Iowa Car Accident Report Basics

Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors.

As the number of drivers on Iowa’s roadways continues to increase, so do your odds of being in an accident. In fact, each year nearly 20,000 Iowans are in a car crash. After an accident, Iowa law makes drivers responsible for exchanging information with the parties and properly reporting the incident. Failing to perform any of these tasks could result in your license being suspended. Becoming familiar with Iowa’s car accident reporting basics will save you time down the road.

How to File a Car Crash Report in Iowa

This chart provides a summary of Iowa laws and procedures for filing a car crash report.

State Accident Statutes
When to Report a Crash You are required to call the police when an accident results in:
  • A person injured or killed as a result
  • Total property damage of $1,500 or more
Crash Reporting

Note: Laws are subject to change. It’s important to verify the information you read about by conducting your own research or consulting with an Iowa attorney.

When to Report a Car Accident to Police

Unfortunately, nearly half of all car accidents in Iowa cause physical injuries. The law requires drivers involved in these injury-causing accidents to immediately call the police and remain on the scene until officers arrive.

Although you are not required to call the police when you are in a crash that only causes property damage, it’s a good idea to call 9-1-1 after every accident. Police officers are trained to properly investigate accident scenes. They will record their investigation and produce a report that may be useful if you are sued or decide to sue for your personal injuries, or property damage.

Filing an Iowa Car Accident Report

An accident occurring anywhere within the State of Iowa that causes death, personal injury, or total property damage of $1,500 or more must be reported on an Iowa Accident Report form. Pay special attention the insurance information requested on page four of the report. Failure to provide your insurance coverage information can result in your driving and registration being suspended. Also, if you don’t return the accident report form within 72 hours of your accident, it can result in suspension of your driving privileges.

Fortunately, when your accident is investigated by a law enforcement agency you are not required to complete this report.

Receiving a Copy of Your Accident Report

When officers are at the scene of a crash, they typically prepare an accident report. You can purchase a copy of your accident report either online or in-person at the responding police or sheriff station.

State law allows these reports to be given only to persons involved in the accident, their attorney(s), insurance companies or insurance agents. So if you’d like a copy of your accident report, you need to give a written request with the date of the accident, time, location, and names and driver license numbers of the drivers involved.

Iowa Car Accident Claim Concerns? Talk to an Attorney for Help

Getting your life back on track after an accident is stressful. And when someone was injured or there was serious property damage, determining an adequate settlement can be difficult. When you work with an Iowa car accident attorney, they'll negotiate directly with insurance companies on your behalf, and advocate for your full and fair recovery. 

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.