Minimum requirements and how to get cheap auto 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.
Read on to learn more about these topics, including average costs of insurance, state laws and regulations and who’s at fault in an accident in the great state of South Dakota.
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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.
How can I save money on car insurance?
Looking for some ways to save money on your auto insurance in South Dakota? No matter what state you’re in, you can use our general tips to lower your premiums and get better value out of your coverage.
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.
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:
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.
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
Up to 1 year
Up to 1 year
Up to 2 years
Fines and penalties
30 days to 1 year
180 days to 1 year
Ignition interlock device (IID) required
Can I get SR-22 insurance in South Dakota?
Yes. You might need 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. An SR-22 is a certificate your car insurance provider files with the state that proves you have the minimum liability coverage needed to get behind the wheel.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Frequently asked questions about car insurance in South Dakota
A car insurance provider can deny you coverage because your credit score is low, you have a spotty driving record or you’ve filed several insurance claims recently, among other reasons. If you fall into a “high risk” category of customers and can’t find a policy on your own, look into the South Dakota Automobile Insurance Plan. This government-sponsored option assigns you an insurance provider it considers a good fit for your coverage needs.
Yes. Because the rental car company owns the vehicle you’re driving, its own insurance policy covers you. You pay a small fee, typically $10 to $20 a day, for coverage on the rental company’s fleet. Before you pay this rate, call your credit card company to see if it offers rental car coverage as a cardmember benefit — many do.
A higher rate is likely — but perhaps not right away or even large enough to notice. The more often you file claims, the larger a risk your insurance provider considers you.
Nearly all insurance providers reserve the right to adjust individual insurance rates as they see fit. Sometimes this works in your favor — for instance, lower rates as a result of an improved credit score.
Not likely. If you’d like your insurance policy to fully cover glass repairs, you’ll need to pay for comprehensive car insurance. However, depending on your insurance provider and your exact level of coverage, your provider may choose to waive your glass repair deductible if you ask.
Yes. Most car insurance providers reserve the right to cancel coverage if you fail to make a premium payment or file too many claims over the life of your policy.
How many is too many? That’s up to your provider, but the general rule of thumb is one claim a year. If you’re worried about filing more than one claim in a year and what that might mean for your coverage, talk with your insurance agent.
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