There are 3 guarantees in life; Death, Taxes, and renewing your vehicle registration each year. In 2024, it has been made easier to renew your tabs as you can simply order them online and wait for them to show up in the mail. The days of waiting in line at the DMV or county building are over if you choose to go the online route.

When I have to change my tabs, I get a letter in the mail that reminds me to order them online or head to the county government building a pay for a new sticker. Of course, I never do it right when I get the reminder. I'll put it off and wait until the last minute. If you continue to put it off and then all of a sudden, you realize it's a new month and you need to get a sticker ASAP, is there a grace period in the state of Iowa?

Unsplash - Toa Heftiba
Unsplash - Toa Heftiba

Iowa Legis Code 321.39

Expiration of Registration in the state of Iowa supposedly does allow a bit of a grace period, if you forget to update your tabs. According to Iowa Legis Code 321.39

For vehicles registered by the county treasurer, at midnight on the last day of the registration year. A person shall not be considered to be driving a motor vehicle with an expired registration for a period of one month following the expiration date of the vehicle registration.

You won't have to worry about paying a penalty for 30 days after your expiration date. If your tabs have expired for more than 1 month, some fines and penalties will be included once you pay for the new sticker.

According to Iowa Treasurers,

Vehicles may be renewed one month prior to your registration renewal month, your renewal month, or the month following without penalty, unless the last day falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or Holiday, then penalty applies the second business day of the delinquent month. Penalty is assessed at the rate of 5% of the fee due, per vehicle, per month, rounded to the nearest dollar with a MINIMUM PENALTY OF $5.00 PER VEHICLE.

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Keep Your Receipt!

I do want to make mention that while you may not receive any penalties when you pay for a new sticker, after the month that's on the sticker, it's possible you could still be pulled over for driving with an expired sticker. If your tab says December on it, and you order a sticker on January 3, you may not receive pentalies or fines but you could potentially be pulled over for an expired registration.

If you've ordered your sticker online and are waiting for it to show up in the mail, you may want to keep your receipt that your purchased now tabs. At least this way you can show the police officer you have bought new tabs and are waiting for the updated sticker to arrive in the mail. I can't promise this will get you out of a ticket but at the very least, it shows good faith that you have purchased to correct sticker and are just waiting for the mail to arrive.

Hopefully, you can avoid paying any penalties when you get your new sticker in 2024. Stay safe on the roadways Iowa!

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