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Car insurance in South Dakota

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Before getting auto insurance in South Dakota

Unless you’ve lived in multiple states, you might not know that each has its own car insurance requirements. Between them, you’re almost certain to need some changes to your insurance policy.

To hit the road and explore the Badlands of South Dakota, this state requires a minimum level of liability insurance. And though many other states don’t require it, you’ll also need uninsured motorist insurance. This kind of coverage protects you if you’re ever the victim of a hit-and-run accident or in a crash with someone who has no car insurance.

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Average car insurance costs in South Dakota

In 2017, South Dakota drivers paid a statewide average of about $1,050 a year for their car insurance coverage. That’s lower than the national average of about $1,300 a year and about half of what drivers in Michigan can expect to pay — Michigan’s drivers face the highest average costs in the country when it comes to auto coverage.

Even within this state, you’ll see varying insurance costs between rural and urban areas, with suburban drivers landing somewhere in the middle. Drivers living in downtown Sioux Falls, for example, will likely pay more over the course of a year than drivers out in Lake Preston, with its population of around 560.

You might be able to reduce South Dakota’s already low insurance rates by taking care on the road, optimizing your coverage and taking the time to compare rates and offerings.

Compare South Dakota car insurance providers

Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection
Liberty Mutual
Included free
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
Car insurance through Liberty Mutual will give coverage options for almost any situation.
Esurance
Optional
Yes, cars under 1 year old & 15,000 miles
Esurance offers a modern online and mobile experience that helps you take your insurance on the go.
Allstate
Included free
Yes, cars under 2 years old
Enjoy having your own dedicated agent to help you get the best discounts and coverage.

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State minimum requirements in South Dakota

To legally drive in South Dakota, you’ll need insurance that includes at least:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury or death per person.
  • $50,000 for bodily injury or death to multiple people in an accident.
  • $25,000 for property damage.

When shopping for coverage, you might see these numbers expressed as 25/50/25.

Drivers are also required to get uninsured motorist coverage with the same limits as their liability policy.

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What additional coverage can I get?

Insurers in South Dakota offer coverage and many of the policy extras you’ll find elsewhere in the US, including:

  • Collision. Covers your costs if your vehicle is damaged in an accident.
  • Comprehensive. Pays for other damages to your vehicle not related to an accident, such as those from vandalism and theft.
  • Medical payments. Covers your medical costs after an accident up to your coverage limits.
  • Auto loan or lease. Pays for the difference between your car loan and its current resale value if it’s totaled in an accident.
  • Towing and labor. If you need to call a tow truck, this extra can reimburse you for costs and fees.
  • Customized parts and equipment. Covers expensive modifications you’ve made to your vehicle.
  • Rental reimbursement. If your vehicle needs several days’ worth of work, this covers your rental car for transportation in the meantime.

Uninsured drivers in South Dakota

Only 7.7% of all motorists in South Dakota were uninsured in 2015, according to estimates from the Insurance Research Council. This was significantly less than the national average of 13% and incredibly low compared to Florida’s whopping 26.7%.

What can I do if I don’t want to buy car insurance in South Dakota?

If you’d rather not take out a conventional car insurance policy in this state, you’re allowed to place a deposit or bond worth $50,000 with the South Dakota State Treasurer instead. You’re then issued a certificate of financial responsibility to show whenever a police officer requests your proof of insurance.

Your deposit is also used to pay for damages in any accident where you’re found to be at fault.

Can I buy temporary car insurance in South Dakota?

Yes, but temporary car insurance isn’t always easy to get. Several major providers offer options, including Progressive, Geico and Allstate.

What happens if I’m driving in South Dakota and I don’t have insurance?

A car insurance policy or certificate of financial responsibility is a requirement before you can legally drive on South Dakota’s roads. And you face stiff penalties if you’re caught driving without the right documentation.

Penalties depend on the severity of your offense, your driving record and whether you’re a repeat offender but can include:

  • $100 fine
  • Up to 30 days in jail
  • Suspension of your driver’s license from 30 days to up to a year
  • SR-22 certificate of responsibility for three years

What if I have insurance but don’t have proof?

If you do have car insurance and simply can’t find proof when you’re pulled over, you may be able to show proof at a local police station within a few days to settle the matter. You might still end up with a traffic citation for not carrying the right documents with you in the car, however. According to the law, your proof of insurance or proof of financial responsibility must be accessible within the car at all times.

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What laws do I need to follow when I’m driving in South Dakota?

Most states in the US share a common set of traffic laws, but South Dakota has a few unique rules of the road.

  • South Dakota’s Move Over law requires drivers to slow down or stop along the side of the road when an emergency vehicle approaches with active sirens or lights and give extra space to vehicles on the side of the road if possible.
  • Drivers are prohibited from sending, receiving or reading text messages.
  • Children younger than 5 and under 40 pounds are require to use an approved child safety seat.
  • All drivers and front seat passengers are required to use seat belts at all times. The minimum fine for violating this law is at least $25 per incident.

What is the blood alcohol limit in South Dakota?

Like all states in the US, South Dakota enforces an upper limit of 0.08% blood alcohol content (BAC) for normal drivers and a limit of 0.04% for commercial drivers. If you’re caught exceeding these limits, expect to face steep fines, the suspension of your license and possible jail time.

Drunk driving penalties

First offenseSecond offenseThird offense
JailUp to 1 yearUp to 1 yearUp to 2 years
Fines and penalties$2,000$2,000$4,000
License suspension30 days to 1 year180 days to 1 year1 year
Ignition interlock device (IID) requiredNoNoNo

Can I get SR-22 insurance in South Dakota?

No, South Dakota is one of a few states that doesn’t require you to file an SR-22 with the state if you’ve recently had a DUI or an illegal or extended lapse in your insurance coverage. If you have an SR-22 from another state and you move to South Dakota, you’ll probably need to maintain your SR-22.

What happens after an accident in South Dakota?

If you’re in a car accident, take steps to ensure you’re safe and protected against any unnecessary worries when you file your car insurance claim.

  1. Get to safety. Confirm that everyone involved in the accident is OK. If you need medical assistance or help from law enforcement, request it immediately.
  2. Check in with your insurance company. Call your insurance agent to report the accident. They can guide you through gathering important info that will help when your claim is filed.
  3. Document the accident. Protect your claim by taking down the names of any police officers at the scene. Take pictures of each car involved from different angles, and talk to any witnesses you might be able to contact for more information later.
  4. Exchange information. Get the full name, contact info and insurance policy details from other drivers. Take note of the drivers’ car make, color, model and license plate number, as well as approximately where the accident took place. Avoid saying that the accident is your fault if you want to prevent your insurance company from refusing to pay your claim.

Who’s at fault after an accident?

South Dakota is a fault or “tort” state, which means that damages from the accident are paid for through the insurance of the at-fault driver.

When should I report an accident in South Dakota?

You’ll need to report a car accident to local police if it meets any of these conditions.

  • A driver, passenger or pedestrian is injured or killed in the crash
  • Any one person suffers more than $1,000 in damages to their vehicle
  • The accident results in damages totaling more than $2,000

When should I contact a lawyer?

Not every accident requires legal help, but consider talking to a lawyer for advice if:

  • You’re charged with a crime after an accident, such as negligence.
  • You plan to file a civil suit against the other driver.
  • You believe a civil suit will be filed against you.
  • You plan to appeal a court ruling that went against you.
  • The accident is going to cost you a lot more than what your insurance company plans to cover.

Bottom line

A car insurance policy can help to protect you, your vehicle and other drivers on the road. And in South Dakota, you have a lot of options when it comes to finding coverage that suits your needs and budget. Don’t be afraid to shop around for car insurance and compare offerings to find the best rates.

To learn more about state rules and regulations, discounts and policy terms, read our comprehensive guide to car insurance.

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Frequently asked questions about car insurance in South Dakota

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