Uninsured Motorist Coverage in South Dakota: Do You Need It?

South Dakota requires drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage before hitting the road.
Written by Sarah Williams
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Drivers in South Dakota are legally required to carry Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist (UM/UIM) bodily injury coverage but not UM/UIM property damage coverage. 
Despite having below-average rates of uninsured drivers, South Dakota mandates all motorists to carry UM/UIM bodily injury coverage in addition to basic liability coverage. Despite these minimums, it’s still a good idea to consider additional coverage to protect against those unpredictable moments in life. 
You don’t have to worry—
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Do you need uninsured motorist coverage in South Dakota?

Yes—drivers in South Dakota are required by law to carry uninsured motorist insurance in addition to liability. The minimum requirements include the following:
According to the
Insurance Information Institute (III)
, approximately 7.4% of all drivers in South Dakota are uninsured, making it the tenth-best state in the nation for insured drivers. Despite the lower chances of getting into an accident with an uninsured driver in South Dakota than in many other states, uninsured motorist coverage is still legally required.
If you’re caught driving without these minimum insurance requirements, you could face hefty fines, up to a year's suspension of your license, and even up to 30 days in jail. Your conviction could also classify you as a high-risk driver, which may impact your
South Dakota car insurance

How uninsured motorist insurance works in South Dakota

Let’s take a closer look at South Dakota’s uninsured motorist insurance. South Dakota’s minimum auto insurance requirements end at uninsured motorist and liability insurance. One protects you against expenses involved in an accident with an uninsured (or underinsured driver) and the other protects the other car if you’re involved in an at-fault accident.
Although that’s all you need to drive legally in North Dakota, it leaves a lot of gaps in your protection. Therefore, while keeping to the minimum requirements keeps insurance costs low, it can also expose you to significant financial risk. 

What’s available

The UM/UIM insurance in South Dakota falls into two categories: 
  • Uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UM/UMBI) covers you and your passengers’ medical expenses after an accident with an uninsured driver.
  • Underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UIM/UIMBI) covers your medical expenses if the other driver’s liability insurance isn’t sufficient to cover your costs. 
In addition to the required uninsured and underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage, South Dakotans can also purchase uninsured motorist property damage insurance. This optional coverage pays for expenses involved in repairing or replacing your vehicle or other property that’s damaged in an accident with an uninsured/underinsured driver. 

What it covers

In a broad sense, UM/UIM bodily injury coverage in South Dakota will cover medical expenses for you and your passengers. Those expenses include more than just hospital bills. They include additional costs like: 
  • Lost wages
  • Future medical expenses you may have
  • Medical devices such as wheelchairs
  • Long-term nursing and rehabilitative care
  • Services like cleaning or yard work that you’re no longer able to perform
  • Updating your home to accommodate a disability caused by the accident
  • Pain and suffering (under some circumstances) 
With this level of coverage behind you, you can rest easy knowing you and your loved ones are protected.

How to make a claim 

If you’re in a motor vehicle accident, make sure to exchange information (including insurance!) with the other driver. If you or one of your passengers is injured and the other driver does not carry the required bodily injury insurance, you’ll want to file a UM/UIM claim. 
Filing a UM/UIM claim in South Dakota is straightforward. Start by calling your insurance company to explain what happened. You’ll need to include documentation like traffic crash reports, medical bills, and medical records. The more papers, the easier the process will be. 
If your medical expenses exceed your UM limits, you’ll have to cover the rest through PIP coverage, health insurance, or out of your own pocket.
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Why it’s a good idea to buy uninsured motorist insurance in South Dakota

There are several important reasons it’s worth getting uninsured motorist insurance in South Dakota. Let’s dive into some of the top ones! 

UM/UIM coverage is required by law

First and foremost, South Dakota is one of 20 states that require its drivers to carry UM/UIM insurance. In other words, you are legally required to have UM/UIM in South Dakota—and must carry proof of insurance with you whenever you drive. 
You could face serious penalties if you’re pulled over by law enforcement and caught without proof of UM/UIM insurance coverage. These penalties include: 
  • A $100 fine
  • Filing of an SR-22 certificate
  • License suspension lasting from 30 days to a year
  • Suspension of license plates and registration
  • Up to 30 days in jail
Save yourself the headache and hassles by purchasing UM/UIM coverage today! 

South Dakota healthcare costs are rising

The last thing you need on your hands after a car accident is staggering medical bills. South Dakota healthcare spending increases by 6.7% each year, leaving residents with higher and higher medical bills. 
With South Dakota healthcare costs rising, UM/UIM insurance protects you from being left with significant medical expenses if you get into an accident with an uninsured/underinsured motorist. You can also supplement your UM/UIM coverage with PIP coverage, health insurance, and other means.  

South Dakota is experiencing more severe weather

Like many places around the world, the weather in South Dakota is getting more severe over time. How does the weather impact UM/UIM insurance? Extreme weather events lead to treacherous roadways, which in turn, lead to higher accident rates. 
With South Dakota’s storms, floods, and droughts, driving becomes less predictable—and protection like UM/UIM coverage can come in handy. 

How to save on uninsured motorist coverage in South Dakota

Now that we’ve covered the what, how, and why of UM/UIM coverage in South Dakota, let’s dive into how you can find significant car insurance savings! South Dakota is only one of 20 states requiring UM/UIM insurance. The extra coverage can drive up your annual insurance payments—but you can still keep costs low with the
With the top-rated insurance app, users save an average of $800+ a year on their premiums. How does it work? Simply download the free app and fill out a short questionnaire. From there, Jerry will send customized quotes from its pool of over 55 of the nation’s top insurance providers.
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