Guide to Staying Legal on the Roads in Iowa

If you live in Iowa and own a motor vehicle, you will have to be able to prove financial responsibility if you ever get into an accident. There are a couple of ways to prove your financial responsibility. The most common way is to carry liability protection. It is vital that you can show you meet the minimum standards put in place. If you fail to do so, you can lose your license.

Using Your Policy to Protect Your Assets

The most common way to establish yourself as a competent motor vehicle operator in Iowa is to have liability insurance. When you go this route to establish responsibility, you will need to be covered for $20,000 of bodily injury liability for one individual, $40,000 of bodily injury liability for multiple people, and $15,000 of liability for property damage. You may wish to purchase more coverage, but this is the bare minimum.

  • Bodily injury liability provides coverage in case you get into an accident and it is your fault. It does not cover you or anybody else named on your auto insurance policy, but it will cover anybody else that is involved in an accident that is your fault. It will help pay for medical bills, hours lost at work, lawyer's fees, funeral costs, rehabilitation and nursing care, and also for whatever pain and suffering that a court may award.
  • Property damage liability will cover you in the event that you hit a car or other property and cause damages. If you fail to yield on a left turn and hit another vehicle, your property damage liability will pay for damages. If you hit your neighbor's fence or run over your neighbor's purebred dog, property damage liability will cover this too.

Ensuring You are Protected at All Times

If you have plenty of money and do not wish to establish monetary responsibility through an adequate policy, you can demonstrate you are protected in other ways. After an accident, you can pay the Office of Driver Services for all of the expenses related to your accident, you can submit documentation proving that you paid for all damages or injuries in full, or you can choose to pay the drivers and people that you hurt through an installment plan. If you choose to go this route, you will also have to prove financial responsibility for anybody that borrows your vehicle and is involved in an accident as well. If you need to demonstrate you are fiscally responsible after getting your license suspended for operating while intoxicated, you can get insurance, or file a surety bond for a total of $55,000.

Other Coverage Types You May Want

You may want to insure yourself for more than the minimum amount. If you get into a serious accident, you could easily cause more than $20,000 in bodily injury for one person, or more than $15,000 in property damage. If you have any assets, you could be sued for the amount over what you are insured for. If you have a car loan, your lender will probably require you to have collision, comprehensive, and uninsured motorist coverage. If you have an older vehicle that is completely paid for and is not very costly, you may decide that this extra coverage is unnecessary.

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