If you plan to own a car in Hawaii, then you are required by state law to carry a car insurance policy. Auto insurance in Hawaii can greatly vary from island to island, so it is important that you investigate your options in terms of which car to own and what level of coverage you should get.

Driving in Hawaii can be quite a bit different from in other states, as you may only drive short distances. In this state comprised completely of islands, you may only drive short distances, but regardless, it is required that you have auto insurance.

Whether you’re vacationing or living in Hawaii, it’s important you know the laws regarding auto insurance in Hawaii. You’ll also find helpful information on how you can get the best rates and keep your premiums as low as possible.

Auto Insurance in Hawaii

Hawaii is a no-fault insurance state. No-fault insurance is known as personal injury protection or PIP. What this means is that if you’re involved in an accident, your PIP insurance will cover injuries to you and any of your passengers regardless of who is at fault. The PIP will pay for damages to your family if they’re in someone else’s vehicle, and it’ll cover you up to your policy’s limitations.

Certain types of auto insurance coverage are optional and others are required by the state.

Below are all the types of coverage offered by auto insurance companies in Hawaii:

  • Comprehensive

    pays for damages to your vehicle from things that are non-collision, such as moving or falling objects
  • Collision

    pays for damages to your vehicle when you collide into something or someone
  • Uninsured/Underinsured motorists

    pays for damages by drivers with either no insurance or not enough to cover damages
  • Bodily injury

    protects you from liability from an at-fault accident when others are injured and will cover legal expenses
  • Property Damage Liability

    pays for damage you do to another’s property
  • Personal Injury Protection

    pays for medical expenses to you and your family when involved in an accident regardless of who’s at fault
  • Alternative Care

  • Death Benefits

  • Towing and labor

  • Rental car

What is Required for Drivers in Hawaii?

Although Hawaii insurance companies offer various types of coverage, some are optional and only some are required by the state. To drive a car in Hawaii, you must carry the following types of coverage.

  • Bodily injury liability coverage
  • Property damage liability coverage
  • Personal injury protection coverage

Drivers are required to carry proof of insurance in their vehicles at all times. Failure to do so may result in the following penalties.

  • First offense

    Fine of at least $500 and four points added to driving record
  • Second offense

    Fine of at least $1,000, four points added to driving record and 4-month license suspension
  • Third and subsequent offenses

    Fine of at least $1,000, four points added to driving record, 8-month license suspension and up to 40 hours of community service

Minimum Auto Insurance Requirements in Hawaii

Drivers and car owners in Hawaii are not only required to carry certain types of insurance, but they are also required to carry at least a certain amount of liability insurance. Below is the minimum amount you are required to carry.

  • Bodily injury liability coverage

    up to $20,000 for one person hurt in an accident
  • Bodily injury liability coverage

    up to $40,000 for all people hurt in an accident
  • Property damage coverage

    up to $10,000 for property damage caused by an accident
  • Basic Personal Injury Protection

    $10,000
Coverage Minimum
Bodily injury liability coverage up to $20,000 for one person hurt in an accident
Bodily injury liability coverage up to $40,000 for all people hurt in an accident
Property damage coverage up to $10,000 for property damage caused by an accident
Basic Personal Injury Protection $10,000

Although not required, uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage is recommended.

If you’re researching auto insurance prices in Hawaii and see something like 20/40/10, the bodily injury and property damage coverage is what they are referring to. While the above amounts are the minimum required amounts, drivers can always choose higher limits of liability insurance. The high rate of accident-related lawsuits has many drivers opting for higher coverage.

Are Any Auto Insurance Laws Specific to the state of Hawaii?

As stated above, Hawaii is a no-fault insurance state along with 12 other states and Puerto Rico. PIP insurance is used to decrease the number of accident-related lawsuits. Because a driver’s PIP insurance will pay for their accident-related medical bills and expenses, they’ll be less likely to sue the other driver. However, there are still some lawsuits if the injuries are severe and/or long-standing.

According to PIP law, certain conditions or thresholds must be met before a lawsuit can be initiated. Whereas some states use a verbal threshold, Hawaii uses a monetary threshold. In other words, damages and expenses must reach a certain amount for a lawsuit to be allowed in Hawaii.

Auto insurance companies in Hawaii may deny insurance to drivers who are considered high-risk drivers. These drivers may be able to purchase the required auto insurance through Hawaii’s joint underwriting plan.

Ways to Lower Your Insurance Rates in Hawaii

When researching auto insurance companies for policies, we often feel as though we’re at the mercy of auto insurance agents when it comes to premiums. While it’s true that some things like age, marital status, gender and miles we drive are factors that affect our premiums, they are also factors that we can’t really control. Other factors like our credit scores, model and brand of car we drive and our driving record are things we typically can control.

In the meantime, there are things you can do to lower your Hawaii auto insurance rates. You may also be eligible for various discounts on your premiums – discounts worth mentioning to your agent. These discounts should also be considered when comparison-shopping for auto insurance. Because these discounts may not be offered at all insurance companies, they can be used as great bargaining and negotiating tools to help you get the best possible rate.

Discount Ideas

  • Low mileage discount
  • On-board driving monitoring system
  • Bundling discount
  • Safe driver or defensive driving discount
  • Good student discount
  • Safety feature discounts
  • Multi-car discount
  • Senior discount
  • Claim-free discount
  • Paperless discount
  • Hybrid vehicle discount

Increasing your deductible will lower your premiums. The lower the deductible, which is the amount you pay before your insurance companies pays for damages, the higher your premium. Another way to lower your Hawaii auto insurance rates is by cancelling your comprehensive and/or collision coverage if you drive an older car.

Consumer Reports states that if your annual cost for collision and comprehensive is equal to or higher than 10 percent of your car’s blue book value, you may benefit from dropping the coverage.

Are Requirements Different for Full-Time or Part-Time Residents?

The auto insurance requirements are the same for full- and part-time residents. At the time you’re registering a vehicle, it must be insured. You must register your vehicle within 30 days of moving to Hawaii.

If you plan to bring your vehicle to Hawaii but don’t plan to be there long enough to register it in Hawaii, you can apply for a temporary out-of-state permit. However, your car will have to undergo a vehicle inspection and will still need to be insured if you plan to drive it in Hawaii.

Where Hawaii Ranks in Price Compared to National Average

As of August 2017, the average annual auto insurance premium in Hawaii was $1,114, which is substantially lower than the national average of $1,669. Keep in mind that these are averages, and your insurance will be affected by the factors mentioned as well as your geographic location.

Average Rates in Top Three Counties

The state of Hawaii is organized into five separate counties despite being made up of eight different islands. What may surprise many drivers is that insurance rates vary in each of these counties. A perfect example can be found in the insurance rates below, which are for a 45-year old married female with a good driving record. The rates, for three different counties, are shown for both full coverage and the state’s minimum liability requirements.

  • Maui County

    $1,412 for full coverage insurance 100/300/100; $557 for state minimum requirements
  • Kalawao County

    $1,619 for full coverage insurance 100/300/100; $591 for state minimum requirements
  • Hawaii County

    $1,135 for full coverage insurance 100/300/100; $412 for state minimum requirements
County Minimum Coverage Full Coverage
Maui County $1,412 for full coverage insurance 100/300/100 $557 for state minimum requirements
Kalawao County $1,619 for full coverage insurance 100/300/100 $591 for state minimum requirements
Hawaii County $1,135 for full coverage insurance 100/300/100 $412 for state minimum requirements

Summary

Although many drivers think of car insurance as an unnecessary expense, it is anything but unnecessary. Collision and comprehensive coverage can prevent you from having to spend possibly thousands of dollars in the unfortunate event of an accident where your car is badly damaged. Even more important is liability coverage, which can protect you from costly lawsuits. The largest reason why insurance premiums are so high is the number of uninsured drivers involved in accidents.

As long as insurance is something you must have, why not get the best possible deal? Hopefully, this article can help you understand auto insurance a little better and turn it into a good investment.

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