Wondering whether Iowa requires car insurance and how to pick the right coverage? This comprehensive guide examines the state’s minimums, policy options like collision and comprehensive, penalties for uninsured drivers, and top tips for choosing a provider.

Comparison of Major Car Insurance Types

Type What’s Covered When It Applies
Liability Injuries or damage you cause to others Required in Iowa
Collision Damage to your car from collision Optional
Comprehensive Damage from theft, weather, fire Optional
Medical Payments Your medical treatment after an accident Optional
Uninsured Motorist Injuries from uninsured drivers Required by Iowa

What is the best car insurance coverage for me?

The ideal coverage depends on your situation. Consult an agent about factors like budget, car value, medical needs, and driving history.

Current Iowa residents or individuals planning on moving to the Hawkeye state ought to understand the unique car insurance laws. lowa requires drivers to carry car insurance when driving—to protect their legal and financial responsibility in the event of an accident. Driving without car insurance puts the driver at risk of fines and license suspension.

Car Insurance Coverage Types in Iowa: Which One is Right for You?

Drivers must carry liability coverage in Iowa. However, drivers can opt for other car insurance coverage available such as: 


Comprehensive coverage protects the vehicle against non-collision damages from animals, and hail storms, among others. It pays for vehicle repairs in the event of a non-collision accident.


In a collision with another vehicle or a fixed object, collision coverage pays for the damages. Collision coverage does not cover collisions with animals.

Gap Coverage 

Also known as loan/lease coverage, Gap insurance covers the difference between the depreciation value and the outstanding loan balance in case the car is totaled. It’s a good option for drivers who lease or finance their vehicles. 

Medical Payments 

Medical payments coverage pays for medical bills or funeral expenses resulting from a covered crash. This coverage does not consider who is at fault when making payments.

Rental Car Reimbursement 

Rental car reimbursement covers the cost of renting a temporary car as a vehicle involved in a covered claim gets repaired. Terms and conditions vary depending on the insurance company.

Roadside Assistance 

Roadside assistance coverage pays for a tow, battery charge, or other costs that arise from breakdowns on the road.

Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist 

Uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance covers damages caused by uninsured or underinsured drivers who cannot pay the cost.

Accident Forgiveness 

After the first covered crash, accident forgiveness protects a driver’s car insurance premium from increasing. Some insurance companies set a predetermined claim-free period before purchasing accident forgiveness coverage. 

Minimum Coverage Requirements in Iowa: Don’t Get Caught Without It

The minimum coverage is the lowest amount a driver pays as a premium and the maximum amount an insurer pays to cover a claim. In Iowa, the minimum coverage requirements are denoted as 20/40/15 ( split limit). This limit constitutes the limit for each of the three liability coverage:

Bodily Injury per Person 

The per-person limit covers medical bills an individual gets from an accident. The law caps bodily injury per person at $20,000.

Bodily Injury per Accident 

The per-accident limit covers injuries more than one individual sustains in a single accident. The law requires an insurer to pay a minimum of $40,000.

Property Damage

The property damage limit covers the damages caused to another individual’s property. The minimum property damage is $15,000.

In addition, lowa car insurance laws require drivers to carry $20,000/$40,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, respectively. 

How to Choose the Best Car Insurance Coverage: Tips and Strategies

Purchasing the best car insurance can be overwhelming.

Consider the following tips and strategies before buying coverage.


Certification is the first consideration when choosing coverage. Purchase coverage from a licensed company. Contact the state insurance department to find out which companies are licensed to operate.


Different companies sell coverage policies at varying prices. Get price quotes from a few companies or agents before making a final decision. Choose a coverage that is convenient to pay.


Ensure the coverage covers the minimum requirements and any other additional coverage. Understand the definitions, terms, conditions, and exclusions before buying the coverage.


When shopping around for coverage, consider companies that offer discounts, for example, multi-car families and anti-lock brake discounts.


Individuals should feel comfortable when buying coverage, whether it’s from a local agent or directly from the company. The agent or company should be available to attend to any question when filing a claim.


Consider the customer services and ease of doing business with an insurer before purchasing coverage. The insurance company should provide 24/7 customer care services, reliable payment options, and easy procedures for filing a claim.

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Insurance Company’s Financial Strength: What You Need to Know

Choose coverage from an insurance company with a stable financial position (both current and future). This ensures the insurer can pay for claims in case of a covered accident. Use the financial score from independent rating agencies to determine the financial position of available insurers.

Reputation of Insurance Companies: Choose Wisely

Consider what other clients are saying about an insurance company. Make an informed coverage decision from the reviews available online. Check out the following about an insurer:

  • The period they’ve been in business 
  • What states they’re licensed to operate 
  • Financial strength 
  • Types of products they sell 
  • Company’s structure, leadership, and community projects

Driving Without Insurance in Iowa: Know the Consequences

Insurance Law

It’s illegal to drive without insurance in lowa. It’s mandatory to provide physical or digital liability insurance proof. Consequences of failing to provide proof of liability insurance include the following:

  • A fine worth $250 
  • Vehicle impoundment 
  • One-year license suspension for damages that exceed $1,500 
  • Vehicle registration suspension 

In the event of an encounter with law enforcement, the officer may offer a citation for failing to provide proof of coverage. In this case, the driver has two days to provide proof of updated liability coverage.  Iowa drivers need to purchase SR-22 insurance to get back their driving privileges.

Modified Comparative Negligence in Iowa: What You Should Know

lowa uses the modified comparative negligence when determining fault in an accident—responsibility can be assigned to both parties involved in an accident at varying degrees. At least 51% at fault by another driver is required to recover damages in lowa. 

Example: If the other party in an accident is assigned 75% guilt, the remaining 25% goes to the victim. If a ruling awards $ 10,000, the victim receives $7,500 ( 75% of the award). 

Drive Legally in Iowa: Get the Right Car Insurance Coverage

Motorcycle riders in Iowa should be aware of how their policy works with respect to their unique needs, and our insurance motorcycle coverage page offers detailed information on this topic.

Similarly, with the rise of ridesharing services, drivers and passengers should familiarize themselves with the implications for insurance when involved in an accident with an Uber or Lyft, which you can read about on our Uber and Lyft injury information page.

Aftermath of a car accident can be confusing and stressful, making it vital to understand how an accident can affect your insurance; our experts break this down for you at the accident insurance effect section.

In cases where legal action is necessary, knowing when to seek the expertise of a professional is key.

Our guide on hiring a car accident lawyer can assist in making this critical decision. Lastly, we have compiled a comprehensive car accident lawyer checklist to help you prepare for all the necessary steps following an incident.

The car insurance laws in lowa require drivers to provide liability insurance when driving. This covers the drivers’ legal and financial responsibility in an at-fault accident.

Contact us or call us at 515-444-4000 today for a free consultation. 

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