Traffic violations are a serious matter that the state of Iowa does not take lightly. Depending on the severity of the violation, your driver’s license can be suspended, and to reinstate it, you will have to carry SR22 insurance.
SR-22 insurance is a certificate that proves to Iowa that you are meeting their auto insurance requirements and can cover damages or injuries you cause in an accident. Being required to file an SR-22 is not uncommon in the insurance world but should be taken seriously.
Failure to fulfill your requirements can lead to even more penalties. The insurance guide below can help you learn more about SR-22s and how to fulfill your insurance responsibilities as a driver in Iowa.
What is SR-22 Insurance in Iowa?
Despite its name, SR-22 insurance is not a type of insurance. An SR-22 is a form you file with your auto insurance company that proves to the state of Iowa that you carry at least the minimum insurance coverage required.
You can receive such an insurance filing requirement from the Iowa Department of Transportation (Iowa DOT) after being convicted of a traffic violation that has resulted in your driver’s license being suspended. To reobtain your license, you will need to prove you meet Iowa’s insurance requirements.
SR-22s are filed with your insurance company and then passed along to the Iowa state department. To keep your SR-22 insurance active, all you need to do is stay on top of your regular car insurance payments.
Iowa Car Insurance Alternatives
The state of Iowa does offer some alternatives to traditional car insurance coverage. Taking this route for insurance does show that you can provide financial coverage in the event of an accident, but it is incredibly expensive to do.
The alternative to insurance in Iowa requires you to make a deposit of $55,000 in the form of a surety bond, cash, or securities. Should you get into a collision, this money will be used to cover damages.
However, it should be noted that, depending on the accident’s severity, this amount may not be enough to cover everything fully. We still recommend purchasing a car insurance policy from a reputable provider.
Who Needs SR-22 Insurance in Iowa?
There are a few scenarios that will require you to carry SR-22 insurance in Iowa. Keeping a good, clean driving record can assure that you never have to file one. However, drivers make mistakes.
SR-22 insurance in Iowa is typically required after committing a traffic violation that results in your driver’s license being suspended or revoked. Some examples of these offenses include:
- Operating while intoxicated (OWI) (similar to a DUI or DWI)
- Reckless driving
- Driving without insurance
- Excessive points on your driving record
- Multiple minor violations in a short period of time
Iowa Mandatory Minimum Insurance Coverage
The purpose of an SR22 is to prove to the state of Iowa that you carry at least the minimum amount of car insurance outlined by their insurance laws.
It is always best to increase your coverage limits when purchasing insurance. Successfully filing an SR-22 in Iowa only requires you to meet the minimum amount of insurance.
In Iowa, the minimum amount of liability coverage every driver must carry is as follows:
- $20,000 for bodily injury per person
- $40,000 for bodily injury per accident
- $15,000 for property damage
While these insurance amounts are the bare minimum you need to be considered a legal driver in Iowa, it is highly recommended that you expand your coverage to protect yourself better. This can be done by increasing your liability coverage limits and utilizing auto policy add-ons.
Liability insurance only covers damage and injuries the other drive sustains in an accident. It offers no coverage for you or your vehicle. However, you can get coverage for yourself by adding insurance like collision coverage and personal injury protection (PIP) to your auto policy.
How Long do You Need to Maintain an SR-22 in Iowa?
Thankfully, SR-22 filing requirements come with an expiration date. As long as this was your first violation and you practiced better driving habits, you can forget about your SR-22 once the assigned filing period is up.
In Iowa, on average, SR-22 insurance is required to be maintained for three years after your conviction. However, your mandatory filing period may be longer, depending on the severity of your violation.
When you are notified about your SR22 requirement, you will also be informed about how long you must maintain it. Once the expiration date arrives, it is your responsibility to let your insurance company know you no longer need SR-22 insurance. They will cancel it and notify the Iowa DOT.
Failure to maintain your SR-22 can result in your license being revoked. Violating your SR-22 maintenance period can occur when you fail to pay your insurance premiums and subsequently let your car insurance coverage lapse.
If you let your coverage lapse, your insurance company is required to notify the Iowa DOT, and then it is likely they will drop you as a policyholder. If you do not complete your insurance requirement the first time around, you will have to restart the filing period. This will require you to find a new insurance provider to obtain the proper coverage and refile the SR-22 form.
However, due to your driving profile and insurance history, it can be challenging to find an insurance company to offer you coverage. You will be labeled as a high-risk driver, and few insurance companies want to take on such a risk. It is best to stay on top of your insurance payments and not cancel your SR-22 prematurely.
How Much Does SR-22 Insurance Cost in Iowa?
When you inform your insurer about your SR-22 requirement, your insurance provider will charge you around $15-$25 to process the filing. However, this is not the only cost you have to worry about after your SR-22 insurance mandate.
Being convicted of a major traffic violation and needing SR-22 insurance is bound to make your insurance rates increase significantly. How much they increase will depend on a number of factors like how severe your violation was and what insurance company you are signed with.
OWI convictions are one of the most common reasons drivers need SR-22 insurance. In Iowa, after being convicted of an OWI, your insurance premiums may be around $1,700 per year.
For reference, Iowa drivers, on average, pay about $1,100 annually for car insurance. This is a fairly big jump in insurance that you will need to budget for accordingly. Some good news is that since your SR-22 insurance isn’t required forever, your rates may decrease slightly once you don’t have to carry it anymore.
If you are looking to lower your insurance premiums in Iowa, consider taking some time to shop around and get quotes from a variety of insurance providers. Look at insurers both locally in Iowa and nationally.
Insurance companies typically offer free quotes online or over the phone, making shopping for insurance fairly easy. As you are shopping, make sure to analyze any policy you come across so you can find one that fits both your needs and your budget. But also keep in mind that you shouldn’t sign onto an insurance policy just because it comes with low rates. You want to make sure you are actually getting substantial coverage.
Failure to get adequate insurance can be detrimental to your financial status. If you feel you have the lowest insurance premiums possible, given your driving record, ask your insurance agent about policy discounts. Policy discounts are a great, easy way to save a couple of extra bucks. Even if you do not think there are any insurance discounts you qualify for, it never hurts to ask.
Iowa Non-Owner SR-22 Insurance
After having your license suspended or revoked, you will need to provide proof of insurance even if you do not own a vehicle. Not owning a car does not mean you can skip out on getting auto insurance.
To fulfill your SR-22 insurance requirement, you will need to purchase non-owner SR-22 insurance. Non-owner car insurance provides drivers with the required liability coverage. Obtaining such an insurance policy fulfills your SR-22 requirement.
This type of insurance coverage is regarded as one of the most affordable ones on the market, but that is due to its limited coverage and qualifications you must meet in order to purchase it.
Non-owner insurance is not available if you own a vehicle or have regular access to one. It is commonly recommended for people who borrow or rent vehicles often. If you are in the habit of renting and borrowing vehicles, you should have insurance no matter what.
Do not wait until you are hit with an SR-22 requirement to purchase insurance. Every valid driver in Iowa needs coverage.
Iowa Operating While Intoxicated (OWI) Penalties
Criminal penalties for an OWI conviction in Iowa are determined by the courts. The courts handle the requirements for jail time, fines, education, and community service, according to the Iowa DOT.
The state of Iowa determines civil penalties imposed for the reinstatement of your driver’s license. After your first OWI, your driver’s license will be suspended for six months. On your second and subsequent OWI, your license suspension lasts one year.
With an OWI conviction, you also run the risk of having your car impounded. If required, impoundment could last at least 180 days or until your license is reinstated.
Ignition Interlock Device (IID) Requirements For Iowa
Under Iowa law, if your license has been revoked following an OWI conviction, you can be eligible to receive a temporary restricted license upon the installation of an ignition interlock device (IID).
An IID is a breathalyzer that prevents your car from starting if it detects alcohol on your breath. If it is your second or subsequent conviction, you must install an IID on all vehicles you operate.