Hawaii’s auto insurance rates fall right around the national average, even a little on the lower side, which is good news for drivers. Since rates can differ quite a bit from driver to driver, however, shopping around is the best way to make sure you are getting a good deal. Just do not forget to consider each company’s reputation when making your choice.
The Basics of Auto Insurance in Hawaii
Like all states, Hawaii has laws in place to make sure that all drivers can be financially responsible for any damage done when they are at fault in an accident.
The law in Hawaii requires every driver to carry liability insurance in the amount of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per incident for bodily injury. The law also mandates $10,000 in property damage coverage. These minimums come in on the low side compared to other states and could leave drivers without adequate coverage after an accident.
Hawaii also requires drivers to carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP). This coverage pays for medical bills incurred by the driver and any passengers in the car regardless of who is at fault.
The state does not mandate any other coverage, although drivers must decline uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in writing if they choose not to carry it.
In addition to state-mandated coverage, drivers with a loan or lease on their vehicle will also need to meet any requirements in the financing agreement. This usually means carrying both comprehensive coverage and collision coverage to ensure the car can be repaired or replaced even when you are at fault in the accident. Some lenders and lessors have other requirements – be sure to read your agreement carefully so you will know what those are.
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Specifics of Hawaii Auto Insurance
The most important thing to know about car insurance in Hawaii is that the state uses a no-fault system. What this means is that your PIP coverage will kick in first and foremost to pay for any injuries regardless of who is actually at fault in the crash.
What no-fault does not mean is that no one is found to be responsible for the accident. Fault will still be determined, and your liability insurance will kick in to pay for injuries that exceed the other driver’s PIP. It will also pay for property damage, which is not covered under no-fault laws.
Hawaii’s required liability limits are low, especially for property damage. The total loss of a brand-new vehicle – even a budget car – will exceed that amount. In a serious accident, medical bills can also mount to levels well above the legal minimums. Carrying higher limits is a smart decision all around.
Our goal in choosing our top picks was to offer car insurance options that provide drivers with good value, not just low prices.
Low prices are always a big part of the conversation on car insurance, and no one should pay more than is necessary for a policy that meets their needs. But that rate is only part of the picture. A company that is inexpensive but does not have reliable claims service isn’t a good value at all.
All of our picks are therefore vetted by looking at customer reviews as well as the rankings from trusted consumer survey company J.D. Power, among others. We looked for overall customer experience, but specifically for companies who provide an excellent claims experience. Claims are the number one area where customers complain about car insurance companies, and they are also the single most important part of the insurance experiences. Car insurance exists to take care of you in case of a claim, so paying less does not help you if they won’t do just that.
We chose only companies that write insurance for all Hawaii drivers, without any specific requirements for eligibility, including group memberships. In some cases, going with a company that does have such requirements might well be the best choice, but we chose our picks to provide useful information to the largest portion of the state’s population.
Our Top Picks
We chose these three insurance companies for the combination of great service and low rates they offer to Hawaii’s drivers.
State Farm comes in with some of the lowest rates for all types of drivers in Hawaii, which is impressive for a company that uses captive agents. In spite of their image has a costly insurer, State Farm often surprises drivers with their great rates.
State Farm is also known for their excellent reputation, and ranks above average in J.D. Power’s claims satisfaction survey. They offer a good range of discounts and rank as one of the best choices for car insurance in Hawaii.
Farmers ranked in the top five for claims satisfaction in J.D. Power’s 2018 survey, making them a company you can count on when you need to use your insurance policy. Farmers also have three “Instant Claims” service centers in Hawaii, making the process quick and easy.
Although Farmers does not often compete well on rates, they do perform fairly well in Hawaii. They also offer a lot of discounts, even offering multi-policy discounts with their specialty insurance subsidiary, Foremost.
If rates are your top concern and you want to skip the agent, GEICO is your company. They are the second largest insurance company for auto in the nation, and they offer low rates to drivers everywhere including Hawaii.
They have also worked hard in recent years to improve their claims experience and it has shown in their ratings. With their dedication to quick mobile policy access, GEICO will appeal to Hawaiians who prefer a modern approach to their car insurance.
Shopping for Car Insurance in Hawaii
Hawaii is unique among the states, but shopping for insurance is a process similar to the mainland. As always, shopping around is your best bet for finding the insurance company that is right for you.
Because Hawaii’s legal minimums are low, it bears repeating that it is a wise choice to price out insurance policies with higher liability limits. If you shop around it can be possible to get better coverage for the same price that some insurers charge for the lowest level of coverage.
Take the time to consider your options and choose both liability limits and deductibles before you start quoting. By requesting quotes with the specific coverage you have selected, you can be sure you are getting an apples to apples rate comparison. Keep an eye out for companies that quote bare-bones policies in order to make their rates appear lower.
While the top choices for Hawaii car insurance are all large insurers, is well worth talking to a local agent about smaller, local companies as well. This will provide you with plenty of options to choose from.
The Bottom Line
Hawaii drivers can do very well with the biggest names in car insurance but will do even better by selecting higher limits that truly provide protection from the incredibly high cost of an accident. Shopping around will help drivers get the best overall value in a policy that is affordable and backed by a reputable company.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.