Moving to Alabama from Iowa

There’s a lot to think about when moving to Alabama from Iowa. From differences in the cost of living to insurance premiums along with getting over to the Alabama DMV to transfer your Iowa driver’s license and vehicle registration, you’ll want to do some budgeting and planning before you make the move.

Relocalate.com has done the heavy lifting for you. Our expert researchers have compiled the key things you need to know when moving to Alabama from Iowa. Find out what you can expect to pay in federal and Alabama state taxes, whether you’ll be spending more or less in key cost of living categories, and how long you’ll have to get a new driver’s license and car registration. Plus, you can even get a head start on saving the most money when you move by comparing free quotes for health coverage, car insurance, home/renters insurance, and more.


Iowa 739 miles Alabama

Estimate the cost of your move.

Effective Tax Rates

Lower

compared to Iowa

Jump to Tax Comparison


Cost of Living

Lower

compared to Iowa

Jump to Cost of Living Section


Car Insurance

Higher

compared to Iowa


Home Insurance

Higher

compared to Iowa


Healthcare

Lower

compared to Iowa


License & Registration

Transfer your Iowa driver’s license to Alabama within 30 days.

Transfer your vehicles & get Alabama license plates within 30 days.

Jump to DMV Section


On this page, you’ll be able to:

  • See how the cost of living compares for Alabama and Iowa.
  • Estimate how much more or less you can expect to pay in state and federal income taxes after you move to Alabama.
  • Find out what to expect when it comes to Alabama property taxes, buying a home, and home insurance premiums.
  • Learn whether you’ll be able to save some money or have to spend a little more in key cost of living categories including groceries, transportation, housing, and healthcare.
  • Find out what you’ll need to do with the Alabama DMV to transfer your Iowa driver’s license and vehicle registration. (And how long you’ll have to do it.)
  • Estimate how much it will cost to move from Iowa to Alabama.
  • BONUS: Start saving money today by comparing free quotes for all your new insurance policies in Alabama.

Moving to Alabama from Iowa Checklist

  • 1. Estimate the cost of the move.
  • 2. Update your insurance policies.
  • 3. Be prepared to transfer your Iowa license & registration to Alabama.
  • 4. Budget and prepare for cost of living changes.
  • 5. Change your address and forward your mail through USPS.
  • 6. Register to vote.
  • 7. Update your new address with your banks, loans, and other accounts.
  • 8. Set up your utilities and services at your new home.

Find some more tips and to-dos for Moving to Alabama here.

ACT FAST! Rates are going up.
Compare Insurance Rates Before You Move!
  • Insurance rates vary by location.
  • We can help you find the best rate.
  • Compare rates to save big!
Compare Rates Now Car Image

Cost of Moving from Iowa to Alabama

Unfortunately moving can be expensive. Moving to a brand new state usually comes with some extra costs.

Use this moving cost calculator to get a rough idea of how much your move from Iowa to Alabama will cost.

The rough distance between Alabama and Iowa is 739 miles. We’ll use that for our calculations. Select the size of your home that you’ll be moving to get an idea of the costs.

Moving Cost Calculator: Iowa to Alabama


Estimated cost:

Iowa Alabama

Remember, this is just a rough estimate. The cost of your move will vary depending on the company you choose, your belongings, and other circumstances.

Update Your Insurance Policies for Coverage in Alabama

Don’t wait! Update your car insurance coverage for Alabama

When you move to Alabama, you’ll want to make sure that you’ll be covered for all of life’s unexpected situations. That means updating your insurance policies with your new address and the minimum requirements for Alabama.

Alabama Car Insurance

One of the first policies you’ll want to update when you move is going to be your car insurance coverage.

In Alabama, the minimum liability coverage is $25,000 bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident, $25,000 property damage liability per accident.

Average Cost of Minimum Coverage

$441

On average, the annual premium for a minimum liability coverage policy is higher in Alabama. You’ll likely pay more for car insurance in Alabama than you did in Iowa.

Average Cost of Full Coverage

$1,843

On average, the annual premium for a full coverage auto insurance policy is higher in Alabama. You’ll likely pay more for full coverage in Alabama than you did in Iowa.

Do you own a motorcycle?



Get a Motorcycle Insurance Quote ➜

Alabama Home & Renter’s Insurance

Whether you’ll rent or own your new home, you’ll want to make sure you have the right coverage when you arrive.

Let’s face it, accidents happen during a move. Make sure you have the coverage you need to protect your belongings and your house.

Average Cost of Homeowner’s Insurance

$1,631

You can usually expect that the annual premium for home insurance will be higher in Alabama. You’ll likely pay more for your home insurance policy in Alabama than you did in Iowa.

Will you own or rent your home?



Get a Home Owner’s Quote ➜Get a Renter’s Quote ➜

Alabama Health Insurance

You’ll also need to make sure that you and your family have health coverage once you arrive in Alabama.

If you’ll be keeping your job when you move, be sure to ask your employer about any implications for your current health insurance policy.

You’ll need to find out which hospitals and plans are available near your new home. Spend some time researching providers in your area.

Healthcare Costs in Alabama

Lower

Generally, healthcare costs are lower in Alabama. You’ll likely pay less for healthcare in Alabama than you did in Iowa.


Will you be keeping health insurance with your current employer?




Find Health Coverage ➜

Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) Tasks when Moving to Alabama from Iowa

Transfer your Iowa Driver’s License

within 30 days.

After you’ve moved to Alabama, you’ll need to get a valid driver’s license.

Transfer your Iowa Car Registration

within 30 days.

You’ll also need to transfer your vehicle registration and get Alabama license plates.

When you become a resident of Alabama, you’ll need to transfer your Iowa driver’s license and vehicle registration.

You’ll also need to update your car insurance policies so that they meet the minimum requirements for Alabama. Sometimes this can come with a rate hike, so it’s always a smart idea to shop around.

The minimum liability coverage you’ll need in Alabama is $25,000 bodily injury liability per person, $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident, $25,000 property damage liability per accident.

You can start comparing car insurance quotes for Alabama for free right here on Relocalate.com.

Transfer Your Iowa Driver’s License to Alabama

Minimum Age for a Alabama Driver’s License

17 years old

A standard Alabama driver’s license is available to residents who are at least 17 years old.

Alabama Driver’s License Expires

every 4 years

You’ll need to renew your driver’s license every 4 years.

Alabama Driver’s License Cost

$36.25

A driver’s license will cost around $36.25.

One of the first things you’ll want to do after becoming a resident of Alabama is to get a driver’s license.

In fact, new residents should apply for their Alabama driver’s license within 30 days.

In Alabama, driver’s licenses are issued by the DLD.

To apply, you’ll need to:

  • Complete the Alabama Driver’s License Application.
  • Surrender your Iowa driver’s license.
  • Present the necessary proof of identity and residency with your new Alabama address.
  • Pass any required testing.
  • Take a photo.
  • Pay the driver’s license fee.

After applying and passing any necessary tests, you’ll receive a temporary paper license. The Alabama DLD will mail you your new license, and it should arrive within a few weeks.

For official information and for details about scheduling appointments, visit https://www.alea.gov/dps/driver-license.

Alabama Driver’s License Knowledge Exam

Total Questions on the Alabama Driver’s License Test

30 total questions

The Alabama knowledge exam will typically consist of 30 total questions that are based on the driver’s handbook.

Passing Score

80%

You’ll need to score 80% to pass the test.

When you transfer your Iowa license to Alabama, you should be prepared to pass the driver’s license written exam.

While not every applicant will be required to take the test, it is still a good idea to brush up on traffic laws in Alabama.

Before you visit the DLD, take some time to study the official driver’s handbook for Alabama. While many traffic laws and safety rules are universal from state to state, there are some specifics that may be a little different.

Assuming your Iowa driver’s license is valid and unexpired, you should not need to take the Alabama driving test.

Is your Iowa driver’s license valid?

One potential hang up to be aware of is around the validity of your Iowa driver’s license.

To make things as easy as possible, your Iowa license should be valid when you apply for a license in Alabama.

Ideally what this means is that you should clear any issues with the Iowa DMV BEFORE you move.

For example:

  • If your Iowa driver’s license is lost or damaged, you should replace it before moving.
  • If your Iowa driver’s license is suspended or revoked, you should try to reinstate it before you move.

If your Iowa driver’s license is expired when you go to apply for your Alabama license, it’s possible that the DLD will treat it like a brand new application, which may require a written exam and a road test, plus any other requirements for new drivers.

The bottom line: Try to take care of any issues with your Iowa driver’s license BEFORE you move and visit the Alabama DMV.

Transfer Your Car Registration from Iowa to Alabama

If you’re going to bring your car with you when you move, you’ll also need to transfer your Iowa registration to Alabama.

Vehicle registration and titles are handled by the Alabama MVD.

You can find more specific details for your vehicle registration and official information at https://revenue.alabama.gov/motor-vehicle/

Alabama Registration Fee Basis

flat rate

Alabama vehicle registration fees are generally calculated by flat rate.

Registration Base Fee Estimate

$23+

Additional fees may vary based on vehicle type as well as any local fees and taxes.

Alabama Registration Expiration

every year

In Alabama, you’ll need to renew your registration every year.

Front License Plates

A front license plate is not required in Alabama.

Vehicle Safety Inspections

There is typically no vehicle safety inspection required in Alabama.

Smog & Emissions Testing

Emissions testing is not required for vehicles registered in Alabama.

New residents in Alabama are required to transfer their out-of-state vehicle registration within 30 days.

When moving to Alabama with vehicles from Iowa, you should be prepared to:

  • Complete an application for Alabama registration and title.
  • Present your current registration documents from Iowa.
  • Provide any other necessary proof of ownership documents (title, lease agreement, lienholder information, etc.)
  • Pass any necessary vehicle inspections required for Alabama registration.
  • Have a valid Alabama insurance policy for your vehicles.
  • Pay the registration fees.

Notify the Iowa DMV

While it’s not always a requirement, it can be worthwhile to update your address with the Iowa DMV and notify them that you have moved out of the state.

This can often be done on the DMV website, and will prevent you from receiving any renewal notices for your old driver’s license and registrations.

Taxes in Alabama vs Iowa

Differences in taxes are a big consideration in any state to state move.

Unfortunately, it’s not all black and white. In order to get the full picture, it’s important to consider all of your potential tax burdens when moving from Iowa to Alabama including state income tax, property taxes, and sales tax.

Plus, you’ll need to think about how the overall cost of living on key spending categories is going to compare. More on that below.

For example, if you’re a homeowner, it’ll be smart to look at both income tax differences, property tax burdens, as well as average home prices to get a more accurate idea of your tax savings or hike once you move to Alabama.

We’ll cover some key differences in your tax savings and tax hikes when moving to Alabama from Iowa.

For simplicity’s sake, we’ll be comparing effective tax rates, which simplify the marginal tax rates and tax brackets in each state to look at the estimated average total tax you may be paying.

Note that your tax situation may be much different than the estimates provided here. Use these as a high-level comparison tool.

Federal & State Income Taxes when Moving to Alabama from Iowa

Overall, you’ll likely be looking at an income tax savings when moving to Alabama from Iowa.

Alabama Income Tax (effective rates)

3.85% (single) & 3.67% (joint)

Alabama has a state income tax with an effective rate of 3.85% for single filers, and 3.67% for married couples filing jointly.

Effective Rates: Federal + State Income Taxes

19.47%

On average, the effective income tax rate (state + federal) is lower in Alabama. You’ll likely pay less in income tax in Alabama than you did in Iowa.

Tax Comparison Calculator

Iowa Alabama

Effective income tax rates (Federal + State):

  • Alabama: 19.47% (single), 19.04% (joint)
  • Iowa: 20.24% (single), 20.94% (joint)



Estimated tax:

In Alabama, your tax would be . In Iowa, your tax would be .

You would pay more in than in .

When comparing your overall tax burdens between states, it can help to look at both the state and federal income tax rates.

Remember, this comparison is looking at the effective rates in order to simplify things.

Here’s a high level look at how your effective tax rates may be different after you move to Alabama from Iowa

  • State Income Tax (single filers): 3.85% in Alabama vs 4.25% in Iowa
  • State Income Tax (joint filers): 3.67% in Alabama vs 5.17% in Iowa
  • Federal + State Income Tax (single filers): 19.47% in Alabama vs 20.24% in Iowa
  • Federal + State Income Tax (joint filers): 19.04% in Alabama vs 20.94% in Iowa

Sales Tax in Alabama vs Iowa

Next, it’s helpful to consider the differences in sales tax.

Sales tax is a consumption tax you pay when you buy goods and services. It is typically calculated as a percentage of the final price you pay.

Note that many states have a state-wide sales tax and local governments and municipalities can charge an additional sales tax on top of that. This comparison looks at the state-wide sales tax.

Alabama Sales Tax

4%

Alabama has a state sales tax rate of 4%.

The sales tax rate is lower in Alabama. You’ll likely pay less on sales tax in Alabama than you did in Iowa.

Property Taxes in Alabama vs Iowa

If you’re a homeowner, or plan to buy a home in Alabama, it’s also a good idea to take a look at the difference in property taxes and home values.

Alabama Property Tax Estimate

0.41%

The property tax rate is lower in Alabama. You’ll likely pay less for property taxes in Alabama than you did in Iowa.

Home Prices in Alabama

$142,700

On average, the average home price is lower in Alabama. You’ll likely pay less for a house in Alabama than you did in Iowa.

This is also a good time to back sure you are getting the best deal on your Alabama homeowner’s insurance policy.

How Does the Cost of Living Compare in Alabama vs Iowa?

Cost of living is another major difference when moving to a brand new state.

Depending on the local industries, geography, region, and population, the price of different goods and services can vary greatly.

Now, the cost of living will also depend on your own lifestyle, spending habits, and which city you move to in Alabama.

Cost of living (COL) indexes are used to compare each state to the national average of 100. The difference between COL values higher or lower than 100 represent the percentage difference from the national average.

We can compare the cost of living indexes for Alabama and Iowa to get a high level idea of whether we’ll be saving money or have to spend a bit more on the following categories:

  • Overall Cost of Living.
  • Groceries.
  • Housing.
  • Utilities.
  • Transportation.
  • Healthcare.
  • Miscellaneous goods and service.
Iowa Alabama

Overall, the cost of living in Alabama is

-11.20% cheaper


than the national average, compared to -10.30% cheaper for Iowa.

Alabama Cost of Living Index

88.8

National Avg: 100

On average, the cost of living is lower in Alabama. You’ll likely pay less for many things in Alabama than you did in Iowa.

Cost of Groceries

-3.60% cheaper
than the national avg.

Typically, the cost of groceries is lower in Alabama. You’ll likely pay less for groceries in Alabama than you did in Iowa.

Housing Costs

-29.60% cheaper
than the national avg.

Generally, the cost of housing (rent/mortgage/etc) is lower in Alabama. You’ll likely pay less for housing costs in Alabama than you did in Iowa.

Alabama Utilities

3.60% more expensive
than the national avg.

The cost of utilities is typically higher in Alabama. You’ll likely pay more for your monthly utility bills in Alabama than you did in Iowa.

Transportation Costs

-8.00% cheaper
than the national avg.

On average, the cost of transportation is lower in Alabama. You’ll likely pay less on transportation in Alabama than you did in Iowa.

Healthcare in Alabama

-13.10% cheaper
than the national avg.

Generally, healthcare costs are lower in Alabama. You’ll likely pay less for healthcare in Alabama than you did in Iowa.

Miscellaneous Costs

-3.80% cheaper
than the national avg.

The cost of miscellaneous goods and services are generally higher in Alabama. You’ll likely pay more for these things in Alabama than you did in Iowa.

Relocalate.com Methodology

While big changes like moving to a new state can be exciting, we also know that any move can be stressful. That’s why we created Relocalate.com.

The data and comparisons on this page are designed to give you a high level look at what you can expect when moving from Iowa to Alabama.

Our free moving tools and calculators are here to help you play around with the numbers so you can start working on a budget for your big move to Alabama.

We’ve crunched the numbers from census data, federal government resources, state and local data, as well as interviews and chats with people who’ve made the move from Iowa to Alabama.

While there are many things we can’t control when moving to a new state, like the overall cost of living and housing prices, we’ve found that one of the single most effective ways to save money is by getting a better deal on your insurance policies.

That’s why we’ve partnered with trusted insurance providers and some of the best in Alabama to bring your free quote tools that you can access while you plan out your move.

Good luck! We wish you the best as you get settled into your home and start feeling like a Alabama local.