in Iowa, teens must be 14 to apply for a learner’s license. Before teens can apply for a regular license or a restricted license, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) specifies that teens must meet the requirements below.

Requirements for Getting a License or Restricted License in IowaTime Limits
Mandatory holding period12 months
Minimum supervised driving time20 hours (2 of which must be at night)
Minimum age16-years-old

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During the intermediate or restricted license state, there are certain rules teen drivers must follow.

Intermediate License Restrictions in IowaDetails Removal Time Limit
Nighttime restrictions12:30 a.m. to 5 a.m.May be lifted after 12 months and age 17 or until age 18 (whichever occurs first)
Passenger Restrictions (family members excepted) At parental discretion May be changed at parental discretion

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What are the License Renewal Procedures for Older Drivers?

Iowa law requires drivers over 72 years old to renew their licenses every two years. Below are a few more rules:

  • Proof of adequate vision is required at every renewal
  • Online or mail renewal is not allowed for drivers age 70 and older

If you are an older driver, be prepared to visit your eye doctor and the DMV every two years.

What is the Procedure for New Residents?

Considering a move to the Hawkeye State? Here are the guidelines for getting a new Iowa driver’s license. If you want to drive in Iowa, you need car insurance or proof of financial responsibility.

You can opt out of uninsured motorist coverage, but you should have bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability insurance. As a reminder, these are the minimum amounts in Iowa:

  • $20,000 to pay for the injuries of one person
  • $40,000 to pay for the injuries of more than one person
  • $15,000 to pay for property damage

Though car insurance isn’t legally required in Iowa, you could face penalties for driving without it. So, when you move to Iowa, make sure that you have adequate coverage.

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What are the License Renewal Procedures?

The license renewal procedures for the general population are as follows:

  1. Residents under age 70 must renew their licenses every eight years.
  2. Iowa drivers under 70 years old can renew their licenses by mail or online at every other renewal.
  3. Proof of adequate vision is also required when renewing in person

What is Considered Reckless Driving?

Reckless or negligent driving is against the law in Iowa. Reckless or careless driving is when a person’s driving endangers other people and property. Usually, reckless driving is classified as a misdemeanor.

Possible penalties for reckless driving:

  • 30 days in jail and/or fines that range from $25 to $625
  • 5-30 day license suspension

For more serious cases of reckless driving, in which a driver causes the death of another person through reckless driving, the penalties are much more severe.

What are Iowa’s Rules of the Road?

We all should obey the rules, but if you’re new to the state, there may be laws you’re unfamiliar with. That’s why we’ve assembled a list of several important laws to help keep you in good standing and on the road.

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Is Iowa at Fault or No-Fault State?

Iowa is a fault-based state which means if you are the cause of a car accident, you are responsible for any damage caused. The at-fault driver ‘s insurance company will handle such losses up to and until the policy limits are exhausted.

What are the Seat Belt and Car Seat Laws?

All passengers in the front seat of a vehicle driven in Iowa must be wearing a seat belt. Additionally, children, ages 6-17 years are allowed to use an adult safety belt. Also, children younger than one year and less than 20 pounds must be in a rear-facing child restraint, and kids, 1-5 years should be in a child restraint or a booster seat.

Iowa doesn’t currently have any legislation restricting passengers from riding in the cargo seat areas of pick up trucks.

What are the Keep Right and Move Over Laws?

Iowa traffic laws mandate that you must keep right when traveling slower than the average speed of traffic around you. Generally, the left lane is for faster traffic and passing.

Move over laws are enacted to keep traffic moving and all motorists safe.

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What’s the Maximum Speed Limit?

Maximum posted speed limits are 70 mph on rural interstates, 55 mph on urban interstates, 75 mph on limited access roads and 65 mph on all other roads.

How does Ridesharing Work?

Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft mandate that all their drivers carry personal car insurance that meets the minimum requirements. However, if drivers wish to purchase a commercial insurance policy, these are the companies that provide auto insurance coverage.

  • Farmers
  • State Farm
  • USAA

Is There an Automation on the Road?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS),

“Automation is the use of a machine or technology to perform a task or function that was previously carried out by a human. In driving, automation involves using radar, camera and other sensors to gather information about a vehicle’s surroundings, which is then used by computer programs to perform parts or all of the driving task on a sustained basis.”

Currently, Iowa has no restrictions on autonomous vehicles.

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What are the Safety Laws?

Up next, we look closer at the safety laws in Iowa, so you can arrive alive. Please don’t drink and drive.

What are the DUI Laws?

Driving under the influence has disastrous results for everyone involved, that’s why strict laws are in place to prevent such tragedies. In Iowa alone, drunk driving caused 88 deaths in 2017. Each state differs in how they address drunk driving and therefore have different penalties.

Below, we’ve listed the details about Iowa’s impaired driving laws.

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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For each offense, the penalties grow steadily worse.

Number of Offense License Suspension or Revocation and IID lock IID Lock Imprisonment Fine Other
1st Offense 180 days (may apply for temporary restricted license)Must install IID if crash occurred or BAC > .10 48 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 Offense 2 years (not eligible for temporary restricted license for 45 days)not specified 7 days to 2 years $1,875 to $6,250Same as 1st offense
3rd Offense 6 years (not eligible for temporary restricted license for 45 days)not specified 30 days to 5 years$3,125 to $9,375Same as 1st offense
4th Offense Same as 3rd offense Same as 3rd offense Same as 3rd offense Same as 3rd offense Same as 1st offense

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Arrive alive. Please don’t drink and drive.

What are the Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws?

Got grass? If so, don’t smoke it in Iowa.

Iowa is among the few states with zero tolerance for marijuana-impaired driving.

On top of that, marijuana, like other substances, can remain in your urine for up to a month, and be detected in hair samples for several months. If officers suspect marijuana use, they can still charge you for driving under the influence even if you used it in a state where recreational weed is legal.

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What are the Distracted Driving Laws?

Text messaging while driving is prohibited for all drivers. Additionally, drivers issued a restricted license (age 16-18), instruction permit, or intermediate drivers license may not use an electronic communication device or an electronic entertainment device while driving.

What’s Driving In Iowa like?

Now that you have a good understanding of Iowa state laws, let’s dive into some facts that you might not know. While insurance is important, it’s also crucial to know what to keep your eyes out for on the road.

Is There a Vehicle Theft in Iowa?

Believe it or not, over 4,1001 vehicle thefts occurred in 2016 alone in Iowa. When considering your next car purchase, one thing to consider is that certain vehicles are stolen more frequently, and thus, may have higher insurance rates.

Here’s a list of the top stolen vehicles in Iowa.

Vehicle Make and Model Vehicle Year Total 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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The full-size Chevrolet pickup is the most stolen vehicle in the state.

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What’s the Number of Vehicle Theft by City?

Where you live also plays a role in the number of vehicle thefts. The FBI created a 2016 report on Iowa’s vehicle thefts by cities, which are listed below.

City Number of Vehicle Thefts
Blue Grass0
Carter Lake25
Cedar Falls24
Cedar Rapids297
Charles City3
Clear Lake8
Council Bluffs541
Des Moines850
De Witt3
Eagle Grove3
Forest City4
Fort Dodge84
Fort Madison12
Grundy Center0
Iowa City82
Iowa Falls1
Le Claire1
Le Mars10
Mason City30
Mount Vernon1
New Hampton0
North Liberty11
Orange City3
Pleasant Hill8
Prairie City1
Red Oak6
Sergeant Bluff1
Sioux City240
Spirit Lake5
State Center1
Storm Lake11
Story City0
Webster City12
West Burlington8
West Des Moines76
West Liberty1
Windsor Heights6

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Des Moines leads the way with 850 vehicle thefts in 2016. Be sure to lock your vehicle whenever you aren’t driving it.

What’s the Number of Road Fatalities in Iowa?

Accidents can and do happen, and next, we’re going to show you statistics for different kinds of accidents in Iowa.

What’s the Number of Fatal Crashes by Weather Condition and Light Condition?

Weather ConditionDaylightDark, but LightedDarkDawn or DuskOther / UnknownTotal

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As you can see, most accidents occur during daylight hours.

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What’s the Number of Fatalities (All Crashes) by County?

Here are the Iowa counties with the most fatalities over the past five years.

County 20132014201520162017
Polk County2619202827
Linn County121452016
Cerro Gordo County367612
Marshall County354412
Pottawattamie County916131312
Dubuque County494410
Iowa County21589
Black Hawk County12510118
Johnson County785168
Scott County111321198
Top Ten Counties Total 113111124151122
All Other Counties Total 203209196251208
Overall Total 316320320402330

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What’s the Number of Fatalities by Roadway?

Next, we have a 10-year comparison of traffic fatalities on urban vs. rural roadways.

Road Type 2003-20052004-20062005-20072006-20082007-2009
Total 427426445432410

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Rural roads in Iowa see far more fatalities than urban roads.

Next, we’ll look at the different individuals that contribute to fatal crashes, such as vehicle type and pedestrian/occupants.

What’s the Number of Fatalities by Person Type?

Person Type 20132014201520162017
Passenger Car130117111152109
Light Truck - Pickup3853715354
Light Truck - Utility4332425442
Light Truck - Van2617123217
Light Truck - Other01000
Large Truck101161118
Other/Unknown Occupants6154810
Total Motorcyclists4152416048
Bicyclist and Other Cyclists34585
Other/Unknown Non-occupants01322

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What’s the Number of Fatalities by Crash Type?

Crash Type20132014201520162017
- (1) Single Vehicle169167168203182
- (2) Involving a Large Truck6148617067
- (3) Involving Speeding5145499470
- (4) Involving a Rollover109110115110124
- (5) Involving a Roadway Departure185208185231207
- (6) Involving an Intersection (or Intersection Related)788510211385
Total Fatalities (All Crashes)317322320402330

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Five-Year Trend for the Top 10 Counties

County 20132014201520162017
Polk County2619202827
Linn County121452016
Cerro Gordo County367612
Marshall County354412
Pottawattamie County916131312
Dubuque County494410
Iowa County21589
Black Hawk County12510118
Johnson County785168
Scott County111321198
Top Ten Counties Total 113111124151122
All Other Counties Total 203209196251208
Overall Total 316320320402330

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What’s the Number of Fatalities Involving Speeding by County?

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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Drunk driving is also a major contributor to crash fatalities. Below we’ve listed all of the fatalities involving a drunk driver.

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What’s the Number of Fatalities Involving Drunk Driving By County?

County Name 20132014201520162017
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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What’s the Number of Fatalities Related to Teen Drinking and Driving?

In 2016, Iowa law enforcement arrested 71 teenagers (under the age of 18) for drunk driving.

This number places Iowa as the 20th worst state in the U.S. for underage drinking and driving.

Below are the facts concerning underage (under 21 years old) drinking-related fatalities:

  • .08 fatalities per 100,000 people in Iowa
  • 1.2 fatalities per 100,000 people national average

Now that we have covered drunk driving fatalities and arrests, let’s look at EMS response times in Iowa.

What’s the EMS Response Time?

If you or someone you know is in an accident, you want help to arrive as FAST as possible. Check out the response times for emergency personnel in rural and urban areas.

Type of Crash Time of Crash to EMS
EMS Notification to
EMS Arrival
EMS Arrival at Scene
to Hospital Arrival
Time of Crash to Hospital
Rural 6.21 min.12.11 min.32.39 min.50.57 min.
Urban 3.88 min.6.28 min.19.72 min.28.20 min .

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What’s Transportation in Iowa like?

When you drive through your neighborhood, do you ever notice how many cars are sitting in your neighbors’ driveways? Usually, we can tell if someone is visiting by that extra car parked outside the house.

The average household in Iowa has two cars to three cars.

Iowa transportation


What’s the Average Commute Time?

The average commute time in the U.S. is 25.3 minutes. Fortunately, Iowa’s average commute time is only 18.6 minutes.

Iowa commute time

What’s the Preferred Commuter Transportation?

In every state, driving alone is the most common commute option, though people are beginning to turn to other commute options like carpooling and working from home.

Iowa commuter transportation

Now that you’ve read through this comprehensive guide, and know everything there is to know about buying car insurance in Iowa, it’s time to hit the road.

Don’t just flyover or drive like hell through Iowa, because the folks in Jewell sum it up best: “We’re a gem, in a friendly setting.”

Enter your zip code below to get a free quote comparison.


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State Minimum Car Insurance Rates Nationwide
Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates by State
Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates by Age & Gender in Iowa
Monthly Iowa Car Insurance Rates by ZIP Code
Iowa Car Insurance Rates by Company vs. State Average
Iowa Car Insurers by Market Share %
Factors Affecting Car Insurance Rates in Iowa
State Minimum Car Insurance Rates Nationwide
Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates by State
Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates by Age & Gender in Iowa
Monthly Iowa Car Insurance Rates by ZIP Code
Iowa Car Insurance Rates by Company vs. State Average
Iowa Car Insurers by Market Share %
Factors Affecting Car Insurance Rates in Iowa