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Auto Insurance in South Dakota

South Dakota
With the Mississippi River cutting the state in half, South Dakota is distinctly different on the east and west sides of the river. The most famous sites in the state are in the less populated western half, where the Black Hills are still important spiritually for the local Native Americans. The Black Hills also draw hundreds of tourists each year to visit the impressive Mount Rushmore.

Periodic car insurance quote comparisons help you save money by taking advantage of fluctuations in price that take place in every car insurance company. Sure you might get the best price with your current insurance company now, but in six months, that picture could change dramatically. Even if you are completely satisfied with your current insurance company, you may be eligible for discounts that you wouldn't know about without checking the market. An insurance quote comparison is a good way to keep track of your insurance rates based on the changes that happen from year to year that may cause your rates to rise or fall. Something as simple as getting older or improving your credit rating can have a large impact on your insurance costs.

It's important for South Dakota residents to understand the insurance laws in their state. Doing so helps you know which types of insurance you are required to purchase by law as a basis to begin your insurance search. From there, you can decide which types of coverage you might need and start comparing prices among insurance companies.

Minimum Car Insurance Requirements in South Dakota

- Required Minimum Bodily Injury Coverage

  • $25,000 per person injured
  • $50,000 for all persons injured

- Required Minimum Property Damage Coverage

  • $25,000 for injury to or destruction of property of others

- Required Uninsured Motorist (UM) Coverage

  • Must be at least equal to the amount of Bodily Injury Coverage purchased
  • Not to exceed $100,000 per person injured and $300,000 for all persons injured

Do you want to know how much you would pay for car insurance in South Dakota? Enter your zip code into the form on this page to find out.

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Moving Your License and Registration to South Dakota

Those moving to South Dakota, also need to understand licensing and registration requirements. In many cases, you need to acquire insurance before you can register your car in a new state. The guidelines below will guide you through the process.

New residents must transfer their driver's licenses and vehicle registration paperwork within 90 days of moving to South Dakota. If a driver fails to make the transfer in time, he or she may face steep fines and could even have their car impounded until they complete the proper transfers. South Dakota requires that all drivers show valid proof of car insurance before official will issue a new vehicle title. The insurance must belong to a company that is legally qualified to sell car insurance within the state of South Dakota.

Documents You'll Need

Transferring a driver's license from another state requires several specific documents to prove South Dakota residency, United States residency, and proof of identification. A certified copy of your birth certificate or naturalization papers will qualify as proof of identity. If you have had a name change due to marriage or any other reason, you will need to present official documentation of the name change.

Your valid driver's license from the state you previously lived in is acceptable as one form of proof of identity, but you must also present a secondary document such as a birth certificate. A social security card or previous tax document will serve as proof of legal residency in the United States. South Dakota requires two separate documents to prove that you are a resident of the state. These documents can include a utility bill with your name and South Dakota address, a mortgage document, check stub, or school enrollment forms.

Information for Teenagers Regardless of any license granted by another state, teenagers between the ages of 14 and 18 begin with a graduated driver's instructional permit. You must complete a written exam and have signed documentation of permission from a legal guardian to be eligible for the permit. If you meet all of the requirements of the instructional permit, you may take a physical driving exam to obtain a restricted minor permit. This secondary permit allows you to drive without supervision between the hours of 6:00am and 10:00pm. Drivers between the ages of 16 and 18 can qualify for an unrestricted operator license if they meet certain requirements.

Your Prior Driving Record

If your license has any restrictions, suspensions or revocations from another state, South Dakota will honor those restrictions. You will not receive a South Dakota driver's license until any suspension periods from your previous state have expired. Restrictions on your license from another state will be judged on a case-by-case basis by the South Dakota department of motor vehicles. Individuals with revoked licenses in another state may not obtain a license in South Dakota.

Tests You Might Need to Take

Anyone over the age of 18 who holds a current driver's license from another state may obtain a South Dakota driver's license if they pass a standard vision test. The clerk has the right to request further testing if he or she feels it is necessary, however. Drivers below the age of 18 may have to take a written exam or a physical driving test to show that they understand the traffic laws of South Dakota. An instruction manual is available through the licensing office, or you can download one from the Department of Motor Vehicles website.


The standard fee for a South Dakota driver's license is $20.00. This fee is payable by cash or personal check at the time of the license transfer. Duplicate licenses cost $10.00. If your driver's license needs reinstatement, it will cost between $50.00 and $200.00 depending on the details of the reinstatement. You may request a copy of your driving record through the Department of Motor Vehicles for a $5.00 fee.

Where to Make a Registration Transfer

South Dakota vehicle transformation fees and paperwork go through the county treasurer's office. County offices are located in several cities throughout the state. You must visit the office in person to present all of the appropriate documentation and deliver proper payment. The forms will need notarization before the county treasurer can approve them. A notary is on staff at the office for your convenience.

Registration Documentation

All vehicle owners must complete the Application for Motor Vehicle Title and Registration form. This form is available through your local county treasurer's office, or you can download it from the South Dakota Motor Vehicle website. The owners listed on the current vehicle title must be the ones to sign the application. If the vehicle is under a lien, the application should include a signature from the lending institution that holds the title. Vehicles purchased in another state require a bill of sale, sales contract, or purchase order. A dealer's price certification form that states the sales price of the vehicle at the time of the transaction must be included. If a dealer's price certification form is not available, a purchase order must be included with the other paperwork. The listed purchase price includes any money that changed hands during the sale of the vehicle, such as the down payment or any applicable rebates.

Taxes and Fees

The registration and title are complete only after all fees are paid. A 3% excise tax applies for each vehicle registered in South Dakota. Other fees vary based on the weight of the vehicle. Non-commercial cars and trucks that weigh less than 10,000 pounds fall under a standard fee list. Cars that are less than 2,000 pounds and less than 4 years old will be charged $30.00 per year. If the car is older than 4 years and less than 2,000 pounds, it will cost $21.00 per year.

South Dakota is a state that takes auto insurance seriously. The rules are stringent and actively ensured by numerous police. Financial liability coverage is a must have here in the upper Midwest. You either opt for general liability insurance or deposit a security of $50,000 with the motor governing body. If you are rich enough to own 26 vehicles or more, it is another matter and you will be self-insured in that case. You can get more information on titling and registering in South Dakota at the state's Motor Vehicles Division.

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