South Dakota

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Rachel Bodine

Insurance Feature Writer

Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

Insurance Feature Writer

Jeffrey Johnson

Insurance Lawyer

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jun 17, 2022

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South Dakota
South Dakota Statistic Summary
Road Miles 82,576
Registered Vehicles 943,245
State Population 882,235
Percentage of
Uninsured Motorists
Driving Deaths Speeding: 354 Drunk Driving: 412
Average Premiums Annually
Liability: $300.22 Collision: $208.58 Comprehensive: $258.11
Cheapest Provider: State Farm Mutual Auto

Home to Mount Rushmore National Memorial, the Black Hills National Forest, Crazy Horse Memorial, and hundreds of miles of rolling prairies, the breathtaking state of South Dakota encompasses over 77,000 square miles and hosts more than two million visitors each year.

Often referred to as the land of “infinite variety” because of its diverse terrain, South Dakota ranks as the 16th-largest state in the U.S., but it is the fifth-least-densely populated state in the country.

So whether you’re one of the two million-plus visitors enjoying a camping vacation in your RV in the great plains or you’re a long-time resident of the Blizzard State just trucking through an intense winter, one thing is for sure: you’re going to need South Dakota car insurance.

But just because you need car insurance, doesn’t mean it’s going to be an easy thing to get your hands on especially with hundreds of car insurance companies out there ready and willing to take your money.

Don’t get discouraged yet. In just a few minutes, we can give you all the information you’ll need to make an educated decision about which car insurance company to go with, while simultaneously giving you the best car insurance rate possible.

In this guide, we’ll cover South Dakota car insurance cost, coverage, culture, laws, risks, dangers of the road, and much more.

Let’s cover South Dakota car insurance rates and coverage first.

Ready to start comparing rates? Use our FREE comparison tool. It’s easy just enter your ZIP code to get started.

Table of Contents

What Are the South Dakota Car Insurance Coverage Requirements & Rates?

We’re not here to waste your time, so we want to start with the basics: how much does car insurance cost? Could you be paying too much for your existing car insurance policy? What kind of coverage do you need to have?

To help you better understand the answers to these questions, let’s take a look at South Dakota’s car culture.

What Is South Dakota’s Car Culture Like?

According to The Hartford, if you spend any time driving in South Dakota, you’ll soon find wide-open spaces and otherworldly landscapes. You’ll also find cities that feel more like small towns, vast farms and ranches, and a diverse culture shaped by waves of immigration and by the Native American tribes who have been living on this land for many centuries and whose members still make up a significant portion of the state’s population.

Since the state of South Dakota is very large and also under-populated, many roads are empty and service locations like grocery stores, gas stations, and hotels are spread out. South Dakota drivers rely heavily on their vehicles to get them from one side of the state to the other.

Harsh winters, farmland, and rough terrain might also play into what kind of vehicle a South Dakota driver prefers. The Ford F-150 is the most popular vehicle in the state.

What Are the South Dakota Minimum Coverage Requirements?

It is South Dakota state law that every driver must have car insurance. But what kind of car insurance do drivers need to have? Why even car insurance in the first place?

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To make it short and sweet, car insurance helps prevent drivers who have been in an accident from going bankrupt.

South Dakota is an at-fault car accident state. This means that any driver who causes an accident is financially responsible to cover any accident-related costs, i.e., damages to a vehicle or building or medical bills.

But let’s get right to the point — here are South Dakota’s minimum liability insurance requirements:

  • $25,000 liability coverage for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident caused by the owner/driver of the insured vehicle
  • $50,000 liability coverage for total bodily injury or death liability in an accident caused by the owner/driver of the insured vehicle
  • $25,000 liability coverage for property damage per accident caused by the owner/driver of the insured vehicle.

The amounts listed above are the amounts of coverage you get with your policy — not what you pay to your insurance company. However, these amounts may not be enough to cover all costs in the case of a serious accident.

Remember that liability coverage doesn’t apply to your own injuries or vehicle damage after a South Dakota car accident. You’ll need different (additional) coverage for if you’re involved in a car accident and no one else’s coverage applies to your losses.

You can (and in some situations should) carry more coverage to protect you in case a serious crash results in significant car accident injuries and vehicle damage. Once your bodily injury coverage and property damage liability coverage policy limits are exhausted, you are personally on the financial hook. Higher insurance limits can help protect your assets in the event of a serious crash.

We always like to say that having more insurance is better insurance. After all, no one wants to pay thousands of dollars worth of medical and vehicle damage bills.

What Are the Forms of Financial Responsibility?

Now that we’ve got your attention, let’s talk about forms of financial responsibility. It sounds sort of serious, doesn’t it?

A form of financial responsibility is a form showing you have proof of insurance. It also shows you can and will be held responsible when or if you cause an accident.

When a law enforcement officer pulls you over, you must be able to show your license, registration, and proof of insurance. If you cannot provide proof of insurance or you are caught driving without insurance, you will be penalized.

Not only is it the law to have car insurance, but it’s also the law that all drivers must carry proof of insurance in their car or on their person at all times while in a vehicle.

Acceptable forms of proof of insurance are:

  • Valid liability insurance ID cards
  • Copy of your current car’s insurance policy
  • Valid insurance binder (a temporary form of car insurance)
  • Electronic insurance ID cards

According to the South Dakota Department of Public Safety Motor Vehicle Division, a conviction for driving without proof of insurance is considered a “Class 2 Misdemeanor” punishable by 30 days in jail, a $100 fine, or both.

In addition, the offender’s driver’s license will be suspended for at least 30 days, and up to one year.

What Percentage of Income is Premiums?

When we’re talking about an insurance premium, we’re talking about the amount of money you will pay for your insurance policy over one year. When we’re talking about your premium as a percentage of your income, we want to know how much of your income you will spend on car insurance in one calendar year.

In 2014, South Dakota residents spent an average of $744.28 per year on their car insurance policy.

South Dakota’s average income per capita in the same year (2014) was $41,825.00. Drivers in South Dakota spend an average of 1.78 percent of their total disposable income a year on car insurance alone.

Countrywide, Americans pay an average of $981 per year for their car insurance policy, so South Dakotans spend about $240 less than the average driver spends on insurance in the U.S.

From 2012 – 2014, South Dakota car insurance increased in price by about $55. When we look at surrounding states, North Dakota drivers paid $768.09 in 2014 for an insurance premium and Nebraska drivers paid $805.99 for the same policy in the same year. Keep in mind that since this data was polled in 2014, rates are expected to be a little higher today.

What Are the Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates in SD (Liability, Collision, Comprehensive)?

The data from the table below is pulled directly from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

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Coverage TypeAnnual Costs (2015)

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As we’ve said above, having minimum insurance means you are a law-abiding citizen. However, it doesn’t mean you won’t be stuck paying for costs from accidents that exceed your minimum insurance policy.

Having better insurance doesn’t cost you as much as you might think and some insurance providers might even cut you a break on your rate if you have better coverage. It’s a win-win.

Are you looking for even more insurance? Check out these additional coverage options below.

What Are the Additional Liability Coverage Options in South Dakota?

Loss Ratio201320142015
Medical Payments (MedPay)71.670.175.97
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage (UUM)77.2469.9477.24

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The two types of additional coverage listed in the table above are not required by the state of South Dakota. So why are we mentioning them?

7.70 percent of motorists in South Dakota are uninsured. This means the state is ranked 42nd in the U.S. for uninsured drivers.

While this number isn’t particularly high, it’s still a frightening thought that uninsured drivers are living in South Dakota.

Have you ever wondered what happens when you get into a car accident with an uninsured driver?

When you get into an accident with an uninsured driver and it was caused by them, they were at-fault and technically owe you money to fix your car and pay for your medical bills.

However, while paying for these medical bills and/or vehicle damages, this uninsured driver will likely file for bankruptcy and you will never see a dime of the money that is rightfully owed to you.

Having uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage takes care of you if you ever get into an accident with an uninsured driver.

Okay, so now that we’ve got additional liability coverage insurance out of the way, let’s talk about loss ratio percentage.

Loss ratio percentage is often a way we can measure a company’s financial strength. It also tells us how many filed claims were paid by an insurance company.

A claim is a form you fill out with your insurance company after you get into an accident.

If a company has a loss ratio percentage that is too high (over 100 percent) the company might be at risk of going bankrupt because they are paying for too many filed claims. Some of these claims could be fraudulent. If an insurance company goes bankrupt, you might end up paying for incurred accidental damages on your own.

On the other hand, if a company has a low loss ratio percentage (under 50 percent), then that company might be scamming its clients. Think about it. If you’re an insurance company that pays for less than half of claims, you’re not a very helpful insurance company.

Take a look at the chart above. All of these types of coverages have great loss ratio percentages — not too high and not too low.

Are There Add-Ons, Endorsements, & Riders?

Are you interested in even more insurance? Medpay and uninsured liability insurance are just two of the many options you can add to a basic policy.

Click on the links below to learn more about each type of car insurance.

Add one or add them all — the more insurance you have, the more money you’ll save in the long run.

Up next: what factors affect your car insurance rate?

What Are the Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates by Age & Gender in SD?

Did you know factors like gender, marital status and age can affect your car insurance rate?

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Car insurance companies know that the younger you are, the less driving experience you have, which means you are more likely to be involved in a car accident.

CompanyMarried 35-year old female annual rateMarried 35-year old male annual rateMarried 60-year old female annual rateMarried 60-year old male annual rateSingle 17-year old female annual rateSingle 17-year old male annual rateSingle 25-year old female annual rateSingle 25-year old male annual rate
Allstate Insurance$2,474.54$2,528.40$2,181.98$2,334.16$10,197.33$12,177.01$2,800.88$3,063.94
American Family Mutual$2,914.39$2,914.39$2,580.51$2,580.51$6,027.92$8,851.26$2,914.39$3,582.66
Mid-Century Ins Co$1,971.41$1,976.49$1,734.99$1,804.87$8,816.86$9,165.82$2,203.09$2,349.78
Geico General$2,362.14$2,226.34$2,259.77$2,082.34$4,778.02$5,636.95$2,071.64$1,990.07
SAFECO Ins Co of America$4,228.78$4,601.28$3,336.53$4,056.42$16,143.42$18,125.24$4,449.68$4,953.30
AMCO Insurance$1,944.69$2,000.73$1,735.99$1,858.22$4,233.35$5,485.68$2,181.20$2,375.98
Progressive Northern$2,152.90$2,125.17$1,771.85$1,825.96$7,722.52$8,789.89$2,696.57$2,814.42
State Farm Mutual Auto$1,571.08$1,571.08$1,353.12$1,353.12$3,852.54$4,946.49$1,757.55$1,972.63

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Most people think men pay more for car insurance than women, but this is not the case. Women generally pay less for car insurance than men do because women are considered to be more responsible than men.

Even though it’s silly, South Dakota hasn’t created a law that bans gender-based car insurance rates.

The data from the table above is based on actual purchased coverage by the state population and includes rates for high-risk drivers and those who choose to purchase more than the state minimum as well as other types of coverage not required, such as uninsured/underinsured motorist, PIP, and MedPay.

How does ZIP code affect auto insurance? Factors like traffic, crime, and claim frequency in your area all matter. Find out how your ZIP code compares against other zips in South Dakota.

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What Are the Best South Dakota Car Insurance Companies?

With so many reputable car insurance companies out there to choose from, how do you pick just one to insure you? Most people choose a car insurance company based on their rate, but what are some other factors you should look out for when choosing an insurance company?

Customer service, complaint data, loss ratio, and AM Best ratings are all things to research when you are looking for a new insurance company.

We cover all of these things and more, up next.

What Are the Financial Ratings For the 10 Largest Insurance Companies in South Dakota?

CompanyAM Best RatingDirect Premiums WrittenLoss RatioMarket Share
State Farm GroupA++$107,43566.20%19.80%
Progressive GroupA+$75,75759.19%13.96%
American Family Insurance GroupA$52,46759.38%9.67%
Farmers Mutual Insurance Co of NEA$27,06163.18%4.99%
Nationwide Corp GroupA+$26,79457.79%4.94%
Farmers Insurance GroupNR$25,24152.77%4.65%
USAA GroupA++$23,41678.78%4.32%
Iowa Farm Bureau GroupNR$20,89262.43%3.85%
DeSmet Insurance GroupNR$18,65478.16%3.44%
Geico A++$17,66073.91%3.25%

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As you can see from the table above, these top 10 insurance companies have excellent AM Best ratings. Similar to loss ratio percentages, AM Best ratings are important because they measure a company’s financial strength.

Take note: all of these companies have good loss ratio percentages – they are all between 50 – 100 percent.

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What Are the South Dakota Companies with the Best Ratings?

Standing on a curb in the middle of a busy intersection after you’ve been in an accident, trying to get ahold of someone from your insurance company to try to start filing a claim, the last thing you want to hear on the other end of the line is an unhelpful, annoyed voice.

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Customer service satisfaction is everything when it comes to insurance companies — in fact, the only communication you might ever have with your insurance company is after you’ve been in a serious accident.

J.D. Power conducted a study ranking car insurance companies in South Dakota and the surrounding area. The 2019 U.S. Auto Insurance Study, now in its 20th year, examines customer satisfaction in five factors (in order of importance): interaction, policy offerings, price, billing process and policy information, and claims.

The study is based on responses from 42,759 auto insurance customers and was fielded from February – April 2019.

JD Power Central Region

Except for USAA (a company that only services military members and their families), Shelter was ranked as the number one car insurance company in the central region of the U.S.

What Are the Complaint Statistics for the Top 10 Largest Insurance Companies in South Dakota?

All companies receive complaints, but how a company chooses to handle a complaint is what matters.

The data from the table below is brought to you from the NAIC.

CompanyNational Median Complaint RatioCompany Complaint Ratio 2017Total Complaints 2017
State Farm Group10.441482
Progressive Group10.75120
American Family Insurance Group10.7973
Farmers Mutual Insurance Co of NEN/AN/AN/A
Nationwide Corp Group10.2825
Farmers Insurance Group100
Iowa Farm Bureau Group10.7732
DeSmet Insurance GroupN/AN/AN/A

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What Are the Cheapest Companies in South Dakota?

We’re not saying this is always going to be the case, but generally, State Farm Mutual Auto has the cheapest car insurance rate in South Dakota. See below.

CompanyAverage Annual RateCompared to State AveragePercentage Compared to State Average
Allstate Insurance$4,719.78$758.1816.06%
American Family Mutual$4,045.75$84.162.08%
Mid-Century Ins Co$3,752.91-$208.68-5.56%
Geico General$2,925.91-$1,035.69-35.40%
SAFECO Ins Co of America$7,486.83$3,525.2347.09%
AMCO Insurance$2,726.98-$1,234.62-45.27%
Progressive Northern$3,737.41-$224.19-6.00%
State Farm Mutual Auto$2,297.20-$1,664.40-72.45%

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Now that you know what companies carry the cheapest insurance premiums, it’s time to focus on more factors that can affect your rate.

What Are the Commute Rates by Companies in South Dakota?

Did you know that your average mileage rate per year can affect your car insurance rate?

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Group10 miles commute, 6000 annual mileage25 miles commute, 12000 annual mileage
American Family$3,995.93$4,095.58
Liberty Mutual$7,486.83$7,486.83
State Farm$2,241.25$2,353.15

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Sometimes, a car insurance company won’t base your rate on the average number of miles you drive per year. Take a look at Farmers, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide and Progressive. It doesn’t matter if you drive 10 miles per day or 25 miles per day, the rate is still the same.

What Are the Coverage Level Rates by Companies in South Dakota?

If you can afford the payment every month, having more car insurance is always considered better car insurance. Some car insurance companies will agree and will give you a better rate on your insurance premium if you have more insurance.

Look at the table below to see what we mean.

GroupLow CoverageMedium CoverageHigh Coverage
American Family$4,078.61$4,164.96$3,893.69
Liberty Mutual$7,353.17$7,475.89$7,631.44
State Farm$2,224.08$2,298.48$2,369.04

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For just a few hundred dollars per year, you could have high coverage car insurance. Ask your insurance provider if they have discounts on insurance if you opt for more than what is required by the state.

What Are the Credit History Rates by Companies in South Dakota?

If you have great credit, you might be able to save some money on your car insurance policy.

GroupGood Credit HistoryFair Credit HistoryGood Credit History
American Family$3,176.55$3,753.35$3,176.55
Liberty Mutual$5,107.61$6,505.14$5,107.61
State Farm$1,548.87$1,999.16$1,548.87

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On the other hand, if you wreck your credit history, you might wind up paying hundreds of dollars more for your insurance. Car insurance companies charge more money to people with lower credit scores because they are considered to be high-risk clients.

According to Experian, in 2017, South Dakota’s average credit score was 700. This score is higher than the national average of 675.

Concerned about your low credit score? Don’t worry — as soon as you increase your score, your car insurance rate should significantly decrease.

What Are the Driving Record Rates by Companies in South Dakota?

You guessed it — your driving record is the most significant factor affecting your car insurance rate. Car insurance companies want to know if you’ve been in an accident, if you’ve gotten a DUI, if you’ve been given a traffic ticket, if you’re a reckless driver, and more. All of this is evaluated by your car insurance company after they’ve pulled your license.

Take a look at the drastic rate differences in the table below.

GroupClean RecordWith 1 Speeding ViolationWith 1 AccidentWith 1 DUI
American Family$2,936.19$3,360.82$4,319.26$5,566.74
Liberty Mutual$6,315.12$7,659.25$7,827.02$8,145.94
State Farm$2,153.28$2,297.20$2,441.12$2,297.20

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While just one traffic ticket can cost you hundreds of dollars per year, one DUI might cost you thousands of dollars per year.

How Many Insurers Are There in South Dakota?

What is the difference between foreign and domestic insurance laws?

DomesticForeignTotal Number of Licensed Insurers

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As you can see, there are many more foreign insurers than there are domestic. Domestic insurance laws are formed by the laws of the state of South Dakota and foreign insurance laws are formed under the laws of the U.S.

Keep in mind that the laws formed under the state of South Dakota might not apply to the rest of the U.S.

What Are the South Dakota State Laws?

It’s near impossible to know every state law by heart, so we decided to create this short section on some of South Dakota’s driving laws. Knowing the rules and laws of the road can help keep you safe and avoid accidents and traffic tickets while driving.

You might be thinking that you already know many of these, but since some laws change every day, it might be a great idea to refresh your memory.

First, let’s discuss car insurance laws.

What Are the Car Insurance Laws in South Dakota?

Have you ever wondered how car insurance laws are formed?

According to the NAIC, state laws have considerable influence on auto insurance. Each state determines the type of tort law and threshold (if any) that applies in the state, the type and amount of liability insurance required, and the system used for approval of insurer rates and forms.

Also, the states have enacted varying seat belt requirements, drunk driving laws, and maximum speed limits.

In South Dakota, car insurance rates/forms must be filed with and approved by the state insurance department before they can be used. This process holds a car insurance company accountable and does not allow them to increase a rate based on an unfair judgment.

Windshield Coverage

South Dakota and the central region of the U.S. is known for having wind and dust storms which can cause rocks and pebbles to fly up and hit your windshield.

Unfortunately for South Dakota drivers, there isn’t a law that states insurance companies must replace a broken windshield without some kind of deductible. However, if you have comprehensive coverage, your policy will likely cover “free” windshield repair.

If you do have to pay a deductible or go through insurance to get it repaired, here are some laws that you should be aware of:

  • The consumer has the right to choose the repair vendor
  • Aftermarket crash parts allowed with written notice in an estimate

High-Risk Insurance

If you get into a car accident or you’re caught drinking and driving, you may need to apply for SR22 insurance or high-risk insurance.

A South Dakota SR-22 car insurance certificate, or financial responsibility insurance form, is a document of proof that a driver is financially responsible for carrying the minimum car insurance as required by the state.

You may also be required to get SR-22 insurance if the following applies:

  • You are a driver with unsatisfied judgments
  • A driver whose licenses were revoked
  • A driver who is under mandatory insurance supervision
  • A driver with three or more mandatory insurance violation convictions on their driving record

When you get a DUI or a traffic ticket, your insurance company will raise your rates — unfortunately, the same thing happens when you are required to get high-risk insurance.

Low-Cost Insurance

At this time, South Dakota does not have a government-assisted car insurance program for low-income families. Hawaii, California and New Jersey are the only states in the country that do offer some sort of aid with car insurance for families who need it based on income levels.

Don’t be discouraged by this, because there are many more ways you can pinch pennies when it comes to your hefty insurance policy.

Ask your provider if you qualify for any of these discounts below:

  • Good driver discount
  • Home owner’s discount
  • Military discount
  • Multi-car discount
  • Student discount

Remember to always shop around when looking for the best insurance rate.

Automobile Insurance Fraud in South Dakota

What is auto insurance fraud?

Auto insurance fraud is when you knowingly file a false claim or you stage an accident to collect insurance money.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, insurance fraud can be “hard” or “soft.” Hard fraud occurs when someone deliberately fabricates claims or fakes an accident.

Soft insurance fraud, also known as opportunistic fraud, occurs when people pad legitimate claims, for example, or, in the case of business owners, list fewer employees or misrepresent the work they do to pay lower premiums for worker’s compensation.

Auto insurance fraud and claim buildup added between $4.8 billion – $6.8 billion to closed auto injury claim payments in 2007, according to the Insurance Research Council’s November 2008 study, Fraud and Buildup in Auto Insurance Claims: 2008 Edition.

It’s difficult to commit insurance fraud, so it’s not something you can do by accident. Insurance fraud in the state of South Dakota is punishable by fines and jail time.

If you or someone you know would like to contact the South Dakota Division of Insurance, please give them a call at (605) 773-3563 or visit their office at the address listed below:

124 S Euclid Ave, Pierre, SD 57501

You can also email them by clicking here.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations law tells you how much time you have to file a claim after an accident. This law protects both the insurance company and the driver.

In South Dakota, you have three years after you get into an accident to file a claim for personal injury and six years after to file a claim for property damage.

Unless you want to be stuck paying for medical bills and vehicle repair bills, we suggest you file a claim with your insurance company immediately after you are involved in an accident and/or natural disaster.

What Are the Vehicle Licensing Laws?

Every state has different licensing laws. Let’s start this section with REAL ID laws.


Have you ever heard of a REAL ID?

After October 2020, all South Dakota drivers will need a REAL ID to get through airport security and board a domestic flight. Drivers will also need a REAL ID when going through a federal building.

Note: You will not need a REAL ID to vote or to drive after October 2020.

What Are the Penalties for Driving Without Insurance?

Please don’t drive without car insurance. If you do and get caught, you’re looking at some serious penalties.

It doesn’t matter if it’s your first time being convicted of driving without car insurance or your 15th time — the penalties are always the same. Take a look below.

  • Fine: $100 and/or 30 days imprisonment
  • License suspension for 30 days to one year
  • Filing proof of insurance (SR-22) with the state for three years from the date of conviction

Failure to file proof will result in the suspension of vehicle registration, license plates, and driver license. Always, always, always carry your proof of insurance card on you. We can’t stress it enough.

Acceptable forms of proof of insurance are:

  • Copy of your current car’s insurance policy
  • Electronic car insurance card
  • Valid liability insurance ID cards
  • Valid insurance binder (a temporary form of car insurance)

If you always have your cell phone on you, remember that you can show proof of insurance by logging onto your insurance account and pulling up your electronic insurance card.

What Are the Teen Driver Laws?

Did you know that South Dakota is the only state in the U.S. where you can get a driver’s permit at age of 14? Take a look at the table for more laws about teen driving below.

Driver's Permit LawsTime/Age
Mandatory Holding Period6 months (3 months with driver education)
Minimum Supervised Driving TimeNone
Minimum Age14 Years Old

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Here are some laws and restrictions that are intended to keep young drivers safe while on the road.

Driver's License RestrictionsTime/Age
Nighttime restrictions10 p.m.-6 a.m.
Passenger restrictions (family members excepted unless noted otherwise)None
Minimum age at which restrictions may be lifted
Nighttime restrictionsuntil age 16 (min. age: 16)
Passenger restrictionsNone

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What Are the Driver’s License Renewal Procedures?

In the state of South Dakota, it doesn’t matter how old you are, you must renew your driver’s license every five years.

Proof of adequate vision is required at every renewal for those 65 and older and for those renewing their license in person.

All drivers may renew their license every other time online or by mail.

What Is the Procedure for New Residents?

If you are a new resident in the state of South Dakota, you must transfer your driver’s license within 90 days. If you have a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holder, you have 30 days.

But what happens if you are a nomad RV camper? Three states in the U.S. are considered to be RV or “nomad” friendly: Texas, Florida, and South Dakota.

Watch the video below to see how you can establish a nomadic residency in South Dakota.

If you are a new resident, you’re also going to need to let your provider know you will need South Dakota car insurance. Please be aware that some insurance providers don’t cover drivers in certain states.

Remember South Dakota’s minimum liability car insurance requirements are:

  • $25,000 liability coverage for bodily injury or death of one person in an accident caused by the owner/driver of the insured vehicle
  • $50,000 liability coverage for total bodily injury or death liability in an accident caused by the owner/driver of the insured vehicle
  • $25,000 liability coverage for property damage per accident caused by the owner/driver of the insured vehicle

Negligent Operator Treatment System (NOTS)

According to NOLO, in South Dakota, “reckless driving” is a crime. The offense is defined as driving:

  • “carelessly and heedlessly in disregard of the rights or safety of others,” or
  • “without due caution and circumspection and at a speed or in a manner so as to endanger or be likely to endanger any person or property.”

In other words, reckless driving is operating a vehicle in a manner that poses a danger to other people or property. Careless driving is a Class 2 misdemeanor. Convicted motorists are looking at up to 30 days in jail and/or a maximum of $500 in fines.

The difference between reckless and careless driving is subtle. Generally, reckless driving involves the operation of a vehicle that’s dangerous, whereas more subtle instances of bad driving might be in the careless driving category.

What Are the South Dakota Rules of the Road?

The following information is brought to you from the IIHS.

Whether you’re just passing through on a vacation to see Mount Rushmore or you’re a resident in South Dakota, knowing the rules of the road can save your life and save you money in traffic tickets.

Keep reading as we discuss important driving rules in South Dakota.

Fault vs. No-Fault

South Dakota is an at-fault car accident state. This means any driver who causes an accident is financially responsible for covering the costs of damage repairs and medical bills resulting from that accident.

Because South Dakota is an at-fault state, it’s always better to have more insurance than what is legally required.

Seat Belt & Car Seat Laws

Click it or ticket! South Dakota has implemented the following seat belt and car seat laws for your safety.

Seat Belt LawsRequirements
Effective SinceJanuary 1, 1995
Primary Enforcementno
Age/Seats Applicable18+ years in front seat
1st Offense Max Fine$20

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Children also need to be buckled up safely while in a moving vehicle.

Type of Car Seat RequiredAge
Car Seat4 years and younger and less than 40 pounds
Adult Belt Permissible5 through 17 years; all children 40+ pounds, regardless of age
Preference for Rear Seatlaw states no preference for rear seat
Maximum Base Fine$25

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Break these laws, and you’ll have to pay $25 plus fees.

Have you ever wondered if it is against the law in the state of South Dakota to ride in the cargo area of a pickup truck? While riding in the back of a pickup truck is not illegal in South Dakota, please use caution if and when you choose to ride in one.

Keep Right or Move Over Laws

Keep right or move over laws are pretty self-explanatory, so we’ll make this section short and sweet.

In South Dakota, there aren’t any specific keep right or move over laws. You can drive in the left lane or the right as long as there aren’t any emergency vehicles trying to pass you.

AAA says state law requires drivers to reduce speed and vacate the lane closest to official emergency vehicles, including tow trucks and wreckers.

Speed Limit Laws

South Dakota has higher-than-average speed limits. See below for South Dakota’s maximum speed limits.

Type of RoadwaySpeed Limit
Rural Interstates80 mph
Urban Interstates80 mph
Other Limited Access Roads70 mph
Other Roads70 mph

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If you’re caught speeding, you’ll receive a fine and points on your record. Once your insurance company finds out about your speeding ticket, your rates will go up until the points fall off your record.


If you need a ride, call a ridesharing company. If you want to drive for a ridesharing company, you’re going to need ridesharing insurance.

To see what car insurance companies offer ridesharing insurance in South Dakota, click here.

Automation on the Road

What is automation on the road?

The IIHS says that automation involves using radar, camera, and other sensors to perform parts or all of the driving task on a sustained basis instead of the driver. One example is adaptive cruise control, which continually adjusts the vehicle’s speed to maintain a set minimum following distance.

Features such as automatic braking, which acts as a backup if the human driver fails to brake, or blindspot detection, which provides additional information to the driver, aren’t considered automation under this definition.

South Dakota currently does not have any laws on vehicle automation, but you can check back with IIHS every so often to see if this has changed.

What Are the Safety Laws in South Dakota?

In this next section, we’ll talk about safety laws, including DUI laws, texting and driving laws, impaired driving laws, and much more.

DUI Laws

In 2017, there were 35 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in South Dakota.

Name for OffenseDriving under the influence (DUI)
BAC Limit0.08
High BAC Limit0.17
Criminal Status1st-2nd class 1 misdemeanors, 3rd in 10 years class 6 felony, 4th in 10 years class 5 felony, 5th+ class 4 felonies
Look Back Period10 years

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Unsure about the penalties for breaking one of these serious laws? See the table below.

Number of OffenseALS or RevocationImprisonmentFineOther
First Offense30 days - 1 yearno minimum, but up to 1 year$2,000 minimum
Second Offense6 months minimum; restricted permit eligibleno minimum, but up to 120 days$2,000 minimumif caught driving while license suspended, 3 days in county jail not able to be suspended
Third Offense1 year from date of imprisonment release; restricted permit eligibleno minimum, but up to 2 years$4,000if caught driving while license suspended, 10 days in county jail not able to be suspended
Fourth Offense2 years, restricted permit elegibleup to 10 years$20,000if caught driving while license suspended, 20 days in county jail not able to be suspended
Fifth Offensemin 3 years up to 10 years$20,000 if caught driving while license suspended, 20 days in county jail not able to be suspended

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Drunk driving is no joke in South Dakota. Break this law just one time and you’ll be looking at prison time, license suspension, and will most likely have to pay thousands of dollars in fines.

Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws

In the state of South Dakota, if you are under 21 years old, there is a zero-tolerance policy for driving while using THC and metabolites.

If you’re over the age of 21 and you’re using drugs of any kind while driving, you can be penalized for impaired driving.

Distracted Driving Laws

According to AAA, texting while driving is prohibited. In some cities, including Aberdeen and Rapid City, texting while driving is a standard offense. Additionally, in some cities, including Box Elder, handheld cell phone use is prohibited.

Hand-held banYoung drivers all cellphone banTexting banEnforcement
nolearner's permit and intermediate license holdersall driverssecondary

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What Should I Know About Driving in South Dakota?

Now that we’ve discussed car insurance laws, South Dakota driving laws, and rules of the road, it’s time to get into some of the risks and dangers of the road.

In this section, we will talk about important topics like vehicle theft, road fatality rates, traffic congestion, and South Dakota commute statistics. First up, let’s go over vehicle theft statistics.

Is There Vehicle Theft in South Dakota?

The table below shows the most popular types of vehicles stolen. The year listed is the most popular model stolen.

Make/ModelYear of VehicleThefts
Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size)199452
Ford Pickup (Full Size)200147
Chevrolet Impala200424
Dodge Pickup (Full Size)200123
Honda Civic199623
GMC Pickup (Full Size)199422
Chevrolet Malibu200320
Chevrolet Pickup (Small Size)199717
Ford Taurus200617
Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee199917

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This next list is brought to you by the FBI. It shows the vehicle theft rate by the city in South Dakota in 2017. Find your city in the table below.

Belle Fourche3
Box Elder20
Hot Springs6
North Sioux City4
Rapid City304
Sioux Falls469

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According to this list, Sioux Falls had 469 reported vehicle thefts in 2017.

How Many Road Fatalities Occur in South Dakota?

Road fatalities often happen for a few different reasons. Understanding how they happen and what causes them can help you avoid them and help keep you safe while on South Dakota roads.

In this section, we’ll discuss fatality statistics: how they happen, where they happen, and what causes them to happen the most frequently.

But first, what is the most dangerous road in South Dakota?

What Is the Most Fatal Highway in South Dakota?

According to, the South Dakota portion of US-18 sees an average of around five crashes per year. South Dakota’s portion of US-18 is known as the Oyate Trail, named for the Tribal lands it passes.

To determine the most dangerous highway in each U.S. state, Geotab calculated a Fatal Crash Rate based on the annual number of road fatalities and fatal crashes according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and then adjusted it for the average daily traffic counts provided by the Federal Highway Administration.

South Dakota’s portion of US-18 received an average crash rate of 1.4. It is considered to be the seventh-dangerous highway in the U.S.

Fatal Crashes by Weather Condition & Light Condition

Did weather or light conditions influence the fatal crash rate in South Dakota?

Weather ConditionDaylightDark, but LightedDarkDawn or DuskOther / UnknownTotal

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According to this table above, many of these crashes took place in broad daylight. Some happened in the dark, but for the most part, weather and light conditions did not affect the fatality rate.

Fatalities (All Crashes) by County

Here is a list showing traffic fatality rates by counties in South Dakota.

Per 100K
Aurora County41320147.2236.4109.4172.730
Beadle County2140210.955.5122.03011.02
Bennett County1110028.8929.1129.400
Bon Homme County2203028.6428.65043.050
Brookings County7424321.1712.015.9211.758.76
Brown County241115.2310.432.62.572.55
Brule County0000000000
Buffalo County0001000049.210
Butte County121239.7319.529.819.7529.68
Campbell County1012072.89070.72144.090
Charles Mix County5111354.4310.8210.6810.6631.82
Clark County3101082.927.46027.470
Clay County122107.1914.3914.57.170
Codington County252227.1817.897.177.137.12
Corson County3301271.2871.87024.2447.59
Custer County1352111.935.5859.1723.2111.51
Davison County2032110.13015.2110.095.08
Day County4220171.7136.3336.36018.11
Deuel County1200023.3246.51000
Dewey County3000153.7600017.14
Douglas County0001000034.360
Edmunds County03622075.51150.1150.7951.03
Fall River County2110229.3514.6114.71029.91
Faulk County002100086.7343.010
Grant County2311327.6141.8114.114.0942.49
Gregory County2320047.2771.0147.7200
Haakon County1100053.1654.17000
Hamlin County1111016.9916.9216.8517.010
Hand County2011059.36030.3130.470
Hanson County1171129.3929.23206.7329.529.21
Harding County1110279.3780.2678.80161.03
Hughes County101135.7405.75.6916.98
Hutchinson County1120013.913.8427.5200
Hyde County00030000224.050
Jackson County02336061.1691.4190.99182.43
Jerauld County00002000098.62
Jones County11112102.77104.49108.93106.95213.68
Kingsbury County1201219.7439.59020.0940.39
Lake County2201216.816.5407.9315.61
Lawrence County76810828.0624.2632.2639.7131.46
Lincoln County5543610.029.697.555.510.59
Lyman County3103077.9625.91076.530
Marshall County01111021.3220.9820.8820.82
Mccook County2210235.836.0918.29036.37
Mcpherson County1000041.250000
Meade County7664326.522.4422.3914.6210.71
Mellette County2120097.748.3898.7200
Miner County1010043.23045.2500
Minnehaha County1114109126.177.725.444.846.36
Moody County1340115.5246.6461.85015.2
Pennington County9131610178.512.0914.89.1815.43
Perkins County1100133.1533.180033.62
Potter County0001100044.0544.82
Roberts County4245539.0419.4339.1748.9148.65
Sanborn County1110142.9942.9242.64040.82
Shannon County626141100000
Spink County1001215.230015.6231.2
Stanley County0000000000
Sully County001010071.12071.07
Todd County1201110.0120.1309.99.94
Tripp County01010018.15018.210
Turner County04122048.8412.324.1924.05
Union County2022113.55013.4513.346.65
Walworth County1423018.1772.3636.8254.540
Yankton County3973613.2539.6830.8613.2626.48
Ziebach County32000105.1269.93000

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Traffic Fatalities: Rural vs. Urban

Generally, more traffic fatalities occur in rural areas than they do in urban areas. This could be because there are fewer emergency service locations in rural areas.

See the table below.


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The closer your crash site is to a hospital, the better chance you have of survival.

Fatalities by Person Type

Did person type or vehicle type have anything to do with the fatality rate in South Dakota?

Person Type20132014201520162017Total
OccupantsPassenger Car434138293729
Light Truck - Pickup263629272419
Light Truck - Utility201918211915
Light Truck - Van116941512
Large Truck241265
Other/Unknown Occupants221522
Total Occupants104108968810380
MotorcyclistsTotal Motorcyclists221731221612
Total Nonoccupants91176108
Bicyclist and Other Cyclist021000

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According to this list above, cars were most often involved in fatal accidents.

Fatalities by Crash Type

What types of crashes resulted in a fatal accident?

Crash Type20132014201520162017
Total Fatalities (All Crashes)135136134116129
(1) Single Vehicle7678727469
(2) Involving a Large Truck182113521
(3) Involving Speeding3830313731
(4) Involving a Rollover5052545758
(5) Involving a Roadway Departure8795878193
(6) Involving an Intersection (or Intersection Related)3221241619

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Single-vehicle crashes and crashes involving a roadway departure were most likely to result in a road fatality.

Five-Year Fatality Trend for the Top 10 Biggest Counties in South Dakota

See below.

Pennington County913161017
Minnehaha County111410912
Shannon County6261411
Lawrence County768108
Jackson County02336
Lincoln County55436
Yankton County39736
Roberts County42455
Brookings County74243
Butte County12123

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Fatalities Involving Speeding by County

Speeding also causes road fatalities in South Dakota.

2014201520162017Fatalities Per 100K Population
Aurora County1000036.810000
Beadle County00100005.5100
Bennett County0000000000
Bon Homme County0000000000
Brookings County111113.0232.962.942.92
Brown County0100002.61000
Brule County0000000000
Buffalo County0000000000
Butte County0000000000
Campbell County0001000072.050
Charles Mix County2001121.770010.6610.61
Clark County1000027.630000
Clay County0000000000
Codington County232107.1810.737.173.570
Corson County2000047.520000
Custer County02010023.72011.610
Davison County002000010.1400
Day County002010036.36018.11
Deuel County01000023.26000
Dewey County1000117.9200017.14
Douglas County0000000000
Edmunds County03010075.51025.390
Fall River County00001000014.95
Faulk County0000000000
Grant County00001000014.16
Gregory County2220047.2747.3447.7200
Haakon County0000000000
Hamlin County0000000000
Hand County1001029.680030.470
Hanson County0040100118.13029.21
Harding County01001080.260080.52
Hughes County000110005.695.66
Hutchinson County01100013.8413.7600
Hyde County00030000224.050
Jackson County002200060.9460.660
Jerauld County0000000000
Jones County0000000000
Kingsbury County01000019.79000
Lake County100008.40000
Lawrence County102524.0108.0719.857.87
Lincoln County201234.0101.893.665.29
Lyman County1102025.9925.91051.020
Marshall County001100020.9820.880
Mccook County1110017.918.0518.2900
Mcpherson County0000000000
Meade County3510111.3618.73.7303.57
Mellette County0000000000
Miner County0000000000
Minnehaha County330331.681.6501.611.59
Moody County01000015.55000
Pennington County224431.891.863.73.672.72
Perkins County00001000033.62
Potter County0000000000
Roberts County2022019.52019.5919.570
Sanborn County0000000000
Shannon County4010700000
Spink County00001000015.6
Stanley County0000000000
Sully County00001000071.07
Todd County01010010.0709.90
Tripp County0001000018.210
Turner County0000000000
Union County0000000000
Walworth County1011018.17018.4118.180
Yankton County100204.42008.840
Ziebach County30000105.120000

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Fatalities in Crashes Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver (BAC = .08+) by County

From 2008 – 2017, 412 fatal crashes occurred because of alcohol-impaired driving in South Dakota.

Per 100K
Aurora County1010036.81036.4700
Beadle County0130005.5116.5200
Bennett County0000000000
Bon Homme County1100014.3214.32000
Brookings County141003.0212.012.9600
Brown County00100002.600
Brule County0000000000
Buffalo County0000000000
Butte County0101209.7609.8719.79
Campbell County0001000072.050
Charles Mix County5111154.4310.8210.6810.6610.61
Clark County1000027.630000
Clay County0000000000
Codington County100103.59003.570
Corson County00001000023.79
Custer County01200011.8623.6700
Davison County002000010.1400
Day County002010036.36018.11
Deuel County0000000000
Dewey County0000000000
Douglas County0000000000
Edmunds County0000000000
Fall River County1110114.6714.6114.71014.95
Faulk County002000086.7300
Grant County1201013.827.87014.090
Gregory County1000023.640000
Haakon County01000054.17000
Hamlin County0000000000
Hand County001000030.3100
Hanson County0001100029.529.21
Harding County0000000000
Hughes County000100005.690
Hutchinson County0000000000
Hyde County0000000000
Jackson County01220030.5860.9460.660
Jerauld County0000000000
Jones County010100104.490106.950
Kingsbury County02001039.590020.19
Lake County0101008.2707.930
Lawrence County6125224.054.048.0719.857.87
Lincoln County1200223.88003.53
Lyman County01000025.91000
Marshall County001100020.9820.880
Mccook County01000018.05000
Mcpherson County0000000000
Meade County3311111.3611.223.733.653.57
Mellette County01100048.3849.3600
Miner County001000045.2500
Minnehaha County333251.681.651.631.072.65
Moody County02100031.0915.4600
Pennington County242331.893.721.852.752.72
Perkins County1100133.1533.180033.62
Potter County0000000000
Roberts County2031119.52029.389.789.73
Sanborn County00001000040.82
Shannon County41512600000
Spink County0001100015.6215.6
Stanley County0000000000
Sully County001000071.1200
Todd County1101010.0110.0709.90
Tripp County0001000018.210
Turner County01110012.2112.312.090
Union County000100006.670
Walworth County1101018.1718.09018.180
Yankton County122134.428.828.824.4213.24
Ziebach County2000070.080000

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If you live in Shannon County, keep an eye out for drunk drivers. There were 28 alcohol-related fatalities in Shannon County that occurred from 2013 – 2017.

Teen Drinking & Driving

According to, In 26 states and D.C., under-21 alcohol-related driving fatalities per 100,000 population were at or below the national average of 1.2 deaths per 100,000.

South Dakota’s average was 2.8. After Montana, South Dakota has the second-highest teen drinking and driving fatality rate in the country.

DUI Arrest (Under 18 years old)DUI Arrests (Under 18 years old) Total Per Million PeopleRank

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According to this table above, South Dakota is the most dangerous state in the U.S. for teenage DUIs.

Emergency Response Time

As we previously stated, emergency response time is crucial when you’ve just been seriously injured in a severe accident. Seconds can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.

Check out these average response times in the table below.

Area of Crash SiteTime of Crash to EMS NotificationEMS Notification to EMS ArrivalEMS Arrival at Scene to Hospital ArrivalTime of Crash to Hospital ArrivalTotal Fatal Crashes
Rural4.07 mins15.17 mins33.87 mins51.33 min91
Urban3.69 mins7.31 mins21.17 mins30.08 mins20

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What Should I Know About Transportation in South Dakota?

Car insurance companies often base their rates on state averages. These averages can include traffic congestion time, car ownership, commute time, and other important factors like what type of transportation commuters use the most.

Buckle up as we tackle this last section in our ultimate guide to South Dakota car insurance.

Car Ownership

How many cars do South Dakota residents own?

According to Data USA, the following chart displays the households in South Dakota distributed between a series of car ownership compared to the national averages. The largest share of households in South Dakota have 2 cars, followed by 3 cars.

The orange bars show South Dakota’s average and the gray bars represent the national average.

Commute Time

Using averages, employees in South Dakota have a shorter commute time (16.3 minutes) than the normal U.S. worker (25.5 minutes). Additionally, 1.24 percent of the workforce in South Dakota have “super commutes” over 90 minutes.

Commuter Transportation

In 2017, the most common method of travel for workers in South Dakota was Drove Alone, followed by those who Carpooled and those who Worked At Home.

Traffic Congestion in South Dakota

Great news for South Dakota drivers! According to Inrix, South Dakota doesn’t have any cities on the most traffic-congested cities in America list.

We’ve come to the end of the road — it’s time to start shopping for your very own South Dakota car insurance policy. All you have to do is use our free tool by entering your zip in this box below.

Happy shopping.

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State Minimum Car Insurance Rates Nationwide
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Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates by Age & Gender in South Dakota
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South Dakota Car Insurers by Market Share %
South Dakota Car Insurance Rates by Company vs. State Average
Factors Affecting Car Insurance Rates in South Dakota
State Minimum Car Insurance Rates Nationwide
Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates by State
Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates by Age & Gender in South Dakota
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South Dakota Car Insurers by Market Share %
South Dakota Car Insurance Rates by Company vs. State Average
Factors Affecting Car Insurance Rates in South Dakota