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Shopping for Car Insurance

A wooden car cutout placed inside a small shopping cart next to a calculator and a notebook.

Today you can shop for car insurance online and get many quotes from a single site. If you prefer, you can call and get your questions answered. When getting a quote or price by phone, ask them to send or e-mail it to you for a record.

You want to be adequately covered if you get in an accident and not pay for more car insurance than you need. Before you shop, think about what affordable car insurance means to you. Is it the cheapest price, or does affordable car insurance mean getting the most for your money?

Before You Shop

Before you shop, decide what you need.

  • Determine the amount of coverage needed. This will vary from state to state, so learn what coverage is required where you live.
  • Now, decide what – if anything – you need in addition to that. Are you cautious, or a risk taker? What are your driving habits? What deductibles can you afford to pay?
  • How much insurance do you buy beyond the state minimum? Look at your personal financial situation. Do you have assets to protect? If you have no other assets the minimum may be fine. Let your financial situation be your guide.
  • What type of vehicle do you drive? Is your vehicle older, and do you have a good driving record?

Common Types of Auto Insurance

  • Bodily Injury Liability
    This coverage protects you against a claim made by someone who has been injured in an auto accident in which you are liable.

  • Comprehensive
    This covers what is not covered by collision, such as falling tree branches, theft, natural disaster and contact with bird or animal.

  • Personal Injury Protection
    Covers medical payments for the driver and any passengers for bodily injury losses, as well as possibly lost wages and rehabilitation expenses common in no-fault accident states.

  • Collision
    This coverage reimburses insureds for losses to their vehicles resulting from a collision with another car or object or from a rollover.

  • Property Damage Liability
    This coverage protects you against a claim for damages to another vehicle or property in an accident in which you are liable.

  • Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage
    This type of coverage pays you for personal injuries caused by an uninsured motorist or a hit and run driver. No coverage for damage to your vehicle is provided.

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South Dakota Auto Requirements

South Dakota requires bodily injury liability, property damage liability and uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.

Bodily injury liability is stated in the following format: 25/50/25.

  • The first number indicates the amount of liability coverage for the bodily injury or death of one person ($25,000).
  • The second number (50) indicates the maximum amount paid for a single accident ($50,000).
  • The third number indicates the maximum amount paid for property damage ($25,000).

Selecting Insurance

How to keep payments low:

  • Companies may offer discounts if your auto insurance is bundled with another insurance, like home or life insurance. It is important to shop around for the best rate, as this may not automatically be the cheapest option for the coverage you need.
  • Tailor the coverage to you. A car owner that lives on a wooded lot near the river without a garage will likely want to consider more collision insurance than someone who doesn’t share those circumstances. Reassess your coverage every few years as your needs change.
  • Higher deductibles often mean lower premiums. Deductibles are the amount you pay before the insurance company steps in, and you may decide to have this be higher or lower depending on what you can afford at the time and how much the monthly premiums will impact your budget. Either way, it is important to have any deductible factored into your emergency fund and easily accessible.

Your final selection should be based on:

  • The ability of the insurance company based on criteria above to meet your needs.
  • Visit the South Dakota Division of Insurance website to make sure that you are in compliance with the law.
  • If you have an auto lender, they might also have requirements for insurance. Make sure you are meeting these requirements as well.
  • Find out which companies body shops would recommend.
  • Consider working with an insurance agent.

Additional Resources:

Related Topics

Family Finances