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Iowa Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

Iowa Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

Iowa is a state located in the Midwestern portion of the United States. Iowa has a variety of waterways in surrounding areas including the Big Sioux and Missouri Rivers to the west and Mississippi River to the east. It is the only state within the U.S. that is totally bordered to the east and west by rivers. Iowa has been nicknamed “The Hawkeye State” in honor of Chief Black Hawk – a leader of the Sauk Indian tribe that fled to Iowa after harassment from settlers. Iowa is currently considered one of the safest states to live and has an economy heavily involved in agriculture and manufacturing. Other industries in Iowa include: information technology, green energy, biotechnology, and financial services.

If you plan on driving your motorcycle through this Midwestern state, are you aware of the legal requirements? In most states you need to have some sort of insurance policy to prove financial responsibility – Iowa is no exception. Financial responsibility is required so that if you crash into someone else, and the accident is your fault, you will be able to pay for the damages. If nobody were required to have financial responsibility, then nobody would get properly reimbursed for damages that are caused by other drivers.

Iowa Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

In order to meet state requirements in Iowa, you need to prove financial responsibility. This is done through the act of purchasing insurance. Iowa does NOT have a compulsory insurance law. In order to protect residents it has set up a Financial and Safety Responsibility Act – which protects you from financially unsound and reckless drivers.

How to Establish Financial Responsibility in Iowa

All drivers that do not show immediate financial responsibility following an accident will automatically face suspension and revocation of their driver’s license. In other words, all driving privileges will be taken away until things are responsibly settled. Due to the fact that Iowa does not have a compulsory insurance law, there are a number of ways to deal with financial responsibility after an accident.

  • Liability Insurance – The easiest way to establish financial responsibility for residents of Iowa is to purchase liability coverage.  Find a licensed insurer and get a policy that meets the minimal state requirements.
  • Surety Bond – If you’d like, you can get a surety bond or make a cash deposit of $55,000 to meet financial responsibility requirements.
  • Send Money – Make a cash deposit, write a check, or send money for damages that you’ve caused after you’ve been involved in an accident. This deposit would be made out to the Office of Driver Services for all the reimbursement that you owe following your accident.
  • Accident Releases – You need to obtain an accident release from everyone involved in accidents that you are in.
  • Pay Installments – If you injured someone in an accident or damaged property, you can agree to pay for these damages on an installment plan. This means that you pay off the damages in increments.
  • Full Settlements – You can provide documentation of a full settlement for all damages and injuries following an accident.
  • Civil Damage Decision – If you have a copy of a civil damage action decision that relates to your accident, liability reimbursement will be relieved.

Note: The Financial and Safety Responsibility Act involves both the driver and owner of the vehicle that is being driven. If you borrow someone else’s vehicle, the individual you borrowed from will also need to have proof of financial responsibility. If you have further questions, contact the Iowa MVD.

Motorcycles / Two-Wheeled Vehicles Defined

If you are unsure about the classification of your two-wheeled vehicle or motorcycle, read below for the official definitions. If you have further questions about your vehicle, you can contact the Office of Driver Services at the following number: (800)-532-1121.

Motorcycle: A motor vehicle having a seat or saddle for the driver, designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground. These operate at speeds of at least 30 mph.

Moped: This is the exact same definition as a motorcycle except it is NOT capable of operating at a speed in excess of 30 mph.

Scooter: An electric or gas powered vehicle that has a flat surface for the feet to rest, a seat, and handlebars for the driver to hold while driving. These are not typically eligible for registration in the state of Iowa.

Note:  In Iowa, most two-wheeled vehicles that exceed 30 mph are considered motorcycles.

Iowa Motorcycle Insurance Minimum Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements for motorcycle coverage in the state of Iowa. Keep these minimums in mind when you are looking to buy a policy.

Liability Insurance:

  • $20,000 bodily injury per person

  • $40,000 bodily injury per accident

  • $15,000 property damage per accident

You should know that the minimum amount of required insurance may not be enough in the event of an accident. In order to make sure that you have sufficient coverage for the average accident, it would be a smart idea to increase coverage limits or ask an insurance agent what they recommend for someone in your situation. Remember, you can always add things like comprehensive coverage and uninsured motorist protection to your policy.

Iowa Laws:  Safety & Licensing Requirements

While driving your motorcycle throughout the Iowa farmlands, make sure that you are following all of the laws. Below is some basic legal information to be aware of before you buy a policy.

  • Helmets – These are recommended, but not required by law. You may get an insurance discount for wearing a helmet at all times because it increases your safety.
  • Eye Protection – This is recommended, but not legally required. Once again, you may save additional money on your insurance policy by wearing protective eye-wear.
  • Class L License – You need to get a Class L endorsement on your driver’s license before you operate your motorcycle.
  • Headlights – All motorcycles manufactured after 1976 are required to use headlights during the daytime.

Proof of Insurance in IA

It is important to keep your insurance information with you at all times while operating your motorcycle. If you get into an accident or pulled over, you will be able to show it to the police and/or others that are involved.

  • Insurance Identification Card – After you purchase an insurance policy, you will receive an ID card in the mail. Keep this card with you at all times while operating your motorcycle.
  • Certificates / Documentation – If you used another method of financial responsibility, you can keep the certificates and/or documentation with you while driving.

Penalty for Lack of Insurance

Due to the Financial and Safety Responsibility Act of Iowa, you could end up with suspended driving privileges if you have no proof of financial responsibility following an accident. It is important to also keep in mind that if someone is borrowing your motorcycle, you are going to be responsible for part of the financial responsibility.

  • License Suspension – Getting your license suspended is a result of not having insurance to cover an accident.
  • Registration Suspension – If you don’t have adequate insurance following an accident, your registration will be suspended.

One of the following criteria must be met to be exempt from any penalties:

  • Someone took your motorcycle without your personal permission.
  • You were the only person injured and there was no property damage.
  • Your motorcycle was legally parked or stopped during the accident.

Note: When providing proof of insurance, you need to do so for all vehicles under your name (including cars).

Iowa Motorcycle Insurance Companies

In order to find an insurance company that fits your personal needs and budget, you need to compare quotes. Use the form below (or at the top of the page) by entering your Zip Code. Once you have entered your Zip Code, you will notice a list of insurance providers based on your location. These are the top rated motorcycle insurance providers for your specific area. Take the time to compare quotes as well as overall coverage that is offered. When you found one company that offers a better deal than the others, you can buy an insurance policy and cruise through the Hawkeye State on your motorcycle.

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