Iowa is a rare state that does not specifically require vehicle insurance in order to legally register a car. You can operate a vehicle on the roads in Iowa without any car insurance if you wish. However, if you get into an accident, you must show the Iowa DOT some proof of financial responsibility (vehicle liability insurance); if you do not have vehicle insurance, or you cannot show proof of insurance at the time of an accident, your driver’s license and vehicle’s registration will be suspended.

For this reason, it’s still necessary to have some kind of vehicle insurance, even if you don’t need it to register your vehicle.

Financial responsibility after an accident

If you are involved in an accident in Iowa, these are the things you must do in order to keep your driver’s license and vehicle registration from being suspended:

  • If a police officer does not file a report on the accident, you must file an Accident Report Form if the total property damage was more than $1,500, or if there was any bodily injury or death.

  • You must prove financial responsibility by presenting an insurance card from an authorized insurance provider, or by filing a statement agreeing to cover the costs if you were at fault.

There are a few exceptions to these regulations. If you meet any of the following criteria, you do not have any burden of financial responsibility after an accident:

  • Your vehicle was legally parked or stopped;

  • The person driving your vehicle did not have your permission to do so;

  • You were the only party who was injured, or suffered property damage

License or registration suspension

If your driver’s license or vehicle registration was suspended due to an accident or traffic violation, you are required to show proof of financial responsibility for at least two years. The minimum amount of vehicle liability insurance required in this case includes:

  • A total of $40,000 for bodily injury or death

  • A total of $15,000 for property damage liability

Proving financial responsibility in this case can be done through the following methods:

  • Your insurance provider can file an SR-22 form with the DOT. This document is a verification that you currently carry at least minimum amounts of vehicle liability insurance.

  • File a surety bond with the DOT in the amount of $55,000, or make a cash deposit of the same amount with the DOT

Violation penalties

If a driver is unable to provide financial responsibility when they fall under circumstances that legally requires them to do so in Iowa, there are several penalties that can be issued:

  • A fine of at least $250, or community service hours in lieu of a fine

  • Vehicle registration suspension, which can only be regained by proving financial responsibility and paying a $15 fee

  • Suspension of driver’s license

  • Vehicle impoundment

For more information, contact the Iowa DOT on their website.

This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Insurance Requirements for Car Registration in Iowa and was authored by Valerie Johnston.


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