People should practice defensive driving no matter where they are. It's a proven way to reduce the risk of automobile accidents. Still, unexpected things can and do happen all the time. Even the safest drivers can wind up in car crashes. That's just as true in South Dakota as it is anywhere else. As a result, the state is concerned about making sure that all drivers are able to handle their financial responsibilities following car accidents, and laws are on the books to make sure of it. Liability insurance is the most popular way to establish financial responsibility, and drivers should educate themselves about the state's minimum auto insurance requirements.
The interesting thing about South Dakota's minimum car insurance requirements is that they fall pretty short of protecting many drivers. Those who damage more expensive vehicles, for instance, may not have enough coverage and could end up having to pay some of the damages out of pocket. This is why the majority of those who opt to buy liability insurance get more extensive coverage. Furthermore, liability coverage is required, but many people opt for comprehensive as well, which protects their own vehicles. Those who aren't convinced about the importance of having excellent insurance need only consider driving statistics for the Mount Rushmore State.
Who Drives in South Dakota?
A quick glance at a map reveals that South Dakota is a pretty large state. Like many other large states, however, it doesn't have a very large population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in fact, the estimated population was just 833,354 in 2012. That doesn't say a thing about who actually drives there. For that information, it's necessary to turn to the Federal Highway Administration, which reports that 603,258 people, or 72.4 percent of the population, are licensed to drive and can do so legally.
People often wonder how insurance carriers calculate premiums. Each one does so in slightly different ways, which is why it's wise to shop around for auto insurance in South Dakota. Still, one thing these companies don't factor in is gender. There is no definite correlation between gender and safety on the road. In South Dakota in November 2012, 303,026 people, or 50.23 percent of all licensed drivers, were men. 300,232 people, or 49.77 percent of all licensed drivers, were women.
One thing that provides clear clues about a driver's safety behind the wheel is his age. The longer he's been driving, the less likely he is to get into accidents. Car insurance providers generally charge higher premiums to young, inexperienced drivers. In South Dakota, 22,526 people, or 3.7 percent of all licensed drivers, were aged 19 or below. The largest group, which consisted of people between the ages of 50 and 54, totaled 28,309, which equals 4.7 percent of all licensed drivers.
Car Insurance Requirements in South Dakota
In some states, including South Dakota, drivers can establish proof of financial responsibility in several different ways. Still, most drivers in the Mount Rushmore State opt for liability auto insurance. People who have 26 or more registered vehicles can use self-insurance, and another option is to file a surety bond with a broker. People can also deposit $50,000 with the State Treasurer.
For those who opt to use liability insurance to establish financial responsibility, these minimum requirementsshould be kept in mind. Insurance policies should include:
- At least $25,000 in bodily injury coverage for one person
- At least $50,000 in bodily injury coverage for two or more people
- At least $25,000 in property damage coverage
In the state of South Dakota, driving without valid proof of insurance is a Class 2 misdemeanor. It is punishable by a fine of up to $100, up to 30 days in jail and a one-year suspension of a person's driver's license.
Those who are convicted of driving without insurance must also file form SR-22 for the next three years. Subsequent offenses can result in a three-year suspension of a person's registration, driver's license and plates, which will make it pretty hard for him to get around.