Auto Insurance Basics

Auto Insurance Requirements in South Dakota

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According to the South Dakota Financial Responsibility Law, you are required to carry and maintain proof of financial responsibility in order to drive legally. The easiest way to comply with the law is to purchase liability auto insurance in South Dakota, but there are several other ways to meet South Dakota’s requirements.

If you’re pulled over in the Mount Rushmore State, you’ll need to show proof of insurance. An insurance ID card will usually suffice, but on the occasion that you’ve forgotten your card, South Dakota law allows you to show electronic proof of auto insurance on your smartphone. 

South Dakota Required Car Insurance Coverage SD Required Min. Limits
Bodily Injury (BI) $25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident
Property Damage (PD) $25,000 per accident
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorists Bodily Injury (UM/UIMBI) $25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident

South Dakota Car Insurance Requirements & Minimums

An SD auto insurance policy must include Bodily Injury and Property Damage coverage, as well as Uninsured and Underinsured Motorists coverage. Your liability insurance coverage must equal or exceed the following limits:

Bodily Injury (BI): minimum limits of $25,000 per person and $50,000 for two or more people in any accident. If you are at-fault or found liable for an accident, BI covers the injuries or death of people in the other car. These include medical expenses and lost wages. If you are sued by the other party, BI will covers legal fees and any judgments against you, up to your policy’s limits. Higher limits of bodily injury liability are available for purchase if you need greater coverage.

Property Damage (PD): $25,000 limit per accident for any property damage to property of others as a result of the accident you caused. PD will cover damage to other vehicles, businesses, houses, fences, or trees, up to your limit of coverage. Higher PD limits are also available for a higher premium.

Uninsured / Underinsured Motorists Bodily Injury (UMBI/UIMBI): $25,000 limit per person and $50,000 limit for two or more people in one accident. If an uninsured motorist is at-fault for a collision, UM coverage will pay for your personal injuries (or those of your family and other passengers. UIM, on the other hand, will pay your own personal injuries caused by a motorist without adequate auto insurance. Your UIM coverage will cover the difference up to your purchased limits. Note that UMBI and UIMBI only extend to your bodily injuries, not any physical damage to your vehicle.

Optional Car Insurance Coverage in South Dakota

Insurers in South Dakota offer optional coverages that are often strongly recommended by agents and officials. You can reject these coverages in writing, but these optional coverages are meant to protect you under different incidents. 

Physical Damage: physical damage insurance consists of two different coverages: Collision and Comprehensive. Collision coverage will cover the costs to repair your car’s damage from crashes, while comprehensive coverage pays for your repairs in situations outside of a collision (such as a tree falling onto your parked car). You can make a collision and comprehensive claim regardless of your fault in the incident.

Medical Payments Coverage (MedPay): MedPay helps pay for any medical and funeral expenses associated with auto accidents for the driver, family members, and passengers regardless of their role in the event. MedPay covers hospital visits and stays, doctor visits, EMT and ambulance fees, funerals, and more. You can purchase MedPay coverage up to limits of $25,000. 

Alternative Proof of Financial Responsibility

Aside from purchasing an auto insurance policy, there are three other ways to prove that you are a financially responsible driver in South Dakota. These are alternatives to an auto insurance policy:

Cash/Security Deposit: you can deposit $50,000 to the state treasurer to get a certificate of insurance. If both the state treasurer and Department of Public Safety agree on your deposit, your deposit will be accepted as a form of financial responsibility.

Surety Bond: if you don’t want to file a deposit, you can file a surety bond issued by a licensed surety company in South Dakota to the DMV. When filing a surety bond, your licensed surety company is promising to pay in your place if/when you cannot (but will likely go after you to recover that payment). A surety bond should be at least equal to the minimum insurance policy for an accident you caused. If the DMV commissioner recognizes your surety bond as a valid form of payment, you will be given a certificate to serve as your proof of financial responsibility.

Self-Insurance: if you have more than 26 cars registered under your name, you could apply to be a self-insurer. You’ll have to meet specific requirements that essentially prove you have the financial ability to pay out as an insurer would. If you get a certificate of self-insurance issued by the Department of Public Safety, you are authorized to act as a self-insurer for either property damage or bodily injury, or both. Your certificate of self-insurance will serve as your proof of financial responsibility. 

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