What is the penalty for driving without insurance in South Dakota?

Each time you are charged with uninsured driving in SD, you'll face up to $500 in fines, license suspension, and possible jail time. You'll need SR-22 insurance for three years.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 21, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • South Dakota drivers face up to 30 days in jail for driving without insurance
  • You must provide form SR-22 for three years if you’re caught driving without insurance
  • In addition to fines for driving without insurance, South Dakota drivers must also pay to reinstate their suspended licenses

Drivers must have insurance. It’s the law in South Dakota even if you own your vehicle and it’s worth very little. The law states all drivers must carry at least some insurance if your car is on the road.

Without insurance, you are at risk of being involved in an accident as an uninsured driver.

The financial risk of being in an accident without insurance is devastating. Even a small accident can result in tens of thousands of dollars in the following:

  • medical treatment bills
  • car repairs
  • personal injury lawsuit settlements

It’s also expensive to drive without insurance if you’re caught.

If you are pulled over for a moving violation without proof of insurance, in an accident without proof of insurance, or if the lender you financed your car with finds out you don’t have a policy, you’re slapped with fines, license suspension, and even jail time.

If you’re worried about the cost of car insurance, it’s helpful to compare rates with various agencies, check for discounts, and know what factors in your life are used to determine the quotes you’re offered. Enter your zip code above to begin comparing today.

What type of car insurance do I need in South Dakota?

South Dakota lawmakers require all drivers carry what they refer to as 25/50/25 liability coverage. These numbers indicate the following requirements:

  • $25,000 per person bodily injury coverage and uninsured motorist coverage
  • $50,000 per accident bodily injury coverage and uninsured motorist coverage
  • $25,000 property damage coverage

This amount is the minimum level of insurance you must carry if you are a South Dakota resident.

If you are driving through the state but are not a resident, you must meet the minimum insurance requirements in the state in which you reside.

If you move to South Dakota, you have approximately 30 days to change your policy to a local policy that meets all the minimum insurance requirements. Failing to do this results in fines and penalties.

One more consideration you must make is ownership of your vehicle. If you own it outright, you may carry the minimum policy.

If you finance your car, you must have full coverage until you make the final payment and the title is issued in your name. If you lease your car, you never own it and must always carry full coverage.

Failure to meet lender demands for insurance results in the lender issuing a policy for the car on their terms, which are often much more expensive than the policy you can purchase on your own.

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What are the penalties if I’m caught without car insurance in South Dakota?

Some states have different laws requiring car insurance depending on how many times you’ve been cited for driving without it.

There might be a small fine for a first-time penalty that grows larger each time a driver is caught driving without insurance. South Dakota law does not work this way.

You are fined and penalized the same way each time you are caught.

Anyone driving without insurance is subject to a fine anywhere from $100 to $500 depending on the severity of the crime. If you’re caught by accident in a routine traffic stop, you might pay a lower fine.

If you’re caught because you’re involved in an accident without insurance, you’re more likely to pay the higher portion of the fine.

The Cost of Reinstating Your License

You also lose your license for 30 days. It costs $50 to $200 to reinstate your license at the end of your suspension, and another $28 fee is charged simply for applying for reinstatement.

You must also provide from SR-22 for three years. Monthly, for three years, you must send in this form to prove you still have insurance. Failure to do so results in the suspension of your license, registration, and your plates.

The Possible Jail Time You Face

Jail time is unlikely for a first-time offender, but it’s not unlikely if you’ve been cited for driving without insurance in the past. Depending on what the judge in your case decides, you might spend up to 30 days in jail rather than paying a fine.

In some cases, you might be charged a portion of the fine and still spend up to 30 days in jail.

Finding Affordable Car Insurance

Driving without insurance is too expensive, which is why it’s time to learn how you can get affordable insurance. Before you start comparing rates, check your credit.

Good credit scores result in lower rates because you look like a more responsible driver. If there are mistakes on your report, fix them so you can raise your score and get a great rate.

The rates you are given by insurance companies are affected by the following:

  • your driving record
  • the location of your home
  • the crime rate where you live
  • your retirement status

Driving a car with a great safety rating that’s not on the list of most-stolen vehicles also helps you get lower rates.

You can also ask for a discount for paying your premium in full rather than monthly, for putting all your cars on one policy, and even for bundling your life insurance and homeowners insurance into your car insurance policy.

Compare car insurance quotes today by using our free rate tool below. You could save hundreds of dollars a year.

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