It sure is. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing depends on your score, obviously. Auto insurance companies associate a low credit score with an increased likelihood of filing a claim. Low scores mean higher premiums, and high scores mean lower rates.
A clean driving record makes you a desirable insurance customer. That’s why so many carriers offer good-driver discounts, which also incentivize customers to be more careful on the road. It’s win-win for consumers and insurance companies. Ask your carrier if they offer this discount, as well as any of the following possibilities that might apply to you:
- Teen Driver
- Distant Student
- Alternative Fuel
- Defensive Driver
- Good Student
- Anti-Lock Brake
- Anti-Theft Device
- Multiple Line
- Passive Restraint
- Vehicle Safety
Yes, it does. Iowa motorists are no longer forced to rummage through their overstuffed glove compartments, searching for their printed proof of coverage under the impatient stare of a police officer. Simply request an official digital proof of coverage from your carrier (almost all of them provided these now), and you can show it on your electronic mobile device.
Note that if you’ve opted not to buy car insurance and instead have otherwise demonstrated financial responsibility, you must have official documentation of having filed a bond with the state (or of whichever other method applies).
Failing to continuously carry car insurance or otherwise demonstrate financial responsibility puts you at risk of penalties. You may face a $250 fine or compulsory community service, and your tag and registration receipt will be removed or your vehicle impounded. Proof of insurance is required for reinstatement of your driving privileges, which also comes with associated fees. Penalties are more severe if you’re caught without coverage in an accident.
It’s illegal to drive in Iowa at the following BAC percentages:
.08%+ at 21 years old or older
.04%+ for commercial vehicle drivers
.02%+ at under 21 years old
Iowa law enforcement aggressively monitors for OWI, or operating while intoxicated or drugged. The laws don’t only apply to alcohol-related impairment; it’s also illegal to operate a vehicle when you’re impaired by any controlled substance, legal or illegal. There are more than 9,000 OWI arrests annually in Iowa.
Like most states, Iowa has an “implied consent law,” which means that anyone driving in the state—nonresidents included—has agreed to take a breath, urine, or blood test when requested by a law enforcement officer who suspects them of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Refusing the test results in a 1 to 2-year revocation of their driver’s license (the duration depending on the individual’s prior record), a mandated course on driving under the influence, and substance abuse evaluation and/or treatment.
If you’re found guilty of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the consequences depend on a variety of factors. For example, your number of prior offenses within the past 12 years, whether or not you caused an accident, what your BAC percentage was, and whether you’re of legal drinking age (21) affect the penalties.
First-time offenders may face a temporarily revoked or restricted license, a 48-hour jail sentence, installation of an ignition interlock device, a compulsory drunk driving education class, substance abuse evaluation and/or treatment, and possibly other penalties.
Residents who voluntarily complete a course offered through Iowa’s Driver Improvement Program (DIP) may be rewarded by their carrier with lower car insurance rates. Check with your auto insurance provider and, if such a discount is available to you, find a state-approved course (online or in-person) through your local DMV or your county.
Over the course of this page, we’ve covered a variety of potential discounts on auto insurance in Iowa. Remember those green driving incentives, good-driver discounts, defensive driving course completion, and others listed; ask your representative what’s available. Also, for the long run, work to raise your credit score and keep it high, as this is an important factor in calculating your rates. Pay upfront rather than monthly and you’ll get a better deal too, and take on a higher deductible in exchange for a lower premium. And, most importantly, when shopping for a new policy, make sure you compare quotes to find the lowest on the right coverage for you.
Uninsured motorist coverage (and the similar underinsured motorist coverage) protects you in the event of an accident caused by a driver who doesn’t have car insurance. In Iowa, 1 in 10 drivers don’t have auto insurance. Drivers in Iowa are automatically provided with this type of coverage in the amounts of $20,000 per person/$40,000 per accident when they purchase a policy. However, they may turn down this coverage in writing if they prefer to go without it.