Iowa Auto Transport

Ranked among the top states in affordability, Iowa is also home to more than 235,000 miles of roadway waiting for exploration. Whether you’re looking for an escape from stress or love road-tripping, there’s a route for you! The Great River Road is a highly popular scenic byway home to charming towns like Lansing and great hiking at places like Effigy Mounds. Situated by the village of Winterset, the Covered Bridges Scenic Byway offers a blend of paved and gravel roads that take you by and through charming, covered bridges. Finally, Loess Hills National Scenic Byway comprises an impressive 220 miles of road and nearly 1,100 square miles in western Iowa. It’s filled with attractions, including everything from lavender farmland to the Union Pacific Railroad Museum.

Whether you’re moving to buy your dream home or just want to experience a fresh start, Iowa has many roads to help you fall in love with the state! But who are you supposed to trust with transporting your family, work, or sports car? Caravan Auto Transport makes the process super simple. Via our network of highly qualified and vetted auto shipping partners, we can easily connect you with the service you need. Enjoy free quotes to quickly compare, select, and save on top-tier auto delivery. Experience the difference with Caravan!

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Things to Know About Driving in the Hawkeye State

  • Miles of Roadway: 235,048
  • Major Interstates: 
    • North-South: I-35 stretches from around Lamoni to I-35 towards Minneapolis-St. Paul; I-29 travels from Hamburg to Sioux City and through the Omaha-Council Bluffs area
    • East-West: I-80 runs from Council Bluffs to the southern Iowa drift plain along the IL state line; I-880 goes from near Loveland in the west to near Neola in the east
  • Average Commute Time: 7th fastest commute in the US at 19.1 minutes
  • Most Popular Car: Chevy Impala

Steps to Take After Shipping Your Vehicle to Iowa

Ready to hop in and explore the state of Iowa? Hold up just one sec. Before heading out, be sure to have the following steps covered, so you’re legal and safe on the road:

1. Understand Iowa Residency

This step only applies to those relocating to Iowa from another state who plan to establish their permanent and principal residence here (i.e., this does not apply to college students living here temporarily). Iowa legally requires new residents to take specific steps regarding insurance, car registration, and more based upon the date of residency. It may be challenging to establish an exact date of residence, but there are several ways to establish intent:

  • You obtain an Iowa driver license
  • You title and register your vehicle
  • You register to vote in the state
  • You establish an IA mailing address
  • You buy a home or sign a long-term lease
  • You open a bank account here
  • You file state taxes in Iowa
  • You are employed in the state
  • You have a child that attends an IA school

Note: Keep the date you establish residency in mind as you review the remaining steps.

2. Update Your Insurance to Comply with IA Laws

Each state sets its own laws regarding auto insurance minimums. In Iowa, you must purchase an insurance policy from a licensed IA insurance agent with the following coverage amounts:

  • $15,000 property damage liability per accident: Property liability coverage pays for any damage done to another car or property in an accident in which you are the at-fault driver.
  • $20,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person/$40,000 per accident: Bodily injury liability coverage helps to cover another person’s injuries for which you are at fault.

Note: You must have proof of liability insurance coverage to title and register your vehicle in IA.

3. Title and Register Your Vehicle

If you bring a car into Iowa from out of state, you must apply for title and registration within 30 days of establishing residency. You’ll need to visit your local county treasurer’s office and provide the following:

  • The ownership document (certificate of title)
  • Completed application for title and registration (signed by all owners)
  • Lienholder info (if applicable)
  • Title and registration fees

4. Obtain a Valid Iowa Driver License

You must obtain an Iowa license within 30 days of establishing residency. During the application process, you must:

  • Present proof: valid out-of-state drive license (or other acceptable proof of identity), Iowa residency, social security number
  • Pass vision test
  • Pass written and driving tests (if applicable)
  • Have photo taken
  • Pay applicable fees

5. Winter Driving Recommendations in IA

The state of Iowa sees about 35 inches of rainfall and 30 inches of snowfall each year. If you’re coming from a more temperate area, you’ll want to get familiar with the best practices for safely operating a vehicle during the wintertime in the Hawkeye State.

According to the Iowa State Patrol, there are several measures you can take to ensure safe travel in the snow. These tips include the following:

  • Keep the windshield clear (scrape ice and snow)
  • Maintain good following gap (especially when it comes to snowplows)
  • Don’t rush
  • Continually pay attention to traffic flow
  • Give yourself more than enough braking time on highways
  • Refrain from using cruise control
  • Use headlights
  • Pack a winter driving kit (including jumper cables, flares, ice scraper, extra clothes, flashlight, and so on)
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Top 3 Places to Go for a Drive (After Shipping Your Car) in Iowa

Once your vehicle ships, you’ll probably want to head out and do some exploration! Here are a few of the top scenic routes in Iowa to help you get started:

1. The Great River Road

Following the mighty Mississippi River, the Great River Road is one of the most popular scenic byways in Iowa and the United States. It covers nearly 330 miles of road in Iowa – the whole route covers approximately 3,000 miles from the Gulf of Mexico to Minnesota’s Lake Itasca – taking its passengers through charming towns, panoramic vistas, towering limestone bluffs, and much more. If you’ve ever wanted to immerse yourself in the magic of the Mississippi, this is a must-do in Iowa! The best times to enjoy this lovely scenic drive are during the summertime and fall, particularly for the colorful foliage. Check out the following highlights while taking a trip on the Great River Road:

  • Mount Hosmer Park: Located in Lansing, Mount Hosmer Park is home to fantastic vistas of 50 miles of the Mighty Mississippi. The main attraction is a 450-foot bluff that offers panoramic views that will take your breath away. The park also has a large pavilion and BBQ stations.
  • Effigy Mounds National Park: Home to 200+ prehistoric mounds – these mounds are shaped like birds, bears, and other animals – constructed by the indigenous people of the Woodland Culture, Effigy Mounds National Park also offers excellent hiking opportunities.
  • Pikes Peak State Park: This state park features a 500-foot bluff that provides epic views of the Upper Mississippi River. Many visitors enjoy the thrilling ride up to the peak as well.
  • National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium: Located in Dubuque, the National Mississippi River Museum & Aquarium is a must-see for all ages. It has two centers – the National River Center and the Mississippi Center. The aquarium has many exhibits and animals, including American alligators, Giant Pacific octopus, North American river otters, and more!
  • George M. Verity Riverboat Museum: Built in 1927, the George M. Verity riverboat is a historic towboat turned museum in Keokuk. This famous towboat is one of only three steam-powered versions left in the country.

2. Covered Bridges Scenic Byway

Looking for a trip through quintessential America? The Covered Bridges Scenic Byway takes you through 82 miles of classic Midwestern landscapes and, of course, the area’s famous covered bridges. Situated in Madison County, these iconic covered bridges are a big draw. If you’re a fan of the movie The Bridges of Madison County… well, it’s pretty self-explanatory! But that’s not all that this scenic route has to offer. There are plenty of historical sites, beautiful nature spots, wineries, and even a cidery along the way. You’ll definitely to have enough time set aside to enjoy the following attractions & destinations along the Covered Bridges Scenic Byway:

  • Iowa Quilt Museum: If you’re a quilt lover, you have to visit this iconic place! The Iowa Quilt Museum celebrates and preserves the art of American quilt making.
  • Pammel State Park: Located in Winterset, Pammel State Park (one of the first state parks in Iowa) offers fantastic camping, cabin lodging, picnic grounds, hiking trails, and education at the nature center perfect for the whole family.
  • Middle River Water Trail: Starting in Adair County and ending at Holliwell Covered Bridge, the Middle River Water Trail comprises approximately 45 miles. Middle River is one of the state’s newest water trails with moderately challenging paddle level.
  • Covered Bridges Winery: Amongst the rolling hills of Madison County, you’ll discover Covered Bridges Winery. This winery is a treat. The North River offers rich soil, perfect for growing the fine varietals that make up the tasty offerings.
  • Winterset Cidery: As Iowa’s first cidery, Winterset Cidery is home to over 30 apple varieties. There are some pretty exciting flavors, including habanero! Along with fantastic cider, you’ll find delicious apple pies to enjoy on the patio while checking out views of the orchard.

3. Loess Hills National Scenic Byway

Looking for an epic route? The Loess Hills National Scenic Byway checks that box and much more! Covering 220 miles of road and 1,080 square miles of area, this celebrated drive follows the Missouri River in the western portion of Iowa, the same region where Lewis & Clark and the Corps of Discovery took while looking for the Northwest Passage. From amazing river bluff views to vineyards to museums to state parks, the scenic byway is easily one of the best drives in the state! Here are just some of the points of interest you can expect along the Loess Hills National Scenic Byway:

  • Bodega Victoriana Winery and Wedding Barn: Love wine? Love weddings? Bodega Victoriana Winery & Wedding Barn is the quintessential stop for wine lovers! As the largest vineyard in Iowa’s western region, Bodega Victoria is a fabulous spot along the route.
  • Waubonsie State Park: Found in Hamburg, Waubonsie State Park offers a host of amenities and recreational opportunities. These include great family picnicking, camping, cabin lodging, hiking trails, fishing, wildlife viewing, bicycling, and equestrian activities.
  • Sioux City: Offering phenomenal views from its river bluffs, Sioux City also is home to some great walking and hiking trails. And if you’re a culture or history buff, you’ll be spoiled by the heritage of Lewis & Clark – check out Sioux City Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center.
  • Council Bluffs: Into hiking? Council Bluffs offers a host of prime hiking spots. These include Lewis & Clark Monument Park, Fairmount Park, Vincent Bluff State Preserve, and Hitchcock Nature Center. Council Bluffs is also home to several museums dedicating to the railroad – RailsWest Railroad Museum and the Union Pacific Railroad Museum – as well as hiking and much more!

Car Shipping to and from Iowa

Are you looking to ship your vehicle to Iowa from another part of the country? Caravan Auto Transport’s network of vetted, licensed, and insured auto transporters offers safe, efficient transport of your automobile to its destination without running up the miles on the odometer. These reputable Iowa car shipping companies provide the following services:

Open Car Transport

The most common method of car transportation, open transport carriers are ideal if you’re looking for an affordable shipping option with speedy delivery. As the name suggests, your car is loaded onto an open-air trailer along with several other vehicles headed to the same destination.

Enclosed Auto Transport

If you desire enhanced security or protection for your vehicle, you may wish to arrange enclosed carrier shipping. Inside a covered trailer, your car has protection from harsh weather conditions and road hazards like dust and dirt. Shipping your vehicle in a closed carrier also enhances its safety during transit by keeping the car concealed.

Door-to-Door Car Shipping

With a door-to-door car shipping service, you choose the desired pick-up and drop-off locations rather than having to arrange getting your vehicle to or from a transport terminal. Door-to-door shipping is the most convenient choice for shipping your car to or from Iowa, saving you time and effort.

Expedited Shipping

In a hurry to get your car from one location to the next? Upgrading to expedited shipping ensures a seamless pick-up and drop-off of your vehicle on your schedule. As a priority customer, you receive fast, timely service, so you can get back to driving that much quicker.

Classic and Antique Car Transport

When it comes to transporting a classic car, you want an auto transport company that can deliver your vehicle without a single dent or scratch. From vintage Mustangs to antique DeVaux Sports Coupes, our network of classic auto transporters has the expertise and equipment to transport your classic car safely, so it arrives in pristine condition.

High End and Luxury Auto Shipping

Exotic car transporters use specialty equipment, like hydraulic lifts and sophisticated tie-downs, along with enclosed trucks, to keep your valuable car safe during every mile of transit. An enclosed car hauler ensures the ultimate protection for your high-end or luxury vehicle, protecting it from dirt, dust, and debris along the way.

We Take Care of Your IA Auto Shipping Needs

From moving off to college to building your career, there are numerous reasons you may be interested in shipping a car to Iowa or somewhere outside of the Hawkeye State. Caravan Auto Transport’s network of auto shippers streamlines the car hauling process no matter your reason for transporting your vehicle to or from IA.

Moving and Relocation

When moving cross-country or out-of-state, many people choose to ship their cars rather than add a long road trip to an already stressful and exhausting relocation experience. Leave the logistics of moving your vehicle in the hands of professionals with either open or enclosed vehicle shipping services.


Iowa is home to three military bases. From Camp Dodge Army Base in Johnston to Iowa Army Plant Army Base in Des Moines County, many military personnel call the Hawkeye State home. If you are one of the brave men and women serving our country, we’re happy to serve you with top-notch car transportation to or from Iowa.

Online Car Buyers

Whether you’ve found the perfect vehicle on Craigslist, eBay, or AutoTrader, you may need some assistance getting it home, especially if it’s sitting on the other side of the country. Instead of flying out to pick it up and putting hundreds or thousands of miles on the odometer just to get it to your driveway, arrange for a hauler to transport your new car for you.

College Students

From the acclaimed University of Iowa to the more intimate Drake University, Iowa has no shortage of top-tier colleges and universities for those seeking to further their education. If you have a college student moving to Iowa from out-of-state (or vice versa), have their vehicle shipped straight to campus with a fast, affordable auto transport service.

How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Car to Iowa?

On average, it costs between $500-$1500 to ship a car to Iowa. Anticipate paying around $1 per mile for the first 1-500 miles, then approximately $.75 for every mile after that. Several factors influence the final cost of shipping your vehicle, including the origin and destination zip codes, the method of transport (open vs. enclosed), the speed of shipment, the type of vehicle, and the time of year. The best way to get an accurate estimate of car shipping costs is by requesting free quotes from our network of auto transport companies.

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