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Motorcycle Insurance Minimum Requirements in Iowa

Although Iowa does not have a compulsory insurance law for motorcycle owners, the Financial & Safety Responsibility Act states that you will lose your license and registration privileges if you can't provide proof of motorcycle insurance or other acceptable forms of financial responsibility following an accident.

The Financial & Safety Responsibility Act also states that residents who lose their licenses after an OWI will need to provide proof of financial responsibility for two years following the reinstatement of their license.

Ways to Establish Financial Responsibility

In most cases, motorcycle owners choose to purchase liability insurance to prove financial responsibility. However, you may also prove financial responsibility following an accident with one of the following options:

    • Submit official releases from everyone involved in the accident.
    • Pay cash or post a cashier's check, certified check, bank draft or postal money order payable to the Customer Services Bureau for all charges relating to the accident.
    • Obtain proof documenting a full settlement of all damages or injuries.
    • Agree to pay the people with property damage or the injured drivers and passengers involved in the accident on an installment plan.
    • Eliminate your right to defend against the charges by executing a warrant for confession of judgment with a damage payment schedule.
    • Submit a copy of civil damage action decision that relieves you of all responsibility for expenses relating to the accident.

If you need to show proof of financial responsibility to regain your motorcycle license following an OWI suspension or revocation, you can ask your insurance carrier to file Form SR-22 (Certificate of Automobile Liability Insurance) with the Customer Services Bureau. If this is not possible, the alternative is to file a surety bond, cash, or securities of $55,000.

Two-Wheeled Vehicles Defined

Call the Customer Services Bureau at (515) 239-1101 if you are not sure whether your vehicle requires motorcycle insurance.

Iowa Motorcycle Insurance Requirements

If you use a liability motorcycle insurance policy to meet your financial responsibility requirements, you will meet the minimum liability insurance requirements. Many residents opt for higher liability coverage or more extensive insurance protection through collision, personal injury protection, comprehensive physical damage, or uninsured motorist policies.

If cost is a concern, obtaining motorcycle quotes from several different insurance companies will help you get the coverage you need at a price you can afford.

How Coverage Affects Helmet Requirements

Unlike many other states, Iowa does not legally require motorcycle riders to wear helmets. This means that whether or not you choose to wear a helmet while traveling on the state's roads will have no impact on your insurance coverage needs.

Proof of Insurance and Financial Responsibility

Keep your insurance card with you at all times so you are able to submit your proof of financial responsibility in the event of an accident.

If you don't have liability insurance and need to provide another form of proof of financial responsibility, contact the Customer Services Bureau at (515) 239-1101 for instructions regarding how to submit your documentation.

Penalties for Failure to Maintain Financial Responsibility

As mentioned earlier, your license and registration can be suspended if you are found to have no proof of motorcycle insurance or other forms of financial responsibility as required by the Iowa Financial & Safety Responsibility Act. This is true even if you only allowed a friend to borrow your motorcycle, because the financial responsibility requirements apply to both the owner and the person operating the vehicle involved in an accident.

The only way to avoid penalties for failure to maintain financial responsibility is to meet one of the following criteria:

    • The accident causing injury or property damage happened after someone took your motorcycle without your permission.
    • The accident involved no property damage or personal injuries to anyone but you.
    • Your motorcycle was legally parked, stopped, or standing at the time of the accident.

If you are required to show proof of financial responsibility as part of Iowa's Financial & Safety Responsibility Act, keep in mind you must provide proof for both your car and your motorcycle to maintain full license and registration privileges.

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