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The most current U.S. Census data shows that Iowa is home to 3.2 million residents, and the state covers 55,857 square miles. Those figures make Iowa the 31st most populous state in the nation and the 23rd largest in terms of land area. Of Iowa’s 3.2 million residents, only 2.3 million are licensed drivers. The state is home to 4.3 million registered motor vehicles (this number includes cars, buses, trucks, and trailers). 

What do these statistics mean for Iowa’s car insurance rates? Population density is one factor that can influence car insurance rates, and states with less people per square mile tend to offer more affordable premiums. The numbers show that Iowa is the 15th least densely populated state in the nation, with just 57 residents per square mile. This is one factor that likely plays a part in Iowa’s relatively low statewide insurance rates. For comparison’s sake, New Jersey, which is the nation’s most densely populated state, is home to 1,213 people per square mile. 

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Age is another factor that impacts car insurance rates, and older drivers typically pay lower premiums than those who are under 25. Iowa’s largest group of licensed drivers consists of those who are between the ages of 55 and 64, and 18.3 percent of Iowa’s drivers are 65 or older. 

Insurance provides the financial protection you need in a crash. In Iowa, there were 55,032 reported crashes in 2017. For every 10,000 licensed drivers, there were 240.9 crashes that year. 

Car insurance is a must-have for modern drivers. Read on to learn more about Iowa’s insurance laws. We’ll also offer advice that will help you find the Iowa insurance providers offering the lowest rates. 

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in Iowa

The rates shown here are based on a study performed by Quadrant Information services on behalf of U.S. News. The study examined rates from nine largest car insurance companies in the United States, using certain driver profiles. Your rates will differ.

How We Found the Cheapest Car Insurance Companies

At U.S. News, we’re all about helping people make life’s important decisions. Our college rankings, launched in 1983, set the standard in educational rankings. Our rankings in other fields, like healthcare, government, and the automotive sphere, help people and thought leaders make choices that make lives better. Now we’re continuing to empower you with the information you need to make the right choices for your life with our Cheapest Car Insurance Rankings. 

Our Study Rates

For this study, U.S. News worked with Quadrant Information Services to analyze a report of insurance rates in all 50 states from the nine largest national car insurance companies, though not every company operates in every state. Quadrant obtained publicly available rate data that car insurers file with state regulators. Our study rates are based on profiles for both male and female drivers aged 25, 35, and 60. Vehicles used include the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150, with annual mileage ranging from 6,000 and 12,000. Three car insurance coverage levels were used, as were credit tiers of good, fair, and poor. Clean driving records and records with one accident, one speeding violation, and one DUI were also used in the calculations of certain driver archetypes. 

To get the study rates shown here, we computed the mean rate for male and female drivers aged 25, 35, and 60 who drive 15,000 miles per year and have medium coverage, good credit, and a clean driving record. The rates shown here are for comparative purposes only and should not be considered “average” rates available by individual insurers. Because car insurance rates are based on individual factors, your car insurance rates will differ from the rates shown here. 

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How Much Does Car Insurance Cost in Iowa?

See the Cheapest Car Insurance Companies

Based on the results of our study, Iowa’s car insurance representative rates are lower than the national average. We found that nationwide, the average annual rates in our study from the country’s top nine insurers ranged from $885 to $1,880. The average annual car insurance representative rate across the nation stands at $1,416. In Iowa, the study premiums from the nine insurers that we researched range from $777 to $3,017. Our Iowa driver profiles pay an average annual car insurance representative rate of $1,274. 

Know that the rates discussed in this article are representative averages, and they may not reflect the actual amount you can expect to pay when you sign up for car insurance. Your actual car insurance rates will depend on a host of factors that are unique to your driving history and your background. These include things such as your age and marital status, as well as the number of accidents and moving violations on your driving record.

Iowa Car Insurance Rates by Age

Company

25-year-old male

25-year-old female

35-year-old male

35-year-old female

60-year-old male

60-year-old female

Allstate

$1,517

$1,483

$1,31

$1,367

$1,246

$1,223

American Family

$1,297

$1,229

$1,063

$1,020

$929

$917

Farmers

$1,719

$1,579

$1,364

$1,347

$1,272

$1,179

Geico

$941

$1,145

$934

$1,173

$829

$1,020

Nationwide

$4,286

$3,847

$2,686

$2,620

$2,459

$2,200

Progressive

$1,379

$1,316

$951

$986

$771

$763

State Farm

$1,086

$958

$871

$871

$774

$774

Travelers

$1,014

$963

$957

$906

$791

$743

USAA

$955

$866

$744

$733

$688

$672

The profile of a 25-year-old male Iowa driver in our study has an average car insurance representative rate of $1,578. For a female driver of the same age, the profile has an average study rate of $1,488. These averages dip with driver profiles who are 35 years old. The profile of a 35-year-old male Iowa driver has an average representative rate in our analysis of $1,210; the average for a female driver profile in the same age group comes in at $15 higher than this figure. The 60-year-old profiles in our study enjoy the lowest car insurance representative rates. A male profile in this age group pays just $1,085 per year; for female profiles in this age group, the annual study rate is $30 lower than this figure.

To determine the average rates based on gender and age, we created driver profiles for males and females in each of the following ages: 25 years, 35 years, and 60 years. The profiles also have a clean driving record, insurance coverage for 12,000 miles per year, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. We used three vehicles for our driver profiles: the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

Iowa Car Insurance Rates by Mileage

Company

6,000 miles annually

12,000 miles annually

Allstate

$1,302

$1,359

American Family

$1,051

$1,076

Farmers

$1,410

$1,410

Geico

$967

$1,007

Nationwide

$3,016

$3,016

Progressive

$1,028

$1,028

State Farm

$807

$889

Travelers

$896

$896

USAA

$712

$776

Your annual mileage will impact your car insurance rates, and it’s easy to see why. All other things being equal, a person who rarely drives is less likely to have a car crash than someone who is frequently behind the wheel, since an infrequent driver spends less time on the road. 

Our study reveals that a profile that drives 6,000 miles annually can expect to pay an average representative rate of $1,244. For a driver profile that logs 12,000 miles each year on the odometer, the average rate rises by $30, to $1,274. 

We created two driver profiles to compare how annual mileage can change car insurance rates: one with low mileage (6,000 miles per year) and one with high mileage (12,000 miles per year). The profiles covered males and females in the 25-, 35-, and 60-year-old age groups with a medium level of insurance coverage, a good credit score, and a clean driving record. The vehicles used in our study were the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

Iowa Car Insurance Rates by Coverage Type

Company

Low

Medium

High

Allstate

$1,306

$1,359

$1,409

American Family

$1,037

$1,076

$1,085

Farmers

$1,353

$1,410

$1,458

Geico

$960

$1,007

$1,062

Nationwide

$3,118

$3,016

$2,995

Progressive

$973

$1,028

$1,072

State Farm

$839

$889

$928

Travelers

$844

$896

$936

USAA

$722

$776

$823

In Iowa, the average representative rate for a profile with low car insurance coverage is $1,240. For a driver profile with medium coverage, our study shows that average rates rise by about $34. Driver profiles with high coverage can expect to pay an average representative rate that’s about $68 higher than that of a driver profile with low coverage. 

If you have an accident while driving with minimum coverage rates, you may wind up having to pay more out of pocket. The difference in cost between low and high coverage among driver profiles in Iowa is relatively small. It’s easy to make a case for getting coverage that exceeds the state minimum, since this type of coverage will provide greater financial protection in an accident while requiring just an incremental increase in annual premium cost.

We created identical profiles in our study to represent drivers, then found out how rates changed with the three levels of coverage. The profiles were assigned a clean driving record, a good credit score, and 12,000 miles of annual driving. We used both males and females aged 25, 35, and 60. The 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150 were the vehicles used in our analysis.

Iowa Car Insurance Rates by Credit Score

Company

Good

Fair

Poor

Allstate

$1,359

$1,434

$1,822

American Family

$1,076

$1,254

$1,773

Farmers

$1,410

$1,656

$2,082

Geico

$1,007

$1,250

$1,494

Nationwide

$3,016

$3,788

$4,537

Progressive

$1,028

$1,285

$1,744

State Farm

$889

$1,144

$1,907

Travelers

$896

$1,042

$1,459

USAA

$776

$948

$1,290

A driver profile with poor credit can expect to pay an average study rate of $2,012 per year for Iowa car insurance. That’s about $738 more than our driver profile with good credit and $478 more than our driver profile with fair credit.

Based on profiles of male and female drivers aged 25, 35, and 60, our study verified that credit scores affect car insurance rates. We created a profile for each level of credit score (good, fair, and poor) and assigned the profiles a clean driving record, a good credit score, a medium level of insurance coverage, and 12,000 miles of annual driving. The 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150 were the vehicles used in our analysis.

Iowa Car Insurance Rates by Driving Record

Company

Clean record

With 1 speeding violation

With 1 accident

With 1 DUI

Allstate

$1,359

$1,491

$1,753

$1,780

American Family

$1,076

$1,085

$1,085

$1,085

Farmers

$1,410

$1,831

$1,989

$1,909

Geico

$1,007

$1,076

$1,374

$1,811

Nationwide

$3,016

$4,011

$5,586

$6,915

Progressive

$1,028

$1,280

$1,627

$1,107

State Farm

$889

$953

$1,017

$953

Travelers

$896

$1,153

$1,190

$1,313

USAA

$776

$936

$1,086

$1,25

Many people realize that their driving record can have a potent effect on their car insurance rates. Things like accidents and speeding tickets can cause your rates to rise. 

Our study found that the average representative rate for a driver profile with a clean record in Iowa is $1,274. For a driver profile with one speeding ticket, the average rate in our study rises by roughly $262. A driver profile with one accident pays about $583 more than a profile with a clean record. A profile with a DUI pays an average representative rate of $2,015, which is about $741 more than a profile with a spotless record. 

To find out just how much of an effect a person's driving record has on insurance rates, we made driving profiles with a clean record, with one speeding violation, with one accident, and with one instance of driving under the influence (DUI). These driving record representative profiles were based on 25-, 35-, and 60-year-old males and females who drove 12,000 miles per year and had a medium level of insurance coverage and a good credit score. Vehicles used in the analysis were the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

Iowa Car Insurance Rates by City

City

Average Rate

Ames

$1,181

Ankeny

$1,172

Cedar Rapids

$1,244

Council Bluffs

$1,589

Davenport

$1,338

Des Moines

$1,343

Iowa City

$1,175

Sioux City

$1,406

Waterloo

$1,306

West Des Moines

$1,231

Among these big cities, Council Bluffs had the highest average representative rate in our study, with an annual premium of $1,590. Sioux City and Des Moines were right behind, with average representative rates of $1,407 and $1,343, respectively. Ankeny had the lowest average, with an annual representative rate in our analysis of $1,173. 

There is no single factor that determines what insurance rates will look like in a town or city. Rates can be influenced by population density and crime levels. Rates may also be impacted by a city’s accident statistics. 

Within each state, insurance rates can vary dramatically from city to city. To get a sense of how these differences affect car insurance premiums, we looked at average representative rates across 10 of Iowa’s top cities. In our study, we used male and female driver profiles aged 25, 35, and 60 who put 12,000 miles on the odometer each year. Our profiles have medium insurance coverage, a clean driving record, and good credit. We included three vehicles in our study: the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

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Iowa Auto Insurance Minimum Coverage Requirements

As is the case with most states in the nation, Iowa has minimum car insurance coverage requirements. Iowa requires all drivers to carry a certain amount of liability insurance. These are the minimum required insurance limits in Iowa:

  • Bodily injury liability: $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident
  • Property damage liability: $15,000 per accident

If you cause an accident that injures other people, bodily injury liability insurance will cover their medical costs. However, this type of insurance won’t cover your personal medical costs in this type of accident. 

What if you’re at fault in an accident that causes damage to another person’s vehicle or property? In this type of crash, property damage liability insurance will pay for repair costs associated with the damaged vehicle or property. 

Iowa differs from other states in that it provides an alternative to traditional liability insurance. The state’s Financial and Safety Responsibility Act gives drivers the option of getting a bond insurance card or a security insurance card from Iowa’s Department of Transportation instead of a traditional insurance policy. To get one of these cards, you have to file a bond or certificate of deposit of at least $55,000 to cover the costs of any accidents you may be involved in. 

Cheapest Car Insurance in Iowa

Note: Due to USAA's limited membership, we excluded them from this segment evaluation.

Category

Cheapest Company

Drivers with a Military Affiliation

USAA

Male Young Adult Drivers

GEICO

Female Young Adult Drivers

State Farm

Married Adult Drivers

State Farm

Male Senior Drivers

Progressive

Female Senior Drivers

Travelers

Drivers with Good Credit

State Farm

Drivers with Poor Credit

Travelers

Drivers with a Clean Record

State Farm

Drivers with One Speeding Violation

State Farm

Drivers with One Accident

State Farm

Drivers with One DUI

State Farm

Low-mileage Drivers

State Farm

High-mileage Drivers

State Farm

Drivers with Low Coverage

State Farm

Drivers with High Coverage

State Farm

Drivers with Used Cars

State Farm

Drivers with New Cars

Travelers

So, which Iowa car insurance companies offer the lowest rates in our analysis? To find out, our study used representative driver profiles that put 12,000 miles on the odometer each year. Our profiles have a clean driving record, along with good credit and medium insurance coverage. Male and female drivers who are 25, 35, and 60 years old are included in our profiles. The 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150 are used in our study.

According to our research, the cheapest type of car insurance in Iowa is low coverage. USAA takes the prize for being the least expensive company for low-coverage insurance, with an annual representative rate of $722. Here are some other companies with the lowest representative rates for low coverage in our study: State Farm ($840), Travelers ($844), Geico ($960), Progressive ($974), and American Family ($1,038). These insurers all have study rates for low coverage that are below the statewide average in our analysis. 

Remember that to qualify for the best rates, you’ll need to have a clean driving record and good credit. 

Each company’s rates may be influenced by your background, driving history, and affiliations. Our study showed that the USAA is the cheapest company for driver profiles with a military affiliation. For driver profiles who are male senior, Progressive offers the best average study rates, while Geico offers the lowest representative rates for drivers who are young male adults. State Farm offers the lowest representative rates for driver profiles who are female young adults, as well as those with good credit. State Farm also provides the lowest representative rates for driver profiles with a clean driving record, an accident, a speeding violation, or a DUI. 

Why Car Insurance Rates Vary in Iowa

When it comes to car insurance rates, it’s all about statistics. Statistics show that drivers who have had prior accidents or gotten speeding tickets have a higher risk of experiencing a crash, so those drivers tend to pay steeper rates. This is true not just in Iowa, but across all states. 

Statistics also show that a driver’s age, driving experience and financial history can be predictive when it comes to the likelihood of suffering a crash. That’s why older drivers with good credit scores tend to pay the lowest insurance premiums. 

Among Iowa cities like Des Moines, Davenport, Waterloo, and Ankeny, insurance rates can vary significantly. Population density plays a role here, as does each city’s crime rate. Insurance rates may also be influenced by a city’s record when it comes to car accidents. All other things being equal, the more car accidents a city has, the higher its insurance rates. 

How to Get the Cheapest Car Insurance in Iowa

One of the best things you can do to optimize your car insurance rates is to shop around. Rates can vary significantly from one company to the next. Compare rates from several insurance providers before making a final commitment. 

You can also save money by checking to see if you qualify for any discounts. Some insurance companies offer affiliation discounts for those who have military backgrounds and those who work in certain professions. Lawyers, doctors, scientists, firefighters, and police officers may be eligible for discounts with certain insurance companies. 

Tassii / Getty Images

You may also qualify for discounts by bundling your insurance policies. For example, if you have home insurance, you may be able to save money by getting your car insurance from the same provider. And some providers will give you a lower rate if you purchase coverage for more than one vehicle. 

Take a proactive approach when searching for discounts. Insurance providers won’t always volunteer which discounts are offered, so it’s important to ask. 

Your driving record plays a huge role in your car insurance rate. Maintaining a clean driving record is one of the most effective ways of keeping your premiums low. 

Important Laws Around Auto Insurance in Iowa

There are two types of car insurance liability laws: at-fault (also known as tort liability) and no-fault. A key difference between these two approaches concerns the extent to which a victim can sue. They also differ in terms of who is assigned responsibility for covering the injured party’s damages. 

With at-fault insurance, the insurance company of the person who caused the crash is responsible for paying for injuries related to the accident. Under this system, there aren’t any restrictions when it comes to lawsuits. If you’ve caused an accident, you can be sued by the injured parties for pain and suffering, as well as medical costs. 

States with no-fault insurance laws require all drivers to purchase a personal injury protection policy. If an accident occurs, all injured parties have to file claims with their own insurance providers, regardless of who caused the accident. Also, no-fault insurance takes a more restrictive approach to a victim’s right to sue. With no-fault laws, an injured person can sue for severe injuries and pain and suffering only if their injuries meet a certain threshold. 

FG Trade / Getty Images

Iowa is an at-fault state. This means victims have more leeway to sue if you’re at fault in an accident. Choosing to get coverage that exceeds state minimums may help protect your assets if you become the subject of a lawsuit. 

In states that require insurance, you’re required to have proof of this coverage with you whenever you’re behind the wheel. In days gone by, this meant keeping an insurance card in your car’s glove box. These days, more and more states are enacting laws that allow you to substitute a digital insurance card with a physical one. Iowa has laws in place that allow you to use digital insurance cards. 

Iowa Driving Laws and Punishments

Iowa has laws that prohibit driving while texting. This means it’s illegal to use a hand-held electronic device to write, send, or view a text when you’re behind the wheel, unless the vehicle is at a complete stop and out of the path of traffic. Driving while texting is considered a primary offense. This allows a police officer to stop and ticket you solely for this infraction. 

In Iowa, a vehicle’s driver and front-seat passenger are required to wear seat belts if they’re 18 or older. Children ages 6 to 18 must be restrained in either a seat belt or a child restraint system, whether they’re sitting in the front or rear seats. For children under 6, a child restraint is mandatory. Infants who weigh less than 20 pounds and are less than a year old must be restrained in a rear-facing safety seat. Iowa laws allow you to ride in the bed of a pickup truck, except in areas where this is prohibited by local ordinance. 

When it comes to alcohol-related DUI offences, most states have set a blood alcohol limit of 0.08%. In Iowa, the limit is 0.05%. As with all other states and the District of Columbia, the legal drinking age in Iowa is 21.

Iowa is like other U.S. states in that its chemical test law has an implied consent provision. This means that if you’re operating a vehicle on a public street and you’re suspected of driving under the influence, the law requires you to consent to a chemical test to determine your blood alcohol level. If you fail the test or refuse to take it, your driver’s license may be suspended or revoked. 

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If you’re an offender who’s driven with a blood alcohol level of .10 or greater, Iowa law requires you to use an ignition interlock device on your vehicle. In some cases, it may also be required of offenders who have driven with a blood alcohol level of .08 to .09. This device works like a breathalyzer, and it tests your blood alcohol level before you start the car. If your level exceeds the legal limit, it temporarily locks the car’s ignition. 

If you are convicted of driving under the influence, you will spend at least 48 hours or up to one year in jail for the first offense. You will lose your license for at least 180 days, and you may also be fined up to $1,250. Punishments for subsequent DUI convictions increase in Iowa, with three or more offenses being punishable by up to five years in prison, a fine up to $9,375, and a six-year license revocation. 

In Iowa, drivers aren’t required to get uninsured motorist insurance coverage. 

Iowa Car Insurance FAQs

Is Car Insurance Required in Iowa?

Yes, car insurance is required in Iowa. This can take the form of bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverage. You may also get a bond insurance card or a security insurance card from Iowa’s Department of Transportation in lieu of a traditional insurance policy. With a bond insurance card, you’re required to file either a surety bond or real estate bond valued at $55,000 to cover the costs of any accidents you may be involved in. With a security insurance card, you’re required to file a certificate of deposit with the State Treasurer. You can obtain this certificate by depositing $55,000 in an Iowa bank and proving you have no outstanding liability from a previous accident. 

Drivers are required to have proof of insurance when they’re behind the wheel, and this can take the form of a physical insurance card or a digital one. 

Which Cars Are Required To Be Insured in Iowa?

Any vehicle that is registered to be driven in Iowa needs to be insured. 

When Should I Get Car Insurance in Iowa?

Unlike most states, you don’t need to show proof of insurance to register a vehicle in Iowa. However, you need to have insurance in place before you start operating the vehicle, since driving without proper coverage could subject you to fines or vehicle impoundment. 

What Happens if My Car Is Not Properly Insured in Iowa?

Failure to provide proof of insurance could result in fines or vehicle impoundment. If you have an accident and are not insured, Iowa’s Financial and Safety Responsibility Act allows you to avoid getting your license suspended by depositing cash, a cashier’s check, a certified check, a bank draft, a surety bond or a postal money order with the Iowa Driver & Identification Services. The state treasurer will hold the funds for a year. If a lawsuit hasn’t been brought against you during that time period, the funds will be returned to you. If you fail to show financial responsibility after an accident, your license may be suspended for a year. If your car was involved in an accident and you weren’t the driver, you still need to show financial responsibility. Failure to do so could result in the suspension of your vehicle registration privileges. 

Is Iowa a No-Fault State?

No, Iowa is an at-fault state. This means that if you’ve caused a crash, your insurance company will be responsible for covering the medical and repair bills of other parties harmed by the accident. 

Do I Need Uninsured Motorist Coverage in Iowa?

No, uninsured motorist coverage isn’t required in Iowa. 

Is Liability Insurance Required in Iowa?

Yes, liability insurance is required in Iowa if you choose to get a traditional insurance policy. For bodily injury liability, the minimum coverage required is $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident. For property damage liability, drivers are required to have coverage of at least $15,000 per accident.

Iowa’s Financial Safety and Responsibility Act allows you to forego a traditional insurance policy and replace it with either a surety bond, real estate bond, or certificate of insurance with a value of at least $55,000. 

Does Iowa Accept Digital Insurance Cards?

Yes, in Iowa you can use digital insurance cards to provide proof of insurance.

The Best Car Insurance Companies in 2020

Our Car Insurance Ranking

  1.     USAA
  2.     Geico
  3.     Allstate
  4.     State Farm
  5.     Farmers
  6.     Progressive
  7.     American Family
  8.     Nationwide
  9.     Travelers

The Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in 2020

Average Annual Rates:

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