Auto Insurance in South Dakota (SD)

If You Are Paying More Than $1,029.18 on Auto Insurance in South Dakota, You Are Paying Too Much.

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Auto Insurance Industry in South Dakota

  • An average consumer pays $1,218.00 on auto insurance
  • 97 of every 100,000 vehicles are reported stolen every year
  • Accident fatality rate of 1.36%
  • Of all accidents: 70% are road-way accidents, 11% are intersection accidents, and 8% of all accidents involve at least 1 truck.

South Dakota is home to Mount Rushmore, where four of America’s greatest presidents are literally carved into history. However, that does not make the state less dedicated to protecting its residents’ safety while driving on highways and streets. South Dakota mandates proof of financial responsibility for every registered vehicle in the state.

South Dakota's Minimum Requirements on Auto Insurance

In South Dakota, state law mandates that drivers cannot legally operate a vehicle without proof of financial responsibility. The law presents four options for drivers to be in compliance: self-insurance, surety bond, certificate of deposit or auto liability insurance.

To qualify for self-insurance, drivers must have a minimum of 26 vehicles registered in their name. This option is generally appropriate for car dealers. Purchasing a surety bond from a broker who is authorized to sell bonds in South Dakota is another option. The State Treasurer sells $50,000 certificates of deposit to anyone who wishes to use this option.

The fourth option, auto liability insurance, is the most common form of personal responsibility for drivers. If you are a South Dakota resident and decide to purchase insurance, your policy must include the following coverage amounts:

  • $25,000 to cover death or injury expenses of one individual
  • $50,000 to cover death or injury expenses of more than one individual
  • $25,000 in property damage

In addition to purchasing auto liability insurance, you must also keep proof of the coverage in your vehicle. When asked by a police officer during a traffic stop of auto accident, you must provide physical documentation such as an insurance ID card. Penalties will apply if you are unable to maintain financial responsibility while driving in South Dakota.

State law considers driving without auto liability insurance a Class 2 misdemeanor. Under this charge, you license can be suspended for up to 12 months. You will face a $100 fine and 30 days in jail. Other penalties include filing a SR-22 for three consecutive years and higher insurance premiums.

Consumer Car Licensing Information in South Dakota

Residents may receive a Class 1 or Class 2 driver’s license from the state of South Dakota. Generally, a written knowledge test and driving test are required for first-time adult drivers and teenage drivers before the license is issued.

Written knowledge tests are administered at a local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office on a walk-in basis. You will also need to pass a vision screening before or after taking the written test. On the day of the written test, you should bring the following documents to show proof of U.S. citizenship and residency status:

  • Birth certificate, passport, permanent resident card or Certificate of Citizenship
  • Social security number on a government-issued card or pay stub
  • Two documents that show your South Dakota address on a utility bill, bank statement, homeowners insurance policy, rent receipt, telephone bill or credit card statement

You are required to wait one business day to retake the written test if you fail. The state allows three attempts within a six month period without charging an additional fee.

Most DMV locations also give driving tests on a walk-in basis. Other offices require an appointment through the driver test scheduler system online. You should verify which location requires an appointment before arriving to take a test.

If you are a new resident in South Dakota, you are not required to take the driving test if you possess a valid out-of-state driver’s license. You can simply exchange your out-of-state driver's license to a regular South Dakota license.

Motorcycle Licensing Information in South Dakota

South Dakota issues motorcycle licenses to residents who are at least 16 years old. You are required to pass written knowledge, vision and on-cycle tests. As a new resident to South Dakota, you will need to receive a state license if you have lived in the state for more than 90 days. Without a motorcycle license from your former state, you must follow the same testing process as current residents. Motorcycle licenses cost $8 and are valid for five years.

You are exempt from taking written and on-cycle tests if the motorcycle licensing requirements are equivalent to South Dakota’s standards. Passing the vision test still applies.

Typically, you must present your driver’s license, copy of your birth certificate, social security card and identification from a second list of documents. Secondary documents may include a gun permit, pilot’s license or marriage certificate. A full list is available on South Dakota’s DMV website.

The cost is $8 for the driving test, which is given by appointment at some DMV offices. You must provide your own motorcycle. Tests are not given one hour before the office closes or between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Commercial Vehicle Licensing Information in South Dakota

Commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) are issued in South Dakota for residents who are at least 16 years old. You must be at least 21 to apply for a hazardous material CDL. The state provides Class A for combination vehicles, Class B for heavy-straight vehicles and Class C for small towing or passenger vehicles.

CDLs issued for anyone who meets the qualifications and successfully passes required tests. You do not qualify for a CDL if you only have motorcycle license.

CDL knowledge tests are required based on the class and number of endorsements you need to operate a commercial vehicle. A passing score is a minimum 80 percent for general knowledge, passenger transport, combination vehicles, tanker, double/triple, air brakes and school bus driving tests. The general knowledge test is $15 plus $10 for each endorsement test.

Road skills tests are administered through third-party testing sites approved by the state. Testing times, fees and appointment scheduling may vary. Road skills tests consist of three parts: pre-trip inspection, commercial vehicle control and driving performance in various situations.

A commercial license costs $15 and is valid for five years.

More Resources on Auto Insurance in South Dakota

Department of Insurance