How to Get Cheap Auto Insurance Registering a Vehicle in South Dakota

It’s a fact. If you’re looking for cheap auto insurance, South Dakota is the place to go. Drivers here pay hundreds of dollars less than drivers in other states to keep their vehicles insured and on the road.  All kinds of people choose to register their vehicles in South Dakota to get cheap car insurance. […]

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Joseph Anthony
July 9, 2020
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It’s a fact. If you’re looking for cheap auto insurance, South Dakota is the place to go. Drivers here pay hundreds of dollars less than drivers in other states to keep their vehicles insured and on the road. 

All kinds of people choose to register their vehicles in South Dakota to get cheap car insurance. Full-time RVers, expatriates living abroad, digital nomads, and anyone else in need of a home base might benefit from establishing a home base and registering and insuring their vehicles in South Dakota.

Cheap Auto Insurance South Dakota 

When looking at cheap auto insurance, South Dakota is one of the best places to register your vehicle. South Dakota has some of the cheapest car insurance costs in the nation. Numbers suggest that the average South Dakota resident pays just over $100 per month for auto insurance. This number puts South Dakota insurance rates more than 11% below the national average.

Your South Dakota car insurance rate can depend on many variables. Young drivers typically pay more for car insurance. Rates for auto insurance coverage tend to go down as you age. For example, a 16-year-old driver in South Dakota might pay $5,793 annually for auto insurance. South Dakota drivers in their 50s might pay as little as  $1,072 each year. Other factors that can contribute to your car insurance rates include zip code, credit score, driving history, insurance history, annual mileage, marital status, and gender.

Let’s look at how some 2020 South Dakota insurance rates break down by age group and compare them to other states:

  • An 18-year-old driver might pay an average of $4,843.96 in South Dakota, compared to $4,855.11 in Florida and $6,021.14 in California.
  • A driver in their 20s might pay an average of $1,717.73 a year for insurance in South Dakota, compared to $2,366.51 in Florida and $2,416.70 in California.
  • A driver in their 30s might pay an average of $1,247.53 per year in South Dakota, while the same driver might pay $1,793.60 in Florida and $1,618.56 in California.
  • A driver in their 40s might pay an average of $1,184.70 per year in South Dakota, compared to $1,755.86 in Florida and $1,563.19 in California.
  • A driver in their 50s might pay an average of $1,071.91 per year for South Dakota auto insurance, compared to $1,640.71 in Florida and $1,449.50 in California.
  • A driver in their 60s might pay an average of $1,067.28 per year for South Dakota auto insurance coverage, while Florida drivers in the same age group pay $1,672.37 and drivers in California pay $1,408.62.

The differences between the cost of car insurance in South Dakota and other states is staggering. Insurance rates vary by state and those who insure their cars in South Dakota might pay some of the lowest rates in the nation. This means if you’re looking for cheap auto insurance, South Dakota might be the place for you.

What Makes South Dakota Auto Insurance Cheap?

When it comes to cheap auto insurance South Dakota is the answer. There are many reasons car insurance is more affordable here than in other states. 

One reason why you’ll find cheap auto insurance in South Dakota is that the state follows the tort system instead of the no-fault system when it comes to accidents. This means that one person is usually responsible for each accident. The at-fault person takes on the financial and legal responsibility. Tort states often have cheaper insurance rates than no-fault states because of the time no-fault state insurance companies have to spend in court dealing with litigation. Additionally, no-fault states often require PIP (personal injury protection) coverage. PIP coverage can make your insurance even more expensive.

Another reason why you’ll find cheap auto insurance in South Dakota is that The Mount Rushmore State has very few urban areas. Insurance companies tend to charge less for insurance outside of urban zip codes. This is because there are fewer accidents and fewer crimes outside of urban areas. If you’ve spent much time in South Dakota, you know that most of the state is rural. That can mean lower insurance rates for you.

A third reason why South Dakota car insurance rates are so cheap is because the state has lax coverage requirements. While liability coverage is required, drivers aren’t required to carry an obscene amount in minimum coverages. 

South Dakota Minimum Coverage

All states except for New Hampshire have minimum liability insurance coverage requirements. This is a base-level of coverage that is required to register your vehicle and stay legal on the roads. There are three parts to the minimum insurance requirements:

  • Bodily injury coverage per person
  • Property damage coverage per accident
  • Bodily injury coverage per accident

The auto insurance requirements are usually shown as numbers. This means when looking at coverages, you might see 25/50/25 as limits. These numbers represent amounts paid per person, per incident and in property damage.  With these limits, your car insurance company’s liability coverage might pay $25,000 per person for bodily injuries per person, $50,000 per incident/accident, and cover up to $25,000 in property damage.

One way to get cheap auto insurance is to limit your coverage to the bare minimum required in your state. This way, you won’t be paying for extras that aren’t legally required. It’s important to keep in mind that most financial experts and insurance advisors recommend carrying above the state minimum to make sure you and your assets are protected in case of an accident. 

If you want to find cheap auto insurance, South Dakota has relatively lax insurance requirements. That means that selecting a plan with the state minimum coverage should keep some money in your pocket.

Let’s look at South Dakota minimum coverage requirements. All drivers in South Dakota are required to carry the following coverage:

  • Bodily injury: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
  • Property damage: $25,000 per accident
  • Uninsured motorist: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident
  • Underinsured motorist: $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident

About 20% of states require drivers to carry PIP insurance. These are generally “no-fault” states in which each driver is responsible for their damages in case of an accident. This stands for personal injury protection. PIP insurance will cover the insured and their passengers in case of an accident, regardless if they or the other driver are at fault. PIP might also cover other losses you can suffer in an accident, like lost wages. 

It is important to know that South Dakota does not require PIP insurance. South Dakota is an at-fault or tort state. For drivers, this means that whoever caused or is at fault for the accident is required to pay for the other driver’s bills and expenses from the accident. Auto insurance companies and police can use available evidence from the accident to determine who is responsible for the accident. This means they might review traffic camera footage, talk to witnesses, look at collision patterns and use other investigation methods to determine fault in the event of an accident.

Factors That Determine Car Insurance Rates

There are a number of factors that go into determining your car insurance rates. Some of the most important factors determining the amount you pay for car insurance include:

  • Level of coverage selected: Bare bones or state minimum coverage costs less than more comprehensive coverage.
  • Gender: Depending on age, men can pay higher car insurance rates than women. Women might pay more overall, though.
  • Age: Car insurance rates tend to go down as you go up in decades, at least until you hit 70 -- then they can start rising again.
  • Driving history: Drivers with a clean driving record without accidents or traffic citations can pay less for insurance.
  • Credit history: Credit scores are a factor in determining your insurance rate, as those with good credit can pay much less.
  • Insurance history: Have you filed lots of claims or had a lapse in coverage? You might expect to pay more for coverage.
  • Marital status: Single people might pay more than their married counterparts for car insurance. This might be because married people are more likely to have children and might drive more cautiously.
  • Employer/affiliations: Some employers and club affiliations offer car insurance discounts to their employees and members.
  • Miles driven annually: Someone with a long daily commute spends more time on the road and might be more likely to be in an accident than someone who just drives to the corner and back. 

Let’s look at some of these factors and see how they might impact the amount you pay for your car insurance premiums.

Gender

According to information from financial news source The Zebra, men in South Dakota pay $1,275.61 per year for car insurance, while women pay an average of $1,284.11. Though the difference is small potatoes, it might cover lunch out.

Marital Status

Married folks get a break on their car insurance in South Dakota. Drivers in the Mount Rushmore State who have tied the knot pay an average of $1,161.30 for insurance each year. Their single friends pay an average of $1,275.61.

Driving History

Your record behind the wheel is an essential part of your auto insurance rate. Here are the average annual car insurance rates for those with some fairly common infractions and citations on their driving record.

  • DUI/DWI: $1,928.46
  • Open Container: $1,787.95
  • At-Fault Accident (less than $1,000): $1,913.46
  • At-Fault Accident ($1,000-$2,000): $1,904.19
  • At-Fault Accident (more than $2,000): $1,913.46
  • Speeding (21-25 MPH over the speed limit): $1,623.60
  • Speeding (16-20 MPH over the speed limit): $1,500.46

Keeping a clean driving record is essential to getting cheap auto insurance rates. Costly insurance premiums are a good reason to play it safe behind the wheel and be aware of all speed limits and traffic laws. And never drink and drive.

Credit Score

Credit score might be one of the biggest determining factors when it comes to your car insurance rates. This means if you’re looking for cheap auto insurance, South Dakota residents need to have a decent credit history.

  • Those with poor credit (FICO score 300-579) pay an average of $2,373.21 per year
  • Those with fair credit (FICO score 580-669) pay an average of $1,934.70 per year
  • Those with good credit (FICO score 670-739) pay an average of $1,588.75 per year
  • Those with very good credit (FICO score 740-799) pay an average of $1,330.44 per year
  • Those with excellent credit (FICO score 800-850) pay an average of $1,122.17 per year

The difference between poor credit and excellent credit is a staggering $1,251 per year. Not only will those with excellent credit pay lower interest rates and have access to better lending opportunities, but they’ll pay much, much less for car insurance. Perhaps the most important thing you can do to get cheap auto insurance in South Dakota is to clean up your credit report and get your FICO score up.

Based on the information above, the best way to get cheap auto insurance in South Dakota is to be a married man in his 60s with a clean driving record, exceptional credit and the most basic coverage at the state minimum. While some of those factors might be out of your control, you might be able to look forward to lower premiums as you age and you can reduce your rates by increasing your credit score and avoiding accidents and infractions.

How to Get South Dakota Car Insurance Quotes

It’s easy to get South Dakota car insurance quotes. The best option is to go straight to Americas Mailbox. On-staff insurance agents can weigh your needs and work with you to obtain cheap auto insurance. South Dakota quotes are often lower than other states, so you’ll find fair pricing and great service from our in-house agents. We’ll work with you over the phone, via e-mail or in-person to get you the best South Dakota car insurance quote.

If you aren’t a member of Americas Mailbox or would rather fend for yourself, it’s easy to get a South Dakota car insurance quote online. Some of the major auto insurance companies that write policies for drivers in South Dakota include:

  • State Farm
  • Geico
  • Farmers
  • Allstate
  • American Family Insurance
  • Safeco Insurance

While we don’t endorse or recommend any of the above insurers, they might provide a good place to start when seeking cheap car insurance. Many of these South Dakota car insurance companies let you get a quote online. Others might refer you to an agent to finish the quote process.

How to Register a Vehicle in South Dakota

You’ll need to register your vehicle in South Dakota to take advantage of the state’s cheap auto insurance. South Dakota vehicle registration is a hassle-free process. As a member of Americas Mailbox, you can leave the legwork of registering your vehicle up to us. We’ll handle the process for you. All you’ll have to do is fill out some forms and then leave the rest to us. 

If you want to register your vehicle yourself, it’s still an easy process. You’ll first need to obtain a permanent mailing address in South Dakota. If you aren’t local, you can do this by joining Americas Mailbox and taking advantage of our mail forwarding service. From there, you’ll need to put together a few documents and go to the county treasurer’s office. Unlike other states, South Dakota car registrations are not handled by the DMV.

The paperwork you’ll need to register your vehicle in South Dakota includes:

It is also important to know that South Dakota’s registration fees are based on how old your vehicle is and how much it weighs. This means you’ll likely pay more to register a new truck than an older sedan.

If you’re registering your vehicle in South Dakota for the first time, you’ll find that the amount you pay will be prorated. The prorated cost is based on the state's alphabetical renewal system.

After you have your vehicle registered in South Dakota, you can affix your new South Dakota license plate to your car and start taking advantage of all the benefits -- like cheap auto insurance.

It is easy to take advantage of The Mount Rushmore State’s cheap auto insurance. South Dakota drivers pay some of the lowest premiums in the nation. Thankfully registering and insuring your vehicle in South Dakota is easy with Americas Mailbox on your side. See how working with our friendly agents and joining our family will help you save money. Establish a home base, register your vehicle and save on insurance with Americas Mailbox on your side. 

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