Claire Smith Last Updated On: February 13, 2024

Everything You Need to Know About Getting Home Insurance in Iowa

If you live in the Hawkeye State, then you know Iowa is famous for its farmlands. But, whether you live on a farm or in the bustling city of Des Moines, one thing unites us all—we all need home insurance. It helps protect us from paying out of pocket for covered damages or “known perils”, like fire and smoke damage.

We know that looking into your home insurance options isn’t high on most people’s to-do lists; there’s a ton of complicated industry jargon and it can be hard to wrap your brain around which home insurance policy best meets your needs.

Fortunately, we’re here to help Iowa residents understand their home insurance options so that they can spend less time thinking about home insurance and more time actually enjoying the home they live in.

Let’s get into it.

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Table of Contents

Iowa Home Insurance Laws

Every state has different insurance laws; an interesting fact about Iowa is it’s not mandatory to have home insurance—it’s actually optional. However, if you’re buying a house, you may need to acquire home insurance to satisfy insurer requirements as part of your lending agreement.

Iowa’s Weather & How It Impacts Your Home Insurance

Iowa may have the most fertile soil in the US of A, but fertile flat lands and the geographical location of the state make it vulnerable to severe weather events. 

These are some of the severe weather perils that Iowa is susceptible to:

  • Tornadoes: Eastern Iowa borders on Tornado Alley, but realistically the state sees many tornadoes each year, so you’ll want home insurance as it covers damage from these wind devils.
  • Severe Weather: Iowa also experiences hailstorms, snowstorms, and windstorms, which can cause significant damage to your property.
  • Flooding: Some areas of Iowa, mainly those close to bodies of water or rivers, are at greater risk of flooding. Flooding may also occur in a snap thaw or due to a heavy storm dumping a lot of water in a short period of time. Regardless, if you live in a “flood zone,” you should strongly consider taking out a flood insurance policy, as traditional home insurance plans don’t cover this peril.

So even though home insurance isn’t legally required, every resident should take out a home insurance policy on their home given the severe weather risks in the state.

Home Insurance Perils

With the exception of HO1 home insurance plans, all policies cover these 16 named perils (also known as hazards). If any of these hazards occur, you can claim it through your homeowners’ insurance. 

  1. Fire or lightning strikes
  2. Windstorm or hail storms
  3. Explosions
  4. Riots or civil unrest
  5. Aircraft damage
  6. Vehicle damage
  7. Smoke damage
  8. Vandalism
  9. Theft
  10. Falling objects
  11. Weight of ice, sleet, or snow
  12. Accidental discharge or overflow of plumbing, heating, A/C, or automatic fire-protection sprinkler system
  13. Sudden and accidental tearing, cracking, burning, or bulging of a hot water heating system, A/C unit, or automatic fire-protective system
  14. Freezing of a plumbing, heating, A/C, fire-protective sprinkler system, or of a household appliance
  15. Sudden and accidental damage due to short-circuiting
  16. Volcanic Eruption

If a peril isn’t on this list, chances are your home insurance policy doesn’t cover it. You can either take out a rider for that peril, like flooding insurance, or upgrade your policy to “open perils”; this would mean any peril that isn’t specifically excluded in your policy is automatically covered.

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Home Insurance Coverage Options in Iowa

For Iowans looking into their home insurance options, it’s important to understand what home insurance policies typically cover. Traditional homeowners insurance in Iowa covers the following:

  • Dwelling Coverage: This coverage safeguards your home’s physical structure (e.g., walls, roof, floor, etc.) and your porch from named peril damages. For instance, if a tornado damages your roof, your home insurance policy will foot the repair bill.
  • Additional Structures: If your home has other outbuildings like a shed, fence, or detached garage, your home insurance plan covers damages to any additional structures.
  • Personal Property: Personal property covers your belongings like jewelry, furniture, clothing, or electronics—to a certain amount. If you have expensive belongings like collectibles or fine art, you’ll need a rider to insure them. Please note that you’ll also need to take out a rider if you want a 1:1 replacement of your belongings, as traditional plans won’t spring for the “full value” of your items.
  • Personal Liability: If someone gets injured on your property, this coverage offers financial protection if you’re sued.
  • Medical Payments to Others: If someone gets hurt at your house, this coverage will help pay their medical fees.
  • Loss of Use: If a named peril has significantly damaged your home, this coverage will help pay for temporary housing and other associated costs.

There are also some additional coverage options that Iowa residents should consider. First, if you live in a flood zone, you should take out separate flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). 

The other coverage is water damage coverage which protects homeowners with an HO3 policy (water damage isn’t a named peril for this policy) from paying out of pocket for frozen, clogged, or faulty sump pumps, pipes, or facets.

Average Home Insurance Cost in Iowa

Great coverage is all well and good, but we know it comes down to cost most of the time. So here are some numbers to help guide you in your home insurance search: the average home insurance cost in Iowa for $250,000 of dwelling coverage is $1,318 a year, whereas the national annual average is 8% higher at $1,428. 

Good news for Iowans: by living in the Hawkeye State, you’re automatically saving on home insurance. But the gravy train doesn’t stop there, so keep reading for more ways to save on home insurance.

Saving Money on Home Insurance With Discounts

If you’re looking to save money on premiums, Iowa residents can capitalize on plenty of home insurance discounts, including:

  • New Home: Homeowners who have just moved in the last year may get a discount on their premiums.
  • Non-Smoker: Smoking increases the likelihood of your house catching fire, so you may be entitled to a small discount if you don’t smoke.
  • Claim Free: You’ll receive a discount if you haven’t filed a claim in years (typically 3-5 years).
  • Online Purchases: If you buy your home insurance online, go paperless, or pay your premiums online, you’ll save.
  • Security Features: If you have an alarm or security system, you’ll save money on premiums.
  • Multi Policy: If you have another insurance product like car insurance, you can bundle it together and save on premiums.

Remember that when you’re getting home insurance quotes in Iowa, ask about available discounts; never assume that these discounts will automatically be applied to your policy! Ask upfront which discounts you’re eligible for so you can get a true sense of how much your premiums will be.

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More Ways to Save on Home Insurance in Iowa

Everybody wants to feel that thrill of getting something for a bargain; you get that same feeling if you get a “steal” on home insurance premiums. So, if you want to save on your home insurance, these are some clever ways to reduce your rates:
  • Shop Around: Don’t settle for the first home insurance quote in Iowa, as every provider calculates rates differently, so by shopping around, you can find the best policy for less. If you’re ready to start collecting home insurance quotes, you can get access to free quotes here
  • Bundle Policies: If you have a home and car, go through the same insurance company and get a bundling discount. Every insurer offers different discount rates, but bundling can save you anywhere from 5-15% off your premiums.
  • Check Your Credit: Insurance companies are turning to credit scores to help set home insurance rates; this means you’ll pay higher premiums if you have poor credit, but you can save just by maintaining good credit. 
  • Beef Up Home Security: If you want to save between 5-20% on your premiums, consider installing smoke detectors, a deadbolt, a burglar system, or a sprinkler system. But before you install any sprinkler system—which can decrease your rates by up to 20%—consult with your provider on which brands they recommend, as not every sprinkler brand is covered.  
  • Raise Your Deductible: Before a claim is paid, you have to pay your deductible. By raising your deductible to $1,000, you could save you 25% off premiums!
We love a great deal, and home insurance is no exception. These tips to save on home insurance costs can add up quickly and put more money back in your pocket to spend on whatever brings you joy.

Condo Insurance in Iowa

If you live in Sioux City or Des Moines and call a condo home, you may want to consider condo insurance to help protect your investment. Legally you’re not required to take out condo insurance, also known as HO6 insurance, but it’s a good idea for the savvy condo-owner.

The average cost of condo insurance in Iowa depends on the city and your personal profile, but it is around $600 a year. Condo insurance covers loss of use, personal property, and personal liability.

Renters Insurance in Iowa

Even if you rent, getting renters insurance is wise as it offers personal property and liability protection. You might not own your home, but you do own your belongings and they deserve protection too. 

The average annual cost of renters insurance for Iowans is $103, with a policy limit of $20,000 for your belongings and $100,000 in liability.

Final Thoughts on Purchasing Home Insurance in Iowa

Whether you call the lush farmland of Plymouth or the busy city of Des Moines home, we all need home insurance to protect our biggest investment. Home insurance is your best defense against paying out of pocket for Iowa’s known perils, like tornadoes, flooding, and severe storms. So, even though home insurance isn’t legally required, every Iowan should consider it.

Start by getting access to free quotes here and be sure to apply some of the abovementioned cost-saving strategies, like raising your deductible or installing security features, as they can shrink your premiums even further. 

Happy home insurance shopping!

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