The Missouri River, the Mississippi River, the Sioux River and the American Heartland; Iowa is as American as a state can get. In the heart of the Corn Belt, this midwestern state hosts rolling hills, neatly-lined crop fields, industrial-sized family farms and an unbeatable American spirit. While not the tourist attraction that some of its neighbors are, Iowa has been supporting America’s families for generations through its industry and agriculture. An easy drive through flat plains and highways, this state can be a pleasure to live in or to visit. CheapCarInsurance.net is making sure Americans like those living in Iowa are well protected by providing beneficial, easy-to-read car insurance information.
LAWS & REGULATIONS
Sorting through insurance laws and regulations can be like trying to find your way out of an Iowa corn maze. This list of helpful facts will give the driver a roadmap to get through the maze with ease.
Minimum Requirements for Car Insurance in Iowa
- Iowa’s Motor Vehicle Division (MVD) requires all vehicles to maintain the minimum liability insurance coverage if registered and/or operated in the state.
- Liability Coverage minimums:
- $20,000 per single bodily injury or death.
- $40,000 per multiple bodily injury or deaths.
- $15,000 for property damage.
New Driver Licensing Requirements
- Residents of Iowa must obtain a state drivers license within 30 days of residency. Residents may obtain a license by passing the vision, written and road tests and by paying the required fees.
- New drivers under 18 years of age must apply for a Graduated Drivers License (GDL). The GDL consists of an Instruction Permit, an Intermediate License and a Full Liense. The purpose of this program is to give applicants supervised driving experience prior to obtaining their full license.
- To obtain an Instruction Permit, the applicant:
- Must be at least 14 years old
- Must hold the permit for at least 12 months
- Must complete an Iowa MVD approved driver education course
- Must successfully pass the knowledge and vision tests
- Log 20 hours of drive time including 2 hours of nighttime driving
- Must have parental or legal guardian consent
- Restrictions on the Instruction Permit include:
- Must be accompanied by parent/legal guardian, a licensed driver over 25 with written consent, a family member over 21 or a driving instructor
- Number of passenger cannot exceed the number of seat belts
- After holding the permit for at least 12 months and turning 16 years old, the applicant may obtain the Intermediate License. Restrictions and requirements for this license include:
- Written consent from parent or legal guardian
- Must hold the license for at least 12 months
- May drive unsupervised between the hours of 5 am and 12:30 am
- May drive at any time if supervised according to the above Instruction Permit guidelines
- Must log 10 hours of driving with 2 hours of nighttime driving
- For the first 6 months only, passengers are restricted to only one unrelated minor passenger
- After holding the Intermediate License for 12 consecutive months witout an accident or violation, the driver, if 17 years old, may apply for a Full Licnese. If under 18, applicant must have parent or legal guardian’s written consent.
- Vision Exam. The Iowa Driver’s Manual explains the importance of vision when driving a vehicle, and it outlines additional precautions that can and should be taken by all drivers. The vision exam is a minimum requirement, and to pass, the applicant must have vision accuity of at least 20/40. Corrective lenses may be worn to pass the test, and these lenses must be worn when driving as well.
Visiual accuity between 20/40 and 20/70 requires a daytime driving restriction, and a field of vision between 100 and 139 degrees requires left and right outside mirrors. Visual accuity worse than 20/70 and field of vision less than 100 degrees will result in ineligibility for a license.
- Knowledge Test. A touch screen computer provides the knowledge test to evaluate the applicant’s understanding of basic road signs and rules. All of the information necessary to pass the knowledge test is located in the Iowa Driver’s Manual.
- Road Skills Test. The applicant’s vehicle must be properly registered, insured, licensed and maintained. The vehicle must be driven to and from the testing site by a licensed driver. The test will evaluate the applicant’s ability to safely operate and control his/her vehicle.The test administrator will sit in the front seat adjacent to the driver. If the driver fails the skills test, the administrator will explain and the applicant will be allowed to re-take the test.
- Fees. The Iowa MVD lists the following fees for Iowa drivers licenses:
- Instruction Permit, $6
- Intermediate License, $8
- Full drivers license, $4 per year
- BAC limit: .08 Iowa holds to a Zero Tolerance Law regarding under age Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) offenses. BAC limit for drivers under the age of 21 is .02, and for further details see the Iowa DOT Driver Services website. Every license suspension requires a $200 re-instatement fee. The following is a list of the state’s penalties for OWI convictions:
- First Offense:
- Minimum 180-day license revocation
- If BAC was above .15 and/or the violation involved an accident, the driver must wait 30 days to apply for a temporary restricted license
- If BAC was greater than .10 and/or the violation involved an accident, the driver must install an Ignition Interlock Device (IID) to be eligible for the restricted license
- Driver under age 18 is not eligible for a restricted license
- Second Offense:
- Minimum 1-year license revocation
- The driver is not eligible for a temporary restricted license for 45 days
- IID required for all vehicles the driver owns or operates
- Drivers under the age of 18 are not eligible for a temporary license, and the license revocation lasts for 12 months or until the driver turns 18; whichever is longer
- Third Offense:
- Minimum 6-year license revocation
- Driver may apply for a temporary restricted license after one year if all vehicles he/she owns or operates are equipped with IID(‘s)
- Any OWI offense resulting in bodily injury requires an additional 1-year license revocation and IID installations.
If the OWI offense results in a death, the license revocation is extended by 6 years, IID is installed and the driver will not be eligible for a restricted license for 2 years.
Texting & Driving Laws
Distraction.gov points out that Iowa has banned all cell phone use for novice drivers and texting for all drivers.
Keeping up with the times can be a challenge, especially if “keeping up” means managing the thousands of laws Iowa has on their books. If one slipped through, it may be the ordinance that requires all hotels in Dubuque to provide a water bucket and hitching post out front. Also, in Marshalltown, horses are forbidden to eat fire hydrants, and driving through just became safer as it is illegal to shoot missiles onto a highway without written consent!
Average Car Insurance Premiums
Premiums in Iowa show good potential to remain affordable for years to come. NAIC.org makes it clear that the state’s premiums have been below the national average for nearly two decades.
Drunk Driving Fatalities
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals that, although the number of drunk driving fatalities rose above the national average in 2013, the state’s numbers are now once again under the national average.
Teen Drinking and Driving
According to the Center for Disease Control Iowa teens drink and drive approximately 3.5 percent more than the national average.
Vehicular Theft in Iowa
At 130, Iowa’s vehicle thefts are completely outdone by the national average. The FBI reports a fraction of a percent increase in Iowa’s 2013 vehicle thefts. The number has dipped in 2014.