South Dakota, with an agricultural economy and a rural lifestyle, has the country’s fifth lowest population density of all U.S. states. In addition to the famous four presidents of Mount Rushmore, the state is home to the Black Hills, the Badlands, Custer State Park and the Crazy Horse Memorial.
South Dakota’s mandatory auto insurance requirements
Motorists in the Mount Rushmore State are required by law to provide proof of financial responsibility. This is most easily accomplished by buying vehicle insurance from a licensed South Dakota auto insurance agent or company and providing proof in the form of a current auto insurance ID card, when registering your vehicle or if stopped by a police officer or other law enforcement official.
Drivers can also meet South Dakota auto insurance mandatory proof of financial responsibility law by having a Certificate of Deposit or a minimum of $50,000 on deposit with state.
Here are the mandatory minimums you must carry to drive on South Dakota roads:
- $25,000 – bodily injury (BI), one person
- $50,000 – bodily injury (BI), multiple victims, per accident
- $25,000 – property damage (PD)
BI liability insurance covers you if you are found to be the cause of an accident. BI covers claims made against you for any injury or death of others caused by your negligence.
PD liability insurance covers you for damages to another person’s property if you are found to be negligent in a car accident.
Uninsured (UM)/Underinsured (UIM) motorist coverage
- $25,000 – bodily injury (BI), one person, UM/UIM coverage
- $50,000 – bodily injury (BI), multiple victims, per accident, UM/UIM coverage
If you are in an accident that is caused by an uninsured or uninsured driver, UM/UIM protects you by covering expenses related to injuries sustained in the accident, up to the limits of your coverage. UM/UIM also protects you in the event that you are involved in an accident caused by another driver and that drivers flees the scene.
UM/UIM auto insurance coverage most often does not reimburse you for any damage to your vehicle. This is important to consider and discuss with your auto insurance agent to ensure that you have adequate coverage in the event that your car is totaled by an uninsured or underinsured driver.
Tips for reducing the cost of your South Dakota auto insurance policy
You can save on your South Dakota auto insurance if you do your homework. If you’re shopping for auto insurance for the first time, or you’re coming up on your renewal, contact a number of insurers to compare rates. Rates vary from company to company. If you are a safe driver with a clean driving record, ask about discounts. Companies or agents don’t always tell you about these, so be a savvy shopper and study available discounts, then inquire with each insurer to see if they offer any or all of them.
Make sure you are comparing exact same coverages. For example, if one auto insurance company quotes you a lower rate than another, make sure that the deductibles are exactly the same and that the coverages are the same.
When shopping for South Dakota auto insurance rates from various insurers, inquire to see if they offer any or all of the following:
- Good driver discount. Accidents, DWI/DUI convictions and prior claims directly affect the cost of your premiums.
- Multiple vehicles discount.
- Multiple policies discount. Carrying auto insurance, home insurance, life insurance with the same company often gives you a discount. Compare the percentage of discount that different insurers offer. Some offer 5%, some 10% or more.
- Paying your premium annually. Some insurers offer a discount of 5% for paying annually as opposed to monthly or quarterly.
Other discounts that may be available:
- Good student discount. Inquire if your insurer offers a discount on your auto insurance policy if you have a student in the household that makes A or B grades.
- Discount for installing anti-theft and/or safety devices.
- Approved safety training course for drivers 50+. If any drivers in the household are 50 years of age or older, inquire about a discount for completing an approved drivers training.
Average annual cost of auto insurance
According to Insure.com, in 2011, South Dakotans pay an average annual auto insurance premium of $1707, which is higher than the national annual average, which is $1561.
South Dakota Department of Insurance