Iowa is one of the few states that do not have a compulsory insurance law for drivers. However, if involved in an accident or operating while under the influence (OWI), the driver will need to show proof of financial liability. Failure to provide proof of financial liability will result in the suspension of license and registration.
Iowa has one of the cheapest auto insurance rates in the United States. As of December 2013, it costs an average of $1028 every year to insure your vehicle in Iowa. If you live in Des Moines it will cost you $907, on average, to insure your vehicle. The lowest rate is found in Ames ($772).
Iowa has an implied consent law which means that you must submit to breath, blood or urine test if a law enforcement officer believes you may be driving drunk. If you refuse to take the test, your license will be suspended for up to two years. If caught driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or more, you will be arrested.
The penalties for OWI in Iowa are stringent. A first time offender faces jail time anywhere from two days to one year. A third offense committed within 12 years of the first will result in a Class D felony. A third time offender faces jail time up to five years, a fine of $2500 – $5000 and lose their license for six years.
Drinking and driving will hit your pocket hard when it comes time to renew your auto insurance policy. If you live in Des Moines, your premium will go from $907 to $1687 on an average as of December 2013. Furthermore, you will end up paying a higher premium rate for three years after OWI conviction. It is possible to reduce the premium to $1434 if you take a defensive driving course. Defensive driving course educate drivers on safer ways to drive while improving their driving skill. There are a few convenient options to acquire a defensive driving certificate by completing a course online. However, even with the reprieve in premiums by acquiring a defensive driving course completion certificate, drunk driving remains a very expensive mistake.