A Guide to Auto Insurance in South Dakota (SD)

If you live in South Dakota, the state requires that you have at least minimum auto insurance coverage.

South Dakota auto insurance requirements include bodily injury liability, property damage liability and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.  If you cause an accident, the minimum coverage won't pay for damage to your car. Collision and comprehensive auto insurance does that. The state doesn't require you to take that coverage but if you have a loan on the vehicle, your lender normally require it.

Bodily Injury Cover

The minimum bodily injury coverage for South Dakota is 25/50. This is split-limit coverage. The 50 refers to $50,000, the maximum amount the insurance company will pay for all parties injured in the accident. The 25 represents $25,000. This is the largest amount the insurance company pays to any one person injured in an accident.

If you had the South Dakota auto insurance state minimum coverage and three people sued you for injuries at $25,000 each, you wouldn't have enough insurance.  If the courts awarded the amounts, you'd still owe $25,000 after the insurance paid.  If one person had severe injuries and received a court awarded settlement for $50,000, again you'd have to pay $25,000 since the insurance company only pays a maximum of $25,000 per person.

So give long and hard thought before only getting the state miimum amounts of cover. You may be driving legally, but that doesn't make it the best option. A better option is to get higher amounts that will cover any potential bills you might face, so that you can drive carefree in the knowledge that at least your insurance can act as a decent safety net.

Property Damage Insurance

The state also requires that you carry a minimum of $25,000 of property damage insurance.  When you look at the South Dakota auto insurance minimums of 25/50/25, it's the last 25 in the coverage. This amount covers the other person's car if you cause an accident. In this case, the maximum amount is $25,000.

Again, you may consider that a little low. If the other persons car is a right-off and you have to pay for a new one, then $25,000 would often not cover all of the expenses. So give some more thought to increasing this amount.

Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Cover

Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UMI) covers you, your car, your family and occupants in your vehicle if another driver causes the accident but has no insurance, the uninsured motorist portion pays the bills for your injuries, the injuries of your passengers and any damage to your vehicle.

While there is underinsured motorist coverage in the package, the limits are the same as the minimum limits and the coverage isn't stackable.  If you have $50,000 worth of injuries, but both you and the driver have minimum coverage of $25,000, you can't combine the two to equal $50,000. If you had $100,000 of coverage and the other driver only had $25,000, then your policy would pay the extra $25,000.

The Penalties for NOT Having South Dakota Auto Insurance

If you don't have proof of insurance when it's required, such as after an accident, there are stiff penalties in this state.  South Dakota auto insurance laws require proof of financial responsibility, normally this is simply achieve by having car insurance (though you could jump through 50 hopops and post a cash bond instead if you are a glutton for punishment!)

If you don't have auto insurance in South Dakota then you could face fines, a suspension of your license for at least 30 days (or until you show proof of insurance) and a jail sentence could also be part of the punishment for lack of insurance.

If you had your insurance canceled and due to a poor driving record, can't get other coverage, the state provides you with coverage so you can legally drive. The South Dakota auto insurance state plan offers insurance to people that can show they've tried to secure regular coverage within the last 60 days and failed to do so.

The state assigns each driver qualifying for the plan to one of the companies in the state that must offer the driver a policy for the next three years or until the driver finds an alternative company, which ever is sooner. If the driver still doesn't have insurance at the end of the three years, they have to reapply.

Sounds good, but the premiums are generally much higher than conventional policies, because these are all 'high risk' drivers and the insurance companies know that and make the costs much higher as a result.

If you don't have criminal driving convictions or are very young, then you will generally find that you will be able to get covered if you look around for conventional South Dakota Auto Insurance Quotes and compare what is available and for what price.


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