Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Iowa penalizes drivers who do not carry auto insurance
  • Fines and administrative penalties are levied against those who fail to purchase the appropriate insurance
  • Finding and buying a quality auto insurance policy in Iowa can be done with little effort

Not everyone who takes to the road in Iowa maintains the necessary insurance. Someone unable or unwilling to pay for insurance may choose to take the risk of driving without coverage, a bad idea on many levels.

For one, you put your entire financial future on the line if you cause an accident. A person held negligent in a lawsuit may be required to pay damages in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Even if nothing terrible happens on the road, you may face significant penalties if pulled over by the police. Sometimes, a driver may be cited for driving without insurance and actually be surprised he/she did not maintain active coverage.

An insurance policy must remain in an active status in order for the insured to file a claim. Realistically, someone with a lapsed policy isn’t insured.

A lapse in coverage means a policy has been canceled was not renewed. Fraud and filing too many claims are common reasons why people lose their policies. Simply not paying a premium due to an oversight can be another reason.

Drivers really must take the necessary steps to avoid suffering any lapse in coverage. Pay the entire premium in full if you can. When paying in installments, pay on time and do so always. You may stay out of legal trouble in Iowa by taking this approach.

Compare car insurance quotes today by entering your ZIP code into our free rate tool above.

Table of Contents

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Iowa

Amazingly, in Iowa, a study revealed 11.5 percent of drivers didn’t carry insurance in 2009. Persons driving without insurance may find themselves both paying the state a lot of money and dealing with inconveniences.

Iowa imposes the following penalties on those convicted of driving without insurance:

First Offense

The fine for driving without insurance is $250, which can be waived if the convicted completes community service. The community service option does not come into play when the uninsured driver causes an accident.

Fines alone aren’t all a driver contends with. In addition to the monetary fine, an uninsured driver faces administrative sanctions as well.

Administratively, when no accident occurs, the state of Iowa requires a driver to turn in his/her license plate and registration document. A vehicle could even be impounded. With an accident, the administrative penalties increase.

Vehicle impoundment becomes mandatory. License and registration suspensions go into effect for 12 months if the threshold of accident damages to another driver reaches more than $1,500. In fact, all the vehicles under the uninsured driver’s name are suspended.

Reinstating a license/registration only occurs after fines are paid or after the completion of community service and paying a $15 reinstatement fee. Additional fees may be assessed regarding towing and storage. Proof of insurance such as an SR-22 form must be filed.

When trying to reinstate a vehicle after causing an accident, the uninsured driver must also pay a $200 civil penalty and $20 to renew a license. The driver becomes required to take the following tests:

  • A knowledge test
  • A vision test
  • A driving exam

Failure to pass these tests means reinstatement won’t occur.

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Second Offense

Drivers who lack insurance and do not cause an accident must pay a $250 fine, but the fine can be eliminated with the completion of community service. The car’s license plate and the driver’s registration must be turned in.

Reinstating auto insurance requires paying a $15 fee. The possibility exists a vehicle might be impounded.

When the uninsured driver causes an accident, the $250 fine cannot be set aside by performing community service. Vehicle impoundment cannot be avoided either.

If the damage caused by the uninsured driver crosses the $1,500 threshold, license and registration suspensions last 12 months and are imposed on all vehicles the driver owns.

The driver must also pay a $200 civil penalty, a $20 license renewal fee, and be required to take a knowledge test, a driving test, and a vision test.

Whether involved in an accident or not, the uninsured driver may be assessed storage and towing fees. Reinstatement of privileges requires paying a $15 fee. Also, proof of insurance or an SR-22 form must be presented to the DMV.

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What proof of insurance is accepted in Iowa?

People take their smartphones almost everywhere due to the many tasks they perform. In Iowa, a smartphone or other electronic device can be used to show digital proof of insurance. In 2018, Iowa plans on expanding the display of electronic proof to also include driver’s licenses.

Drivers shouldn’t ignore the importance of carrying a standard paper proof of insurance document. Unless you have told the insurer you wish to go paperless, proof of insurance will be sent in the mail.

If you don’t have a current proof of insurance document, simply make a request to the insurance company to mail or email the material.

How to Get Insurance in Iowa

Buying insurance in Iowa won’t be taxing. Just request several quotes online and review them. After a careful review, select the policy best for you. Be mindful of the fact auto insurance in Iowa is subject to the following minimum amounts:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury to one person
  • $40,000 for bodily injury to all parties in one accident
  • $15,000 to address property damage losses

Those in need of insurance should also look for uninsured/underinsured motorist, collision, and comprehensive insurance. Drivers benefit from protecting themselves financially in many ways. Extensive auto insurance coverages help deliver this result.

Quality auto insurance puts effective protections in place. Finding great auto insurance starts with the easy process of requesting several quotes online. The quotes present mandatory and optional coverage components.

Customers definitely can find a policy that meets personal requirements desired in a good policy. Just enter your ZIP code into our free comparison tool below to get started finding the right policy for you.