Determining what auto insurance is right for you can be challenging. How can you know you are getting the right coverage? While an insurance agent may mention “full coverage,” the term is somewhat misleading.
Here, you can learn more about common insurance issues if you are in an accident and injured by someone else. We will also help you understand why contacting a car accident lawyer after an accident is so important.
1. General Information About Auto Insurance in South Dakota
Automobile liability coverage is the main insurance you purchase. It is required by law in South Dakota. If you are involved in an accident that damages another person’s vehicle or property, the liability coverage will help to pay for their expenses.
There are two auto liability coverage categories:
Bodily Injury Liability Coverage (BI)
If a negligent driver hits you, BI coverage is the money you receive to recover Specific and General damages. The specific damages are medical costs for your treatment, lost wages, and any future medical treatment you will need because of the accident. General damages include inconvenience, pain and suffering, and mental anguish.
Property Damage Liability Coverage (PD)
If your property is damaged by an accident with a negligent driver, then the PD policy covers the cost of repairs or replacement. You need to have a professional inspection and evaluation of the damage to your vehicle to ensure you get the full PD payments you are entitled to.
2. Liability Insurance Coverage Limits
The insurance policy’s limits determine what is paid on a liability claim. All motorists in South Dakota must have $25,000 in bodily injury per person and $50,000 in coverage per accident. For property damage coverage, all drivers must have $25,000 per accident.
Since BI coverage is the primary way to recover if you are injured in an accident caused by someone else, you must also have uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM). While some states add this as an option, it is mandatory in South Dakota. This insurance guarantees that there will be adequate coverage if you are injured in a car accident.
3. Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Coverage
UM/UMI is an important type of coverage to have. One reason is that there is no way to know what coverage the at-fault driver will have if you are involved in an accident. As mentioned above, UM/UMI is not optional in South Dakota. It is required by law.
4. Medical Payments Coverage (MedPay)
MedPay is an option or add-on to your South Dakota insurance policy. It can pay the medical costs you incur after an accident. This coverage can include you, other named drivers, and your passengers.
Usually, this coverage costs under $10 per month, making it an affordable way to supplement your auto insurance.
While MedPay is not mandatory in South Dakota, it is a wise investment. While it will cover the cost of hospital and doctor bills, it can also be used to pay the copays of other coverage, like health insurance.
5. Penalties for Driving Without Proof of Insurance in South Dakota
If you are found driving without proper insurance coverage in South Dakota, you will face Class 2 misdemeanor charges. In this situation, the following penalties may apply:
- Up to 30 days in jail
- Fines of up to $100
- Suspension of your license plates and registration
- Suspension of your license for 30 days up to one year
- Required to file an SR-22 certificate
Will the Required Minimums for South Dakota Auto Insurance be Sufficient?
The insurance minimums required in South Dakota are similar to those in other states. However, if you only purchase the minimum coverage required, you and your assets may be at risk if you cause an accident. The liability limits can be depleted quickly, even in accidents with minor or moderate injuries. This is especially true if multiple people are injured.
South Dakota does not require coverage for your personal vehicle. If you want it covered and protected, you must add this coverage option.
Bonus: Optional Car Insurance Options in South Dakota
As mentioned above, South Dakota law requires you to have liability and UN/UMI coverage. However, there are other coverage options to consider. These include the following:
- Comprehensive. With this coverage, all damages to your vehicle that occur in a non-collision situation are paid. Some of the things this covers include damage caused by adverse weather conditions and theft.
- Collision. With collision coverage, you receive payment for damages from collisions with a stationary object or another vehicle.
- Loan or lease payoff. This is often called “gap coverage.” It is designed to pay the difference between what is owed on a loan and the true cash value of your vehicle. It is beneficial if you owe more on your vehicle than it is worth.
- Medical payments. If you are involved in an accident, this coverage will help pay for your medical and passengers’ medical costs.
- Rental car reimbursement. For situations where your vehicle is undrivable, the coverage can provide a rental car (at no out-of-pocket cost) while your vehicle is repaired.
- Roadside assistance. Some insurance companies provide customers with roadside assistance, which is beneficial if you have a dead battery, flat tire, or need a tow.
What to Do If You Are Involved in an Accident in South Dakota
If you are injured in an accident in South Dakota, we recommend that you contact our office immediately. We can review the facts of your case and help you get the compensation you are entitled to.
Our personal injury lawyer at Alvine Law Firm can help you with your case and ensure you receive the maximum compensation for your claim.