From Aberdeen to Vermillion, Sioux Falls to Rapid City, Brookings to Deadwood, South Dakota has thousands of miles of roadways. They’ll take you from downtown Pierre to the Black Hills, from the Badlands to the grasslands and along the banks of the Missouri River. They’re used by over 600,000 licensed drivers, who each average nearly 11,000 miles a year. Along the way, they’re involved in thousands of traffic accidents, including many that result in serious injury or death. Wherever you live and drive in the Mount Rushmore State, carrying adequate car insurance is both a legal requirement and commonsense protection. This is your guide to South Dakota’s basic vehicle insurance requirements and laws.
South Dakota state law requires you to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. Failure to do so can result in severe penalties that may include monetary fines. South Dakota has a tort system, which means that if you are found to be at fault in a car accident, you can be sued for actual damages (expenses associated with property damage and medical costs), economic damages (lost wages and earning capacity) and emotional and physical pain and suffering. However, South Dakota also allows you to purchase personal injury protection.
The bare minimum car insurance requirement for South Dakota drivers is:
$25,000 bodily injury per person per accident
$50,000 bodily injury for all persons per accident
$25,000 property damage liability
$25,000/$50,000 uninsured/underinsured motorist
South Dakota does not require you to carry additional coverage such as Collision and Comprehensive. However, if you own property or other valuable assets, supplementing the minimum requirements can help you protect yourself from monetary loss.
Penalties for Failure to Carry South Dakota Auto Insurance
If you own a car in South Dakota, you are required by law to maintain adequate insurance, keep proof of insurance in your vehicle and show it if a law enforcement officer asks to see it. Failure to do so can mean severe penalties. Driving without car insurance in South Dakota is a Class 2 misdemeanor, with fines up to $1,000 and up to 6 months in jail. A first offense typically involves a $100 fine. Any jail time for a first offense will not exceed 30 days. Your driver’s license can be suspended for 1 year and you will be required to keep an SR-22 proof of insurance form on file for 3 years following your conviction.
Driving with a suspended license is also a Class 2 misdemeanor with the same potential penalties as driving without insurance.
South Dakota Car Insurance Premiums
Vehicle insurance premiums are regulated by the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation/Insurance Division. Insurance companies are allowed to charge premiums and award discounts based on a number of factors that can include:
The type of car you are insuring
Prior auto insurance coverage
How much you drive
Your driving record
Your marital status
Your geographic location
How long you’ve been driving
Whether or not you use your car for business
South Dakota also allows insurers to consider your credit history to determine your premium.
How to Get the Cheapest South Dakota Car Insurance Policy
You may be able to lower the cost of your premiums in the following ways:
Ask about available discounts for good driving habits, anti-theft devices, multiple cars on one policy, bundling your car insurance with your homeowners or renters policy, automatic or online payments and driving a hybrid or electric car
Compare quotes from a variety of providers on this website
Eliminate unnecessary coverage
Check to see if you qualify for any low-cost auto insurance program your state may offer
New South Dakota Driving Laws
Laws regarding driving and car insurance can change frequently. It is your responsibility to stay current about the legal requirements in South Dakota. The following laws have recently been enacted in South Dakota and may affect your insurance coverage decisions.
As of February 19 2014, a South Dakota Senate committee had passed a bill that would ban texting while driving. The bill calls for a $100 fine. Many South Dakota municipalities have already established anti-texting policies.
South Dakota law requires drivers to notify the police of any accident involving injuries or property damage of at least $1,000.