Auto Insurance in Hawaii

Overview

According to Hawaiian state auto insurance law, residents of the Aloha State are required to register their vehicles through each county, as Hawaii does not have a state Department of Motor Vehicles. Vehicle registration is handled at the county level; so when registering your vehicle, contact your county’s vehicle registration service.

Hawaiians pay the 15th most expensive auto insurance premiums of all fifty states.

Mandatory requirements

It is mandatory for Hawaiians to carry a current auto insurance ID card in their vehicles at all times.

If you are driving in any county in Hawaii and are unable to produce a valid auto insurance ID card, you may be subject to ticket fees and fines.

Any Hawaiian found to be uninsured while driving will be required to give up their vehicle’s registration certificate. They will also be required to return the auto license plates to the country.

Hawaii – a no-fault state

Resident motorists in a “no-fault state,” are required to carry what is known as Personal Injury Protection (PIP) auto insurance coverage. Since Hawaii is a no-fault state, this means that its drivers and vehicle owners must carry PIP coverage. In order to meet Hawaii state auto insurance laws, Hawaiians are required to carry PIP coverage in the amount of a minimum of $10,000.

Resident motorists cannot drive any Hawaiian road way without carrying this minimum PIP coverage in addition to liability auto insurance.

According to Hawaii’s Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs’ (DCCA) Insurance division, if you are in a car accident and sustain injuries, your PIP auto insurance policy covers the costs of your injuries and any of your passenger’s injuries, up to the amount of your PIP limits.

Also, according to Hawaii’s DCCA, unless significant injuries have occurred, Hawaiians can neither pursue a lawsuit, nor have a lawsuit brought against them.

In a car crash, the at-fault driver will be held responsible for damages and must pay the costs of any auto damage and property damage.

Hawaii’s mandatory minimum liability auto insurance

Hawaii auto insurance laws require motorists to carry two types of auto insurance: Personal Injury Protection and basic liability. It is illegal to drive in Hawaii without both coverages.

In addition to the required PIP coverage, these are the mandatory liability minimums you must carry to drive on Hawaii roads:

Liability

  • $20,000 – bodily injury, one person
  • $40,000 – bodily injury, multiple victims, per accident
  • $10,000 – property damage

While the above limits meet the state of Hawaii’s auto insurance required liability minimums, in many cases carrying only the minimum coverages may put you at risk. So it is important to discuss your needs with your Hawaii car insurance company or agent.

Using the example of a car crash in which you are seriously injured, given skyrocketing medical costs, if the medical expenses incurred from an accident go beyond the limit for which you have coverage, your auto insurance company will pay only up to the covered amount. The rest of the costs will come out of your pocket.

Do you carry enough auto insurance coverage to protect yourself in this situation?

Uninsured (UM)/Underinsured (UIM) motorist coverage

Hawaii auto insurance law states that all Hawaiian auto insurance agents or companies must inform you about UM/UIM insurance options, including informing you of your right to refuse UM/UIM coverage in writing. You have the option to buy the following:

  • $20,000 minimum UM coverage, which will protect you from an uninsured at-fault driver in the event of an accident in which you are hit and seriously injured. This also applies to a car crash in which an at-fault driver flees the scene of an accident.
  • $20,000 minimum UIM coverage, which offers protection from an underinsured at-fault driver.

Tips for saving on your Hawaii auto insurance policy premiums

With the high cost of auto insurance rates in the Aloha State, it pays to be a savvy shopper. Do your homework first before signing on the dotted line.

While getting auto insurance quotes from a number of insurers make sure you are comparing identical coverages. For example, if one car insurance agent quotes you a lower rate than another, make sure that the deductibles are exactly the same and any optional coverages quoted are for the exact same coverage levels.

Sometimes an agent will tell you they can quote you a cheaper rate than another carrier’s rates, but may be quoting you a price for a higher deductible. So be an astute shopper and carefully examine what each insurance company is offering.

Ask about the following discounts:

  • Good driver discount, for motorists with a clean driving record
  • Multi-vehicle discount
  • Multiple policies discount (auto insurance, home insurance, life insurance)

Other discounts that may be available:

  • Ask about a good student discount, if you have a student in your household that makes excellent grades
  • Ask what discounts are given for anti-theft devices
  • If drivers are of the age of 50 or older, ask about a discount for attending an approved drivers’ training

Average annual cost of auto insurance

In 2011, Hawaiians pay an average annual auto insurance premium of $1707, while the national annual average is $1561.

 

Resource

Hawaii Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs, Insurance
Web http://hawaii.gov/dcca/consumer
Tel 808-586-2790 or 808-586-2799