Unlike its northern neighbor, South Dakota car insurance rates are below the national average at 32nd least expensive. As an at fault state with one of the lowest uninsured motorist rates at number 10 and 7.8% of drivers uninsured it probably helps keep the state’s insurance premiums lower.
At Fault State
South Dakota is an at fault state for auto insurance. This means that if you cause an accident and are found at fault, generally by being charged for a traffic violation for those cases that are settled out of court, or by a designation of fault by a court of law, you are responsible for the expenses of the parties you injured. If you have sufficient insurance, generally it will pay for these accidents. If you do not have sufficient insurance, you will have to pay the difference of the claim, settlement or awards damages from your own finances.
An at fault state offers four options for drivers involved in accidents to settle the damages. If the accident involves no injuries and minor property damage, you may be able to settle privately and directly with the other driver. As long as you both agree to the terms. However if damage or injuries are significant, generally the claim will be handled through an insurance negotiated settlement or a civil lawsuit. Having the right insurance coverage and help you stay out of financial ruin.
In South Dakota, you are required to carry Liability insurance that covers other parties injuries and property damage, but not your own, and you must also carry Uninsured coverage in case you get into an accident with an uninsured driver. The ratio in South Dakota is 25/50/25 for single injury accidents, multiple injuries in an accident and property damage coverage (this refers to $25,000/$50,000/$25,000 respectively).
Although Uninsured coverage is not optional, Underinsured coverage, collision, comprehensive, towing and labor, car rental, GAP and medical payments insurance are all optional insurance coverages you should consider. If your vehicle is 7 years or newer for instance you should seriously consider collision and comprehensive insurance, especially if you are still paying financing on it. Also, just because the mandatory insurance amounts are 25/50/25, does not mean that this is the only amount you should get. Most experts agree that you should get either 100/300/50 or enough insurance to cover your total assets including car, house and investments to avoid financial ruin in a serious accident.
South Dakota Auto Insurance Plan
If you are a high risk driver, and have been refused by insurers, you are still required by legislation to have insurance. This is where the SDAIP would step in and insure you. It is offered by any insurer in the state, but the policy is shared by all insurers in a pool of risk. This insurance is usually much more expensive than a normal policy, so all other avenues should be explored first.
You are required in the state of South Dakota to carry proof of insurance or face DMV penalties including $100 fine, 30 days in jail, suspension of your license up to a year and possibly a 3 year requirement for a SR-22 financial responsibility certificate. Insurance proof is the ID card provided by the insurer and must be presented upon request to all enforcement officers and at all accident sites if you were involved.