Meeting the Vehicle Insurance Requirements of South Dakota

Like many other states, South Dakota requires minimum liability auto protection for every car registered to drive on its streets and highways. Those minimums include $25,000 bodily injury per person, $50,000 per accident, and $25,000 property damage. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is also required in the amount of $25,000 bodily injury per person, $50,000 per accident. If you are financially able, the authorities will allow you to file a certificate of deposit or securities in the amount of no less than $50,000 with the state treasurer's office in lieu of a liability policy.

Proof of financial responsibility must be carried in the vehicle at all times and presented upon request to a police officer. This proof may be in the form of a proof of insurance card provided by the policy issuer, a certificate of self-insurance, or a certificate of deposit. Should you fail to provide this proof when requested, you could end up with your driver's license suspended for anywhere from 30 days to a year, and it will take $50, as well as application fees, to reinstate it. You could also receive a $100 fine and possibly jail time.

Understanding the System

South Dakota follows a tort, rather than a no-fault system. This means that someone must be considered to be at fault, and that person's policy must pay for any and all damages. For this reason, you should probably consider carrying coverage at higher than the minimum requirements. When you consider that many new vehicles cost more than $25,000, if you should cause an accident, the minimum liability amounts may not take care of the full amount of the loss. This means you could end up being sued for the rest.

And what about your car? If you're at fault and your car is damaged, you should make sure you've got the right coverage to take care of your needs. Collision protection fits the bill for this scenario. Now, if a tree falls on your car, you hit a deer, or a rock chips your windshield, you'll want to have comprehensive coverage for those types of damage. If you're still making payments on your car, you may want to consider gap insurance to pay off the balance if your car gets totaled.

Insurers are permitted to look at your credit report when determining your insurance rates and what types of products they are willing to offer you. They can also use your age, gender, where you live, the make and model of your car, how much you drive, and your driving record as part of their assessment. Improving your credit history will help you save money on your auto policy.

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