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Best Cheap Car Insurance in Iowa for 2020

Jan. 2, 2020
Auto Insurance, Insurance
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When it comes to getting cheap car insurance in Iowa, shopping around is key. Even though Iowa’s rates are relatively affordable compared with national averages, prices for a single policy can still differ by hundreds of dollars a year, depending on the company. It pays to compare as many estimates as possible.


NerdWallet has done much of the heavy lifting already. We researched rates from the 12 largest insurance companies in the state and found the five cheapest options for a variety of driver types.

Cheapest for good drivers in Iowa

Good drivers in Iowa with good credit may be interested in the following companies, which had the cheapest average rates for full coverage auto policies:

  1. Pekin: $711 per year.
  2. Geico: $779 per year.
  3. West Bend: $852 per year.
  4. IMT: $853 per year.
  5. Nationwide: $870 per year.
Drivers with no recent accidents or violations can get cheaper car insurance rates for having good credit. For this calculation, NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-old men and women with a clean driving record and good credit. In terms of driving and credit history, a large portion of drivers are closest to this profile, which carries standard "full coverage" insurance, including comprehensive and collision, along with state-required coverage. Prices shown include a good driver discount, when available from the insurer.

Cheapest for minimum coverage in Iowa

Iowans looking for bare-minimum policies may have luck with these companies, which showed the lowest average rates for minimum required coverage:

  1. Pekin: $191 per year.
  2. Geico: $236 per year.
  3. Auto Owners: $240 per year.
  4. IMT: $240 per year.
  5. Farm Bureau Financial Services: $249 per year.
We calculated these numbers by averaging rates for 40-year-old good drivers (earning them a discount if the insurer offers one) who have only the minimum mandatory insurance in their state. Such light coverage isn't typically recommended, since it might not cover all the bills resulting from a car accident, but it's better than nothing — especially if you can't afford much more. If you're looking for the cheapest possible insurance you can get, though, you'll still want to get quotes from at least three auto insurers.

Cheapest for good drivers with poor credit

Here are the cheapest auto insurers we found for Iowans with a clean driving history and blemished credit, ranked by lowest average rate for full coverage:

  1. IMT: $1,088 per year.
  2. Geico: $1,143 per year.
  3. West Bend: $1,188 per year.
  4. Nationwide: $1,380 per year.
  5. Pekin: $1,413 per year.
If you have a spotty credit history, it's important to shop around to find the cheapest auto insurance rates you can. Poor credit can have a bigger effect on car insurance premiums than even a DUI conviction or a recent at-fault crash, but prices vary by insurer. To calculate these figures, NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-olds with a clean driving record and associated good driver discount, if the insurer offered one. They had poor credit as reported to their insurer, and standard "full coverage" car insurance.

Cheapest for drivers with one at-fault crash

These are the cheapest car insurance companies we found for Iowa drivers buying full coverage with a recent at-fault accident on their records:

  1. Pekin: $922 per year.
  2. American Family: $1,103 per year.
  3. State Farm: $1,163 per year.
  4. Geico: $1,187 per year.
  5. Auto Owners: $1,195 per year.
After a relatively minor crash, some auto insurers will charge a lot more than others for coverage. To get these figures, we averaged rates for 40-year-olds with typical "full coverage" insurance and one recent at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage. Your rates will remain high for three to five years after you cause an accident or have a moving violation. If you fall into this category, be sure to shop for new insurance rates just after the three-year and five-year anniversaries of your infraction.

Cheapest insurance after a DUI in Iowa

For Iowa drivers with a recent DUI on their records, these are the cheapest insurers and their average rates for full coverage auto policies:

  1. Progressive: $1,100 per year.
  2. American Family: $1,103 per year.
  3. State Farm: $1,327 per year.
  4. Pekin: $1,395 per year.
  5. IMT: $1,453 per year.
A conviction for driving under the influence, or DUI, generally results in higher auto insurance premiums than before. NerdWallet analyzed rates for 40-year-old drivers and standard “full coverage” car insurance with a recent DUI conviction to see which companies were cheapest. Rates can vary by hundreds between carriers after a DUI, and some penalize for longer than others, so it’s important to shop around for the best price right after you see a price hike and each year after that.

Cheapest insurance after a ticket in Iowa

For drivers with a recent speeding ticket, here are the cheapest insurers and their average rates for full coverage in Iowa:

  1. Geico: $831 per year.
  2. Pekin: $871 per year.
  3. IMT: $983 per year.
  4. Auto Owners: $1,052 per year.
  5. State Farm: $1,067 per year.
Getting a speeding ticket will result in higher car insurance rates from most companies for three to five years. To see who has the cheapest rates, we calculated average car insurance rates for 40-year-old drivers with “full coverage” insurance and a recent ticket for speeding 16 mph over the limit. Though these larger companies were the cheapest we found on average, others may be cheaper for you, so be sure to get at least three quotes before deciding on a carrier.

Cheapest for couples and families in Iowa

The cheapest companies for singles aren’t always the same as those for families, so NerdWallet also analyzed rates for a married couple with and without a teen driver in Iowa. With more people and drivers on a policy, there are more ways your rates can go up or down. To make sure you’re getting the cheapest possible car insurance, compare quotes every time something big happens, such as a marriage, big move or new driver on the policy.

Cheapest for a married couple in Iowa

For a husband and wife in Iowa, both age 50, here are the cheapest insurance companies and average rates we found for full coverage policies on two vehicles:

  1. Geico: $1,109 per year.
  2. Pekin: $1,180 per year.
  3. Nationwide: $1,256 per year.
  4. Farm Bureau Financial Services: $1,290 per year.
  5. West Bend: $1,304 per year.
Couples who live together can save on auto insurance by combining policies, whether they are married or not, because they can earn multi-car and multi-driver discounts. Once they tie the knot, rates can dip further, but not because of discounts — insurers see married people as less risky and so charge them lower rates. Our hypothetical 50-year-old couple’s clean driving record also earns them both a good driver discount.

Cheapest for families with a teen in Iowa

For a 50-year-old married couple in Iowa with an 18-year-old driver, here are the cheapest insurers we found for full coverage on two vehicles, and their average rates:

  1. West Bend: $1,378 per year.
  2. Geico: $1,680 per year.
  3. Pekin: $2,003 per year.
  4. Farm Bureau Financial Services: $2,087 per year.
  5. IMT: $2,410 per year.
Taking that same couple and adding a teen with two years’ driving experience is sure to cause a big jump in rates. Since different insurers tend to see a teen’s inexperience in different ways, we analyzed rates to see which companies had the cheapest car insurance for teens. These rates are averaged for 50-year-old couples with male and female 18-year-old drivers across the state.

Cheapest for young drivers in Iowa

Generally speaking, drivers in their 20s pay more for car insurance than their older, more road-tested counterparts. However, some companies charge young drivers much more than others, so NerdWallet analyzed rates for 25-year-old drivers to see which companies were the cheapest — and by how much. These rates can give you a general idea of where to start, but comparing insurance quotes is the best way to ensure you’re getting a good price.

Cheapest full coverage for young good drivers

Young Iowa drivers with good credit and clean driving histories may want to check out the following companies, which gave the cheapest average rates for full coverage:

  1. Pekin: $787 per year.
  2. Geico: $901 per year.
  3. West Bend: $966 per year.
  4. Farm Bureau Financial Services: $1,024 per year.
  5. IMT: $1,030 per year.
Drivers in their 20s can have a hard time finding cheap car insurance, and that's even truer when they need full coverage. The rates above are averages for 25-year-old male and female drivers all over the state with comprehensive and collision coverages, which are often required for drivers with active auto loans or leases. These rates reflect a good driver discount, but no others. Young drivers, like all drivers, should check several quotes to find the cheapest for the coverage levels they need.

Cheapest minimum coverage for young good drivers

For young drivers with clean driving histories and good credit, here are the cheapest insurance companies for minimum required coverage in Iowa:

  1. Pekin: $220 per year.
  2. Geico: $262 per year.
  3. Farm Bureau Financial Services: $263 per year.
  4. West Bend: $291 per year.
  5. State Farm: $308 per year.
Since young people often have fewer assets to protect with liability insurance, they can usually get away with lower coverage limits. For an age group with relatively high insurance rates on average, that's good news, keeping rates as low as possible. For this price set, we averaged rates for 25-year-old male and female drivers living across the state who have clean driving records, good credit and bare-bones insurance coverage.

Poor credit and minimum coverage

Here are the cheapest auto insurance companies and their rates for young drivers with poor credit seeking minimum required coverage in Iowa:

  1. Geico: $347 per year.
  2. West Bend: $406 per year.
  3. IMT: $420 per year.
  4. Pekin: $421 per year.
  5. Farm Bureau Financial Services: $461 per year.
Poor credit is common for younger folks just starting out, who may still be building their credit files. That can increase rates further, so it's extra important to shop around and compare as many insurance quotes as possible to find the cheapest you can get. For these prices, we averaged rates across the state for 25-year-old male and female drivers with no recent accidents or violations (earning them a good driver discount), minimum coverage car insurance, and credit in the "poor" tier as reported to an insurer.

Cheapest for minimum coverage after a crash

These are the cheapest insurance companies and rates for young Iowa drivers with a recent at-fault accident on their records, ranked by lowest price for minimum coverage policies:

  1. Pekin: $298 per year.
  2. Geico: $361 per year.
  3. State Farm: $403 per year.
  4. Farm Bureau Financial Services: $415 per year.
  5. Auto Owners: $463 per year.
To get prices for this group, we averaged rates for 25-year-old male and female drivers across the state with good credit and a recent at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage. Since car insurance is often pricier after a crash, and especially so for young drivers, we assumed minimum required insurance in the state to contain costs for our hypothetical driver. If you've caused a crash, no matter your age, be sure to check auto insurance quotes just after the third and fifth anniversaries of your incident, when insurers often adjust rates downward.

Cheapest for minimum coverage after a DUI

Here are the cheapest car insurance companies we found for young drivers seeking minimum coverage policies after a DUI in Iowa, ranked by lowest average rate:

  1. Progressive: $379 per year.
  2. Geico: $459 per year.
  3. Pekin: $470 per year.
  4. State Farm: $479 per year.
  5. West Bend: $537 per year.
Young drivers with a recent DUI on their records will need to be diligent to find the lowest car insurance rates they can get — it's likely that many companies' rates will be quite expensive. But spending the time to shop around for quotes can help you find the lowest. For this analysis, we averaged rates for male and female 25-year-old drivers with a recent on-record DUI. They had good credit and minimum required car insurance, which helps keep rates down.

Cheapest for minimum coverage and a ticket

For young Iowa drivers with minimum coverage policies after a ticket, here are the cheapest companies we found and their average rates:

  1. Geico: $271 per year.
  2. Pekin: $275 per year.
  3. Farm Bureau Financial Services: $321 per year.
  4. State Farm: $359 per year.
  5. West Bend: $374 per year.
Getting a speeding ticket is never fun, and neither is the higher car insurance bill you may receive months later. At that point it's time to shop around for better rates, and it wouldn't hurt to repeat on your third and fifth ticket anniversaries, when insurers may adjust rates downward. We analyzed rates for 25-year-old male and female drivers with a recent speeding violation for going 16 mph over the speed limit to see prices for this group.

Recap: Cheapest car insurance in Iowa

  • Good drivers: Pekin
  • Minimum coverage: Pekin
  • Poor credit: IMT
  • After an at-fault crash: Pekin
  • After a DUI: Progressive
  • After a speeding ticket: Geico
  • Married couples: Geico
  • Families with a teen: West Bend
  • Young good drivers: Pekin
  • Minimum coverage for young good drivers: Pekin
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers with poor credit: Geico
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers after a crash: Pekin
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers after a DUI: Progressive
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers after a ticket: Geico

» MORE: Compare car insurance

Minimum required auto insurance in Iowa

Iowa drivers must carry liability insurance with the following minimum limits:

  • $20,000 bodily injury liability per person.
  • $40,000 bodily injury liability per accident.
  • $15,000 property damage liability per accident.

If you’re ever found at fault in a crash, liability insurance kicks in to help cover others’ property damage and injury bills. Since any damage that exceeds your insurance limits will have to come out of your own pocket, it’s usually wise to purchase more than the legally required minimum. You may also want to consider common optional coverages such as collision, comprehensive and uninsured motorist insurance.

To learn more about coverage options for your Iowa plan, visit NerdWallet’s state-by-state car insurance requirements.

Alternative car insurance in Iowa

Drivers who are denied car insurance because of a spotty driving record or other reasons can get coverage through the Iowa Automobile Insurance Plan.

NerdWallet is here to help Iowans find the insurance that’s right for them. Our car insurance comparison tool offers a view of side-by-side rates.

Methodology

For our “good driver” profile, NerdWallet averaged rates from the largest insurers in the state for 40-year-old men and women in all ZIP codes with 12,000 annual miles driven. The policy includes:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person.
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident.
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident.
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person.
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident.
  • Collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible.
  • Comprehensive coverage with a $1,000 deductible.
If required, minimum additional coverages were added. Our “young driver” had all the same characteristics, but average rates were for 25-year-old men and women. We used the same assumptions for all other driver profiles, with the following exceptions:

  • For drivers with minimum coverage, we adjusted the numbers above to reflect minimum required coverage by law in the state.
  • We changed the credit tier from “good” to “poor” as reported to the insurer to see rates for drivers with poor credit.
  • For drivers with one at-fault crash, we added a single at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage.
  • For drivers with a ticket, we added a single speeding violation for driving 16 mph over the speed limit.
  • For drivers with a DUI, we added a single drunken driving violation.
We used a 2016 Toyota Camry LE for all single drivers. Couples in our analyses were 50-year-old men and women with good credit and clean driving histories, averaged across all ZIP codes with the same policy outlined above. To see rates for families with a teen, we added an 18-year-old licensed two years ago, averaging rates for male and female teens. For couples and families we added a 2016 Nissan Rogue S to create a two-car household. These are rates provided by Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.