Quick guide: Workers’ compensation in South Dakota

Your small business work comp questions answered


You’ve got a business to run so we’ll tell you what you need to know about workers’ compensation in South Dakota — what it is, who needs it, and where you can buy it.

What is workers’ comp?

Workers’ compensation insurance was created to pay for medical costs and lost wages if employees are injured at work. Benefits can also include payments to compensate for permanent disabilities and to dependents of workers who are killed in job-related incidents. It protects employees from the costs of work injuries and protects employers from lawsuits.

What does workers' compensation insurance cover?

Unlike other lines of insurance, workers’ compensation doesn’t offer different or optional levels of coverage for you to choose. When your policy is in place, it covers every work-related injury considered compensable by South Dakota state law. Workers’ comp benefits are spelled out by state law and don’t vary from policy to policy within the state.

How do I know if I need workers' comp insurance?

If you have any employees, even one who only works part-time, South Dakota law requires you to provide workers’ compensation coverage.

There are just a few exceptions, which are listed in the next question.

Are there any exceptions?

There are a few exceptions in South Dakota workers’ compensation law:

  • Domestic servants working less than 20 hours per week or for less than six weeks in any 13-week period
  • Farm or agricultural labor
  • One whose employment is not in the usual course of trade, business, occupation or profession of the employer (such as independent contractors)

How much will it cost?

Your workers’ compensation premium is based on how much your payroll is, how dangerous your industry is, and your business’s history of work injuries. If you have a clean safety record, it can help keep your premium low.

For more on how premium is calculated, see our Workers’ Comp 101 page.

Where do I buy workers’ comp insurance?

You have a couple options: you can use an independent insurance agent (find an agent in your area using the tool on our SFM website) or buy it directly from an insurance carrier like us. To get your workers’ comp coverage directly through SFM, request a quote online or call us at (844) 828-3801.

Where can I get more information on workers’ compensation in South Dakota?

Since workers’ comp coverage is mandated by the state, the South Dakota Department of Labor and Regulation is your go-to source of information.

For workplace safety requirements and information, check out the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the South Dakota Safety Council websites.

Have other questions?

Find more questions and answers on our Workers’ Comp 101 page, or contact us!

Ready to get started?