Iowa offers motorcyclists a variety of landscapes to explore, from the rolling hills in the western part of the state to the rich farmland in the east.
The Mississippi River Valley in the east provides picturesque scenery and exciting riding experiences for motorcyclists.
While enjoying Iowa’s landscapes and historic attractions, it’s essential for riders to understand rules & regulations and ensure they have the appropriate insurance coverage before embarking on any motorcycle adventures in the state.
Iowa Motorcycle Insurance Requirements
To be compliant with Iowa’s motorcycle insurance requirements, your policy needs to have adequate liability insurance.
- $20,000 bodily injury liability (per person)
- $40,000 bodily injury liability (per accident)
- $15,000 property damage liability (per accident)
Motorcycles & Two-Wheeled Vehicles Defined in Iowa
In Iowa, motorcycles and other two-wheeled vehicles are legally defined as follows:
Motorcycle: A motor vehicle with a seat or saddle for the rider and is designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground, powered by an internal combustion engine or an electric motor.
Moped: A motor-driven cycle equipped with an engine that has a displacement not exceeding 50 cubic centimeters (3.05 cubic inches), which produces no more than 2 brake horsepower and is incapable of speeds greater than 30 miles per hour on level ground.
Scooter: A two-wheeled vehicle with a motor displacement of 50 cubic centimeters or greater that is unable to reach speeds in excess of 60 miles per hour.
Note: Definitions are based on the Iowa Code, Chapter 321 – Motor Vehicles and Law of the Road.
Insurance Requirements for Smaller Vehicles in Iowa
Motorcycles: Every motorcycle must have liability insurance coverage in the state of Iowa to be legally driven – regardless of the number of wheels.
Mopeds & Scooters: Mopeds and scooters with 50 cc (cubic centimeters) or greater will be subject to the same insurance requirements as motorcycles in Iowa.
Mopeds with an engine displacement less than 50 cc does not require insurance, but must be registered with the state.
If you have any specific questions regarding insuring a motorcycle, moped, or scooter, it’s recommended to consult an insurance company – they will help you out.
Basic Motorcycle Rules & Regulations in Iowa
While riding in Iowa, motorcyclists should keep in mind some fundamental rules and regulations.
- Lane splitting: Lane splitting or driving between lanes of traffic is illegal in the state of Iowa.
- Helmets: Iowa law does not require motorcycle riders to wear a helmet. However, wearing a quality helmet is highly recommended for safety.
- Eye protection: Motorcyclists in Iowa are required to wear protective eye protection unless their motorcycle has a windshield.
- Passengers: A passenger can only ride on a motorcycle if the bike is equipped with a designated passenger seat and footrest.
- Mirrors & lighting: Motorcycles must be equipped with at least one rear-view mirror and have proper lighting, including brake lights, tail lights, and turn signals.
- Turn signals: Iowa law requires motorcycles to have functioning turn signals.
- Headlights: Motorcycles must have at least one working headlight, which must be used during daytime and nighttime hours.
- Seat & footrest: All motorcycles must have a seat for the rider, as well as a footrest.
- License: To legally operate a motorcycle in Iowa, you must have a motorcycle (Class M) endorsement on your driver’s license.
Additional Motorcycle Insurance Options in Iowa
Iowa’s motorcyclists have several additional coverage options beyond the state’s minimum requirements to consider.
Below are some coverage types to think about:
- Collision coverage: In the unfortunate event that your motorcycle is damaged or totaled due to a collision, this coverage can offer financial assistance to pay for repairs or replacement of your motorcycle. With collision coverage, you can feel more secure knowing that your motorcycle is protected on the road.
- Comprehensive coverage: Going beyond collisions, comprehensive coverage can help pay for repairs or replacement if your motorcycle is stolen, vandalized, or damaged by non-collision events such as severe weather. It provides additional peace of mind knowing that you’re covered in various situations.
- Roadside assistance: No one wants to be stranded on the side of the road with a broken-down motorcycle. That’s where roadside assistance coverage comes in handy. With this coverage, you can receive helpful services like towing, fuel delivery, and battery jump-starts to get you back on the road quickly and safely.
- Custom parts & equipment coverage: If you’ve made unique modifications to your motorcycle, custom parts and equipment coverage can help pay for repairs or replacement of these specialized parts or accessories if they are damaged or stolen. This coverage is especially useful for those who have invested time and money into personalizing their motorcycles.
- Uninsured & underinsured motorist coverage: Unfortunately, not all drivers on the road have proper insurance coverage. This type of coverage can protect you financially if you’re involved in an accident with someone who lacks insurance or has insufficient coverage to pay for damages. It’s important to have this coverage to ensure that you’re not left with expensive bills in the event of an accident.
- Medical payments coverage: In the event of an accident, medical payments coverage can provide financial assistance for medical expenses for you and your passengers. It can help cover costs such as hospital bills, medical treatment, and even lost wages due to time off work. With this coverage, you can have peace of mind knowing that your medical expenses are taken care of in case of an accident.
Penalties for Driving without Insurance (Iowa)
All motorcyclists and motorists must carry proof of insurance while driving in the state of Iowa.
Failure to provide proof of insurance upon request from a law enforcement officer (such as during a traffic stop or after an accident) may result in a variety of legal penalties.
- First Offense: Minimum fine of $250, and potential suspension of driver’s license and registration.
- Second Offense: Minimum fine of $500, suspension of driver’s license and registration, and potential impoundment of your vehicle.
- Third & Subsequent Offenses: Additional fines and penalties may apply, including suspension of driver’s license and registration, and potential impoundment of your vehicle.
For more information about driving without insurance in the state of Iowa, read about driving without liability coverage on the Iowa State Patrol website.
Understand that penalties associated with driving without insurance in Iowa may be adjusted in the future – such that fines may increase (to keep up with the economy).
FAQs: Motorcycle Insurance in Iowa
As a motorcyclist in Iowa, it’s important to be aware of the state’s insurance requirements and regulations.
To help you navigate this topic, here are answers to some frequently asked questions about motorcycle insurance and regulations in Iowa:
Is lane splitting legal in Iowa?
Lane splitting is not legal in Iowa according to Iowa Code 321.275.
Are helmets mandatory for motorcyclists in Iowa?
Helmets are not required for motorcyclists in Iowa.
That said, helmet wearing is strongly encouraged for safety of the motorcyclist and/or passengers.
Is a specific license required to drive a motorcycle in Iowa?
To legally operate a motorcycle in Iowa, you need a Class M driver’s license or a motorcycle endorsement on your existing driver’s license.
You can obtain a motorcycle endorsement by passing a written test and completing a motorcycle training course approved by the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) or by passing a skills test.
Are there ways to save money on motorcycle insurance in Iowa?
There are several ways to reduce the cost of motorcycle insurance in Iowa without compromising on protection.
Comparing plans and prices from different providers is one of the most effective ways to save on motorcycle insurance.
Insurance companies often have special discounts & promos, such as bundling multiple policies or maintaining a good driving record, which can help lower your insurance premium.
Choosing a higher deductible can also lower your premium, but it also means you’ll have to pay more out of pocket if you get into an accident.
Are insurance requirements similar for scooters and mopeds as for motorcycles in Iowa?
In Iowa, the insurance requirements for scooters and mopeds depend on the engine displacement of the vehicle.
Scooters and mopeds with an engine displacement of 50 cubic centimeters or more are subject to the same insurance requirements as motorcycles.
Mopeds with an engine displacement less than 50 cubic centimeters do not require insurance, but they must be registered with the state.
If you’re unsure about insurance coverage for non-motorcycle vehicles in Iowa, you should consult an insurance provider who can advise you on what you need.
What are the penalties for driving a motorcycle without insurance in Iowa?
It is mandatory to have insurance coverage when operating a motorcycle in Iowa.
Driving a motorcycle without insurance is illegal and can lead to penalties, such as fines, suspension of license, impounding of the motorcycle, and other legal repercussions based on Iowa insurance law.
What factors affect the cost of motorcycle insurance in Iowa?
Several factors may influence the cost of motorcycle insurance in Iowa.
Some of these factors include the age, make, and model of the motorcycle, the rider’s driving record and experience, the rider’s age and sex/gender, the rider’s location, and the level of coverage and deductibles chosen.
Additionally, the number of miles driven annually and the type of use (e.g., for commuting or pleasure) may also impact insurance costs.
Finding great motorcycle insurance in Iowa…
If you’re a motorcycle rider in Iowa, it’s important to have quality insurance coverage that will provide you with financial protection in case of an accident or other unexpected events. Although finding the right insurance may seem overwhelming, there are a few simple steps you can take.
One useful tool is the Zip Code search box on this website, which allows you to compare motorcycle insurance providers in your area, obtain quotes, and select the best value for your budget and coverage needs.
After securing a policy that meets Iowa’s state regulations and your personal preferences, you can enjoy the freedom of the open road with confidence and peace of mind, knowing that you’re protected.