The Best South Dakota Auto Insurance Companies
South Dakota’s auto insurance rates are on the low side — on average $767 per year, compared to the nationwide average of $1,009. That said, how much you’ll pay can vary a lot depending on your car, your coverage, and your address. Use our tool to find your best rates:
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South Dakota’s low population density keeps its average auto insurance premium at a mere $767 — that’s one of the lowest rates in the nation. But you may not find it so affordable if you have an accident or two under your belt. The good news is, it is still possible to find a great deal on your insurance. Start by reading our reviews of the best auto insurance providers in South Dakota, and then use our quote tool to see what each of them can offer you.
South Dakota Minimum Liability
By law, every driver in the U.S. must carry liability insurance in case they were to cause an accident, but the required amount varies by state. In South Dakota, you must have at least:
- $25,000 bodily injury coverage per person
- $50,000 bodily injury coverage per accident
- $25,000 property damage coverage per accident
You may see this abbreviated as 25/50/25 coverage. South Dakota is also one of the few states that requires you to carry uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in the same quantities listed above. These protect you in case you’re hit by another driver who doesn’t have insurance or who doesn’t have enough to cover the full extent of the damages.
It’s always best to purchase more than the state-minimum coverage if you’re able to. Say that you cause $50,000 in property damages. Your insurance will only pay for half of that, leaving you to come up with the rest on your own. That’s a position no one wants to be in. Fortunately, it’s easy to avoid by purchasing as much liability coverage as you can comfortably afford.
You can still find a great deal on auto insurance by doing a little comparison shopping. Every company weighs the various factors of your application differently, which is why they all give you different quotes. Start with the five companies listed below. Set aside some time to compare their coverage options and pricing and go with the one that offers you the best price on the most coverage.
How We Found the Best Auto Insurance in South Dakota
We chose the best auto insurance providers in South Dakota using a methodology similar to the one in our national auto insurance review. We started by focusing on the largest insurers in the state by market share. Then, we checked with independent financial strength rating agencies like A.M. Best to ensure that these companies would be able to pay out their claims when necessary. After that, it became about the available coverage options, policy limits, and discounts. We made sure that each company we recommended offered all the protections a South Dakota driver could want, plus plenty of ways to keep costs down. We also took customer opinion into account by looking at the latest J.D. Power and Consumer Reports surveys to assess how well each company lived up to its marketing promises. Then, just to be sure, we called up some local agents and got quotes for ourselves.
South Dakota Auto Insurance Reviews
Auto-Owners was far and away the most recommended company by consumers. It received a 93 from Consumer Reports, including top marks for its claims handling. It was also the only company on this list to receive above-average scores from J.D. Power for its claims service, including the efficiency of the process and the fairness of the settlement.
Its popularity also stems from its unique endorsements that help to ease the headache of being in an auto accident. First, there’s a common loss deductible for those who also insure their home with Auto-Owners. If your home and car are both damaged in the same accident, you’ll only have to pay for one deductible instead of two. Diminished value coverage pays you back if your vehicle loses value following a crash. And should you get into an accident with another Auto-Owners driver, the company will waive both of your collision deductibles.
Auto-Owners policies are sold through a network of independent agents throughout the state. Unfortunately, this means that you cannot get a quote online. Instead, you’ll have to call the nearest agent, give them your personal information and wait for them to get back to you. Your experience will vary slightly depending on which agent you’re dealing with, but most of them, including ours, was friendly and helpful.
Travelers offers several endorsements to help protect your pocketbook in the event of a crash. Consider adding GAP coverage if you have a lease or loan on your vehicle. It pays off the balance if your car is totaled in an accident, so you’re not stuck paying for a car you can no longer drive. Travelers is also the only company on this list to offer accident forgiveness, which is extremely valuable in South Dakota given how quickly your rates can go up following a claim.
Its many discounts make it a popular choice among those looking to score an affordable rate on their auto insurance. In addition to the standard safe driver and multi-policy discounts, you can save for owning a home, being continuously insured and driving a hybrid or electric vehicle. Members of Travelers’ affinity programs are also eligible for savings, as are those who participate in the IntelliDrive monitored driving program.
Travelers fared pretty well in the customer satisfaction surveys, coming in just slightly behind Auto-Owners. It scored a 90 in Consumer Reports’ study, though both surveys noted that its claims process was not as efficient as Auto-Owners’. However, customers were still pretty satisfied with the fairness of the settlement they received.
Acuity Insurance should be your first stop if you’re looking to build a custom policy with endorsements. It’s the only company on the list that covers ridesharing, so you should definitely consider it if you’re interested in driving for Uber or Lyft. It also offers full safety glass coverage if your windows or windshield need replacing and property coverage for any personal items in your vehicle that get damaged in a crash.
It’s also a smart option if you have a lease or loan on your vehicle. Acuity offers GAP coverage to pay the balance of what you owe in the event that your car is totaled. It also has a vehicle replacement endorsement, which works like new car replacement if your vehicle is under a year old. For older totaled cars, this endorsement pays 25 percent above the current market value so that you have enough money to purchase a new vehicle.
Acuity doesn’t offer many discounts beyond the standard multi-policy and safe driver discounts, but we found its rates to be pretty affordable anyway. You may be able to lower your costs if you complete a driver training course, if your vehicle has automatic braking or if you are a graduate student. Fortunately, Acuity has an online quote tool, so you can see which discounts you qualify for in a matter of minutes.
North Star Mutual
If you drive a custom vehicle, look no further than North Star Mutual. It’s the only company on this list that offers a customization endorsement to cover any upgrades, like a new paint job or stereo system, that you’ve made to your vehicle. A typical auto insurance policy doesn’t cover these items.
North Star Mutual may not be for you if you own a new car, though. It’s the only company listed here that doesn’t offer new car replacement. A new car depreciates quickly, and its totaled value may not be enough to buy another one. New car replacement ensures that your new car is replaced, no matter what its totaled value.
North Star Mutual insurance is sold by independent agents throughout South Dakota. There is no online quote tool, so you’ll have to call up the nearest agent and wait for them to get back to you with a quote. The company was too small to be included in the J.D. Power and Consumer Reports’ surveys, so it’s difficult to assess its customer service, but don’t forget, it’s one of the largest insurers in the state. And that probably wouldn’t be the case if it didn’t treat its customers well.
UFG Insurance is also sold by independent agents, and unfortunately, you won’t be able to get very far without picking up the phone to speak to one of them. There’s very little about the company’s policies on its website apart from a general overview of the coverage options and discounts. If you want a quote or more specific details about what options are available to you, you’ll have to set aside some time to make a call.
One unique perk of purchasing a UFG Insurance policy is that you also get free identity theft protection. The company partners with IDT911 to offer this service to its customers. They will monitor your identity and alert you of anything suspicious, and if your identity is stolen, they will help you to get it back.
Our experience with UFG Insurance was positive, but it’s difficult to get a read on its customer service and claims handling because it didn’t make it into the J.D. Power and Consumer Reports surveys. If you prefer to stick to a company with a proven record for excellent customer support, you may feel more comfortable going with a company like Auto-Owners.
South Dakota’s low traffic density keeps its auto insurance premiums well below the national average.
South Dakota drivers spend the least amount of time on the road of any state in the nation. It also has one of the lowest traffic densities. Insurers love to hear that because fewer drivers spending less time on the road decreases the chance of accidents.
Another unexpected bonus of having such a low population density is that there are few car thefts in the state. Because insurers don’t have to pay out these claims as often, they’re willing to offer South Dakota residents a lower rate on their premiums.
Auto repairs are expensive in South Dakota.
If you do get into an accident, you can expect to pay a few grand at least to get it fixed. A survey by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners found that South Dakota residents have the fifth-highest average auto repair cost in the nation.
Make sure you have collision and comprehensive coverage on your vehicle, even if you aren’t required to purchase it by your lender. That way, if you do get into an accident, you won’t have to worry about paying for the repairs out of pocket.
Your rates will rise significantly if you file a claim.
In every state, your auto insurance rates will go up if you’re involved in an accident, but in South Dakota, that increase is particularly steep. One study found that after a single $2,000 claim, premiums increased by nearly 45 percent.
Think carefully before you file a claim. If it’s a minor fender bender, you may be better off paying for the repairs out of pocket even if they may be covered by your insurance. You may also want to look into accident forgiveness, available from Travelers, which prevents your rates from going up following your first at-fault accident.