When driving a State of Hawaii registered vehicle, insurance is required.
Hawaii minimum car insurance requirements are:
- Auto Insurance policy with limits of at least 20/40/10 – meaning:
- Liability coverage
- $20,000 of bodily injury to another person
- $40,000 of bodily injuries to all other persons per accident
- $10,000 of property damage of others in any one accident
Hawaii is a “no-fault” state, which means drivers here are also required to obtain minimum personal injury protection (PIP) of $10,000 per person for medical and rehabilitative costs.
Although uninsured and underinsured motorists coverage is not required by the state of Hawaii, many drivers choose to purchase it in order to cover any expenses they may accumulate from an accident in which an uninsured or underinsured driver is at fault, or an accident involving a hit-and-run.
Alternative Options to Insurance:
Self-insurance certificates are available in Hawaii if the applicant’s financial condition is considered strong enough to cover the cost of any claims to the same extent an insurance policy would, and if the individual meets the requirements under Hawaii Administrative Rule Title 16, Chapter 23, Subchapter 6:
- The applicant for self-insurance must furnish proof of his/her solvency and financial ability
- Hawaii’s insurance commissioner will consider the applicant’s assets, liabilities, profit/loss record, liquidity, how many vehicles are involved, exposure, and other pertinent factors to determine if the applicant qualifies for self-insurance
- Self-insurance certificates in Hawaii are good for one year and may be renewed on an annual basis
- You must qualify by application to the Hawaii commissioner of insurance:
- Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
- Insurance Division
- P.O. Box 3614
- Honolulu, Hawaii 96811
In Hawaii, you have the option to obtain self-insurance through a surety bond or cash deposit if the following requirements are met under Hawaii Administrative Rule 16-23-22:
- Cash deposit or securities of at least $300,000
- Surety bond for at least $300,000
- Cash deposits or securities must be deposited with the Hawaii Commissioner of Insurance
Required Proof of Insurance in Hawaii
State law requires you to have an insurance card provided by insurance company in your vehicle at all times. It should include the following:
- Name of insurance company
- Insurance policy number
- Effective date/expiration date of policy
- Accurate description of year, make/model of registered vehicle
- Name of insured driver(s)
Self-insurance certificates are issued by the state and must include the following:
- Certificate number issued by commissioner of insurance
- Effective date of certificate
- Accurate description of year, make/model of registered vehicle
- Name of driver covered by certificate
Office of the Insurance commissioner – Gordon I. Ito
P.O. Box 3614
Honolulu, Hawaii 96811
(808) 586-2790 or (808) 586-2799
Obtaining a Driver’s License
Hawaii has a graduated driver’s licensing process for residents under the age of 18 that takes them through three stages, according to the Hawaii Department of Transportation. Those three stages are the learner’s permit, the provisional license, and the full driver’s license. Check with your county for specific information on getting a driver’s license in that county.
Here are the requirements to obtain your learner’s permit for residents under the age of 18 in Honolulu County:
- Be at least 15½ (15 and six months)
- Present original birth certificate and Social Security number
- Parental consent must be given on application
- Pay $5 fee
Note: Those with learner’s permits can only drive when accompanied by a licensed driver that’s 21 or older
Here are the requirements to obtain your provisional driver’s license:
- Be at least 16
- Previously held a learner’s permit for at least 180 days
- No traffic violations
- Complete state-certified driver’s education course, earning both classroom and behind-the-wheel certificates
- Pass road test
Note: Those with provisional driver’s licenses have special passenger and night-time driving restrictions. The provisional driver’s license expires on the licensee’s 19th birthday.
Here are the requirements to obtain your full driver’s license for those under the age of 18:
- Be at least 17
- Held a provisional license for at least six months
- No traffic violations
- Comply with all requirements of Chapter 286, Hawaii Revised Statutes
To convert a provisional license to a full driver’s license in Honolulu County, you must fill out an application, pass an eye test, and pay a $20 fee for a 4-year license.
Here are the requirements to obtain your first license for residents over the age of 18 in Hawaii County:
- Obtain instruction permit as the first step to qualify for a new driver’s license
- Pass vision test
- Pass written exam composed of 30 questions
- Pass road test
- Have clear driving status
- Present identifying documents (proof of name, date of birth, Social Security number)
Completing Driver Education
It is mandatory for anyone under the age of 18 who wishes to get a Class 1, 2, or 3 driver’s license in Hawaii to complete a driver education program, according to the Hawaii Department of Transportation. Hawaii makes driver education mandatory because young, inexperienced drivers are involved in more crashes and driving fatalities than any other age group.
Driver education not only teaches young drivers traffic laws, but it also teaches them strategies to help them be better drivers overall who respect other drivers and make fewer driving mistakes, the DOT asserts. The mandatory driver education program includes a 50 hours of parent-supervised driving.
To complete a program and to be eligible to schedule a road test, a student must meet the following requirements:
- 30 hours of classroom instruction resulting in a Driver Education Student Completion Certificate.
- 6 hours of behind-the-wheel training or a simulation course with twelve hours of behind the wheel training, resulting in a Behind-the-Wheel Student Completion Certificate
Driver education in Hawaii is available through most public high schools and through commercial driving schools. It is recommended that you research any driver-training program that you enroll in. You want to make sure they meet the following standards:
- Instructors are licensed and certified by the Department of Transportation to teach driver education courses
- They meet the state curriculum requirements
- Check if they have received any disciplinary action for violations
- Make sure there are enough instructors to meet student needs
- Make sure their fees are competitive
Knowing the Rules of the Road
Hawaii provides their rules of the road online in its statewide traffic code found in Chapter 291C of the Hawaii Revised Statutes. Carefully obey these rules to quality for the lowest possible car insurance rates.
- Accidents involving bodily injury: HRS 291C-12.6
- Accidents involving death or serious bodily injury: HRS 291C-12
- Accidents involving substantial bodily injury: HRS 291C-12.5
- Duty to give information and render aid: HRS 291C-14
- Flashing signals: HRS 291C-34
- Following emergency vehicle prohibited: HRS 291C-128
- Following too closely: HRS 291C-50
- HOV lanes: HRS 291C-222
- Leaving a child unattended in a motor vehicle: HRS 291C-121.5
- Littering from vehicles: HRS 291C-132
- No-passing zones: HRS 291C-47
- Obeying signals indicating approach of train: HRS 291C-91
- Obstruction to driver’s view or driving mechanism: HRS 291 C-124
- Overtaking a vehicle on the left: HRS 291C-43
- Overtaking and passing school buses: HRS 291C-95
- Passing vehicles going in opposite directions: HRS 291C-42
- Turning movements and required signals: HRS 291C-84
- Unattended motor vehicle: HRS 291C-121
- Vehicle approaching or entering intersection: HRS 291C-61
- Yielding right-of-way to emergency vehicles: HRS 291C-65
Hawaii residents are encouraged to think carefully about how much auto insurance they need and how much they can afford to pay, as an auto insurance policy is a legal contract. If you let the contract lapse, it could cause your future insurance rates to go up, making it more difficult for you to get the lowest auto insurance rates in Hawaii. While Hawaii only requires drivers to purchase minimum liability coverage and personal injury protection, and there is cheap liability car insurance in Hawaii, many drivers feel it is in their best interest to purchase additional coverage beyond the state requirements. Additional coverage in an auto policy could include: uninsured/underinsured motorists coverage, collision coverage, comprehensive coverage, wage loss, alternative care (e.g., naturopathy, acupuncture), death/funeral benefits, PIP deductible, and PIP managed care, according to Hawaii’s insurance division. It helps to familiarize oneself with insurance terminology as you examine your options. Here we’ll explore some things consumers should think about when it comes to auto insurance.
Know Your Rates
How much you pay for auto insurance is determined in part by how much coverage you want (the more coverage you purchase, the higher your premium) and the deductible you select (the higher your deductible, the lower your premium). Determine what the average cost of car insurance in Hawaii is so that you’ll know where you stand when shopping around. Also, the insurance company must consider all of the risk factors associated with covering you and the other licensed drivers in your household. The base rate that is used to evaluate all drivers is then adjusted to take into account the following factors:
- Age. Statistics indicate that drivers under the age of 25 are more likely to be involved in accidents than those aged between 25 and 65. For this reason, drivers under 25 years old are considered a higher risk, so insurance companies will charge households with younger drivers more for insurance due to the increased chance of risk. Also, those older than 65 are considered greater risks as well because their reaction time and overall physical ability tends to slow down.
- Gender. Statistical evidence suggests that men under the age of 25 are involved in more accidents than women in the same age group, so male drivers typically must pay higher insurance rates than female drivers.
- Driving record and claims history. If you have had multiple accidents, tickets, and insurance claims, you are automatically considered a riskier driver to insure. For that reason, those who don’t have clean driving records will see higher insurance rates. Accidents remain on your driving record for a period of years before your driving history is wiped clean again.
- Marital status. Statistics prove that married couples tend to have far fewer accidents than those who are unmarried, so married couples may be offered a lower insurance rate when shopping around.
- Location. As a general rule, urban drivers pay more for auto insurance than those in small towns or rural areas because the greater concentration of vehicles makes them more likely to get into an accident. Those in high-crime areas will likely see higher auto insurance rates as well, as their car is more likely to be stolen or vandalized. Those who live in less populous areas, though, tend to enjoy the best car insurance rates in Georgia.
- Make, model, and year of the vehicle. The general rule of thumb is that the more expensive and high-performance the vehicle, the more drivers will have to pay to insure them. This is because they are more expensive to repair after accidents, not to mention more likely to be stolen. Insurance companies also point out that red, flashy sports cars are more likely to be pulled over for speeding and other violations by police.
- Credit history. Your credit history may play a part in the rates you receive.
- Annual miles driven/use of vehicle. If you don’t put many miles on your car each year, you pose less of a risk and therefore pay a lower premium. Also, people who use their car for leisure will generally pay a lower premium than those who use their car for business and long-distance commuting to work day in and day out.
- Gaps or lapses in insurance coverage. If you let your insurance lapse, you could experience a rate increase.
Lower Your Rates
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) recommends shopping around at a number of different insurance companies. You can compare auto insurance rates in Georgia before buying auto insurance. When shopping around, speak with an insurance agent and find out exactly what your insurance plan will cover for the price you are paying so that you receive the best price for the best coverage, as opposed to simply settling for a plan that is cheap, but doesn’t offer much.
Inquire about discounts that a company may offer but not advertise, such as discounts for young drivers with good grades, drivers who have completed a driver’s education course, and drivers with a history of accident-free driving. Other ways to get a lower auto insurance rate include: bundling your auto and home insurance under one provider, insuring multiple vehicles under one policy, and installing safety and anti-theft devices. Doing this will increase your chances of getting the best car insurance in Hawaii.
Longtime customers of an insurance company may be able to call in and request a lower rate after many years of faithfully paying their premiums on time. Also, insurance companies often give you the option to pay your entire premium all at once or pay it in installments; those who pay all at once often pay less overall.
In addition, pay close attention to your other insurance plans. Some plans, such as medical insurance, can overlap in coverage areas with your auto insurance plans, so you can opt out of paying for coverage in areas where you are already insured. Finally, by upping your deductible, you can receive a lower rate.
Remember to make sure that the company is permitted to do business in Hawaii. If you are suspicious about any insurance company, call the Office of the Insurance Commissioner at (808) 586-2790 or (808) 586-2799 to verify if any actions have been taken against that company.
Picking an Insurance Agent/Broker
Insurance agents with insurance companies aim to sell policies for commission. Insurance brokers, on the other hand, do not represent a company. Instead, they work with individual clients, assessing their clients’ needs and finding different insurance options to fit those needs. Like agents, however, they also receive a commission for the sales they make from different insurance companies.
Whether you use an agent or broker, make sure that they are licensed in the state of Hawaii. You can check and see if an agent is licensed in the state by running their name through the license name search provided by the Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs. In addition, you can request information from the Office of the Insurance Commissioner about how many complaints have been filed against a particular agent or broker and how long they’ve been licensed. The Office can also tell you how many times they have faced disciplinary actions.
Choosing an insurance company is another important part of this process. Hawaii posts helpful information online that allows you to see the number of complaints they have received concerning specific insurance companies. You can access company complaint ratios for insurance companies operating in Hawaii, Kauai, Maui, and Oahu.
If you have had issues with an insurance company that you can’t resolve through the company itself, you can choose to file a formal complaint. Complaints against insurance companies can involve anything from denial of a claim to cancellation of a policy. To file a complaint, print off the complaint form and mail it in to:
Hawaii Insurance Division
Compliance and Enforcement Branch
P.O. Box 3614
Honolulu, Hawaii 96811
You should receive a response within 30-45 days. The Branch will investigate the matter and get back to you if any formal disciplinary actions will take place.
After an Accident
Accidents happen, even to the most responsible drivers. If you have been involved in a collision, you must immediately notify local law enforcement. If you or someone else is injured, request emergency medical services if necessary. Drivers should stay at the scene of the wreck until released by a police officer, and, if possible, move their vehicles so that they are not obstructing traffic. To expedite procedures, be prepared to give a thorough account of the events leading up to the collision to responding law enforcement members, and also take down information such as the names of the police officers and witnesses you spoke with for your own accident report.
In addition, you must also report the incident to your insurance company as soon as possible, closely following your company’s procedures for filing a claim. If your collision involved another driver, obtain their name, address, phone number, insurance information, driver’s license number, and the make and model of the car they were driving during the collision. Also, be prepared to report the extent of the damage to both vehicles, how the accident happened, what occurred during the accident, and the names and contact information of any witnesses at the scene. Any police report filed must also be copied and sent to your insurance company.
When all of your information has been received, your insurance company will investigate and pay your claim according to the terms of your auto insurance policy. If your claim is delayed, the insurance company must notify you periodically until it is processed. In the event that your claim is denied, your insurance company should notify you in writing.
Your insurance company may also seek subrogation, which typically happens when someone else was at fault for an accident in which you were involved. Your insurance will cover the costs of any medical or repair bills you had, but your insurance company will then reach out to the at-fault driver’s insurance company for compensation. During this process, you should provide your insurance company with full cooperation to ensure that this process goes smoothly. If you intend to settle with the at-fault driver or their insurance company, be sure to notify your insurance company.
Insurance for High-Risk Drivers
Your driving record may prevent you from receiving the insurance coverage, especially if you have a lengthy history of accidents, tickets, or drunk driving. However, the state of Hawaii makes it possible for every driver to find insurance opportunities by offering the Hawaii Joint Underwriting Plan. This plan specifically covers drivers in Hawaii who cannot find coverage in the voluntary market due to their driving records. In order to qualify, be sure that you meet the following criteria:
- Licensed driver who has been convicted in the past 36 months of one or more of the following: careless driving, driving on a suspended/revoked license, leaving the scene of an accident, vehicular manslaughter, DUI.
- Unlicensed individual receiving public assistance for a permanent disability that keeps them from being able to operate a vehicle of which they are the sole owner
- Any licensed, physically handicapped driver, including those with hearing disabilities
- Licensed minor driver in foster care whose parents cannot afford to purchase insurance for him/her
- Any other licensed driver who cannot get auto insurance through ordinary methods.
You may also be required to obtain a SR-22 certificate if you were caught driving without insurance, caught driving under the influence, cause an accident without insurance, have too many traffic violations and tickets within a short time span, or have had your license suspended or revoked. Your insurance company should do this for you, but not all companies provide this service. Therefore, be sure that you’re the insurance company you pick provides this for you if you are required to hold the SR-22 certificate. With time, you can improve your driving record so that in the future, you can enjoy more affordable auto insurance in Hawaii.
The Hawaii Department of Commerce & Consumer Affairs, Insurance Division offers assistance to anyone shopping for insurance. They will answer inquiries related to insurance, look into complaints with specific agencies, agents, or brokers, educate consumers on insurance law and procedures, and enforce insurance law on the consumer’s behalf if needed. You can contact them at (808) 586-2790 or (808) 586-2799.