Compared to the national average, South Dakota’s auto insurance rates come in on the low side. In 2017, the state ranked at number 42 for average car insurance premiums, well below the average cost nationwide. Since car insurance rates can vary from person to person, some South Dakota drivers will see rates above the average, while other see rates well below. Regardless of which group you’re in, finding the best deal on car insurance takes a little effort; starting with the best car insurance companies in South Dakota can make the search a little easier.
The Basics of Auto Insurance in South Dakota
South Dakota has mandatory car insurance laws in place to ensure all drivers are financially responsible in the event of an accident. Under the law, every driver must carry both liability insurance and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
The minimum limits for bodily injury liability coverage are $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident. The law also required a minimum of $25,000 in property damage coverage. These coverages kick in when you are responsible for an accident and the resulting damage or injuries. These limits are similar to most states.
The law requires uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage in the same amounts as the liability section of the policy. $25,000 per person and $50,000 per incident. This coverage is in place to protect you if you or anyone in your car is injured in an accident where another driver is at fault and is either uninsured or does not carry enough insurance coverage to pay for the damage caused.
These are the only coverages you are required to carry on a South Dakota car insurance policy by state law. You may have to carry more coverage, however, based on the rules of the loan or lease on your vehicle. Lenders require that drivers carry comprehensive coverage and collision coverage in addition to liability in order to protect their investment in the vehicle. Some leases also require that you carry higher liability limits, and lenders may also ask that you keep your deductibles to a certain minimum.
Specifics of South Dakota Auto Insurance
South Dakota is a fault state, and this means that you can be held personally responsible for an accident when it has been determined that you are at fault. Fault states work on a tort system where the at-fault driver has to pay for damages including medical bills and property damage repair costs.
Your car insurance policy will cover you up to the limits you select, after which you can be sued in court for remaining damages, as well as for pain and suffering. For this reason, it is important to carefully consider what limits you want to carry. A serious accident will very quickly run through the legal minimum and leave the driver in financial difficulty.
Our goal in selecting the best car insurance companies is not to provide a list of the least expensive places to get car insurance, but to select those that offer the best value.
To that end, we looked for companies that have a great reputation for customer service. We looked through customer complaints from various online sources and made note of complaint volumes and company response to complaints. We also looked at company ratings from trusted consumer reporting organizations including J.D. Power to see how the companies stack up in terms of overall service and claims handling, which is the most important aspect of a car insurance company’s reputation.
We also considered the company’s rates, looking for those that offer competitive premiums along with a great reputation. Great service is well worth a few extra dollars in premiums, but it is also important to make sure you are not overpaying for coverage when you could get a better value from another company.
Every company in our list serves the entire state, whether in the city or in rural areas of South Dakota. We also selected only companies that offer coverage to the general public and left of any with eligibility requirements to make sure our choices are useful to the largest segment of the population. That means that while USAA ranks very well, and we do recommend them for military families that qualify, we have not chosen them for our list due to the eligibility requirements.
Our Top Picks
These three car insurance companies provide South Dakota drivers with great rates as well as excellent customer service.
State Farm is the biggest car insurance company in the country, with the largest market share by a wide margin. They are doing something right, and in South Dakota that includes taking good care of their customers at a great price. State Farm ranks well in J.D. Power’s regional survey, particularly in the area of claims satisfaction.
In spite of having the reputation of being a more expensive company, likely due to their agent system of selling insurance, State Farm actually has some of the lowest rates in South Dakota. That is true for all types of drivers too, not only those with a perfect record.
While Auto-Owners does not have the lowest prices in South Dakota, they are competitive and they also have a reputation that is hard to beat. Top-ranked across the board with J.D. Power, Auto-Owners is not just highly rated in South Dakota, but it is one of the best-rated companies in the country for claims satisfaction.
Auto-Owners is a great choice if you plan to bundle your insurance, offering excellent bundling discounts on auto and home insurance. That is among the other discounts available that can bring rates down.
GEICO is the second largest car insurance company in the country by market share, climbing that position in recent years thanks to a reputation for low rates. That holds true in South Dakota too; GEICO has some of the best rates on car insurance across the board.
They did not just rise to the top on cheap car insurance, however. GEICO also ranks well for customer satisfaction with J.D. Power and based on real customer experience. They are a great value particularly if you are in search of easy access to online and mobile services and a direct-buy experience that cuts out the agent.
Shopping for Car Insurance in South Dakota
South Dakota has a sparse and widely spread population, but still has a lot of great choice for car insurance. Shopping around online can save a lot of time and effort, but a local agent is also helpful for directing you towards lesser-known companies that may well be able to offer you a great deal. We recommend comparing quotes from both approaches to make sure you are making the best choice for your personal needs
Before you shop, decide what levels of coverage you want on your policy. While the legal minimum will get you on the road, we strongly encourage taking out higher liability limits to protect yourself properly from the financial fallout of an accident. In most cases, going up a level or two in terms of liability coverage does not cost all that much, and provides far more coverage.
Once you know what coverage you want, request that coverage on every quote you receive. That way you will get quotes you can compare directly, rather than the varying coverage limits insurance companies select as their standard quoting levels.
Do not forget when looking at quotes to check up on the reputation of every company on your list. It is easy to get excited about a low rate, but more important that you know the company will be there for you in a claim.
The Bottom Line
South Dakota’s best car insurance companies are among the best in the country, which makes any of them a solid bet for your insurance needs. Since every situation is different, however, it is always a good idea to check as many companies as possible before you choose – and shop around often as well.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.