Car Insurance in Iowa
Iowa drivers pay 32% less for auto insurance than the average American. That said, not every car insurance Iowa provider delivers a great bargain.
So how do you find the ones that do?
You don’t. We’ve already done that for you.
We grabbed quotes from top carriers in The Hawkeye State to identify the names that offer good value for money. But that’s not all. We also reviewed players on various important factors — service, financial strength, online tools, and more — so that you know exactly what to expect from each one of them.
So let’s dig in.
The Best Car Insurance in Iowa
- Progressive — The Overall Winner
- Nationwide — The First Runner-up
- GEICO — The Best for Financial Health
- Shelter — The Best for Customer Service
- USAA — The Best for Military
The Overall Winner: Progressive
The website claims consumers save $796 on average when they switch to Progressive auto insurance. Of course, we were not going to take their word for it, so we decided to look under the hood.
Well, our research shows its rates are indeed the lowest among Iowa insurance companies. If cost is the top factor for buying coverage, you may well want to start your search with Progressive. And the same goes for high-risk drivers, to whom the insurer offers a better deal than most carriers.
Apart from aggressive pricing, Progressive also impresses with innovative offerings, Name Your Price in particular. It gives consumers more flexibility to pay only for the level of coverage they require. Simply input the price you’d like to pay, and the tool will list all available coverage options at your rate. Out of the two dozen insurance companies in Iowa we reviewed, Progressive is the only one that makes buying auto insurance so easy.
A wide array of useful add-ons, such as GAP insurance, Pet insurance, and Accident Forgiveness insurance, make Progressive an appealing option to a range of buyers. As far as financial strength is concerned, the insurer is well placed. A.M. Best, the prestigious US rating agency, awards it the second-best rating of “A+.”
However, Progressive is ranked at just about the middle of the pack on customer service, as reflected by its 3-star rating in 2019’s J.D. Power study for Central America. But if that’s not a deal-breaker, and your priority is finding cheap car insurance in Iowa, you can’t go wrong with Progressive.
Choose Progressive for its jaw-dropping rates.
Look elsewhere if you want top-shelf customer experience.
The First Runner-up: Nationwide
You may have heard the jingle “Nationwide is on your side” — but is that really the case in The Hawkeye State?
Research proves Nationwide does keep its end of the bargain when it comes to offering low-cost car insurance. With a monthly premium of $57, it should be on the list of every customer looking for cheap car insurance in Iowa.
However, affordable rates are not the only ace the insurer has up its sleeve. It is also on your side when affordable low- or zero-deductible auto insurance coverage is a priority. Nationwide’s Vanishing Deductible program takes $100 off your deductible for every year you don’t file a claim, up to $500.
In short, Nationwide rewards you for something you may already be doing — maintaining a clean Iowa driving record.
Vanishing Deductible, however, is just one of the ways the insurer helps you save. Others include Accident Forgiveness and SmartRide. While the first one ensures the premium doesn’t increase after your first at-fault accident, the latter rewards you for exhibiting safe driving behaviors.
Nationwide offers a range of insurance and financial products in addition to car insurance. This could make it an appealing option if you like to bundle services with one carrier. That would streamline paying bills and help you net some handsome discounts.
When it comes to financial strength, Nationwide ratings speak for themselves. Just like Progressive, the cheapest car insurance Iowa provider, it has an “A+” rating from A.M. Best.
However, customer service ratings prove to be Nationwide’s Achilles Heel. It is ranked dead-last in the J.D. Power regional study. But if you don’t mind trading customer service off for lower rates, Nationwide is definitely worth a shot. If you place a high value on experience, consider a provider with a better reputation.
Choose Nationwide if you want cheap car insurance in Iowa.
Look elsewhere if you can’t live without top-class service.
Best for Financial Strength: GEICO
GEICO is one of the top auto insurance providers in the US, but is it one to keep on your radar in Iowa?
It depends on your priorities.
Do you want an insurer with rock-solid financial strength? Then GEICO is the one for you. Its ratings in this department are as good as any and better than most, as reflected by its A.M. Best rating of “A++” — the highest rating awarded by the US rating agency.
Do you want awesome online tools? Grab a car insurance quote in Iowa from GEICO. Its website is neatly laid out and easy to use while its smartphone app is nothing less than an insurance concierge right in your pocket. Whether you want to initiate a claim or need a tow, the GEICO insurance app makes sure your needs are attended to 24/7.
Are you someone who values experience? Definitely consider GEICO for car insurance in Iowa. It earns an impressive 4-star rating and 5th rank overall in J.D. Power regional study.
However, splendid online perks and top-shelf customer services come at a cost. GEICO is a tad on the expensive side in the Hawkeye State. This is actually a bit of a surprise since its rates are usually pretty competitive.
To sum it up, GEICO is a good option for all those who want a financially-strong carrier with top-class online tools. However, if cheap auto insurance in Iowa is what you are after, consider Progressive or Nationwide. Choose GEICO for its strong financial health and impressive online tools.
Look elsewhere if you want low-cost insurance.
Best for Customer Services: Shelter
If customer service, not price, is the most important factor for you, go with Shelter. It tops the 2019 J.D. Power’s regional study for the Iowa region.
And the best part is its products are quite reasonably priced. While not the cheapest car insurance Iowa provider, Shelter has lower rates than some top players, like GEICO and Allstate.
Continuing with the positives, Shelter is in pretty good shape financially. A.M. Best rank its financial health as “Excellent.” This means you can count on the insurer to not look for excuses when you make a claim.
However, on the downside, some of the common add-ons are missing, such as accident forgiveness. In addition, the insurer does not offer free policy cancellation.
All the same, these are minor flaws. By all accounts, Shelter is an appealing option for car insurance in Iowa. Choose Shelter for its outstanding customer service.
Look elsewhere if you want to pay the lowest rate for auto insurance.
Best for Military: USAA
USAA sells its insurance and other products only to US army members, current and former, and their loved ones. For this particular group, USAA is one of the best, if not the best, option for car insurance in Iowa.
Why? Glad you asked.
For starters, its customer ratings are as good as they come. Also, its rates are pocket-friendly and financial strength ratings are just about perfect.
In short, USAA delivers the complete package when it comes to affordable rates and top-notch service. Ignore it at your own peril (if you qualify for its coverage). Choose USAA for its great service, reasonable rates, and strong financial strength.
Look elsewhere if you don’t qualify.
Cheap Auto Insurance in Iowa (By City)
We gathered quotes from multiple carriers with full coverage limits in eight major Iowa cities. Our referenced driver was a 40-year-old man with a spotless driving record.
The capital and the most populous city of The Hawkeye State, Des Moines is known for the Iowa State Fair, the Iowa Caucus, the “World Food Prize,” and the weekly farmers’ market downtown. Those looking for affordable auto insurance in Des Moines should start their search with Progressive and Nationwide. Mind you, neither excels in customer service. If that’s a priority, consider Shelter and GEICO. Other viable options in Des Moines include State Farm and American Family.
Nick-named City of Five Seasons, Cedar Rapids lies on the banks of the Cedar River and is the second-largest city in Iowa. It is known for the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, the Paramount Theatre, the Iowa Cultural Alliance, and Orchestra Iowa. When it comes to offering cost-effective car insurance in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Progressive, Nationwide, and Farmers top the list. However, Progressive does comparatively better than the two in the customer service department. If you can stretch your budget a little, check out Shelter. Its customer service ratings are as good as they come.
Nestled next to the Mississippi River, Davenport is the third-largest city in the US state of Iowa. With more than 50 local parks, it is known for being a green city and offers visitors a wide range of activities and venues to enjoy, such as Great River Brewery and The Putnam Museum and Science Center. Car insurance in Davenport, Iowa is slightly costlier than in Cedar Rapids. That said, plenty of budget options are available, none better than Nationwide. Progressive and American Family are two other names to keep on your radar if you want great value for money. On the other hand, if your top priority is customer service, check out Shelter and GEICO.
Located in northwest Iowa, Sioux City was founded by Theophile Bruguier, a French-Canadian fur trader. The city lies on the Mississippi River and is home to a number of cultural points of interest, such as Sioux City Art Center, Sioux City Public Museum, as well as the Sergeant Floyd Monument. Looking for the best deal on car insurance in Sioux City, Iowa? Look no further than Progressive. It’s roughly 55% cheaper than its nearest competitor — Nationwide. On the other hand, if you want the best customer service, don’t look past Shelter.
Iowa City is located in eastern Iowa. A well-known regional cultural hub, Iowa City hosts a number of events throughout the year, including The Iowa City Jazz Festival and The Iowa Art Festival. Progressive offers the most affordable car insurance in Iowa City, followed by Farmers and Nationwide. GEICO is another good option, particularly if you don’t want to compromise on experience.
Nestled along the Cedar River, Waterloo is one of the most notable historic cities in the Hawkeye State. Some of the famous tourist attractions in Waterloo are the John Deere Tractor Assembly, The Dan Gable International Wrestling Institute and Museum, and The National Cattle Congress. Both Progressive and Nationwide deliver a great bargain on car insurance in Waterloo, Iowa. However, neither excels in customer service. If that’s a concern and you don’t mind paying a little extra, go with GEICO. On the other hand, Allstate might be the right choice if you need special add-ons, such as classic car insurance.
Located 30 miles from Des Moines in Central Iowa, Ames is best known for Iowa State University. The city has a population of over 66,000, with students making up nearly half of its population. Ames was ranked ninth in CNNMoney’s list of “Best Places to Live.” Progressive and Farmers are head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to offering affordable car insurance in Ames, Iowa. However, the former has an edge, since its premium rates and customer service ratings are marginally better. Other appealing options include GEICO, Travelers, and State Farm.
Also known as the “River City,” Mason City is located in North Central Iowa and best known for its collection of Prairie School architecture, musical heritage, and an assortment of festivals. USA Today rated it as a “Great Place for Business Travelers” in 2014. If you want low-cost car insurance in Mason City, Iowa, Progressive is the name to remember. Apart from it, Farmers and Nationwide offer customers a good bang for their buck. That said, none of these names have customer service worth shouting about. If average customer service won’t cut it, consider GEICO. On the other hand, Allstate, with its wide range of optional coverages, might be an appealing option for drivers with specific needs.
Iowa Car Insurance Laws
Iowa Automobile Insurance Plan (IAAIP)
You can get into a lot of trouble if you drive without insurance in The Hawkeye State. But that doesn’t mean you will automatically get coverage when you show up in the voluntary car insurance market. Insurers may shut their doors on you both left and right if your driving record is spotty.
That said, all is not lost.
You can open the closed doors with a key called Iowa Automobile Insurance Plan (IAAIP). It ensures the mandatory Iowa car insurance is available to all eligible drivers.
To be eligible for IAAIP, you must show that you tried to purchase coverage from the standard market in the last 60 days but couldn’t do so. But mind you, IAAIP is not a key you would want to use carelessly since car insurance obtained through it tends to be considerably costlier than standard insurance. Therefore, use it only as a last resort.
Iowa Car Insurance Requirements
According to the Iowa Insurance Division, drivers need to carry these minimum coverage limits:
Bodily Injury Liability — $20,000 per person/$40,000 per accident — This part of your insurance policy covers injuries others suffer in an accident caused by you.
Property Damage Liability — $15,000 per accident — This coverage comes to your aide in case you damage someone else’s property.
SR22 in Iowa
Certain traffic violations, such as a DUI citation or a series of traffic tickets, may trigger a requirement that you haven’t faced before — an SR22 form.
It allows you to maintain your driving privileges or reinstate them if they have been revoked. Your insurer will file the SR22 form with the local DMV to show that you are carrying the state’s minimum coverage limits.
Here are some important points to keep in mind regarding SR22:
- Not every Iowa insurance company files SR22. If your company doesn’t offer this service, look for one that does.
- The fee for filing SR22 is $15 — $25. However, this one-time cost is not the only expenditure you may have to worry about. If you need coverage along with the form, you’ll likely pay a much higher premium than before.
- Some carriers specialize in writing policies for high-risk drivers. So shop around to make the best of a bad situation.
Iowa Auto Insurance for New Residents
New residents must register their vehicles within 30 days of establishing residency. You will need an Iowa registration even when your license plates are valid in another state.
Price Optimization in Iowa
You have had an accident and a ticket-free year. Yet, your insurer has bumped up your car insurance premium rate at renewal.
The state’s auto law allows Iowa car insurance companies to use non-risk factors, such as your previous insurance history, credit score, and even online shopping habits, to calculate premium rates.
Experts call this practice price optimization — but many believe that’s just a euphemism for deceit. And perhaps they aren’t so far off target. Collecting non-risk data to find out how much consumers are willing to pay for coverage and then quoting them that amount doesn’t exactly fit the definition of fair play.
Fair or not, it’s Iowa drivers who often get the short end of the stick, having to pay higher Iowa car insurance rates than their risk warrants.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
You can beat auto insurance companies at their own game by shopping around a little before your policy is due for renewal. The simple act of shopping will be enough to send the message across to your carrier loud and clear — if they try to pull a fast one on you, you’ll drop them in a hurry.
Iowa No-Fault Laws
Unlike Minnesota, Iowa is not a no-fault state. It follows a fault system for insurance claims. That is, your Iowa insurance company will pay for bodily injuries and property damage you cause to others, up to your policy limits. Also, the other party can file a successful claim if they prove fault on your part.
But how much fault? Since Iowa follows a modified comparative fault system, much like Washington, The driver seeking compensation must prove the other driver was more than 50% at fault.
How to Get The Best Car Insurance in Iowa
Check Auto Insurance Reviews
Every driver has unique needs and no auto insurer excels in all departments. Check how various players perform on factors most relevant to you to find the best deal.
Of course, this post tells you all the important details regarding top Iowa auto insurers, but what if you want more options? In that case, checking out our car insurance rankings might be a great idea. It covers no fewer than two dozen car insurers in detail.
Compare Car Insurance Quotes in Iowa
Comparing auto insurance quotes may not be your idea of fun, but it can save you hundreds of dollars every year. If you don’t want to spend more than you have to on car insurance, take some time out of your busy schedule — an hour or two will suffice.
Determine Who Provides the Best Selection of Discounts
Whenever you ask for a quote from an insurance agent, make sure you ask for all available discounts. All auto insurers offer a number of discounts, which can chip away precious dollars off your quote.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is Iowa a no-fault state for car insurance?
No, Iowa is not a no-fault state. It follows a fault system for assigning financial responsibility in case of a crash. That means the insurer of the at-fault driver pays for the injuries and damages, up to the policy limit.
2. Is there a grace period for car insurance when buying a used car?
Typically, you have between two weeks and a month to inform your insurer about your new ride.
3. How much does car insurance cost in Iowa?
The average cost of car insurance in Iowa is $96/month. Our quote included full coverage limits and was for a 40-year-old driver with a clean record. Depending on your coverage and profile, you may have to fork out more or less. Typically, students pay higher premiums, as do inexperienced drivers and people with less than a pristine driving record.
4. Is Iowa a PIP state?
No, it’s not. Drivers in Iowa don’t require to carry PIP coverage.
5. How much is a no insurance ticket in Iowa?
You are staring at a $250 fine if you are caught driving without car insurance. Iowa drivers, research shows, pay significantly less for insurance compared to the national average. Considering this, it just makes no sense to get behind the wheels without the mandatory coverage.