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Shopping for Car Insurance

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 you certainly don’t want to pay for more car insurance than you should.

Think about this before you shop. Does your affordable car insurance mean the cheapest price, or does affordable car insurance mean getting the most for your money?

Before You Shop Decide What You Need

  1. Figure out the amount of coverage you need. This varies from state to state so take a moment and find what coverage is required where you live.
  2. 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?
  3. How much insurance do you buy beyond the states minimum? Look at your personal financial situation. Do you have assets to protect? If you have no one little assets the minimum may be fine. Let your financial situation be your guide.
  4. What type of vehicle do you drive? Is your vehicle older, and do you have a good driving record?

Common Types of Auto Insurance

  1. Bodily Injury Liability – This covers medical bills for the other person in an accident for which you are liable and is required by most states.
  2. Property Damage Liability – Similarly, this is also required by many states and covers the property damage of the other person resulting from an accident in which you were liable.
  3. Collision – This insurance is not often state mandated, but your lender might. This covers damage caused by impact with another car or object.
  4. Comprehensive – This covers what is not covered by collision, such as falling tree branches, theft, natural disaster, and contact with bird or animal.
  5. Personal Injury Protection – This coverage can cover medical bills, lost income, and childcare in the event of an accident.
  6. Un/Underinsured Motorist Coverage – This type of coverage is often required by the state and covers you and your passengers, but not your vehicle, in the event of a hit and run or an accident caused by an un or underinsured driver.

South Dakota Auto Requirements

South Dakota requires a 20/50/25 liability plan. That means that you need to have $25,000 liability coverage for the bodily injury or death of one person, $50,000 total bodily injury coverage, and $25,000 worth of coverage for any property damage resulting from an accident caused by the you or the driver of your car.

The state also requires uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage that will cover a dollar amount of your medical bills and those of your passengers in the event that you are in an accident and the driver liable has no or insufficient insurance. This does not cover any property damage.

Going without insurance, or less than required by the state can result in fines, jail time, and license suspension.

How to Keep Payments Low

  1. Companies may offer deals if your auto insurance is bundled with another insurance like home or life insurance. It is important to still shop around for the best rate, as this may not automatically be the cheapest option for the coverage you need.
  2. 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 when your coverage every few years as your needs may change.
  3. Higher deductibles often mean lower premiums. Deductibles are the part that 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

  1. The ability of the insurance company based on criteria above.
  2. Visit your states department of insurance website to make sure that you are in compliance with the law. The website for South Dakota can be found below.
  3. If you have an auto lender, they might also have requirements for insurance. Make sure you are meeting these requirements as well.
  4. Find out which companies body shops would recommend.
  5. Consider working with an insurance agent.

Resources

The “WreckCheck App” on the South Dakota Auto Insurance page helps walk you through what information you need to collect in the event you get in an accident or need to file an insurance claim.

Related Terms

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