Eric Stauffer is a former insurance agent and banker turned consumer advocate. His priority is to help educate individuals and families about the different types of insurance they need, and assist them in finding the best place to get it.

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UPDATED: Jul 21, 2020

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All drivers in Hawaii are required by law to carry a minimum amount of car insurance. Hawaii’s financial responsibility law protects all drivers by ensuring that they can pay for damages caused in at-fault accidents and that they in turn will be protected if they are not at fault. Required liability coverage and personal injury protection make sure everyone is covered.

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Table of Contents

Mandatory Insurance Coverage

In Hawaii, all drivers are required to have two types of coverage. The first is Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and the second is liability coverage. Each has a minimum level of coverage required.

PIP coverage is required at a minimum level of $10,000. This coverage pays for medical costs, rehabilitation, and other costs after an accident that isn’t covered by medical insurance or other coverage. PIP pays costs for you and any passengers in your vehicle.

Liability coverage is required in two parts:

  • Bodily Injury liability in the amount of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per incident for all injured parties, to pay for injuries to others as a result of an accident where you are found at fault
  • Property Damage liability in the amount of $10,000 to pay for damage done to another person’s vehicle or other personal property as the result of an at-fault accident

Uninsured motorist coverage is not required by law in Hawaii, but insurance agents and companies are required to offer it at a level matching the liability coverage, and drivers must decline it in writing.

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Optional Insurance Coverage

In addition to the coverage that is required by law, insurance companies offer a number of different options that can be purchased to create a comprehensive full coverage policy.

The first option that most drivers choose is an increase in liability limits, as the legal minimum is not likely to be sufficient in a serious accident. Higher limits offer much more protection from the high cost of accidents.

Other options that Hawaiian drivers can choose to add include:

  • Collision coverage to pay for damage to your own vehicle in an at-fault accident
  • Comprehensive coverage to pay for damage to your vehicle that occurs as the result of a non-accident event such as a theft, vandalism of your vehicle, fire, or weather damage
  • Rental Reimbursement to pay for a rental car while your car is being repaired
  • Towing & Labor coverage
  • Additional accident benefits including death benefits, wage loss coverage, and more

Each insurance company can choose to offer their own options in addition to the common ones. These can include no depreciation coverage on newer cars as well as things like accident forgiveness, which is becoming more common.

Hawaii’s No-Fault Law

Hawaii is a no-fault insurance state, which means that PIP benefits are applied regardless of who is at fault in an accident. This does not mean that one driver will not be found at fault – insurance companies determine fault based on the facts of the accident, and the at-fault driver is held responsible.

In Hawaii, you cannot sue after a minor accident. Suing is permitted after a major accident for bodily injuries. The no-fault law does not apply to property damage, therefore drivers can sue after an accident to recover property damage losses.

Proof of Insurance and Hawaii Law

Hawaiian drivers are required by law to carry proof of insurance at all times when driving. Fines for driving uninsured in Hawaii are steep:

  • $500 for the first offense
  • $1500 minimum for any subsequent offense within a five-year period

In addition to the fines, drivers who are convicted of driving uninsured may also face:

  • License suspension of 30 days for the first offense and one year for any subsequent offense within five years
  • Imprisonment for multiple convictions
  • Suspension or revocation of the vehicle registration, after multiple convictions
  • Requirement to purchase a non-refundable 6-month insurance policy
  • Impounding of the vehicle, after multiple offenses

All drivers in Hawaii must show proof of insurance to law enforcement during any routine traffic stop or at the scene of an accident.

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Shopping for Car Insurance in Hawaii

Hawaiian drivers have plenty of choices for car insurance, and pay rates that are, on average, lower than elsewhere in the United States. A 2017 Insure.com study ranked Hawaii at number 25 among all of the states, with an average rate of $1294, which is just under the national average rate.

The Hawaii Insurance Division helps drivers to shop for insurance by providing annual rate comparisons for all insurance companies operating in Hawaii. This chart allows drivers to see at a glance which companies provide the best rates for the sample driver, which can help to narrow down the many choices to the ones that are a good fit for each driver.

High-Risk Drivers in Hawaii

Drivers who have multiple tickets or accidents, major violations, or other problems that affect their ability to get insurance are considered to be high-risk drivers. When multiple companies have turned down a high-risk driver for insurance, Hawaii offers a system to make sure all drivers have access to the required coverage.

Hawaii uses a Joint Underwriting Association to ensure that all drivers can obtain coverage. Through this system, the state requires all insurance companies to participate and share in both the premiums and the cost of losses for drivers who are considered high risk.

Teen Drivers in Hawaii

Like all states, Hawaii uses a graduated licensing system to ease teen drivers into the responsibilities of driving. It has several stages that each teen must pass through in order to become fully licensed. Each stage has requirements and restrictions.

Instructional Permit

The permit allows a teen driver to begin practicing behind the wheel and learn the skills required to take the road test for a license.

Teens must be at least 15 and a half years old in order to apply for a permit. While holding a permit, driving is only allowed with a supervising driver of at least 21 years old in the vehicle at all times.

Provisional License

The second stage in the graduated licensing program is the provisional license. This license can be obtained:

  • When the driver is at least 16 years old
  • After holding a permit for a minimum of 180 days
  • After completing a state-approved driver education course
  • After passing a road test

With the provisional license, the teen can drive unsupervised only under the following restrictions:

  • No more than one passenger under the age of 18 is permitted in the vehicle unless there is a supervising driver or the passenger is a family member
  • Driving is not permitted between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. with the exception of approved employment or school activities and with a parent or guardian.

Full License

The full license is issued at the age of 17, as long as the driver has held a provisional license for at least six months, and has no violations in that time period. At this point, there are no further restrictions.

Teen drivers in Hawaii are subject to the same financial responsibility laws as adults. In most cases, teens can be added to the insurance policy of a parent or guardian and can remain insured in that way through college, until the teen moves out permanently.

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