Can an OWI Impact My Iowa Auto Insurance?

State of Iowa
Insurance companies in the Hawkeye State take operating while intoxicated (OWI) convictions very seriously. If motorists are convicted of an OWI after purchasing a car insurance policy, they may have their rates increased or their plans canceled. Uninsured motorists with an OWI on their driving record are also likely to have a difficult time finding affordable coverage because of their high risk status.

The reason insurers react so strongly to a policyholder’s receiving an OWI is that drinking and driving frequently leads to automobile accidents. The state Department of Transportation says there were nearly 2,500 crashes in IA in 2010 that were the result of impaired driving. These alcohol-related accidents can also translate into high economic loss. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated that alcohol contributes to roughly 20 percent of crash costs in the state.

Having a poor driving record that includes an OWI can often make it difficult for residents to find Iowa car insurance that is adequately priced. Coverage costs in the Hawkeye State are largely based on a motorist’s likelihood of filing a claim, and demonstrating a history of driving while under the influence of alcohol results frequently in either refused coverage or higher premiums.

Administrative license revocation laws in IA also make it possible for state police or other authorities to revoke an individual’s driver’s license automatically for refusing or failing a BAC test. Having a revoked license can also contribute to increased coverage costs, often making it more difficult to find adequately priced insurance.

OWI Convictions and Auto Insurance Risk

Motorists in pursuit of vehicle coverage are generally placed into categories, based on their risk of filing a claim. Those in the preferred and standard markets frequently get lower rates for maintaining clean driving records. Motorists who have been involved in multiple accidents, have received several traffic citations, or have been convicted of an OWI are generally found in the non-standard market. Although the majority of insurers favor drivers in the first two markets, there are some coverage providers that offer car insurance for high risk drivers at an adequate price.
Alcoholic beverage, car keys and gavel
One of the more effective ways for motorists with imperfect driving records to find reasonably priced coverage is to shop around and make multiple quote comparisons. Online resources can allow drivers to see dozens of estimates on one website, improving the chances for a nonstandard driver to find an insurer willing to provide automobile coverage.