When it comes to car insurance, every state has their own set of laws about what kind of insurance is required as well as how much of it.  Iowa is one of the few states that does not require you to have car insurance, but if you are to ever get into an accident, you will need to show proof of financial responsibility.

If you are planning on moving to The Hawkeye State at any time soon or if you are an Iowa resident looking for new insurance, here is what you should know about car insurance laws in Iowa.

What Are Iowa’s Financial Responsibility Laws?

While the state of Iowa does not have any legal requirements for car insurance, you aren’t completely off the hook. If you are ever involved in an accident or if you lose your driving privileges, you will have to show proof of financial responsibility to the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT). If you are unable to provide proof of financial responsibility when asked by authorities, you will have your license and registration privileges suspended.

What Happens If I Get In A Car Accident?

If you are involved in a car accident in Iowa, you must:

  • File an Accident Report Form with the DOT within 72 hours.
  • Provide proof of financial responsibility.

Just because the state of Iowa doesn’t require you to have car insurance, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still get it. If you get in a car accident with another driver that ends in bodily injury, death or property damage of $1,000 or more, you will have 72 hours to file an Accident Report Form with the Iowa DOT, regardless of whose fault it was.

Note that the only instance in which you would not have to file a report is if a police officer attended the scene and that officer files a report.

Following an accident, you will also be required to prove financial responsibility. Here are some of the ways you can do this:

  • Show proof that you had liability insurance coverage at the time of the accident.
  • Get a release from everyone who was involved in the accident.
  • Provide the DOT with a statement that agrees to pay for the injuries and damages resulting from the accident through an installment plan.
  • Receive a pardon from a civil damage action that dismisses you from being liable.
  • Provide the DOT with evidence that you have reached a settlement for the associated damages and injuries.
  • Complete a warrant for confession of judgment that has an agreement upon payment schedule.
  • Submit one of the following payable to “Driver & Identification Services”:
    • Cash.
    • Certified check.
    • Cashier’s check.
    • Bank draft.
    • Postal money order.

Keep in mind that there are a few scenarios in which you would not be required to show proof of financial responsibility:

  • If your car was standing, stopped, or parked at the time the accident took place.
  • Someone was driving your car without your permission when the accident occurred.
  • You were the only person to become injured or have their property damaged as a result of a car accident you were in.

What Are My Options For Car Insurance In Iowa?

If you decide that you would rather be safe than sorry when it comes to car insurance in Iowa, there are many options to choose from. Even though you are not required by law to have car insurance in Iowa, a lot of residents in the state believe that it is the most convenient and efficient way of proving financial responsibility.

While most insurance policies will have general liability insurance for injuries and property damage, some drivers might feel like this isn’t enough to allow them to feel secure on the road. Here are some of the most common types of car insurance for Iowa drivers:

  • Medical payments coverage: This type of insurance is there to pick up the tab for your medical bills following a car accident.
  • Collision coverage: If you are ever at-fault for an accident and your car gets damaged as a result, this type of coverage is there to pick up the bill.
  • Comprehensive coverage: This type of car insurance is for damage that occurs to your vehicle due to non-accident-related causes such as bad weather, vandalism or theft.
  • Loan/lease gap coverage: This type of car insurance is there to fill in the gaps between the cash value of your vehicle and the amount that you owe on it.

Once you land on the right car insurance company and policy that works for you and decide to make your purchase, your insurance company will send you an insurance card in the mail. You should always carry this in your car with you, just in case you are ever asked for it by authorities or get in a car accident.

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