The Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT) told us that a minor, someone under the age of 18, can have a vehicle in their own name in IA age under certain circumstances.
The IA DOT said it states under Iowa Code Sections 321.1 and 321.20 that if an applicant is under the age of 18 years and is the sole owner of the vehicle, an Iowa driver's license or Iowa permit is needed to title a car. So according to the representative at your state's Department of Transportation, at 17 years of age one should be able to buy, register and title a car in their name only provided that this teenager has a valid driver's license or permit.
You would however need to check with automobile insurance companies to see if they will allow you to get a car insurance policy in Iowa at age 17 by yourself. Typically if a car owner is a minor and even if the car is in their name only, a car insurance company will require a parent or guardian to sign on the policy along with the minor since it is a legal contract. Even if the state allows a minor to buy, register and title a car solely in their name most all car insurance companies will require a parent or guardian to sign on the policy.
If you are a 17-year-old teenager that wants to buy a car in Iowa then you need to make sure you have an Iowa license or permit so you can register and title it in your own name, as the IA DOT says a minor can. You should shop around for auto insurance to see if you will need a parent to be on your insurance policy until you turn 18 and then can be on the car insurance policy solo.
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