South Dakota car insurance laws

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As is the case with most states, South Dakota drivers are required to carry at least a minimum amount of car insurance to legally drive on the road. To highlight one of the reasons it is important to carry financial protection in the form of insurance, there were more than 638,000 drivers on the roads of South Dakota and 130 fatal car accidents in 2018 alone, according to data from the Insurance Information Institute. While the percentages may vary by state, many accidents are commonly attributed to driver distraction, speeding, alcohol or drug intoxication, fatigued drivers and aggressive driving.

Car insurance laws in South Dakota

South Dakota car insurance laws require drivers to carry car insurance, carry proof of coverage at all times when driving and to be able to show it to a police officer upon request.

South Dakota minimum car insurance laws currently require a minimum liability coverage of 25/50/25, or:

  • $25,000 for injuries per person
  • $50,000 per accident
  • $25,000 for property damage

South Dakota also requires Uninsured Motorist (UM/UMI) coverage at amounts that match the policy holder’s chosen liability limits. This covers your injuries if you are harmed by another driver who is not insured, is underinsured or if you are involved in a hit-and-run. (It does not cover vehicle damage, and is usually capped at $100,000 per person injured and $300,000 total injury coverage per accident.)

South Dakota minimum car insurance laws currently require uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage of 25/50, or:

  • $25,000 for injuries per person
  • $50,000 per accident

Liability insurance in South Dakota

Even though drivers in South Dakota are only required to have the minimum liability car insurance and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, this may not be enough to cover some accidents. For the sake of injuries to yourself or damages to your own vehicle, as well as to satisfy lender requirements, full coverage insurance may be necessary or recommended.

South Dakota is lower in population compared to its geographical size, but drivers face long, cold winters with an average snowfall of 39 inches per year, which leaves drivers with dangerous driving conditions throughout much of the year. Harsh weather conditions also create a greater need for insurance coverage beyond the state minimums as the chances of an accident can be higher under those conditions.

Is South Dakota a no fault state?

South Dakota is considered an at-fault state, which means drivers must take responsibility and pay for any crash they might cause. After an accident, the insurance of the driver who caused the accident must pay the other driver’s costs for damage caused by the collision. After an accident, an injured party can make a “first party” claim with their own insurance company, a “third party” claim with the other driver’s insurance company and/or file a personal injury lawsuit in court.

Penalties for driving without insurance in South Dakota

Drivers face stiff penalties for not following South Dakota car insurance laws and driving without insurance. A conviction is punishable by the requirement of maintaining an SR-22 certificate for 3 years, a $100 fine, license suspension between 30 days and one year, suspension of license plates and registration and/or 30 days of incarceration. Failure to produce an SR-22 may result in suspension of your vehicle registration, license plates and/or driver’s license. Similar consequences may apply to drivers who cause an accident resulting in a fatality or injury while driving without insurance.

Additional auto insurance coverage options in South Dakota

Other insurance coverages that may be useful to South Dakota drivers include:

  • Collision — covers damage to your vehicle caused by a collision with another vehicle or object
  • Comprehensive — covers damage to your vehicle by non-collision (for example, theft, vandalism or weather event)
  • Loan/lease payoff or gap coverage — covers the difference between what you owe on a loan and the car’s cash value in the event your vehicle is totaled
  • Medical payments — covers your own accident-related medical expenses
  • Rental car reimbursement — compensates for the cost of a rental car following an accident, for the duration your vehicle is undergoing repairs (up to policy limits)
  • Roadside assistance — covers assistance during a breakdown (for example, labor to change a flat tire or jump start a dead battery, or the expense of a tow truck)

Frequently asked questions

What is the best car insurance company in South Dakota?

The best car insurance company varies depending on the person and each driver’s unique circumstances. Comparing the largest car insurance companies in South Dakota and reviewing the average cost of car insurance in 2021 for each company may help you to determine the policy that is right for you.

How can I lower my car insurance premiums?

Among other factors like working to lower your credit score and staying claims-free, taking advantage of available discounts is another option to reduce car insurance rates. Common discounts for safe driving and bundling policies can have a positive effect for most drivers.

What do standard car insurance policies not cover?

  • Accidents that happen while driving for a ride-hailing service or food-delivery service
  • Accidents that happen while driving a car that doesn’t belong to you but you drive regularly, like a company car
  • Equipment not permanently installed on your car
  • Accidents that happen while driving in Mexico
  • Accidents that happen while driving for business
  • Accidents that happen while racing
  • Damages that you cause intentionally