South Dakota is best known as the home of Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, and the Black Hills, but the state offers enjoyable destinations at every turn. Wherever you’re headed, make sure you have the right car insurance coverage to protect you against danger on the road, whether it comes in the form of other drivers, prairie dogs, or inclement weather.
Getting the right policy requires knowing your state’s minimum insurance requirements and optional coverages. Let SmartFinanacial’s carrier-neutral information help you efficiently find the perfect South Dakota auto insurance policy for your needs at the lowest possible rate.
Finding a new car insurance policy doesn’t have to be complicated or confusing. If you’re wondering where to start looking, J.D. Power ranked the top carriers in South Dakota and we’ve listed the top three below (see the full list).
Affordability, policy flexibility, customer satisfaction scores, and other key considerations factored into these ratings.
We make it easy to instantly compare quotes from lots of leading carriers. Give it a try by clicking on your city below. Or, if your location isn’t showing up in the list, click here.
Auto insurance is necessary in South Dakota to legally drive, and if you’re ever involved in an accident, you’ll be happy for this law. No matter how safely or responsibly you drive, there will always be circumstances and other drivers you cannot control. Your coverage offers essential financial protection and peace of mind.
Driving isn’t always safe, so it’s a good idea to carry as much auto insurance as you can afford. It may seem like an unnecessary expense, but being fully covered in the event of an accident is priceless.
South Dakota Driving Safety
In 2015, the number of motor vehicle crashes and injuries remained fairly consistent with previous years, but the percent of drivers in fatal crashes who had been drinking increased from 22.2% in 2014 to 24.6%. This, along with a high rate of improper seat belt usage, speeding, and distracted driving, contributed greatly to the number of crashes throughout the state.
Find more motor vehicle safety data for South Dakota in the state’s 2015 Motor Vehicle Traffic Crash Summary.
South Dakota drivers won’t find many green driving incentives at the state level, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any benefits to choosing an eco-friendly vehicle. Federal tax breaks, insurance discounts, and improving the health of the planet should all provide encouragement to change your fuel consumption and driving habits.
There’s no need to pay a state fuel excise tax when you purchase liquefied petroleum gas (propane) from a licensed propane vendor in bulk, provided you’re a licensed propane user or propane vehicle owner. This can save you a lot of money over time, while also helping save the environment.
Green drivers who purchase a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, diesel-powered vehicle, electric vehicle, or alternative fuel vehicle may be eligible for a federal tax credit. Your tax professional can tell you what the current incentives are and let you know if you qualify.
Most auto insurance providers in South Dakota offer some level of discount for eco-friendly vehicles or driving lifestyle. These discounts typically range from 10% to 30% and apply whether you own or lease your vehicle. The most common green driving insurance discounts apply to hybrids, electric vehicles, alternative fuel vehicles, and economy cars, but substantial discounts are also available for keeping low mileage on your vehicle.
Auto insurance policies in South Dakota must include bodily injury, property damage, and uninsured motorists coverage. Coverage levels must meet or exceed the following levels: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident of bodily injury liability; $25,000 of property damage liability; and $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
The state also allows three other ways to prove financial responsibility. Motorists can deposit $50,000 to the State Treasurer in exchange for a certificate of insurance, or they can file a surety bond issued by a surety company. Additionally, drivers with more than 26 cars registered in their name can apply to be a self-insurer.
Maximum payment for serious or permanent injury or death to a single person
Coverage for multiple people injured in a single accident
Maximum payment for all damaged property in an accident caused by you
If you’re like most people, the cost of your insurance premium is a major consideration when taking out a new auto policy. Keeping your finances in mind is wise, but don’t skimp on coverage just to save a few dollars, or you might end up with an empty bank account if you’re ever in an accident. Consider your location, driving habits, and lifestyle, and then add on optional coverages to protect your financial well-being.
Some exclusions may apply.
Even though the State doesn’t require drivers to carry full coverage insurance on their vehicles, most financial institutions do. If you plan to finance your vehicle, or if you opt to lease instead of buy, you will likely need to carry comprehensive and collision coverage in addition to satisfying the mandatory minimums. Other optional coverages may also be required.
If you’re concerned about the cost of optional coverages, read our post 12 Things You can Do to Lower your Auto Insurance Premium to find ways to balance out the expense of your add-ons.
*This list of car insurance carriers is based on the ratings for the Central region in the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Auto Insurance Study. Ratings are derived from five key service areas: claims, price, interaction, policy offerings, and billing. USAA is a military-only option and is therefore not including in the above rankings.
In South Dakota, all vehicle occupants 17 years of age and under must use a seatbelt or child safety seat. Failure to follow this rule is a primary offense in the state, which means a law enforcement officer can pull you over for not properly restraining minor passengers, even without another violation. Drivers are responsible for all minors in the vehicle.
Infants under age 1 should always ride in a rear-facing car seat, preferably in the middle of the back seat. Once they reach the age of 12 months and 20 pounds, they can move to a front-facing seat. However, rear-facing seats are safer and should be used as long as the infant does not exceed the maximum height or weight limits allowed by the manufacturer.
Children 4 to 7 years old who have outgrown their front-facing seat with harness should transition to a booster seat. Until at least age 8, most children are not tall enough and do not have strong enough hipbones to safely ride in a vehicle using only a standard seat belt. Children 12 and under should never ride in the front seat due to the risk of airbag-related injuries. Using second-hand seats is not recommended.
Every year, dozens of children die from heat-related complications after being left unattended in cars. Many others are injured due to lack of adult supervision. In South Dakota, you can be found guilty of child neglect for leaving children unsupervised in a vehicle if there’s any evidence that doing so could result in their harm or death.
To prevent heat-related and accidental injuries, never leave young children (or pets) alone in a vehicle, even if the weather is cool outside. And, to prevent accidentally forgetting an infant or sleeping child, place your purse, briefcase, or shopping bags on the floor of the back seat so that you have to look behind you before getting out of the vehicle.
Yes, it is. Like in most states, insurers in South Dakota use your credit score when determining your insurance score. The insurance score is used to determine how much of a risk you are to cover and how much you pay for your policy.
Motorists with clean driving records may qualify for discounts through their insurance carriers. Ask your agent if you’re eligible for a savings on your premium. And, while you’re at it, find out what other discounts are available. Some possibilities may include:
Yes, drivers in South Dakota are allowed to provide proof of coverage on their electronic mobile device if they don’t have a paper or plastic insurance ID card available. Motorists can continue to use traditional insurance cards if desired.
Driving without insurance is not tolerated in South Dakota, regardless of the reason for your lapse in coverage. Driving without liability insurance is a class 2 misdemeanor and can lead to fines, license suspension, or possibly jail time. You may also be classified as a high-risk driver, resulting in more expensive car insurance.
It’s against the law to drive in South Dakota at the following BAC percentages
.08%+ at 21 years old or older
.04%+ for commercial vehicle drivers
.02%+ at under 21 years old
Even though a BAC of 0.08% is the legal limit for a DUI, you can be charged and found guilty of driving under the influence of alcohol with a BAC of 0.05% and your driving is believed to be impaired. And, you don’t need to be driving to be charged with DUI in South Dakota. If you’re in your vehicle and the keys are within reach, you can be charged and convicted.
South Dakota has an implied consent law, which means you’ve already agreed to submit to a chemical screening by becoming a licensed driver. Refusing to submit to a blood, urine, or breath test can result in suspension of your driving privileges, fines, and additional penalties.
Consequences of a DUI in South Dakota depend on the level of alcohol in your blood and the number of times you’ve been convicted. First and second offenses are misdemeanors, but third and subsequent offenses are felonies.
Penalties range from suspension of driving privileges to mandatory court-approved chemical dependency counseling program participation, installation of an ignition interlock device, community service, fines, and jail time.
Many carriers in South Dakota offer discounts to drivers who complete defensive driving or similar courses. Large discounts may be available to mature drivers and those under the age of 18. Ask your insurer if there’s a financial incentive to completing one of the State-approved driver improvement courses.
A big mistake many people make is automatically renewing their insurance policy without looking for new ways to save. Just because your previous policy was expensive, it doesn’t mean you must continue paying through the roof. Your credit score may have changed, points may have fallen off your license, or you may qualify for discounts you never even knew existed. Always ask for discounts when taking out a new policy, and don’t forget to shop around for the lowest quote!
South Dakota requires drivers to carry a minimum of $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident of uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage. This insurance will pay for injuries caused by an uninsured or underinsured driver, or in a hit-and-run incident.
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