It takes about 14 hours to drive from Brookings to Butte. Sightseeing the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, and the natural beauty of South Dakota is no small feat.
If you plan to register or drive a car in the Mount Rushmore State, you’ll need to make sure you have the right car insurance. In this guide, we’ll give you all the information you need to ensure that you’re covered, protected, and legal to view the granite peaks of this beautiful state by car.
South Dakota Car Insurance Minimum Coverage
In order to register or drive a car in South Dakota, it’s the law for motorists to carry specific minimum insurance coverage. At the very least, your policy must include:
- $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury liability coverage.
- $25,000 per accident for property damage coverage.
- $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for both uninsured and underinsured motorists.
The state minimums for South Dakota are pretty standard; you’ll find similar requirements in other states in the United States. However, what you may find interesting is the variation in coverage cost for South Dakotans as compared to other states.
What is the Average Cost of Car Insurance in South Dakota?
The average motorist will pay around $1,642 in premiums for a year of full automobile insurance. However, South Dakota car insurance is very inexpensive if you only desire the minimum coverage. On average, you can expect to pay just $275 per year for the state minimums.
At just $23 per month on average, car insurance in South Dakota is a steal. The average cost for minimum coverage in the US is $565 per year, or around $47 per month. Bear in mind, of course, that different states require different minimum coverages.
Why is Car Insurance So Cheap in South Dakota?
Largely rural landscapes are partially to credit for South Dakota car insurance being so cheap. There are fewer drivers on the road, and there are few densely populated cities in the state.
In terms of crime, South Dakota is the 7th safest state in the nation. That means fewer incidences of theft, vandalism, or other claimable events.
Finally, South Dakota weather is fairly predictable. While South Dakotans will still experience hail, sleet, and severe weather, flooding and other weather events are quite rare.
Lapses in South Dakota Car Insurance
If you’re driving in South Dakota and do not have car insurance, you’re committing a crime. You must have at least the minimum insurance for your car in order to retain your driving privilege.
If you’re caught by law enforcement driving without insurance–or even proof of insurance–you can face serious consequences. For a first offense, expect a fine of $100 to $500. You may be sentenced to 30 days in jail. Your license could be suspended for up to a year. And you’ll have to pay some heavy fines and fees to reinstate your privileges.
Subsequent offenses in the state of South Dakota can lead to even more stern consequences, including higher fines, longer jail time, and a longer length of driving privilege suspension.
Best Auto Insurance in South Dakota
South Dakota drivers were polled and asked their favorite car insurance companies. South Dakota car insurance was ranked according to customer service, coverage, and cost. Here are the five top car insurance companies in South Dakota.
- The General
- National General
- Direct Auto
- State Farm
Keep in mind that not everyone has the same car insurance needs. Shop around and do your research; you may find cheaper insurance with better coverage that suits your needs outside of these five insurers.
Be sure to ask your insurance agent about discounts available to you. Your employer or organizations you belong to may offer discounts that will save you even more money.
Driving in South Dakota
Interested to learn more about driving in South Dakota? Here are some fun facts to ponder while you’re on the way to sightsee at Deadwood.
- You can get a DUI while driving a bicycle in South Dakota. It’s also illegal to ride a horse while drunk.
- South Dakotans can get a learner’s permit as young as 14–but expect to pay higher insurance premiums.
- Seatbelts are mandatory in South Dakota, but you can’t be pulled over for it. The fine for violating seatbelt law is just $20.00.
- It’s perfectly legal for your passengers to ride in the back of your pickup truck, even on the highway. This, of course, is discouraged for safety reasons.
Conclusion: Car Insurance in South Dakota
If you’re on the way to South Dakota and want to register your car, be sure you’re carrying the minimum insurance. You can face harsh penalties–even jail time–if you fail to provide proof that your vehicle is insured.