Do You Need Motorcycle Insurance in Iowa?
In most US states, riders have to show proof of valid insurance coverage in order to register their motorcycle with the DMV. The DMV imposes this law to ensure drivers can cover all damages for individuals they might injure in case of an accident.
But do you need motorcycle insurance in Iowa? Here is what every rider should know, including relevant policies and possible sanctions they might face.
Iowa Insurance Laws
Unlike many others in the US, the state of Iowa does not require riders to insure their motorcycles. Thus, they can register their vehicles without proof of a valid policy. But, that does not mean that they shouldn’t consider getting one.
Namely, under the Financial & Safety Responsibility Act, all drivers must prove that they can pay for damages following an accident. These damages relate to injuries the driver causes to others.
If an accident occurs and a person cannot pay the costs, they will lose their license and vehicle registration rights. In addition, they can lose their other assets (such as their home) if the injured party sues them.
Most people do not have the funds to finance these damages out of pocket. For them, getting insurance may seem like the most sensible solution. Thus, even though the state doesn’t mandate a policy, riders purchasing one is still a smart investment. Of course, if a motorbike rider can cover the damages on their own, they are not required to buy a policy.
What Type of Insurance Riders Need
If an accident occurs and people get hurt due to the motorcyclist's negligence, riders will need liability insurance to ensure they can pay for the damages. Liability insurance consists of bodily injury and property damage coverage.
As its name suggests, bodily injury coverage pays for any injuries the driver causes to the person they collide with. On the other hand, property damage coverage finances any damage to another person’s vehicle or other assets. Such assets include homes, fences, etc.
Furthermore, every state imposes a different mandatory coverage minimum that a rider must pay. In Iowa, the policy must cover at least $15,000 for bodily injury per person and $10,000 for property damage. Riders can increase their policy beyond these numbers, but it is not obligatory.
If a rider causes an accident and the injured party sues them, the insurance company will cover all the damages. However, this coverage does not pay for the harm the driver causes to themselves.
In order to protect themselves and their vehicle, drivers should purchase personal injury coverage (PIP) or medical payments coverage. Both of these pay for injuries and property damage the rider sustains.
While medical payments coverage is less expensive, it does not make up for lost wages in the case of an accident. This fact makes PIP a better choice.
To avoid the risk of getting severely injured in a motorcycle accident, it's important to wear the right safety gear. In relation to that, find out whether or not half helmets are safe.
If a driver causes an accident and cannot cover the damages, the state can punish them. It can revoke the rider's license and registration privileges. In addition, they can lose their home if the case goes to court and if they cannot cover the damages out of pocket.
However, there are a few exceptions to the rule. For example, the state cannot take away the rider's license if they were the only injured party in an accident. The same applies if the driver can prove someone else caused the accident after taking their vehicle without permission. Finally, the driver doesn’t have to provide proof of financial responsibility if their vehicle was legally parked upon the accident.
In the aforementioned situations, the law does not apply. Thus, the state can’t ask for proof of financial responsibility, nor can they penalize the driver in any way.
The Importance of Legal Counsel
Hiring a top motorcycle accident attorney in Des Moines is the first step a rider should take in the case of an accident, whether they are insured or not. It is imperative to seek legal counsel immediately upon the collision, as that can make a significant difference in the compensation sum for the damages a biker has to pay.
Furthermore, an expert lawyer might also be able to prove their client was not at fault for the accident. In such a case, the rider would not have to cover damages.
Finally, legal help is always welcome when dealing with insurance companies, as they always try to pay as little as possible regardless of what the injured parties deserve.
Accidents happen. With that, it's always important to be careful. We have another article determining if automatic motorcycles are safer.