Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jun 23, 2021

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Iowa Statistics Summary Table
Iowas StatisticDetails
Road Miles114,442
Vehicles registered in the state3,447,049
State population3,115,070
Most popular vehicle in stateSilverado 1500
Uninsured %/Underinsured %8.70%
State rank: 38
Driving FatalitiesSpeeding Fatalities: 62
DUI Fatalities: 85
Average Annual PremiumsLiability: $299.18
Collision: $219.75
Comprehensive: $183.53
Cheapest ProvidersUSAA and State Farm

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With over 3 million other drivers on the road in Iowa, it’s important that you have everything to keep you and your family safe on the road, including Iowa auto insurance.

We know that looking for car insurance can make you feel like you’re in a corn maze, but we’re here to show you the way.

With this comprehensive guide to Iowa auto insurance, you’ll have all the information you need to make a good decision. We’ll discuss car insurance laws, coverage, Iowa auto insurance rates, and tell you which are the cheapest Iowa auto insurance companies.

Start today with our free online tool by entering your ZIP code to help you find the most affordable Iowa auto insurance rates.

Table of Contents

Iowa Auto Insurance Coverage and Rates

You’ll be happy to know that Iowa is ranked fifth in the nation as having the least expensive auto insurance rates. The national average amount spent on premiums is $1,474. Iowans spend, on average, $1,058 on their rates.

A liability-only policy in Iowa averages just $299.18 a year, or $25 a month.

So what kind of coverage does Iowa require? What percentage of my income will be spent on my premium? What alternative options are available if I don’t purchase car insurance? These are all great questions, and we’ll answer all of these and more in this section.

How much auto insurance is required for Iowa minimum coverage?

Iowa is a traditional fault-based system when it comes to accidents and claims.

The Iowa Motor Vehicle Financial and Safety Responsibility Act states that even though the state does not require its drivers to buy car insurance, you’ll be asked to show proof of financial responsibility if you get into an accident.

If you don’t have proof of financial responsibility, then the Iowa Department of Transportation will suspend your driving privileges.

Purchasing car insurance is an easy way for Iowa drivers to show financial responsibility at the scene of an incident, but how much coverage does Iowa require? The American Automobile Association outlines the types of coverage that are required and the amount for each.

Iowa Minimum Liability Auto Insurance Requirements
State Coverage RequirementsCoverage Amount
Bodily injury liability $20,000 for one person
$40,000 for all persons involved
Property damage liability$15,000

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The minimum requirements for Iowa aren’t as extensive as other state minimums. Other states require personal injury protection (PIP) and uninsured motorist.

The Insurance Information Institute reports that only 8.7 percent of the population in Iowa is uninsured. This ranks Iowa in 38th place in the nation for uninsured motorists.

Since the stakes are high for not having proof of financial responsibility in the event of an accident, make the easy choice. Save time and money by selecting the right car insurance for you today.

Many insurance providers are making it even easier for you to protect yourself by offering electronic proof of insurance.

Iowa is one of the many states that allow you to show proof of insurance from your mobile device, available by app or digital download, depending on your provider. It displays the same information as the paper copy so you can feel safe sharing your electronic proof of insurance with another driver.

What are forms of financial responsibility in Iowa?

As stated above, Iowa doesn’t require its drivers to purchase car insurance. However, if you don’t have proof of financial responsibility in the event of an accident your driving privileges will be suspended.

What options other than car insurance are available to drivers, you may ask? Good question. According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, here are the options offered to drivers:

  • Posting a bond with Driver and Identification Services
  • Getting a legal release of liability from the other parties involved in the accident
  • Being found completely not liable in a civil suit
  • Filing an agreement to pay the other parties’ damages on an installment plan
  • Executing a warrant for confession of judgment promising to pay the other parties’ damages on an installment plan
  • Filing evidence of complete settlement of all damages

If you or someone you know has ever been in an accident, you know that just being in one is hard enough. Assessing the damage and potentially spending time in court because you don’t have car insurance will certainly complicate the matter.

What percentage of average income are auto insurance rates in Iowa?

By now, you’re probably thinking that purchasing car insurance is a safe and smart choice. Of course, you want to save money and select the most economical policy for your coverage needs.

What you might not be thinking about is what percentage of your income will go toward your premium.

Based on the information collected from the NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners), the average disposable income in Iowa in 2014 was $39,820. The average full coverage premium in 2014 was $683.67, which amounts to 1.72 percent of the average Iowans income going towards their premium.

Check out the table below.

Auto Insurance Rates as Percentage of Income in Iowa
YearAverage Disposable IncomeAverage Full Coverage PremiumPercent of Disposable Income
2014$39,820$683.671.72%
2013$38,676$668.091.73%
2012$38,326$656.841.71%

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While there has been a small and steady increase in the average premium, the average disposable income has also increased, making the percentage nearly the same in those three years.

Out of all six states that border Iowa, Iowa has the lowest percentage of citizens’ disposable income going toward their premium.

Missouri had the highest percentage in 2014, with 2.3 percent of their income going toward their premium. South Dakota had the second-lowest percentage of 1.78 percent in 2014.

The countrywide average in 2014 was 2.29 percent of disposable income going toward premiums.

All in all, Iowa’s car insurance premiums are quite modest, making the choice to purchase car insurance a lot easier.

What are the core auto insurance coverages in Iowa?

Want to know the average cost of core coverage in Iowa? Here’s a look at each coverage type.

Cost of Core Auto Insurance Coverages in Iowa
CoverageAverage Rate
Liability$299.18
Collision$219.75
Comprehensive$183.53
Full Coverage$702.46

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On average, Iowans pay $1,058 per year for insurance costs, which is well below the national average of $1,474. This ranks Iowa as the fifth least expensive state for insurance costs.

There are two reasons that contribute to Iowa’s low-cost insurance rates. Iowa has a low population density, and, on top of that, there are a lot of farmers simply using the roadways for errands, not daily commutes.

Liability insurance only covers damages to the other driver and their property. Collision insurance is what will cover damages to your car if you hit another vehicle or object, such as a fence. Collision insurance isn’t required, but insurance providers may require it if you’re leasing or financing a car.

Comprehensive coverage is also not required but will cover just about anything that happens to your vehicle. Coverage ranges from incidents such as theft, damage caused by natural disasters, fire, and more.

Full coverage auto insurance is often a combination of coverages, such as collision and comprehensive. Don’t be fooled by the term, though. There is no such thing as having insurance for absolutely every incident that could possibly happen to your car.

Full coverage doesn’t always cover what you think it might. If you need full coverage auto insurance, talk with your insurance provider about what incidents are covered and which ones aren’t.

What additional liability auto insurance is available in Iowa?

When looking into insurance providers, it’s important to research their loss ratio.

A loss ratio is the ratio of total losses incurred (paid and reserved) in claims plus adjustment expenses divided by the total premiums earned.

In other words:

  • A loss ratio below 40 percent is too low, and a loss ratio over 75 percent is too high.
  • If a loss ratio is too low, then the company is collecting more premiums than it needs for the number of claims it’s getting.
  • if the loss ratio is too high, the carrier isn’t collecting enough premiums for the claims it’s receiving and is a sign that a rate increase might be coming.
  • A high loss ratio doesn’t mean an insurance company is facing bankruptcy unless the loss ratio is high for several years in a row. More than likely, a high loss ratio means the company is going to have a rate increase in the relatively near future.

This is what the attorneys at Murphy and Prachthouser have to say about car insurance:

When it comes to buying car insurance, don’t only look at insurance plans offered by publicly held companies offering you cheap insurance rates. When you’re involved in a car accident or truck accident, you’re likely to fare better if you stick with a company that has a higher pay loss ratio.

The loss ratio for medical payments in Iowa from 2013 to 2015 was 67.43, 68.90, and 79.28, respectively. The fact that the loss ratio for medical payments increased over the years isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, you can expect an increase in premiums in the following years.

While not required, personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is additional liability coverage you can purchase in Iowa. It covers medical costs, lost wages, and damage costs. PIP coverage is required in no-fault states.

Loss ratio data for Iowa PIP coverage isn’t available from the NAIC.

Iowa has one of the lowest percentages of uninsured motorists. Coming in at 38th place, 8.7 percent of Iowan motorists are uninsured. Purchasing uninsured motorist coverage will pay for the damages incurred by the other driver if they are uninsured.

Loss ratio data for Iowa uninsured motorists isn’t available from the NAIC.

What auto insurance add-ons, endorsements, and riders are available in Iowa?

While Iowa law requires only liability and property damage coverage when purchasing car insurance, it’s important to know what other coverages are available so you can have the most robust coverage for your specific needs. Talk with your insurance provider today to see if any of these options better suit your needs.

Do gender and age affect my auto insurance in Iowa?

Generally speaking, men and teenagers usually pay more for their car insurance. Let’s look at the data below and see how Iowa stands up to gender and age differences for insurance rates.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates by Gender and Age in Iowa
CompaniesMarried 35-Year-Old Female RatesMarried 35-Year-Old Male RatesMarried 60-Year-Old Female RatesMarried 60-Year-Old Male RatesSingle 17-Year-Old Female RatesSingle 17-Year-Old Male RatesSingle 25-Year-Old Female RatesSingle 25-Year-Old Male Rates
Allstate F&C$1,958.15$1,879.95$1,740.38$1,771.40$5,666.77$6,380.74$2,131.19$2,192.58
American Family Mutual$1,947.49$1,947.49$1,742.43$1,742.43$5,205.52$7,296.86$1,947.49$2,345.27
Farmers Ins Co$1,505.56$1,534.33$1,348.08$1,472.79$4,551.35$4,851.93$2,038.46$2,181.07
Geico$1,871.32$1,677.39$1,676.90$1,535.68$4,252.86$3,954.88$1,767.80$1,635.28
Safeco Ins Co America$2,110.02$2,290.23$1,856.34$2,255.89$10,248.60$11,534.94$2,390.92$2,636.91
Nationwide Agribusiness Ins$1,773.80$1,821.30$1,580.35$1,687.66$4,078.71$5,280.35$2,007.84$2,184.45
Progressive Northern$1,685.12$1,622.63$1,389.61$1,441.50$4,131.25$4,663.86$2,027.39$2,192.49
State Farm Mutual Auto$1,445.98$1,445.98$1,270.07$1,270.07$3,914.70$4,964.07$1,625.39$1,851.50
Travelers Home & Marine Ins Co$2,442.49$2,492.53$2,373.90$2,380.26$10,858.60$17,313.68$2,541.28$3,002.33
USAA$1,239.37$1,253.71$1,136.98$1,159.77$3,345.14$3,552.75$1,487.70$1,643.44

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Men, you have our condolences. According to our Quadrant data, men usually will pay more for their car insurance in Iowa. Teenagers can expect to pay more than double their parents’ rates. However, the rates significantly drop once you hit 25 years of age.

Some states have outlawed gender differences in car insurance rates. However, Iowa isn’t one of them.

No matter what your age, gender, or marital status is, USAA offers the lowest rates across the board. Meanwhile, Travelers Home and Marine will cost you the highest amount compared to the other providers listed.

Quadrant data is based on actually purchased coverage by the state population and includes rates for high-risk drivers and those drivers who choose to purchase more than the state minimum as well as other types of coverage not required, such as uninsured/underinsured motorist, PIP, and MedPay.

What are the cheapest auto insurance rates by ZIP code in Iowa?

Wondering which ZIP codes have the cheapest rates? Below is a table showing the top 25 cheapest rates by ZIP code compiled from our Quadrant information.

Top 25 Cheapest ZIP Codes for Auto Insurance in Iowa
CityZIP CodeAverage Annual RatesAllstate F&C RatesAmerican Family Mutual RatesFarmers Ins Co RatesGeico RatesSafeco Ins Co America RatesNationwide Agribusiness Ins RatesProgressive Northern RatesState Farm Mutual Auto RatesTravelers Home & Marine Ins Co RatesUSAA Rates
Corwith52241$2,598.27$3,281.67$3,235.08$2,711.39$2,595.62$5,155.43$3,332.56$3,355.54$2,449.87$7,990.77$2,229.60
Traer52242$2,605.98$3,281.67$3,307.64$2,711.39$2,595.62$4,734.09$3,332.56$3,433.49$2,386.17$7,747.16$2,229.60
South Amana52243$2,613.15$3,281.67$3,235.08$2,579.70$2,595.62$5,155.43$3,332.56$3,047.53$2,465.00$6,296.97$2,229.60
Sioux City50012$2,643.57$3,068.71$3,351.32$2,946.18$2,110.32$5,242.10$2,790.84$2,970.70$2,645.57$6,692.29$1,979.28
Sioux City50014$2,651.87$3,068.71$3,268.23$2,946.18$2,110.32$5,242.10$2,790.84$2,571.52$2,766.49$6,929.28$1,979.28
Sioux City50010$2,661.70$3,281.67$3,230.61$2,579.70$2,457.85$4,383.42$2,923.41$3,066.73$2,673.40$6,838.58$2,129.38
Sioux City50011$2,663.37$3,282.32$3,086.42$2,593.74$2,703.39$5,096.93$2,888.78$2,523.19$2,659.94$6,493.88$2,230.78
Des Moines50013$2,676.23$3,068.71$3,268.23$2,727.52$2,110.32$5,242.10$2,760.75$3,041.92$2,378.94$6,929.28$1,979.28
Carlisle50158$2,686.15$3,282.32$2,985.66$2,593.74$2,703.39$5,096.93$2,888.78$2,603.96$2,628.29$6,490.50$2,230.78
Rose Hill52246$2,697.81$3,282.32$3,018.51$2,593.74$2,703.39$5,096.93$2,888.78$2,513.71$2,628.02$6,466.89$2,230.78
Redfield52245$2,699.88$3,282.32$2,985.66$2,593.74$2,703.39$5,096.93$2,888.78$2,406.86$2,659.94$6,490.50$2,230.78
Blue Grass52240$2,719.12$3,068.71$3,268.23$2,727.52$2,110.32$5,242.10$2,760.75$3,041.92$2,378.94$6,692.29$1,979.28
Clarinda50078$2,721.11$3,282.32$3,018.51$2,448.05$2,703.39$4,724.97$2,888.78$2,385.00$2,648.75$6,635.30$2,230.78
Magnolia50236$2,725.56$3,042.94$3,019.23$2,852.39$2,166.09$5,001.11$2,800.94$2,753.81$2,775.39$6,442.62$1,999.55
Atlantic50142$2,734.13$3,068.71$2,840.29$2,727.52$2,110.32$4,963.74$2,790.84$2,535.33$2,378.94$7,228.33$1,979.28
Ottumwa52317$2,734.77$3,282.32$3,018.51$2,448.05$2,703.39$4,724.97$2,888.78$2,436.69$2,635.51$6,237.19$2,230.78
Joice52411$2,735.38$3,281.67$3,198.69$2,579.70$2,457.85$4,734.09$2,923.41$3,196.15$2,510.17$5,669.44$2,040.42
BondurantNT50248$2,759.69$3,281.67$3,198.69$2,579.70$2,239.78$4,383.42$2,923.41$3,053.99$2,684.55$6,023.81$2,129.38
Kellerton50122$2,762.30$3,282.32$2,985.66$2,593.74$2,703.39$4,724.97$2,888.78$2,292.97$2,505.73$6,422.45$2,028.09
Stavyville52233$2,762.69$3,281.67$3,533.00$2,579.70$2,239.78$4,551.50$2,614.99$3,141.51$2,466.72$6,098.15$1,892.30
Des Moines50006$2,764.17$3,068.71$3,268.23$2,946.18$2,110.32$5,242.10$2,790.84$2,551.36$2,672.01$5,675.29$1,979.28
Williamsburg52324$2,766.77$3,281.67$3,198.69$2,579.70$2,239.78$4,383.42$2,923.41$3,076.08$2,522.23$5,947.51$2,129.38
Center Point52404$2,768.58$3,269.17$3,533.00$2,579.70$2,239.78$4,383.42$2,923.41$2,887.42$2,426.48$6,100.16$1,892.30
Tabor50126$2,769.51$3,171.47$3,533.00$2,579.70$2,239.78$4,383.42$2,835.53$3,067.47$2,367.12$6,100.16$1,892.30
Liscomb52302$2,771.54$3,171.47$3,533.00$2,579.70$2,239.78$4,383.42$2,835.53$3,020.11$2,340.44$6,100.16$1,923.57

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This table shows the bottom 25 rates by ZIP code.

Top 25 Most Expensive ZIP Codes for Auto Insurance in Iowa
CityZIP CodeAverage Annual RatesAllstate F&C RatesAmerican Family Mutual RatesFarmers Ins Co RatesGeico RatesSafeco Ins Co America RatesNationwide Agribusiness Ins RatesProgressive Northern RatesState Farm Mutual Auto RatesTravelers Home & Marine Ins Co RatesUSAA Rates
Hayesville51532$3,212.72$2,899.42$2,781.18$2,458.84$2,315.20$4,387.25$2,703.83$2,204.71$2,186.01$5,419.45$1,885.26
Graettinger50864$3,216.99$3,282.32$3,016.54$2,385.73$2,239.78$4,724.97$2,498.34$2,023.22$2,059.09$5,573.27$1,736.34
Stanhope51533$3,223.48$2,582.67$3,061.79$2,443.53$2,340.90$4,426.94$2,527.66$2,162.90$2,106.39$5,832.24$1,754.52
Reinbeck51571$3,228.18$2,747.53$3,003.47$2,401.24$2,340.90$4,429.01$2,477.77$2,252.05$2,139.15$5,555.05$1,839.79
Humeston50316$3,230.43$3,042.22$3,058.68$2,421.65$2,340.90$4,419.23$2,646.32$2,538.63$2,217.05$5,631.20$1,865.84
Ogden51654$3,239.93$2,928.94$2,812.50$2,510.04$2,340.90$4,342.51$2,633.65$2,320.34$2,202.51$5,273.39$1,760.49
Webb51106$3,242.81$3,282.32$3,003.47$2,385.73$2,239.78$4,415.30$2,539.23$2,171.87$2,217.05$5,437.83$1,736.34
Pilot Mound51561$3,249.84$2,853.37$2,951.28$2,510.04$2,340.90$4,342.51$2,633.65$2,313.00$2,217.05$5,273.39$1,760.49
Muscatine51526$3,259.16$3,042.94$2,845.35$2,335.57$2,405.89$4,426.97$2,373.61$2,099.17$2,075.02$5,741.06$1,902.46
Cherokee51109$3,260.62$3,241.43$2,921.11$2,448.05$2,239.78$4,432.26$2,544.95$2,124.68$2,166.51$5,460.25$1,846.05
Ricketts50319$3,262.33$3,184.61$3,104.79$2,448.05$2,239.78$4,429.60$2,434.73$2,606.91$2,217.05$5,570.60$1,933.67
Ames52801$3,285.41$2,788.45$2,642.03$2,220.23$1,798.80$4,251.53$2,386.53$2,167.68$2,042.02$4,784.56$1,535.20
Hinton51108$3,296.59$3,282.32$3,003.47$2,448.05$2,239.78$4,432.26$2,544.95$2,207.07$2,215.66$5,089.44$1,962.30
New Albin50308$3,327.01$2,883.32$3,172.85$2,401.24$2,315.20$4,471.82$2,657.52$2,627.70$2,361.55$5,459.46$1,857.66
Nichols51101$3,333.89$2,667.31$3,117.35$2,335.57$2,315.20$4,426.97$2,503.35$2,209.48$2,266.46$5,698.25$1,902.46
Fredericksburg51104$3,342.31$2,883.32$2,994.93$2,401.24$2,315.20$4,553.47$2,527.31$2,297.44$2,165.86$5,459.46$1,838.36
Readlyn51105$3,350.44$2,770.03$2,994.93$2,401.24$2,315.20$4,553.47$2,527.31$2,267.58$2,182.92$5,485.06$1,934.01
Douds50307$3,350.71$2,810.12$3,117.35$2,458.84$2,315.20$4,387.25$2,640.16$2,593.02$2,337.16$5,730.51$1,824.51
Washington51103$3,355.94$2,935.33$3,028.16$2,458.84$2,315.20$4,395.66$2,706.47$2,299.73$2,085.86$5,388.15$1,824.51
Randalia51534$3,356.47$2,770.03$3,046.99$2,401.24$2,315.20$4,471.82$2,657.52$2,385.88$2,186.01$5,166.39$1,838.36
Indianola50309$3,367.30$3,184.52$2,889.66$2,421.65$2,340.90$4,492.14$2,628.59$2,564.89$2,423.24$5,376.00$1,885.05
Oxford Junction50314$3,379.73$2,954.97$3,136.53$2,335.57$2,315.20$4,415.40$2,556.10$2,692.05$2,273.73$5,677.41$1,836.81
Sioux Rapids51510$3,421.91$3,282.32$3,052.58$2,385.73$2,239.78$4,518.45$2,360.73$2,228.88$2,020.67$5,437.83$1,736.34
Burlington51503$3,575.94$2,814.61$2,826.87$2,458.84$2,064.89$4,734.78$2,329.81$2,285.45$2,068.19$5,905.34$1,775.77
Luther51501$3,633.75$2,982.26$2,826.87$2,510.04$2,340.90$4,342.51$2,633.65$2,290.87$2,217.05$5,362.91$1,760.49

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The ZIP code you live in can impact your car insurance rates in Iowa. The difference between the cheapest ZIP code and the highest is $1,035.48. How does your ZIP code compare to other ZIP codes in the surrounding area?

What are the cheapest auto insurance rates by city in Iowa?

Where you live has a bearing on how much you’ll pay for your car insurance. Knowing where your car is parked at night can affect your chances of having your car stolen or vandalized. The table below shows the top 25 cheapest rates by city in Iowa compiled from our Quadrant data.

Top 25 Cheapest Cities for Auto Insurance in Iowa
CityAverage Annual Rates
Alden$2,764.18
Ames$2,643.57
Ames$2,651.87
Ames$2,661.70
Ames$2,663.37
Ames$2,676.23
Cedar Rapids$2,735.38
Cedar Rapids$2,768.58
Coralville$2,598.27
Ferguson$2,721.11
Hiamatha$2,762.69
Hubbard$2,762.30
Iowa City$2,605.98
Iowa City$2,613.15
Iowa City$2,697.81
Iowa City$2,699.88
Iowa City$2,719.12
Iowa Falls$2,769.51
Le Grand$2,734.13
Marion$2,771.54
Marshalltown$2,686.15
North Liberty$2,734.77
Palo$2,766.77
Roland$2,725.56
Story City$2,759.69

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The table below shows the top 25 most expensive rates by city.

Top 25 Most Expensive Cities for Auto Insurance in Iowa
CityAverage Annual Rates
Carter Lake$3,421.91
Council Bluffs$3,575.94
Council Bluffs$3,633.75
Crescent$3,259.16
Davenport$3,285.41
Des Moines$3,230.43
Des Moines$3,262.33
Des Moines$3,327.01
Des Moines$3,350.71
Des Moines$3,367.30
Des Moines$3,379.73
Elliott$3,212.72
Emerson$3,223.48
Glenwood$3,356.47
Pacific Junction$3,249.84
Silver City$3,228.19
Sioux City$3,242.81
Sioux City$3,260.62
Sioux City$3,296.59
Sioux City$3,333.89
Sioux City$3,342.31
Sioux City$3,350.44
Sioux City$3,355.94
Thurman$3,239.93
Villisca$3,216.99

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On average, the citizens of Corwith pay the least amount in premium every year.

Now that we’ve taken an in-depth look at car insurance rates, coverage requirements, and what factors can affect your rates, let’s look at the insurance companies and what they have to offer.

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Best Iowa Auto Insurance Companies

All car insurance companies boast low rates and great service. But how do you know which company is right for you? Which insurance provider has the best rating? Which companies get the most complaints? Which companies penalize you for a poor driving record or credit history?

Finding the answers to all your questions can be hard, but, lucky for you, we’ve looked into all these questions and more. Keep reading to learn more about the highest-rated car insurance companies in Iowa.

What are the financial ratings of the largest auto insurance companies in Iowa?

The table below shows ratings provided by A.M. Best. A.M. Best is an insurance rating company that takes the guesswork out of evaluating insurance companies by giving them an easily identifiable rating.

They use letter grades to indicate the level of performance and service the company offers. You can guess that an A++ is an outstanding rating, while anything below a C+ is less than satisfactory.

“If you’re not first, you’re last” is true for some competitions. However, a B or C rating by A.M. Best isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

These letter grades indicate that the company doesn’t offer as many services as those with an A rating or above, which may mean lower rates due to your coverage needs. It’s important to look into the financial ratings for car insurance companies so you know who you can trust and why.

Check out this table below for the financial ratings for the top 10 largest car insurance companies in Iowa.

A.M. Ratings of the Top 10 Largest Insurers in Iowa
CompaniesAM Best Rating
Allstate Insurance GroupA+
American Family Insurance GroupA
GeicoA++
Grinnell Mutual GroupA
IMT Mutual Holding GroupN/A
Iowa Farm Bureau GroupN/A
Nationwide Corp GroupA+
Progressive GroupA+
State Farm GroupA++
West Bend Mutual Insurance CoA

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Both Geico and State Farm Group topped the chart for having the best rating of A++. It’s reassuring to know that all the largest car insurance companies in Iowa have excellent ratings, making your choice a little easier.

Which auto insurance companies have the best ratings in Iowa?

We all know that J.D. Power is a nationally recognized rating company, but what exactly do they consider when awarding their ratings? The chart above reflects the factors considered as listed below:

The 2019 U.S. Auto Insurance Study, now in its 20th year, examines customer satisfaction in five factors (in order of importance): interaction, policy offerings, price, billing process and policy information, and claims. The study is based on responses from 42,759 auto insurance customers and was conducted from February through April 2019.

J.D. Power Ratings for Companies the Central Region
CompaniesJ.D. Power Circle Rating
Allstate4
American Family3
Auto Club of Southern California Insurance Group3
Auto-Owners Insurance5
Central Average3
Farm Bureau Mutual3
Farmers2
Geico4
Liberty Mutual2
Nationwide2
Progressive3
Safeco2
Shelter5
State Farm3
Travelers3
USAA5

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Auto-Owners Insurance, Shelter, and USAA today all received the highest rating with J.D. Power.

Which auto insurance companies have the most complaints in Iowa?

Another factor in deciding which insurance provider is right for you is looking at a company’s complaint ratio. The data below was provided by the NAIC. Take a look.

Companies with Most Complaints in Iowa
Companies2017 Company
Complaint Ratio
Total Complaints
Allstate Insurance Group0.5163
American Family Insurance Group0.7973
Geico0.68333
Grinnell Mutual Group0.071
IMT Mutual Holding Group3.452
Iowa Farm Bureau Group0.7732
Nationwide Corp Group0.2825
Progressive Group0.75120
State Farm Group0.441482
West Bend Mutual Insurance Co0.336

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The national average complaint ratio is 1, so anything higher than that means that you have more complaints than the national average. The complaint ratio carries more weight than the actual amount of complaints.

For example, State Farm received far more complaints than the Iowa Farm Bureau Group. However, State Farm has a lower complaint ratio. This means that Iowa Farm Bureau Group received more complaints than State Farm per $1 million in premiums paid.

What are the cheapest auto insurance companies in Iowa?

What providers are going to give you the cheapest rates? Here’s a listing of the state’s largest providers and their rates compared with the state average.

Cheapest Auto Insurers in Iowa
CompaniesAverage Annual RatesCompared to State AveragePercentage Compared to State Average
USAA$1,852.36-$1,105.84-59.70%
State Farm Mutual Auto$2,223.47-$734.72-33.04%
Geico$2,296.51-$661.68-28.81%
Progressive Northern$2,394.23-$563.96-23.56%
Farmers Ins Co$2,435.45-$522.75-21.46%
Nationwide Agribusiness Ins$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 Ins Co America$4,415.48$1,457.2933.00%
Travelers Home & Marine Ins Co$5,425.63$2,467.4445.48%

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Our data shows that USAA provides the cheapest rates with a savings of over $1,000 under the state average. Safeco and Travelers will end up costing you 30 and 40 percent more than the state average, respectively. It’s simple, and less money going toward your premium means more money in your pocket.

Does my commute affect my auto insurance rate in Iowa?

Is it true that your commute can increase your rate? If so, how much does your rate go up, and after how many miles?  We’ve gathered our Quadrant data to show you the rate increase between a 10-mile commute and a 25-mile commute.

How Commutes Affect Auto Insurance Rates in Iowa
CompaniesRates for 10-Mile Commute,
6000 Annual Mileage
Rates for 25-Mile Commute,
12000 Annual Mileage
USAA$1,784.77$1,919.94
State Farm$2,169.94$2,277.01
Geico$2,251.26$2,341.77
Progressive$2,394.23$2,394.23
Farmers$2,435.45$2,435.45
Nationwide$2,551.81$2,551.81
Allstate$2,894.65$3,035.64
American Family$2,986.61$3,057.13
Liberty Mutual$4,415.48$4,415.48
Travelers$5,425.63$5,425.63

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The great news is that only half of the companies listed here show an increase in rates for a 25-mile commute, which ends up only being an additional $6 – $12 each month. According to the Iowa DOT, the majority of Iowans spend less than 25 minutes on their daily commute.

Can coverage level change my auto insurance rate with companies in Iowa?

You can expect that with most companies your car insurance rate will increase due to increasing your coverage level. However, only American Family and Nationwide actually decreased rates due to higher coverage. Take a look.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates by Coverage Level in Iowa
CompaniesRates with Low CoverageRates with Medium CoverageRates with High Coverage
USAA$1,757.16$1,858.31$1,941.61
State Farm$2,115.69$2,236.04$2,318.68
Geico$2,180.55$2,297.14$2,411.84
Progressive$2,258.89$2,402.19$2,521.62
Farmers$2,332.54$2,443.15$2,530.66
Nationwide$2,660.79$2,539.43$2,455.20
Allstate$2,853.70$2,968.91$3,072.83
American Family$3,035.16$3,189.92$2,840.53
Liberty Mutual$4,237.62$4,407.47$4,601.36
Travelers$5,103.05$5,507.84$5,666.01

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How does my credit history affect my auto insurance rate with companies in Iowa?

The average credit score in Iowa is 720, which is considered good. According to Experian:

Today, 59 percent of Americans have a FICO® Score of 700 or higher—the biggest percentage ever seen at that level. A credit score of 700 or above is generally considered the marker of good credit by many lenders, who often view consumers with credit scores in this range as favorable borrowers. These borrowers may receive a wider variety of credit product offers, at better interest rates, than those with scores below 700. A score of 800 or higher is usually considered excellent.

Having good credit certainly impacts your car insurance rates for the better. But, what if your credit history isn’t stellar? How much more can you expect to pay on your annual rates and how can you get car insurance with bad credit?

We’ve compiled data to show the differences in rates due to good, fair, and poor credit history.

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates by Credit History in Iowa
CompaniesRates with Good Credit HistoryRates with Fair Credit HistoryRates with Poor Credit History
USAA$1,449.06$1,673.05$2,434.97
State Farm$1,544.99$1,958.88$3,166.55
Geico$1,833.13$2,296.52$2,759.89
Progressive$2,069.08$2,284.84$2,828.78
Nationwide$2,127.45$2,427.31$3,100.67
Farmers$2,195.20$2,317.58$2,793.56
American Family$2,380.74$2,831.65$3,853.23
Allstate$2,533.59$2,817.56$3,544.28
Liberty Mutual$3,061.08$3,889.40$6,295.97
Travelers$4,964.86$5,210.35$6,101.70

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Seven out of the 10 companies listed will charge around $1,000 more for someone with poor credit history versus someone with good credit history. Farmers will increase your rate by around $600 and Progressive will increase your rate by around $760.

However, Liberty Mutual will increase your rates by nearly 50 percent.

Here are the average annual rates you should expect based on your credit score in Iowa:

  • Good credit (670+) = $2,415.92
  • Fair credit (580-669) = $2,770.71
  • Poor credit (300-579) = $3,687.96

As you can see, your credit plays a big part in how much you’ll pay for car insurance.

How does my driving record change my rates with auto insurance companies in Iowa?

Driving records are definitely something that car insurance companies look into. If you have a speeding ticket, accident, or a DUI on your record, you can expect to pay more for your car insurance. Let’s look at Iowa car insurance rates by driving record:

Average Annual Auto Insurance Rates by Driving Record in Iowa
CompaniesRates with Clean RecordRates with With 1 Speeding TicketRates with With 1 AccidentRates with With 1 DUI
USAA$1,414.93$1,624.60$1,899.66$2,470.24
Geico$1,739.14$1,865.34$2,430.59$3,150.98
Nationwide$1,845.32$2,088.61$2,653.56$3,619.74
Progressive$1,925.00$2,409.88$3,153.79$2,088.27
State Farm$2,058.27$2,223.47$2,388.67$2,223.47
Farmers$2,075.02$2,479.99$2,574.18$2,612.59
American Family$2,181.69$2,564.80$3,194.70$4,146.29
Allstate$2,520.15$2,818.27$3,051.76$3,470.40
Liberty Mutual$3,813.55$4,318.32$4,718.68$4,811.37
Travelers$3,954.60$5,414.68$5,272.67$7,060.59

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As you expected, those who have a clean record are paying the least on their premium compared to those with a speeding ticket, accident, or DUI. On average, companies increase rates between $350 – $430 for each type of hit on your driving record.

That’s just an average, though. Look out for companies that will increase your rate by double that range. Travelers will increase your rate by just over $1,400 for one speeding ticket.

Which auto insurance companies are the largest in Iowa?

According to the NAIC, here are the largest car insurance companies in the state by direct premiums written and market share.

Largest Insurers in Iowa by Direct Premiums Written
CompaniesDirect Premiums WrittenMarket Share
Allstate Insurance Group$56,7023.23%
American Family Insurance Group$111,2276.33%
Geico$64,0443.65%
Grinnell Mutual Group$78,9454.49%
IMT Mutual Holding Group$57,4983.27%
Iowa Farm Bureau Group$119,3086.79%
Nationwide Corp Group$180,62110.28%
Progressive Group$285,10716.23%
State Farm Group$389,03222.14%
West Bend Mutual Insurance Co$38,4982.19%

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The total number of direct premiums written in the state of Iowa is $1,756,930. State Farm has the largest amount of direct premiums written with 22.14 percent of market share. Progressive has the second-highest amount of direct premiums written with 16.23 percent of market share.

How many auto insurance companies are available in Iowa?

While there are 73 domestic car insurance companies available to Iowans, there are 860 foreign companies available to them as well. A domestic company simply means that it is sourced in Iowa. A foreign company is one that is out-of-state. Foreign insurance companies can be licensed to sell insurance in Iowa.

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Iowa Auto Insurance Laws

State laws on car insurance are probably not on your list of things to read in the next, well, ever. We’ve done the research for you and compiled the laws for different types of coverage, vehicle licensing laws, rules of the road, and safety laws.

How are state laws determined? What are the laws for a teen driver? What is the rule for fault versus no-fault?

Keep reading for the answers to all these questions and more.

What are the auto insurance laws in Iowa?

It’s important to know the car insurance laws in your state, but first, let’s take a look at how laws are determined for Iowa.

How Iowa Laws for Auto Insurance are Determined

The Iowa Insurance Division (IID) is responsible for regulating and monitoring car insurance companies and insurance producers. Their mission is multi-purpose.

Through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), the Iowa Insurance Division and other U.S. insurance regulators establish national standards and best practices, conduct peer reviews and coordinate their regulatory oversight to better protect the interests of consumers while ensuring a strong, viable insurance marketplace.

If you have any questions for the IID, you can contact them at (877) 955-1212.

Windshield Coverage

While it’s not a law that Iowans must purchase windshield coverage, individual insurance companies may offer it with comprehensive coverage.

Carwindshields.info says, “Aftermarket crash parts (specifically excluding windshields) may be used if they are ‘at least equal in kind and quality … in terms of fit, quality and performance, or that the part complies with federal safety standards,’ if mentioned in the policy (you can insist on OEM [original equipment manufacturer] parts, but may have to pay the difference).”

Iowa law does not prohibit a driver from operating their vehicle with a cracked windshield. However, the law does state that windshields must provide a clear view of the road. Any object placed on the windshield, such as a sticker, must be placed outside of the wiper’s clearing area.

High-Risk Auto Insurance

Car accidents you cause, multiple violations, and an OWI (operating while intoxicated) are all incidents that car insurance companies consider high-risk. We already saw that speeding tickets, accidents, and DUIs will usually increase your insurance rate. In addition, there are some instances where you must obtain high-risk insurance.

Iowa law states that drivers who have been convicted of OWI and want to reinstate their license must obtain SR-22 insurance for two years following the suspension date.

This means that your insurance company will submit a filing with the DOT showing proof that you’re covered by high-risk insurance. This isn’t a separate type of insurance coverage, but your premium will increase to cover costs.

Iowa’s minimum liability is $20,000 for injury to one person, $40,000 for more than one person, and $15,000 for property damage. Below is a video explaining SR-22 insurance and some commonly asked questions.

It’s definitely a good idea to avoid having to get an SR-22.

Low-Cost Auto Insurance

Iowa does not have a program to aid low-income drivers.

California, Hawaii, and New Jersey are the only three states that have government-funded programs to help low-income families pay for their car insurance.

Automobile Insurance Fraud in Iowa

According to the Iowa Insurance Division, “Insurance fraud is crime that affects everyone and costs Americans at least $80 billion a year, or nearly $950 for each family.”

There are many ways that insurance fraud can occur. Consider the following situations:

  • Misrepresenting facts on insurance applications
  • Inflating insurance claims
  • Staging accidents
  • Submitting claim forms for damage and injuries that never occurred
  • Salvage fraud (title washing)

The Insurance Information Institute says that,

Fraud accounted for between 15 percent and 17 percent of total claims payments for auto insurance bodily injury in 2012, according to an Insurance Research Council (IRC) study. The study estimated that between $5.6 billion and $7.7 billion was fraudulently added to paid claims for auto insurance bodily injury payments in 2012, compared with a range of $4.3 billion to $5.8 billion in 2002.

As you can see, insurance fraud costs companies and customers alike. If you suspect insurance fraud in Iowa, fill out this online form, or you can print and mail in this paper form. Or, you can call the number listed below for additional help.

Iowa Insurance Division Insurance Fraud: (515) 242-5304

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is simply the length of time you have to file a lawsuit after an incident, typically an accident. This time frame varies from state to state and can be the same or different for personal injury and property damage.

The statute of limitations in Iowa is as follows:

  • Two years for personal injury
  • Five years for property damage

This time limit starts ticking at the time of the accident.

State Specific Auto Insurance Laws

The state laws concerning car insurance in Iowa are fairly simple and common to other states. However, what is not common in other states is that car insurance is not required in Iowa.

Proof of financial responsibility is required and can be obtained in many ways, but the simplest way for most drivers is to purchase a car insurance policy.

Another law that’s unique to this state is its provision for insolvent insurers. In 1970, Iowa Legislature created the Iowa Insurance Guaranty Association (IIGA) to provide coverage for incidents where a property and casualty insurer becomes insolvent.

No public funds or tax revenues fund this association. Only funds derived from assessments made on member insurers are used for coverage. Only Iowa residents and property permanently located in Iowa can be eligible to receive benefits.

What are the vehicle licensing laws in Iowa?

Technology is always changing and becoming easier to use in every aspect of our lives. This impacts changes to everything from your driver’s license to teen driver laws. Stay up to date on the latest vehicle licensing laws by reading the section below.

REAL ID

The deadline for the REAL ID Act is October 1, 2020. According to the Department of Homeland Security:

The REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the act’s minimum standards. The purposes covered by the act are: accessing federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.

Iowa is compliant with the REAL ID Act and is on track for issuing all its residents a REAL ID card who needs one by the deadline. A REAL ID does not invalidate your driver’s license and isn’t necessary for driving, renting a car, writing a check, etc.

So, who needs a REAL ID?

You need a REAL ID if:

  • You plan on entering federal facilities that require identification to enter.
  • You plan on entering nuclear power facilities.
  • You plan on flying on federally regulated commercial aircraft.

A driver’s license will no longer be accepted as proof of identification for the items listed above after October 1, 2020.

You DON’T need a REAL ID if:

  • You DO NOT fly or need access to federal facilities or nuclear power plants.
  • You DO have an acceptable alternative to a state-issued REAL ID, such as a valid U.S. passport.

What documents do I need in order to obtain a REAL ID? You’ll need to go to an Iowa driver’s service center and present documents that prove the following:

  • Identity
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Legal status or authorized presence in the United States
  • Residency and residential address in Iowa

You can see in the video below how Iowa has been preparing for the REAL ID.

If you are going to need one, it’s best to do it as soon as possible.

Penalties for Driving Without Auto Insurance in Iowa

In the state of Iowa, car insurance isn’t required. According to nolo.com, there are several options available to motorists to show proof of financial responsibility, listed below:

  • Posting a bond with Driver and Identification Services
  • Getting a legal release of liability from the other parties involved in the accident
  • Being found completely not liable in a civil suit
  • Filing an agreement to pay the other parties’ damages on an installment plan
  • Executing a warrant for confession of judgment promising to pay the other parties’ damages on an installment plan, or
  • Filing evidence of complete settlement of all damages.

However, if you don’t have car insurance OR a valid proof of financial responsibility when pulled over or in the event of an accident your license will be suspended and you may face the following consequences:

  • $250 fine if you’re not in an accident, or community service in lieu of fine
  • $500 fine if you’re in an accident
  • Possible citation or warning
  • Possible removal of plates and registration
  • Possible impoundment

Your plate and registration may be reissued to you upon payment of the fine or completed community service, proof of insurance, and a $15 fee.

Teen Driver Laws

You had a sweet little baby. You blinked. Now your sweet little baby is a teenager and wants to drive. Before you and your teen hit the road, make sure you understand all the rules and the permits that are available according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

An instruction permit is available to 14-year-olds to drive with adult supervision. Fourteen may seem like a young age to start driver’s training, but most farming families use the help of their teenagers to get farmers to and from their fields when they have to leave their tractors there.

Just because Iowa allows 14-year-olds to obtain an instruction permit doesn’t mean that the driving laws for teens are relaxed. See the following rules for teens.

To get an INSTRUCTION PERMIT, you must:

  • Be at least 14 years of age
  • Have your parent or guardian give written consent
  • Pass the written and vision test
  • Provide forms of identification, proof of residency, and your Social Security number

The rules for an INSTRUCTION PERMIT are:

  • You must always drive with adult supervision. The adult must be your parent or guardian, an immediate family member at least 21 years of age, a driver instructor, or someone at least 25 years of age with written consent from your parent or guardian.
  • You CANNOT use an electronic communication or entertainment device unless it’s permanently installed in the vehicle.
  • You CANNOT drive with more passengers than the number of seatbelts in your vehicle.

To move to an INTERMEDIATE LICENSE, you must: 

  • Be at least 16 years of age
  • Complete an Iowa-approved driver education course
  • Hold an instruction permit for at least 12 months and maintain a clean driving record for six consecutive months preceding your application for an intermediate license
  • Get a parent or guardian’s written consent
  • Complete 20 hours of supervised driving. At least two of those hours must be between sunset and sunrise.

An intermediate license allows teen drivers more freedom and responsibility on the road. They can drive at any time with adult supervision and between 5 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. with no adult supervision. According to the DOT:

If the back of your license says you have a passenger restriction, for the first six months you have your intermediate license, you cannot carry more than one minor passenger that is not a relative when driving without adult supervision. A relative means someone that is your brother, sister, step-brother, step-sister, or another minor living in your household.

To move to a FULL LICENSE, you must: 

  • Be at least 17 years of age.
  • Keep your intermediate license for at least 12 consecutive months immediately before applying for a full license.
  • Maintain a clean driving record for at least 12 consecutive months immediately before applying for a full license.
  • Complete 10 hours of supervised driving while holding your intermediate license. At least two of those hours must be between sunset and sunrise.

A full license allows you to drive with no restrictions.

Iowa also allows teens to apply for a Minor School License. This license allows teens who are at least 14.5 years of age to drive to and from school during the hours of 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

This includes school-sanctioned events, such as sports games and practices, events, and programs.

The teen applying for the license must live within one mile of the school, and the application must be signed by an authorized school official and a parent. The teen must also have held an instruction permit with a clean record for six consecutive months immediately before applying for the minor school license.

Iowa offers a Parent’s Supervised Driving Program to new teen drivers and their parents. The guide is intended to help new teen drivers and their parents learn together and track supervised driving time.

Older Driver License Renewal Procedures

For those who are 70 years or older, the renewal process for an Iowa driver’s license will be different than in years past. You’ll need to renew in person and also have proof of adequate vision for every renewal. Once a person turns 72 years of age, they’ll need to renew their license every two years.

Precautions like these can help avoid accidents. According to the Iowa DOT, “In Iowa, drivers age 65 and older account for 17 percent of all drivers but were involved in 24 percent of all crashes and 26 percent of all fatal crashes.”

New Residents

Are you new to the Hawkeye State? Getting a valid Iowa driver’s license is easy. Just follow these simple steps:

  • Present proof of residency, identity, and your Social Security number
  • Pass a vision test
  • Pay applicable fees

Your license must not be canceled, suspended, or revoked in any other state.

License Renewal Procedures

According to the DOT, drivers are given a 60-day grace period for the expiration date. Not all entities acknowledge this grace period, so it’s best to renew your license before it expires.

AAA says that Iowa drivers are given a random renewal date five, six, seven, or eight years from the issue year, and it expires on their birthday. However, this random renewal date can’t exceed the driver’s 74th birthday. Once a person turns 72, they must renew every two years.

Electronic renewal is permitted every other renewal. Otherwise, you’ll be required to renew in person.

Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS)

Not only will accident and traffic violations increase your premium, but it can also land you the title of negligent driver. As outlined in the Iowa Legislature Guide to Driver’s License Sanctions, a driver is considered negligent when they have:

  • Accumulated a combination of three or more contributive accidents and convictions for moving violations, OR
  • Accumulated three or more contributive accidents within a 12-month period

Now, let’s move onto rules of the road.

What are the rules of the road in Iowa?

For the most part, driving in the United States is simple, and most states abide by the same rules. But what rules are unique to Iowa? Do you know the laws regarding seatbelts, car seats, and ridesharing? We’ll take a look at each of these and more.

Fault vs. No-Fault

In a no-fault state, each driver is required to file a claim with their insurance provider regardless of who was at fault. Drivers are also required to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) coverage as part of their car insurance policy.

Since Iowa is an at-fault state, drivers aren’t required to purchase PIP coverage. The Insurance Information Institute says that Iowa is among the majority of U.S. states that are at-fault states. Only 12 states and Puerto Rico are no-fault states.

In an at-fault state, a driver must show fault on the part of the other driver to file a successful claim. In order for your insurance provider to pay for damages, they must decide how much you’re not at fault.

For example, if a judge finds you 25 percent at fault and the other driver 75 percent at fault, you’ll be compensated for 75 percent of the damages to your vehicle.

Seat Belt and Car Seat Laws

Iowa’s seat belt laws are primary, which means that an officer can pull you over just for violating the seat belt law. In other states where the seat belt laws are secondary, an officer can only cite you for violating seat belt laws if they pulled you over for another reason.

Here are the key rules to remember about seat belts and car seats while driving in Iowa:

  • A child 1 year or younger who weighs 20 pounds or less must be secured in a rear-facing child restraint system.
  • A child between 1-5 years of age must be secured in a child restraint system or booster seat.
  • Children 6-17 years of age must wear a seat belt
  • Seat belts are required for the driver and front-seat passenger 18 years or older.
  • Riding in the bed of a pickup truck is permitted. Local ordinances can prohibit riding in the bed of a pickup, so make sure you’re aware and in compliance.

If an officer finds you in violation of any seat belt laws, you’ll be issued a citation.

Keep Right and Move Over Laws

Some states differ on left-lane usage. In Iowa, the rule is to keep right when you’re driving slower than the traffic around you. There is no law stating that you can’t drive in the left lane.

It’s always important to know the speed limit so that you can keep with the flow of traffic and not cause accidents due to driving too fast or too slow.

Iowa also requires that you slow down and move over, if possible, to the next lane when you see any stationary vehicle with emergency hazards flashing on the side of the road.

Speed Limits

Obeying the speed limit is one factor in fatal accidents that drivers can control. It’s important to pay attention to speed limits while on the road. Not only does it keep you safe, but it keeps traffic flowing. The DOT says:

A uniform speed of vehicles in a traffic flow results in the safest operation.

According to the IIHS, Iowa drivers can cruise along at 70 mph on rural highways and limited-access roads. When traveling on urban highways, the speed limit is 55 mph. Most other roads will be listed at 65 mph.

Ridesharing

Uber and Lyft are two popular and growing companies that offer ridesharing in Iowa. Your car insurance may not provide coverage when you’re behind the wheel as a rideshare employee because you’re using your car for business.

Farmers, State Farm, and USAA all provide rideshare coverage to Iowa drivers.

If you are a ridesharing employee, talk with your insurance provider today and make sure your car is covered while on the clock.

Automation on the Road

The evolution of technology has a profound impact on how our vehicles are built and the vehicle laws for each state. Cars are becoming more autonomous every day, and it’s important to know the laws and what is expected of drivers of autonomous vehicles.

There are many types of vehicle automation available to drivers. Everything from cruise control to park-assist and fully-autonomous vehicles is included in the level of automation. While fully-autonomous vehicles aren’t on the road yet, the technology is available.

Iowa law permits the deployment of autonomous vehicles. Liability insurance is required, and the operator must be licensed.

What are the safety laws in Iowa?

With distractions such as cell phones and the rise of marijuana use, it’s important to know the safety laws in Iowa. Here is the information you need to know about DUI laws, marijuana-impaired driving laws, and distracted driving.

DUI Laws

In 2017, there were 88 total alcohol-impaired driving fatalities. It’s no wonder laws on alcohol-impaired driving are strict and come with a high price. It’s illegal to drive if your blood alcohol content is 0.08 or higher. When in doubt, don’t drive.

The formal term for alcohol-impaired driving in Iowa is Operating While Intoxicated (OWI). Here is a table showing the multiple consequences of receiving an OWI based on the data provided by the Foundation For Advancing Alcohol Responsibility.

Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) Penalties in Iowa
Penalties1st OWI Offence2nd OWI Offence3rd OWI Offence4th OWI Offence
Fine$625 up to $1250 OR community service$1875-$6250$3125-$9375$3125-$9375
Jail Time48 hours-up to 1 year; min 48 hours may be served in OWI program with law enforcement security7 days - 2 years30 days-5 years30 days-5 years
License Revoked180 days but may apply for temporary restricted license; if crash occurred or BAC > .10, must install IID2 years, not eligible for temporary restricted license for 45 days6 years, not eligible for temporary restricted license for 45 days6 years, not eligible for temporary restricted license for 45 days
Mandatory Ignition Interlock DeviceHigh BAC and repeat offendersHigh BAC and repeat offendersHigh BAC and repeat offendersHigh BAC and repeat offenders
OtherMust complete substance abuse evaluation and treatment program and might be assigned a reality education substance abuse prevention programMust complete substance abuse evaluation and treatment program and might be assigned a reality education substance abuse prevention programMust complete substance abuse evaluation and treatment program and might be assigned a reality education substance abuse prevention programMust complete substance abuse evaluation and treatment program and might be assigned a reality education substance abuse prevention program

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All OWI convicted drivers must complete a substance abuse and evaluation and treatment program no matter how many OWIs they have been convicted of in the past. If you register a high BAC or are a repeat offender, you’ll be required to install an ignition interlock device on your vehicle.

A minimum of 48 hours is what Iowa drivers will spend in jail if convicted of an OWI and a minimum of $625 will be fined. Be safe out on the roads and don’t drink and drive.

People who have obtained a driver’s license have subsequently given their consent to be subjected to a chemical test if a police officer requires them to. Refusing to participate in a sobriety test can result in a criminal conviction and penalties harsher than an OWI.

Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws

Legal marijuana use differs across the United States. Some states have legalized all marijuana use, some have legalized it only for medicinal use, and some still consider all use illegal. In Iowa, marijuana can be used for medicinal purposes, but it has not been decriminalized.

Even though you can legally use marijuana for medicinal purposes in Iowa according to Responsibility.org, it’s still illegal to operate a vehicle while under the influence.

Iowa has a zero-tolerance policy for THC. Since THC can be present in the body multiple weeks post-use, some have been convicted of an OWI two to four weeks after smoking marijuana.

Distracted Driving Laws

Every day, at least nine people die and 1,000 are injured in distracted driving crashes. Cellphones, dashboard touchscreens, voice commands, and other in-vehicle technologies pose a threat to our safety.

It only takes a second to become distracted and get into a potentially fatal accident. That’s why states across America are becoming more and more strict on laws regarding electronic device use while driving.

Iowans are banned from using their handheld cellphone to write, send, or view electronic messages while driving.

Drivers with a learner’s permit or an intermediate license are prohibited from using a handheld electronic device at all while driving.

The only time a driver is allowed to use their cellphone is when the vehicle is at a complete stop off the traveled portion of the roadway.

Stoplights and stop signs aren’t permissible places to use your phone.

Driving Safely in Iowa

Now that we’ve looked at the rules of the road and safety laws, let’s take a look at driving safely in Iowa. We’ve compiled our data to show you information regarding vehicle thefts, road fatalities, and the commute in Iowa as these can all affect your car insurance rates.

How many vehicle thefts occur in Iowa?

According to FBI data, the majority of cities in Iowa only had vehicle thefts occurring in the single digits. As you can guess, the more populated cities had tens or hundreds of vehicle thefts. Des Moines ranked number 1 in the state for the most vehicle thefts with a total of 1,260. Below is a list of the most stolen vehicles in Iowa.

Most-Stolen Autos in Iowa
RankAuto Make and ModelAuto Model Year# of Thefts
1Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)2002258
2Ford Pickup (Full Size)2001198
3Chevrolet Impala2005101
4Dodge Pickup (Full Size)200493
5Ford Taurus200377
6Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee200565
7GMC Pickup (Full Size)200760
8Toyota Camry199759
9Dodge Caravan200556
10Pontiac Grand Prix199956

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As you can see, the 2002 Chevrolet Pickup was the most stolen vehicle in Iowa with 258 incidents of theft. Do you own any of the vehicles on the list? Always make sure to lock your car doors and park your car in a secure area near adequate lighting at night time.

How many road fatalities occur in Iowa?

It’s important to be aware of where and why road fatalities happen. Weather conditions and trends in road type-related fatalities all play a role in helping to keep drivers safe. Let’s take a look at the data available regarding road fatalities.

Most Fatal Highway in Iowa

I-80 is a beautiful highway full of farmland and open fields, but it’s the most fatal highway in Iowa. It’s the longest highway in Iowa and is also a transcontinental highway that stretches from San Francisco to Teaneck, N.J. When traveling along I-80 be sure to obey all traffic laws and speed limits.

Knowing what to expect in Iowa and what contributes to fatalities can keep you safe behind the wheel.

Fatal Crashes by Weather Condition and Light Condition

We all know that the weather plays a role in driving conditions. Rain, snow, ice, night time, and even daytime can impact driving conditions. In what conditions do fatal crashes occur most often? Here is a table showing the number of fatal crashes by light and weather conditions.

Driving Fatalities by Weather and Light Conditions in Iowa
Weather ConditionDaylightDark, but LightedDarkDawn or DuskOther / UnknownTotal
Normal1462185141267
Rain4340011
Snow/Sleet403007
Other323109
Unknown303017
Total1602698152301

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Surprisingly, the most fatal crashes occurred during normal weather conditions in the daytime. The second most fatal crashes occurred during normal conditions at night time.

Drivers must be aware at all times during the day and in all weather conditions. Drivers tend to be more alert in hazardous conditions, and even avoid driving altogether.

Fatalities (All Crashes) by County

The table below shows data compiled from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for fatal crashes by county in Iowa. Look for your county in the table below and see how it compares to the surrounding counties.

Traffic Fatalities by County in Iowa
County20142015201620172018
Adair County50524
Adams County21000
Allamakee County33321
Appanoose County22522
Audubon County11140
Benton County611957
Black Hawk County51011810
Boone County64214
Bremer County31103
Buchanan County14231
Buena Vista County63211
Butler County11420
Calhoun County31142
Carroll County60431
Cass County651415
Cedar County25224
Cerro Gordo County676125
Cherokee County22112
Chickasaw County21502
Clarke County00634
Clay County51110
Clayton County23415
Clinton County43216
Crawford County24303
Dallas County64625
Davis County12303
Decatur County30174
Delaware County12424
Des Moines County24532
Dickinson County24213
Dubuque County944106
Emmet County11000
Fayette County52233
Floyd County31655
Franklin County03110
Fremont County30332
Greene County22312
Grundy County20211
Guthrie County12020
Hamilton County25514
Hancock County32022
Hardin County23404
Harrison County32155
Henry County23524
Howard County02100
Humboldt County20314
Ida County01112
Iowa County15892
Jackson County34442
Jasper County55444
Jefferson County11134
Johnson County851687
Jones County44311
Keokuk County42111
Kossuth County32220
Lee County3111144
Linn County145201613
Louisa County51222
Lucas County10120
Lyon County10221
Madison County24530
Mahaska County27510
Marion County12315
Marshall County544124
Mills County32536
Mitchell County31102
Monona County13574
Monroe County12202
Montgomery County01030
Muscatine County11543
O Brien County04102
Osceola County32140
Page County21103
Palo Alto County30042
Plymouth County14343
Pocahontas County10026
Polk County1920282627
Pottawattamie County1613131211
Poweshiek County52263
Ringgold County00621
Sac County31433
Scott County132119813
Shelby County13230
Sioux County13432
Story County55452
Tama County34264
Taylor County00220
Union County01211
Van Buren County00210
Wapello County22644
Warren County611856
Washington County43331
Wayne County01040
Webster County27659
Winnebago County10021
Winneshiek County22422
Woodbury County14131085
Worth County12302
Wright County41011

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Polk County had the highest fatal crashes in Iowa. Polk County is located right in the middle of the state and is situated along I-80. Des Moines, the state capital and one of Iowa’s largest cities, is located in this county.

Traffic Fatalities by Road Type

The next table shows how the difference that road type plays into traffic fatalities. This data was also gathered from the NHTSA.

Fatalities by Road Type in Iowa
Road Type2009201020112012201320142015201620172018
Rural305303300286256255230306254254
Urban66876079616790967664

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On average, there were a few hundred more traffic fatalities on rural roads versus urban roads. When driving on rural roads, make sure to stay alert and keep your eyes on the road.

Fatalities by Person Type

In this table, we’ve compiled data from the NHTSA showing how many fatalities occurred according to person type.

Traffic Fatalities by Person Type in Iowa
Person Type20142015201620172018
Passenger Car117111152108116
Light Truck - Pickup5371525348
Light Truck - Utility3242544238
Light Truck - Van1712321719
Light Truck - Other10002
Large Truck11612198
Other/Unknown Occupants15481014
Bus00021
Motorcyclists5241604943
Pedestrian1925222322
Bicyclist and Other Cyclist45857
Other/Unknown Nonoccupants13220

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In Iowa, most fatalities happen with passenger cars. The next categories that had high fatalities were pickup trucks and utility trucks. Pedestrians and motorcyclists also had high counts of fatalities.

No matter what vehicle you’re driving or even if you’re walking, stay alert while you’re traveling and keep distractions at a minimum.

Fatalities by Crash Type

The NHTSA also has data pertaining to crash types listed in the table below.

Traffic Fatalities by Crash Type in Iowa
Crash Type20142015201620172018
Single Vehicle167168203183146
Involving a Large Truck4861746763
Involving Speeding4549947062
Involving a Rollover11011511012491
Involving a Roadway Departure208185231207169
Involving an Intersection (or Intersection Related)851021138487
Total Fatalities322320402330318

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The top three fatal crashes that occurred the most in Iowa are as follows: roadway departure, single vehicle, and a rollover. The only fatal crash type listed that a driver has complete control over is speeding.

Think of all the lives you can save, the families you can keep together, just by obeying the speed limit and staying alert.

Five-Year Trend For The Top 10 Counties

It’s important to look at trends in fatal crashes and be aware of the rising numbers of fatal crashes. Below is a table showing the top 10 counties for fatal crashes compiled from NHTSA.

Five-Year Traffic Fatality Trend for the 10 Biggest Counties in Iowa
County20142015201620172018
Benton County611957
Black Hawk County51011810
Clinton County43216
Dubuque County944106
Johnson County851687
Linn County145201613
Polk County1920282627
Pottawattamie County1613131211
Scott County132119813
Webster County27659

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As we saw earlier, Polk County is at the top of this chart with the most fatal crashes. Linn, Scott, and Pottawattamie counties come in second, third, and fourth, respectively. The other counties listed rarely reach above the single digits for fatal crashes.

Fatalities Involving Speeding by County

According to Jeff Davis Law Firm:

One in every six drivers will receive a speeding ticket this year, roughly 41 million speeding tickets, which is over $6 billion dollars each year on speeding ticket fines alone.

The NHTSA’s data on fatal crashes involving speeding is displayed in the table below.

Speeding Traffic Fatalities per County in Iowa
County20142015201620172018
Adair County00001
Adams County00000
Allamakee County10100
Appanoose County02300
Audubon County00010
Benton County00402
Black Hawk County13413
Boone County20201
Bremer County00000
Buchanan County00100
Buena Vista County00000
Butler County01000
Calhoun County00010
Carroll County20000
Cass County10612
Cedar County01112
Cerro Gordo County01092
Cherokee County00101
Chickasaw County10000
Clarke County00100
Clay County20000
Clayton County00100
Clinton County01000
Crawford County01200
Dallas County00401
Davis County01100
Decatur County00010
Delaware County00000
Des Moines County10000
Dickinson County00010
Dubuque County11232
Emmet County00000
Fayette County50121
Floyd County00001
Franklin County00000
Fremont County00020
Greene County00000
Grundy County00001
Guthrie County10000
Hamilton County00100
Hancock County00000
Hardin County10002
Harrison County00000
Henry County01102
Howard County00000
Humboldt County00000
Ida County00000
Iowa County00351
Jackson County00010
Jasper County21122
Jefferson County00001
Johnson County00132
Jones County00001
Keokuk County00000
Kossuth County01000
Lee County11210
Linn County21754
Louisa County01000
Lucas County00000
Lyon County00000
Madison County20110
Mahaska County00110
Marion County01111
Marshall County30002
Mills County10010
Mitchell County00001
Monona County10120
Monroe County00002
Montgomery County00000
Muscatine County00010
O Brien County00000
Osceola County00010
Page County00000
Palo Alto County00001
Plymouth County00020
Pocahontas County10000
Polk County471257
Pottawattamie County11401
Poweshiek County10101
Ringgold County00100
Sac County00220
Scott County39533
Shelby County02100
Sioux County01010
Story County01211
Tama County00220
Taylor County00110
Union County00000
Van Buren County00000
Wapello County00001
Warren County21012
Washington County00000
Wayne County00000
Webster County02211
Winnebago County00010
Winneshiek County00010
Woodbury County16603
Worth County00000
Wright County00010

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Again, Polk County comes in with the highest amount of fatalities involving speeding compared to the other counties. How does your county compare to the surrounding area?

Fatalities in Crashes Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver by County

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 29 people in the United States die from a crash involving an alcohol-impaired driver every day. This is a staggering number, and we’ve compiled NHTSA’s data for fatal crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver in the table below.

Alcohol-Related Traffic Fatalities per County in Iowa
County20142015201620172018
Adair County50202
Adams County00000
Allamakee County11210
Appanoose County11300
Audubon County10020
Benton County31311
Black Hawk County12102
Boone County01102
Bremer County00001
Buchanan County01100
Buena Vista County11000
Butler County10010
Calhoun County10131
Carroll County30120
Cass County11400
Cedar County01011
Cerro Gordo County10272
Cherokee County01101
Chickasaw County10101
Clarke County00101
Clay County00000
Clayton County21102
Clinton County11003
Crawford County00001
Dallas County43410
Davis County00000
Decatur County10020
Delaware County00000
Des Moines County11310
Dickinson County00110
Dubuque County21021
Emmet County00000
Fayette County10100
Floyd County00003
Franklin County00010
Fremont County10120
Greene County00200
Grundy County00010
Guthrie County11000
Hamilton County00200
Hancock County00021
Hardin County11100
Harrison County11000
Henry County01102
Howard County00000
Humboldt County10111
Ida County01000
Iowa County01021
Jackson County10101
Jasper County00111
Jefferson County00001
Johnson County30813
Jones County31000
Keokuk County10000
Kossuth County01000
Lee County13210
Linn County40423
Louisa County21000
Lucas County00110
Lyon County00000
Madison County03200
Mahaska County21000
Marion County10103
Marshall County10151
Mills County10112
Mitchell County00101
Monona County02332
Monroe County02100
Montgomery County01000
Muscatine County00210
O Brien County01000
Osceola County10120
Page County10000
Palo Alto County00011
Plymouth County00110
Pocahontas County10012
Polk County6710811
Pottawattamie County33341
Poweshiek County20010
Ringgold County00000
Sac County20001
Scott County510514
Shelby County00000
Sioux County00101
Story County11010
Tama County00031
Taylor County00010
Union County00200
Van Buren County00000
Wapello County01210
Warren County06122
Washington County20020
Wayne County00020
Webster County00225
Winnebago County10000
Winneshiek County01210
Woodbury County14312
Worth County10000
Wright County01010

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If you live in Polk County, it’s imperative that you drive sober and alert at all times. This county has the most fatal crashes involving an alcohol-impaired driver compared to the other counties.

The best way to prevent alcohol-impaired crashes is to not drink and drive. The CDC suggests that you should never allow your friends to drink and drive and, if you’re hosting a party, to not let your guests leave without a sober driver. Taking a taxi or rideshare service is worth the cost because lives are at stake.

Teen Drinking and Driving

Keegan, Tindal, and Mason Law Firm, attorneys in East Iowa, report:

Iowa’s drunk driving laws are very strict. For those who are under the legal drinking age of 21, they are even more strict — and the consequences for a youthful error in judgment can last well into adulthood.

In 2016, out of 9,907 DUI arrests, 71 of those arrests were for individuals under the age of 18. This ranked Iowa in 20th place for underage drinking and driving.

In the same year, responsibility.org states that Iowa ranked below the national average for under 21 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities with 0.8 deaths per 100,000 population. In 2016, the national average was 1.2 deaths per 100,000 population.

EMS Response Time

EMS response time may not be something you think about much, but when you’re in an accident it’s the only thing that matters. Every minute counts when you have to call 911. Take a look at the data gathered from NHTSA below for EMS response times in rural and urban cities.

EMS Response Times in Iowa
Road TypeTime of Crash to EMS NotificationEMS Notification to EMS ArrivalEMS Arrival at Scene to Hospital ArrivalTime of Crash to Hospital ArrivalTotal Crashes
Rural8.8213.8829.1447234
Urban2.395.1718.1123.8267

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Do you live in a rural or urban city? Living in a rural city can take up to twice as long to get to the hospital in the event of an emergency.

What is transportation like in Iowa?

What residents really want to know about transportation in Iowa is what traffic conditions are like and how that will impact their commute. Let’s start by looking at how many vehicles are owned per household.

Car Ownership

The average household in Iowa owns two cars, which is the same as the national average. We’ve looked over the data from DataUSA and created a table showing the percentage of households that own 0-5 cars.

Percentage of Cars Owned Per Household in Iowa
Cars OwnedPercentage of Households
02%
117%
241%
324%
410%
56%

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Only 2 percent of Iowa’s population does not own a car. This is mostly due to Iowa’s low-density population and rural farmland. Most people need a vehicle in order to get from point A to point B.

Commute Time

While the rise of podcasts and limitless choices in music to listen to in our cars has made commuting to work a little easier, no one wants a long commute.

Data USA also provides excellent information for commute time in Iowa. On average, Iowans spend 18.5 minutes in the car on their way to work, which is great, considering the average U.S. worker has a 25-minute commute.

On the one hand, 74 percent of Iowans have a 25-minute or less commute, and on the other hand, 1 percent of Iowans have a commute of 90 minutes or more.

Iowa has a higher percentage of people traveling 19 minutes or less to work than the rest of the United States.

Commuter Transportation

82 percent of Iowans drive alone on their way to work. The next most popular method of transportation is to carpool, which accounts for 8 percent of the population. The table below shows all the methods of transportation that Iowans use to get to work.

Commute Methods in Iowa
Method of TransportationPercentage of Population
Drove alone81%
Carpooled9%
Worked at home5%
Walked3%
Public transport1%
Other0.7%
Bicycle0.5%
Motorcycle0.2%
Taxi0.09%

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Only 5 percent of the population in Iowa work from home. Walking, public transport, riding a bicycle, driving a motorcycle, taking a taxi, and other methods of transportation all account for less than 5 percent of the population in Iowa.

Traffic Congestion in Iowa

There are many traffic congestion companies that rate congestion times and the cost of congestion to drivers, but Iowa is the third least congested state in the country. Consequently, it has no data on these sites.

Despite being ranked third for the least congestion, Iowans still experience traffic congestion, especially along I-235. KCCI News reports that less than 20 years ago, over $400 million was spent to expand the freeway.

This helped to alleviate traffic congestion, but only for a little while. During the morning and evening rush hour, cars slow down and traffic comes to a stop.

So, why is there so much congestion if over $400 million was just spent to alleviate congestion? KCCI News reports, “Twenty years ago, metro planners predicted about 80,000 cars a day on the freeway by 2020. But last year there were 100,000 cars a day.”

An increase in population in an area can be a great thing, but for roadways, it can be something short of a nightmare.

What is Iowa’s auto culture?

Being a Midwest state, Iowa’s farmland and spacious highways contribute to the state’s car culture. You won’t see many Porsches or Maseratis on the road in Iowa.

According to The Hartford, Iowans are mostly pragmatic when it comes to vehicles. Most citizens are concerned with getting around safely with their load in tow. This is why the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 is the most common vehicle in Iowa.

However, you may see a lot of older cars on the road as well, like a woody station wagon. Many Iowans are handy mechanics and take pride in keeping their vehicles in working order.

Just because Iowans tend to be pragmatic about their vehicles doesn’t mean that you won’t see any customized vehicles in Iowa. It’s common to see trucks with aftermarket parts such as rims and bigger tailpipes the farther out into the country you get.

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Iowa Auto Insurance: The Bottom Line

As you can see, Iowa has low insurance costs, short commutes, simple driving laws, and much more that makes choosing car insurance a simple task. Understanding the state’s car culture, what is required of motorists for financial responsibility, and the changing driving and insurance laws help give you the confidence you need to get behind the wheel.

After reading this comprehensive guide, you’re now ready to make a well-informed decision about your car insurance. We’ve covered a lot of topics that range from average coverage and rates to state laws and traffic conditions in Iowa.

Is there anything in this guide that we didn’t cover?

What information was the most helpful?

Ready to buy Iowa auto insurance? Get started looking for the right insurance provider today by entering your ZIP code for free Iowa auto insurance quotes.