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In Iowa, car insurance is not mandatory. You can choose either to purchase insurance policy or not. However, if your car is involved in an accident, you must provide proof of financial responsibility or else you will lose your driving privileges. To best way to fulfill this requirement is to purchase Iowa car insurance policy.
Financial Responsibility Laws in Iowa
While Iowa car insurance is not mandatory, if your license is suspended because of an accident that you cause, you must show proof of financial responsibility to the Department of Transportation (DOT) in Iowa. If you fail to show proof of financial responsibility within the given deadline, your driver’s license and car registration will be suspended by this department.
In Iowa, if you cause an accident that result to death, bodily injury or property damage of at least $1000, you will be required to file Form 433002 (Accident Report Form) even if you were not at fault. This form is filed within 72 hours at the DOT’s Office of Driver Services. You must also show proof of financial responsibly during this period or face driver’s license suspension. You can do so in any of the following ways:
- Show proof that you had liability insurance when the accident occurred
- Post cash, certified check, cashier’s check, bank draft or postal money order; payable to “Office of Driver Services”
- Obtain a release from every affected party
- File a statement agreeing to cover the costs of property damage or injuries to involved parties through installment plan
- Obtain a decision from a civil damage action that exempts you from any liability
- Provide a warrant for confession of judgment
- Submit evidence of a settlement for injuries or damages or both.
Exceptions: You do not have to show proof of financial responsibility if:
- At the time of the accident, your vehicle was legally parked, stopped or standing
- If someone was illegally driving your vehicle at the time of accident
- You didn’t cause injuries or property damage to other parties.
If your driver’s license was suspended because of OWI (operating while intoxicated) offense, you have to show proof of financial responsibility for any future damages or injuries that you might cause. This proof must last 2 years, and must be provided by either of the following ways:
- Filing SR-22 form with the Iowa DOT’s Office of Driver Services through your car insurance provider
- File cash, Surety bond or securities of $55,000.
If the state requires you to file an SR-22, you will first purchase the minimum limits of liability insurance.
Iowa Car Insurance
While Iowa car insurance is not mandatory, many drivers find it the best way of fulfilling financial responsibility. A minimum insurance policy will include liability insurance to help you pay the cost of property damage or injuries to other persons resulting from the car accident that you cause. Additionally, you may also decide to purchase other optional car insurances to help protect you further. The following are optional types of coverages that you may also consider buying:
- Medical payments coverage
- Comprehensive coverage
- Collision coverage
- Loan/lease gap coverage
- Towing and labor coverage
- Rental reimbursement coverage.
Proof of Insurance
When you purchase an Iowa car insurance policy, you will be issued an insurance ID card by your insurance provider. This card must be carried with you all the time when you are driving on public roads. You will need this card to show proof of financial responsibility in the event of an accident or when you are stopped by a traffic police officer.
Filing a Complaint
If you have a car insurance complaint, you can seek resolution from the Iowa Insurance Division (IID). You can do so online through IID website or by sending the Consumer Complaint form through fax or address listed on the form.
Car insurance frauds raise financial burden of insurance companies. This burden trickles down to consumers by increasing insurance rates. To help fight insurance frauds, report suspected frauds to the concerned authorities. You can do so:
- Online at National Association of Insurance Commissioners website
- By mailing the completed Insurance Fraud Complaint Form to the address listed on the form
For any complaint or reporting suspected car insurance fraud, contact the IID at (877) 955-1212 or through their email: [email protected]
Determining Your Car Insurance Rates
Iowa car insurance companies use the following factors to determine your car insurance rates:
- Your driving record
- Your claims history
- Your marital status, age and gender
- The location of your car’s parking space
- The intended use of your vehicle
- Your car’s make, model and year
- Any prior coverage
- Your credit history.
Car Insurance Discounts
You can save on your Iowa car insurance by taking advantage of many discounts offered by most car insurance companies in this state. You can often get a discount for:
- Insuring multiple cars
- Owning a home
- Paying your premium in full
- Switching insurance providers
- Being a good student
- Having an accident-free record.
Discounts can be a good way of getting cheap insurance rates, but the best way of getting cheaper insurance coverage is by keeping a clean driving history.
Most Stolen Cars in Iowa
Driving a car that is always targeted by thieves may increase your car insurance rates. According to www.nicb.org, the 2013 most stolen cars in Iowa include:
- Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)
- Dodge Pickup (Full Size)
- Honda Accord and Honda Civic
- Ford Pickup (Full Size)
- Ford Taurus
- Chevrolet Pickup (Small Size)
- Chevrolet Impala
- Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
- GMC Pickup (Full Size).