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The Basics of Car Insurance in Iowa

On Behalf of | Apr 28, 2017 | Personal Injury

A motor vehicle accident can rattle the nerves. In some instances, it does more than that. Serious injuries and significant costs can result from an accident. For this reason many people in Iowa purchase car insurance.

There are many different policies and levels of insurance coverage for residents of Council Bluffs to consider, but Iowa is unique in the United States because it does require drivers to carry a compulsory amount of insurance. Therefore, it is necessary for Iowa’s drivers to know what is legally required in the event of an accident, and what insurance options are available, if drivers do want to protect their financial interests through that mechanism.

Introduction to Car Insurance, Generally

There are two main types of car insurance in Iowa. The first is liability insurance. This is the type of insurance that is legally compulsory in many other states; although, the minimum amount of insurance that is required will differ by state. Liability insurance covers damage to the other driver when you cause the accident.

It is third-party coverage that will include the costs of property damage to the other driver’s vehicle, the cost of medical expenses for the driver, and medical expenses for any passengers, up to the coverage limit for each of these.

The second common type of car insurance is comprehensive insurance. As the name would suggest, comprehensive car insurance provides more coverage than liability car insurance. This is coverage over non-collision events, such as theft, natural events such as fires and floods, and vandalism that cause damage to your car. Also included in comprehensive coverage is contact or damage from falling objects or animals.

Iowa’s Financial and Safety Responsibility Act

Most states have an explicit law that requires drivers to maintain minimal car insurance. Of course, there are drivers that break the law. In the event these individuals are caught driving uninsured, states normally impose penalties that include loss or suspension of driving privileges. This is different to the process in Council Bluffs.

In Iowa there is no law that requires drivers to have car insurance. Instead requirements under the Financial and Safety Responsibility Act impose financial and insurance requirements for Iowa’s drivers. Under the Financial and Safety Responsibility Act, a driver who is responsible for an accident that causes over $1,500 in damages must provide evidence of financial responsibility or proof of insurance coverage.

If an accident does occur, and you are at fault, then the inability to show financial responsibility for the costs of the accident or a valid insurance policy can result in penalties. As in other states, Iowa can impose penalties that include the suspension or loss of driver’s license or the suspension of vehicle registration. Typically, once this penalty is imposed, proof of a valid Iowa insurance policy is required to reinstate the licenses or registration.

Choosing Car Insurance in Iowa

While Iowa does not impose compulsory car insurance, if a resident of Council Bluffs, IA chooses to comply with the Financial and Safety Responsibility Act by carrying insurance, there are minimal insurance requirements.

A liability insurance policy must provide minimum of $25,000 for death or injury of a single person; this covers the driver of another vehicle, a passenger, a pedestrian, or yourself. As well, the coverage must include minimum of $15,000 to cover property damage from the accident. This includes vehicles or other property losses that directly result from the accident. Finally, the liability insurance policy must also include $40,000 for total damages in an accident. This requirement is over a single accident, not $40,000 over multiple accidents.

While these minimums will protect you legally in Iowa, financially it is a good idea to carry additional insurance. If the costs of an accident exceed the coverage amount, you may be required to pay the difference. Therefore, it is in your best interest to explore the different policies before purchasing a car insurance plan.

Seek Experienced Legal Advice

When you are involved in a motor vehicle accident, it can be difficult to navigate the necessary process of filing and collecting an insurance claim. However, in many instances you are entitled to compensation. For evaluation of a car insurance claim and other advice regarding motor vehicle accidents, speak with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer.

Walter P. Thomas has built his practice and reputation in personal injury. To speak a qualified lawyer at Telpner Peterson Law Firm, LLP call 712-309-3738.