Iowa Bankruptcy Exemptions

Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions are not available in the State of Iowa.

There is property that you can exempt or protect from creditors when you file bankruptcy. You have the option of utilizing the state exemptions or the federal exemptions. After you file for bankruptcy, this property can be kept. Be aware that there are certain debts, which you will not be able to erase in bankruptcy. These are identified as non-dischargeable debts.

There are some limits on certain exemptions such as equity that you have in a home or in a vehicle. The difference between the cost of the item and the amount owed on the item is the definition of equity. If the item, such as home or vehicle, is secured by a loan and payments are made on time, the equity is protected by your exemptions. A debtor must generally pay the trustee the value of the non-exempt property to keep the property. If you choose to keep the property, continual timely payments ensure that the property is protected through the bankruptcy.

For married couples filing jointly in bankruptcy, each can claim a full set of exemptions, unless otherwise noted.


Homestead: Real property or apartment to an unlimited value: property cannot exceed 1/2 acre in town or city, 40 acres elsewhere (husband and wife may not double), May record homestead declaration

Insurance: Accident, disability, health, illness or life proceeds or avails to $15,000, paid to surviving spouse, child, or other dependent, Employee group insurance policy or proceeds, Life insurance proceeds to $10,000, acquired within 2 years of filing for bankruptcy, paid to spouse, child or other dependent, Life insurance proceeds if clause prohibits proceeds from being used to pay beneficiary’s creditors, Fraternal benefit society benefits, Disability or illness benefit, upon death of insured, up to $15,000 total proceeds from all mature life, accident, health, or disability policies exempt from beneficiary’s debts contracted before insured’s death

Miscellaneous: Alimony, child support needed for support, Liquor license, Business partnership property

Personal Property: Burial plot to one acre, Clothing and its storage containers, household, furnishings, appliances, musical instruments, and other personal property to $7,000, Health aids, Motor vehicle to $7,000, Jewelry to $2,000, Residential security or utility deposit to $500, wedding and engagement rings, limited to $7,000 if purchase after marriage and within two years, Rifle or musket; shotgun, Wrongful death proceeds and awards needed for support of debtor and dependents

Pensions: Tax-exempt retirement accounts, including 401(k)s, 403(b)s, profit sharing, and money purchase plans, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, and defined purchase plans. Traditional and ROTH IRAs to $1,095,000 per person, Firefighters, Peace Officers, Public employees, Federal government pensions, Disabled firefighters, police officers (only payments being received), other pensions, annuities, and contracts fully exempt; however, contributions made within 1 year before filing for bankruptcy not exempt to the extent normal and customary amounts, Retirement plans, Keoghs, IRAs Roth IRAs, ERISA qualified benefits

Public Benefits: Workers’ compensation, Veterans’ benefits, Unemployment compensation, Social security, Any public assistance benefits, Aid to dependent children, Adopted child assistance

Tools of Trade: Farming equipment; includes livestock, feed to $10,000, Non-farming equipment to $10,000 but no including car


Expected annual earnings Amount NOT exempt per year
$0 to $12,000$250
$12,000 to $16,000$400
$16,000 to $24,000$800
$24,000 to $35,000$1,000
$35,000 to $50,000$2,000
More than $50,00010%

Not exempt from spousal or child support, Wages or salary of a prisoner

Wildcard: $100 of any personal property, including cash

Need More Information?

Contact a Local Bankruptcy Attorney and get answers to your question for FREE! Complete the form below and a bankruptcy lawyer will contact you to go over your situation and answer your questions. Don't Wait -- Get help today!