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South Dakota Auto Insurance [Rates + Cheap Coverage Guide]

South Dakota Statistics SummaryDetails
Miles of Roadway 82,576
Vehicles Registered 943,245
Population 882,235
Most Popular Vehicle F150
Uninsured % / Underinsured %7.7% (42)
Total Driving Related Deaths (2017)Speeding: 31
DUI: 35
Full Coverage Average PremiumsLiability: $300.22
Collision: $208.58
Comprehensive: $258.11
Cheapest ProviderState Farm Mutual Auto
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Welcome, or as it is said in one of the official languages of South Dakota (Sioux), Taŋyáŋ yahípi.

South Dakota, also known as “The Mount Rushmore State”, is home to 882,235 people as of 2018. South Dakota is so named after the Lakota and Dakota Sioux Native American Tribes, both of whom comprise a large portion of the state’s population.

South Dakota has also gained popularity because of the HBO show Deadwood.

South Dakota is a state that is rich in its history and knowledge, and we hope that with this auto insurance guide, it will add to your knowledge.

Want to start comparing rates and saving money? Start today with just your ZIP code.

Table of Contents

South Dakota Auto Insurance Coverage and Rates

If you want to know everything there is to know about auto insurance coverage and rates in South Dakota, read on.

The following sections cover car culture, the minimum coverage you must have in South Dakota, and more.

South Dakota Minimum Coverage

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The Insurance Information Institute came up with a list of the top 10 states where the highest and lowest percentage of the population were insured.

South Dakota ranks at number 10 on the list of top 10 states that had the lowest amount of the population insured. Approximately 7.7 percent of South Dakotans are driving without insurance.

Because of this, Uninsured Motorist Coverage is required in South Dakota. It is up to you to decide how much of this type of coverage you want to purchase, but it is capped at $100,000 per person injured and $300,000 total injury coverage per accident.

At the minimum, you need liability insurance, which covers you if you are in an accident and there is bodily injuries or property damage.

South Dakota is an at-fault state, which means if you are the one at-fault in an accident, you are responsible for paying for any damage or injuries.

The mandatory amount of insurance a driver must carry in South Dakota is as follows:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury per person.
  • $50,000 for total bodily injury per accident.
  • $25,000 for property damage per accident.

The minimum coverage for auto insurance in South Dakota are known as 25/50/25.

If stopped by a police officer, you must show your proof of insurance, as required by state law. For convenience, you can show the officer a digital card through your insurance app on your phone, if offered by your insurance company. Double-check with them to make sure this is something your insurance company offers.

Something to know: The state of South Dakota has what is called non-resident service of process law. This means that if you do not live in South Dakota and are involved in an accident there, you can still be charged and have to pay for damages if you are the one at-fault in an accident.

Required Forms of Financial Responsibility in South Dakota

According to the South Dakota Financial Responsibility Law, you are required to carry and maintain proof of financial responsibility in order to drive.

The easiest way is to have the minimum amount of insurance required in South Dakota, but there are other ways:

  • Surety bond.
  • Register as a self-insurer (if you own 26 cars or more).
  • Cash/Security Deposit in the amount of $50,000 or more.

Premiums as Percentage of Income in South Dakota

What is disposable personal income?

That is the amount of money you have left to spend after you have taken care of your necessary expenses and after taxes have been paid.

Over the course of three years, from 2012 to 2014, South Dakota in terms of disposable income has stayed steadily in the range of $40,000 to $41,000. This is about $10,000 less than its sister state, North Dakota.

American Consumer Credit Counseling suggests saving 20 percent of every paycheck. Use the calculator, Calculator Pro, above to find out how much DPI you would have each month, and then times that amount by 20 percent to know how much you would need to save.

Average Monthly Auto Insurance Rates in SD (Liability, Collision, Comprehensive)

Core Coverage Average in South Dakota Annual Rate
Full Coverage $766.91
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The above table illustrates data provided by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners on the average insurance costs in South Dakota.

National average insurance costs are as follows:

  • Liability: $516.39
  • Collision: $299.73
  • Comprehensive: $138.87
  • Full Coverage: $954.99

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South Dakota runs below the national average on liability, collision, and full coverage. Also, South Dakota, like every other state, has minimum requirements for liability coverage.

If you can, insurance experts suggest purchasing more than the minimum amount of coverage required in South Dakota.

Additional Liability

The data from the table below is from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, in regards to the average costs of additional liability loss ratios in South Dakota.

Additional Liability Coverage in South DakotaLoss Ratio
Medical Pay (Med Pay) 70.57
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage58.45
% of uninsured and rank7.7% (42)
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A loss ratio means that a company is paying out a certain percentage of claims. If a company’s loss ratio is over 100 percent, the company is losing money. If the loss ratio is too low, the company is not paying claims.

Uninsured Motorist Coverage is required in South Dakota and you must have, in terms of liability, at least the minimum amount of 25/50/25. This protects you and your passengers if the other driver is at fault and has no insurance.

Add-ons, Endorsements, and Riders

Do you want to add additional coverage to your policy at a reasonable price?

Good news: there are powerful and cheap extras you can add to your insurance policy.

Here’s a list of useful coverage available to you in South Dakota.

  • Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP)
  • Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP)
  • Rental Reimbursement
  • Emergency Roadside Assistance
  • Mechanical Breakdown Insurance
  • Non-Owner Auto Insurance
  • Modified Auto Insurance Coverage
  • Classic Auto Insurance
  • Pay-as-You-Drive or Usage-Based Insurance

South Dakota Automobile Insurance Plan

According to a study done by the Consumer Federation of America, low-income people can end up paying more for the same coverage provided to high-income people.

The South Dakota Automobile Insurance Plan helps provide insurance to high-risk drivers who cannot get auto insurance through the usual channels or have a hard time finding it on their own.

Also, make sure you ask your insurance provider what kind of discounts they might be able to provide to you.

Other factors come into play, besides low income when it comes to the price of auto insurance.

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Average Auto Insurance Rates by Age & Gender in SD

Let’s play a little game of Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction when it comes to auto insurance.

Fiction: When it comes to auto insurance, men pay more than women.

Fact: This myth is actually a reality in some states.

What is fact and what is fiction when it comes to insurance in South Dakota?

Take a look at the following table and chart:

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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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Depending on the company, married males are either paying more, the same, or less than females; there is no clear-cut distinction. When it comes to single males, if you are a 17-year-old, you are paying astronomically more than a 17-year-old single female. If you are a 25-year-old, you are still paying more, but not by much.

So the answer is: it is complicated.

Cheapest Rates by ZIP Code

South Dakota has almost 375 ZIP codes. Below are the areas where you’ll find auto insurance to be affordable.

25 ZIP Codes With the Cheapest Auto Insurance Rates in South Dakota
Zip codeAnnual Average

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If you’re planning to move to South Dakota, you might want to avoid living in the ZIP codes below unless you want to pay the highest premiums in the state.

25 ZIP Codes With the Most Expensive Auto Insurance Rates in South Dakota
Zip codeAnnual Average
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Search for your ZIP code to find out how much you’re paying, on average, annually.

Cheapest Rates by City

Use the search feature in the tables to see if you live in a city with the lowest or highest average insurance rates.

25 Cities With the Cheapest Auto Insurance Rates in South Dakota
CityAnnual Average
ELK POINT$3,585.49
DE SMET$3,601.87
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You can expect to pay higher rates for your auto insurance in these cities.

25 Cities With the Most Expensive Auto Insurance Rates in South Dakota
CityAnnual Average
PINE RIDGE$4,695.24
LONG VALLEY$4,573.67
CAMP CROOK$4,571.44

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To find the best auto insurance rates in your area, use our FREE quote comparison tool.

Best South Dakota Auto Insurance Companies

People have their own definition of what is considered the “best”: financial ratings, customer ratings, or the cheapest rates compared to the state average.

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Read on and find out what is the best auto insurance company are in South Dakota, keeping in mind what your definition of best might be.

The Largest Companies’ Financial Ratings

To best measure how a company is doing financially and what their financial strength is, something is put out every year called the A.M. Best Financial Rating.

CompanyA.M. Best Financial Rating
State Farm GroupA++
Progressive GroupA+
American Family Insurance GroupA
Farmers Mutual Insurance Co of NEA
Nationwide Corp GroupA+
Farmers Insurance GroupA
USAA GroupA++
Iowa Farm Bureau GroupNot Rated
DeSmet Insurance GroupNot Rated
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It is worth noting two of the companies on this list, Iowa Farm Bureau Group and DeSmet Insurance Group, are not rated. In this instance, you would have to delve deeper and look into other factors.

Companies with Best Ratings

J.D. Power and Associates gave a study to auto insurance customers in multiple U.S. Regions in 2018 asking auto insurance customers: how would you rank auto insurance companies?

J.D. Power 2018 Customer Satisfaction Index Ranking of Auto Insurance Companies – Central Region
CompaniesRankingJ.D. Power Circle Rating™
Farm Bureau Mutual8062
Liberty Mutual8062
American Family8233
State Farm8243
Auto Club of Southern California8334
Auto-Owners Insurance8474
Central Region8263

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When it comes to the Central Region states, where South Dakota falls, Shelter Insurance has a rank of 855 on a 1,000 point scale, which means customers consider it “among the best”.

Companies with Most Complaints in South Dakota

If a company has a lot of customer complaints, it might help to research into those complaints.

Here is the most recent data, as found on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners website, one of the leading data authorities on this matter. The order on this list goes from most complaints to the least amount of complaints:

CompanyNumber of Complaints
State Farm Group1482
USAA Group296
Progressive Group120
American Family Insurance Group73
Iowa Farm Bureau Group32
Nationwide Corp Group25
Farmers Mutual Insurance Co of NE7
Farmers Insurance Group0
DeSmet Insurance GroupN/A
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To file a complaint against an insurance company, go to the South Dakota Division of Insurance website.

Cheapest Companies in South Dakota

CompanyAnnual Average
SAFECO Ins Co of America$7,486.83
Allstate Insurance$4,719.78
American Family Mutual$4,045.75
Mid-Century Ins Co$3,752.91
Progressive Northern$3,737.41
Geico General$2,925.91
AMCO Insurance$2,726.98
State Farm Mutual Auto$2,297.20
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If a reasonable price is what you are after, State Farm is the cheapest, on average, in South Dakota.

Commute Rates by Companies

Company10 Mile Commute Average25 Mile Commute Average
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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Whether you have a 10-mile commute or a 25-mile commute, State Farm offers the most reasonable rates for both. If you are looking to pay the same no matter the commute, Farmers, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, and Progressive offer the same average annual price for both 10 and 25-mile commutes.

Take a look at some of the other factors that affect your rates.

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Coverage Level Rates by Companies

CompanyLow Coverage Annual AverageMedium Coverage Annual AverageHigh Coverage Annual Average
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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State Farm seems to be popular when it comes to certain categories. If you want high, medium, or low coverage, State Farm offers reasonable average annual rates.

Credit History Rates by Companies

CompanyAnnual Rate with Poor CreditAnnual Rate with Fair CreditAnnual Rate with Good Credit
American Family$5,207.37$3,753.35$3,176.55
Liberty Mutual$10,847.76$6,505.14$5,107.61
State Farm$3,343.57$1,999.16$1,548.87
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For those with poor credit, Nationwide understands and will offer you the best rates. For fair credit and good credit people, State Farm will give you the best rates.

Driving Record Rates by Companies

There are some companies that understand about an accident or a slip-up on your record. State Farm will offer the cheapest rates if you have an accident on your record.

CompanyClean RecordWith 1 AccidentWith 1 DUIWith 1 Speeding Violation
American Family$2,936.19$4,319.26$5,566.74$3,360.82
Liberty Mutual$6,315.12$7,827.02$8,145.94$7,659.25
State Farm$2,153.28$2,441.12$2,297.20$2,297.20
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If you are one of the lucky ones to have a clean driving record, Geico rewards you by offering the cheapest rates.

The companies that are not as forgiving when it comes to rates: Liberty Mutual, straight across the board, has the most expensive rates for driving record violations of any sort.

Liberty Mutual is also the most expensive company for those who have a clean driving record.

Largest Auto Insurance Companies in South Dakota

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CompanyDirect Premiums WrittenMarket Share
State Farm Group$107,43519.80%
Progressive Group$75,75713.96%
American Family Insurance Group$52,4679.67%
Farmers Mutual Insurance Co of NE$27,0614.99%
Nationwide Corp Group$26,7944.94%
Farmers Insurance Group$25,2414.65%
USAA Group$23,4164.32%
Iowa Farm Bureau Group$20,8923.85%
DeSmet Insurance Group$18,6543.44%

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Number of Insurers by State

Domestic and foreign comes down to whether you want to put your stock in something local or something available nationwide.

Domestic means that the insurer’s home offices are located in the state of South Dakota while foreign means the insurer’s home offices are located in another state.

There are 16 domestic insurers and 834 foreign insurers in South Dakota.

South Dakota Laws

Unlike the lawless times depicted in the HBO Show Deadwood, there are laws when it comes to auto insurance in South Dakota.

Make sure that you know the laws. Read the following sections to get a handle on the laws in South Dakota.

Auto Insurance Laws

Before these sections begin, you can read up on the laws, and then you can read further to get the laws of South Dakota in further detail.

How State Laws for Insurance are Determined

The South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation is the main regulator for the insurance industry in the state of South Dakota. Through them, you can deal with issues like insurance fraud and ask them any insurance-related questions.

Windshield & Glass Repair Laws

When it comes to how auto insurance companies see South Dakota Windshield Insurance laws, according to Car Windshields, “Insurers may use aftermarket crash parts (nonmechanical sheet metal or plastic parts) if mentioned in the estimate.”

Insurers in South Dakota also may not require a specific repair shop.

High-Risk Insurance

The high-risk insurance plan in South Dakota is the South Dakota Automobile Insurance Plan.

Click on the link above to get more information.

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Low-Cost Insurance

South Dakota does not have a government-mandated low-cost auto insurance program, so it is up to you to ask your insurance provider if they provide any kind of discount.

Automobile Insurance Fraud in South Dakota

Insurance fraud is a crime in South Dakota.

In South Dakota, the penalties for insurance fraud vary depending on the amount of money involved in the fraud, and also whether it was your first or subsequent offense.

  • Fraud equaling $400 or less: Class Two misdemeanor
  • Fraud equaling between $400 and $1000: Class One misdemeanor
  • Fraud equaling $1,000 or more: Class Four felony
  • Other violations: Class One misdemeanors

For more information, read the South Dakota Code Section 58-4A-2.

The Statute of Limitations in South Dakota

The statute of limitations is an amount of time that you or the other party have to file charges. It protects you and the other party by giving each of you a set amount of time to file charges. Once that time limit passes, no one can file charges.

In South Dakota, the statute of limitations is three years for a personal injury case and six years for a property damage case.

South Dakota Specific Laws

There are some interesting and strange driving laws in the state of South Dakota.

Driving with bare feet is legal in the state of South Dakota. Really. We’re not kidding.

Turn signals are required by law in the state of South Dakota, which leaves the question: What are you supposed to do when they’re broken?

Did you know that the speed limit on interstates is 80 miles per hour? The minimum speed limit is half of that.

Having open alcohol containers in your vehicle is illegal unless they are in the trunk.

Unlike other states, you’re allowed to wear headphones while you’re driving, and you can drive in the left lane for your entire trip.

Also, you’re allowed to ride in the bed of a pickup truck although this is frowned upon by the South Dakota Highway Patrol.

South Dakota’s Vehicle Licensing Laws

To drive a car in South Dakota, you will need a license.

Keep on reading to find out more about this and other rules of the road.

South Dakota REAL ID

Starting October 1, 2020, federal agencies will endorse what is known as the REAL ID Act, which requires you to have a REAL ID U.S. Passport or another federally approved ID to board flights or enter federal buildings.

South Dakota’s REAL ID has a star in the upper right-hand corner, like most other REAL IDs.

South Dakota REAL ID. From the South Dakota DMV Website.

Do you need REAL ID?

To find out more information about South Dakota and the REAL ID act, go to the Department of Homeland Security site to learn more.

Penalties for Driving Without Insurance

Make sure when you drive a car in South Dakota, that you have required insurance and a form of financial responsibility in your vehicle at all times.

If you drive without insurance in South Dakota, it is a Class 2 misdemeanor. A first offense carries a $100 fine, with jail time not to exceed 30 days. Subsequent offenses carry fines of up to $1,000 and up to six months in jail.

Your driver’s license can be suspended for up to one year and you will be required to keep high-risk insurance on file for up to three years following any conviction.

Teen Driver Laws

In South Dakota, you can get an instruction permit at the age of 14. When your teen goes to get his or her permit, he or she needs certain documents.

There are two types of permits: an instruction permit and a restricted minor’s permit.

You can apply for an Instruction Permit at the age of 14. To receive this permit:

  • Both you and your parent/s need to visit the local DMV with documents needed.
  • Teen must pass a driver’s knowledge test and vision test.

You can drive with this permit between the hours of 6 a.m to 10 p.m. (with a licensed driver 18 or older). Between the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., you must be with a parent/guardian.

At age 14 and 90 days, if you have completed a Driver’s Education program approved by the state, you can apply for a Restricted Minor’s Permit.

For this, you need:

  • To have passed the vision, driver’s knowledge, and driving tests.
  • To Complete the requirements of the instruction permit.
  • To have not been convicted of a traffic violation in the last six months.
  • To have held the instruction permit for 90 days.

You can drive unsupervised, with parent/guardian permission, between the hours of 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. with this permit. Between the hours of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., you must be with a parent/guardian.

To receive a full license, you must be 16 years old. This license has no restrictions.

As a parent of a teen driver, the South Dakota Department of Public Safety is a valuable resource.

Older Driver License Renewal Procedures

The rules for older drivers and license renewal are straightforward, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

  • Older Population License Renewal: you can renew every five years.
  • Proof of vision required: every renewal if you are 65 and older.
  • Mail or online renewal permitted: yes, but only with every other renewal.

New Residents

If you are moving to South Dakota from another state, welcome!

You have to register your vehicle at the South Dakota DMV. To do this, you will need:

  • A completed Application for Motor Vehicle Title & Registration (Form MV-608).
  • Your current title.

You must do this within 90 days of moving to South Dakota.

When you move here, you also need a new driver’s license.

To get your new state license, you need:

  • Proof of date of birth, legal residency, and identity.
  • Social Security Number.
  • Two proofs of South Dakota residency.
  • Your out-of-state license.

Like registering your vehicle, you also have 90 days to get this completed. It will cost $28.

License Renewal Procedures

You can renew your license every five years. It expires on the fifth year following the day the license was issued.

You can renew either online or by going to the South Dakota DMV.

Rules of the Road

Knowing the rules of the road allows you to be a safer driver.

Read on to find out about the rules of the road in South Dakota.

Fault vs. No-Fault

Remember, South Dakota is an at-fault state. This means the person who was at fault in the accident is the one who has to pay for any damage or injuries.

Seat Belts and Car Seat Laws

Car seat laws in South Dakota are no different than any other state. Seat belts are required for the driver and all passengers age 18 and older in the front seat. Violation of this is a secondary offense, meaning that the officer cannot stop you strictly for not wearing a seat belt.

Child safety seat laws in South Dakota apply to any child younger than four years old must be in a rear-facing seat; children between five to seventeen years old must be in an adult belt.

Riding in the cargo area of a pickup truck is legal in South Dakota.

Keep Right and Move Over Laws

In South Dakota, the laws are as follows according to AAA:

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

There is no keep right law. You only need to slow down to let faster traffic pass.

Speed Limits

In South Dakota, the speed limit is 80 miles per hour on rural interstates and urban interstates, 70 miles per hour on other limited-access roads, and 70 miles per hour on all other roads.


There are no specific state ridesharing services, but Uber and Lyft have recently come to South Dakota. This will help if you are a South Dakotan without access to a vehicle.

Automation on the Road

While North Dakota has laws regarding automated vehicles, no such laws exist in South Dakota, and no action has been taken as of the writing of this article (May 2019).

Safety Laws

Laws exist to help keep us safe, and the safety laws in South Dakota are no exception.

DUI Laws

South Dakota does not let anyone drive while in an impaired state, no matter whether you’re under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

If you have a BAC of .08 percent or more, you are considered under the influence. You are also considered under the influence if you are taking prescribed drugs or any other drugs that render you incapable of driving.

The penalties are as follows:

  • First offense: Up to one year in jail. Up to $2,000 fine, and license revoked for 30 days up to one year.
  • Second offense: Up to one year in jail. Up to $2,000 fine, and license revoked for at least one year.
  • Third offense: Felony. Up to two years in jail. Up to $4,000 fine, and license revoked for at least one year.

The court CAN grant you if they see fit, something called a restricted license, which limits you to driving for only certain purposes, like employment and treatment.

Marijuana-Impaired Driving Laws

There is no tolerance for driving under the influence of marijuana, but this applies only to drivers under the age of 21. However, they allow controlled access to cannabidiol, a THC derivative.

Possession of even a small amount of marijuana carries a penalty of up to a year in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Something to know: according to the Marijuana Policy Project, “individuals who have consumed marijuana elsewhere are also subject to this penalty [of possession] if they test positive for past use–even if they consumed marijuana in a state where it was legal. South Dakota appears to be the only state with such an ‘internal possession’ law.”

Distracted Driving Laws

Texting while driving is illegal in South Dakota. Anyone with a learner’s or restricted permit, or an intermediate license holder, is banned from using any kind of phone whatsoever while driving.

There is no handheld ban, yet, but such measures are being explored by South Dakota legislators.

Interesting fact: In some cities like Box Elder, handheld cell phone use is prohibited.

Driving in South Dakota

South Dakotans can face dangers as they drive on the road.

Here we will uncover the kinds of dangers you might face as a driver in South Dakota.

Vehicle Theft in South Dakota

VehicleVehicle Model YearNumber of Vehicles of that Type Stolen
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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The information listed above is as of 2015 from the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

It is interesting to note that three types of vehicles had 17 of each of them stolen: the Chevrolet Pickup, the Ford Taurus, and the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

When it comes to vehicle theft by city, Sioux Falls is not the best city to be in, as it ranks number one for car theft.

Top 10 Cities for Vehicle Theft in South Dakota
CityNumber of Vehicles Stolen
Sioux Falls469
Rapid City304
Box Elder20
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The information listed above is as of 2017 from the FBI Criminal Justice Information Services Division.

Road Fatalities in South Dakota

When it comes to driving, accidents happen. Unfortunately, some of these accidents are fatal.

The following sections talk about the different kinds of fatal accidents in South Dakota.

Fatal Crashes by Weather Condition and Light Condition

South Dakota is a state known for its hailstorms. But do thunderstorms and hailstorms cause the majority of fatal accidents in the state?

Weather ConditionDaylightDark, but LightedDarkDawn or DuskOther / UnknownTotal
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In South Dakota, most crashes tend to happen during the day under normal conditions. The second time crashes most occur is in the dark, under normal conditions.

Fatalities (All Crashes) by County

Bon Homme22030
Charles Mix51113
Fall River21102
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This shows the fatalities over the course of five years, with data from the NHTSA.

Traffic Fatalities: Rural vs. Urban

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This shows the fatalities over the course of 10 years.

Interestingly, rural areas have a lot more traffic fatalities than in urban areas, but this could have to do with the fact that South Dakota is more of a rural state than an urban state.

Fatalities by Person Type

Person Type20132014201520162017
Passenger Car4341382937
Light Truck - Pickup2636292724
Light Truck - Utility2019182119
Light Truck - Van1169415
Large Truck24126
Other/Unknown Occupants22152
Bicyclist and Other Cyclists02100
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This shows the fatalities over the course of five years.

Bicyclists and other cyclists have the lowest amount of fatalities in this five-year timespan, whereas passenger cars have the highest rate.

Fatalities by Crash Type

Crash Type20132014201520162017
Single Vehicle7678727469
Involving a Large Truck182113521
Involving Speeding3830313731
Involving a Rollover5052545758
Involving a Roadway Departure8795878193
Involving an Intersection (or Intersection Related)3221241619
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This shows the fatalities by crash type over the course of five years.

A large number of crashes have to do with single-vehicle crashes and roadway departures in this five-year time span.

Five-Year Trend for the Top 10 Counties

Pennington County913161017
Minnehaha County111410912
Shannon County6261411
Lawrence County768108
Jackson County02336
Lincoln County55436
Yankton County39736
Roberts County42455
Brookings County74243
Butte County12123
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This shows the five-year trend for the top 10 counties of 2017 when it comes to fatalities.

Pennington County ranks at number one on this list, and Butte County ranks the last on this list.

Fatalities Involving Speeding by County

Bon Homme00000
Charles Mix20011
Fall River00001
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This shows the five-year trend of fatalities for speeding by county.

Fortunately, for all counties, the five-year trend is low. This is a good thing.

Fatalities Involving Alcohol-Impaired Driving by County

Remember, in South Dakota, if you are driving with a blood alcohol content of .08, you are considered impaired under state law.

Teen Drinking and Driving

In South Dakota, the legal age for purchasing and drinking alcohol is 21.

You can be sold alcohol if you are between the ages of 18-20, but only in the presence of a parent or guardian or spouse who is over the age of 21.

However, this law does NOT make it okay for an underage person to drink and drive!

In South Dakota, there is a zero-tolerance law for underage drinking and driving. If you are under 21 and you are caught, prepare for the penalties.

If you are under 21 and your BAC registers between .02 and .079, you may be charged under the zero-tolerance law.

If your BAC registers .08 or above and you are driving, you are tried as an adult no matter how old you are.

The penalties depend on the offense.

  • First offense: Class 1 misdemeanor. Fine of up to $1,000 and imprisonment for a year, or both. Loss of license for up to 30 days.
  • Second offense: Class 1 misdemeanor. Fine of up to $1,000 and imprisonment for a year, or both. Loss of license for up to one year.
  • Third offense: Class 6 felony. Fine of up to $2,000 and imprisonment for two years. Loss of license for no less than one year.

When it comes to other statistics due to underage drinking:

  • 2.8 deaths per 100,000 residents. This is above the national average of 1.2.
  • 77 DWI arrests in the under 21 group, which makes South Dakota FIRST in the nation when it comes to these types of arrests, at it is measured by arrests total per million people.

These statistics are startling.

Have a real conversation with your kids about alcohol, and about underage drinking and driving.

Underage drinking is not acceptable. Ever. Help prevent tragedies before they start.

EMS Response Time: Rural vs. Urban

Region TypeTime of Crash to EMS
EMS Notification to
EMS Arrival
EMS Arrival at Scene
to Hospital Arrival
Time of Crash to Hospital
Total Crashes
Rural4 minutes15 minutes34 minutes51 minutes91
Urban4 minutes7 minutes21 minutes30 minutes20
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If you live in South Dakota, you most likely live in a two-car household, drive alone to work, and spend little time commuting.

The information that follows is from Data USA, in regards to the year 2017.

Car Ownership

Most people in South Dakota live in a two-car household. Three cars closely follow.

Commute Time

With an average commute time of 16.3 minutes, South Dakota is well under the national average of 25.2 minutes. In fact, South Dakota enjoys the lowest commute time in the United States!

1.24 percent of South Dakotans report a super-commute, which is spending 90 minutes or more of your time commuting.

Commuter Transportation

As South Dakotans view a car as a necessity rather than a luxury, it is no surprise that most in the state drive into work alone.

81.2 percent of the workforce report driving in to work alone. 7.85 percent carpool, and 5.85 percent work at home.

Traffic Congestion in South Dakota

When it comes to the major lists, no cities are listed in South Dakota.

However, there is no love lost for traffic lights, especially in Sioux Falls.

There are some dangerous intersections, especially in cities like Sioux Falls, which is causing Sioux Falls to invest in smart traffic and street lights.

What is a smart traffic light?

This means less congestion in these intersections, fewer emissions, and fewer crashes.

What is it like driving in South Dakota?

Here is a little taste and drive down I90, one of the major interstates in South Dakota, and also the longest, running 413 miles.

As it is said in Lakota, Philámayaye (thank you), and we hope this guide to insurance and laws in South Dakota has helped you.

Don’t waste another minute. Start comparison shopping auto insurance rates today.


  1. https://www.jdpower.com/business
  2. https://dlr.sd.gov/insurance/doi_complaint.aspx
  3. https://www.aipso.com/Plan-Sites/South-Dakota
  4. https://sdlegislature.gov/Statutes/Codified_Laws/DisplayStatute.aspx?Type=Statute&Statute=58-4A-2
  5. https://dps.sd.gov/driver-licensing/required-documents

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