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Minimum auto insurance requirements in Hawaii are: liability coverage limits of 20/40/10, and personal injury protection insurance of $10,000 in coverage. As a no-fault state, Hawaii guarantees its motorists the right to medical benefits regardless of fault in exchange for limited tort rights (right to sue).
Hawaii's vehicle registration & renewal process requires that you pass a safety inspection, during which you must present your proof of insurance. A copy of your insurance ID card will suffice.
|Hawaii Required Car Insurance Coverage||HI Required Min. Limits|
|Bodily Injury (BI)||$20,000 per person / $40,000 per accident|
|Property Damage (PD)||$10,000 per accident|
|Personal Injury Protection (PIP)||$10,000 per accident|
Hawaii Car Insurance Minimum Requirements
The Motor Vehicle Safety Responsibility Act sets forth the regulations on the minimum requirements for auto insurance in Hawaii. Your motorist obligation is considered fulfilled by carrying a minimum policy that satisfies the minimum coverage requirements. Nevertheless, every insurer will sell you higher limits for each type of coverage if you wish to carry more protection. Here are the minimum requirements:
Property Damage (PD): minimum limits of $10,000 per accident. It pays on your behalf to the other party for their property damage and/or loss in an accident you cause, up to the stated limit.
Bodily Injury (BI): $20,000 per injured person, capped at $40,000 per accident. BI is a liability insurance, which means it pays to the other party – not you nor your passengers – for any injuries you caused in an accident. You usually only need your BI if your car causes such serious accidents where the injured party’s right to sue is reinstated because their injuries exceed certain set thresholds (see Your Right to Sue below). That's because the other party's PIP typically pays for their immediate bodily injury. In such an event, your BI also pays for your lawyer’s fee.
Personal Injury Protection in Hawaii
Persnal Injury Protection (PIP) is required in Hawaii, and the minimum coverage you can get is $10,000 per covered person per accident, regardless of fault. PIP covers any necessary medical services you may need for the injuries incurred from a car accident. Such services include – but not limited to – ambulance, hospital, X-ray, surgery, professional nursing, and rehabilitation.
Your PIP will be the primary coverage, before your Hawaii health insurance, any time you are hurt by a car-related accident. Anyone who uses your insured vehicle with your permission, or is your passenger when the accident happens, is covered by your PIP as well. Alternatively, if you or your family members of the same household are ever injured in a car accident as a pedestrian, your PIP is also effective and would pay for your medical care.
The Hawaii Insurance Code demands your insurer to offer several ways to reduce your PIP premium, including adding a deductible. The higher your deductible amount – which is the portion of covered expenses you choose to pay on your own – the lower your PIP premium will be. Some insurers may have other means to modify the coverage still. For example, GEICO allows further premium reductions if you agree to treat your injuries through its Managed Care Option (MCO), which are designated medical service providers with partnerships with GEICO in Hawaii.
Optional First-Party Benefits
In the Aloha State, your PIP does not include non-medical first-party benefits, but they are still available for purchase as optional coverages:
Wage Loss: if someone covered under your PIP is ever hurt to a degree that he or she is unable to work and earn their regular income, having Wage Loss coverage ensures that they are compensated for the lost income. Based on your regular gross income, you may receive up to $500/month, capped at $3,000 per accident. You can usually opt for higher monthly and total wage benefits (available limits vary by insurer) for an increased premium.
Death Benefit: in the unfortunate event where someone covered under your PIP dies from the accident, this coverage ensures that his or her surviving spouse or dependents receive $25,000. For higher premiums, you can opt for higher Death Benefits, such as $100,000; varies by insurer.
Funeral Expense: this benefit helps cover funerary and burial expenses in case a covered person passes away due to injuries from the accident. The starting benefit licensed insurers offer is $2,000, but they'll have higher Funeral Benefits too.
Your Right to Sue
As a no-fault state, Hawaii takes away its motorists’ tort liability – your right to sue for losses in a motor vehicle accident - and in so doing gives its motorists access to medical benefits regardless of fault (PIP coverage). However, there are exceptions to the rule, which reinstate your tort right in case your injuries meet any of the following thresholds:
Quantitative: you can sue the negligent driver for pain and suffering if your injuries incurred expenses equal to or exceeding $5,000 in total - this takes into account both costs covered under PIP and those that are not, such as your health insurance deductible.
Qualitative: a serious injury, which by the insurance code definition may be identified as any of the following:
- Significant permanent loss of use of a body part – such as a limb – or function, such as your eyesight.
- Permanent serious disfigurement, which leads to the injured person’s emotional or even mental suffering. This is more subject to a jury’s discretion.
Alternative Proof of Financial Responsibility
There are three alternative ways you can prove your financial responsibility – liability for your negligence or operational mistake – in Hawaii. However, note that with these alternatives you will be lacking the no-fault insurance (PIP) that a car insurance policy extends. Your county’s Vehicle Licensing Division will grant your registration and/or renewal if you provide one of the following:
Surety Bond: a surety bond issued by a licensed surety company in Hawaii, and good for payment whenever you cause an accident, in the same amount as a minimum policy’s liability coverage would (20/40/10). File the bond with your county’s Director of Finance.
Real Estate Bond: a real estate bond signed by two individuals, both of whom own real estate in Hawaii. They must list their real estate on the bond as collateral for you, in case you fail to pay for the damages you cause in an accident. Your liability under this bond is still the same as a minimum policy’s BI and PD, and the two individuals will risk losing their listed property if neither you nor they respond to a court judgment against you in time. Your real estate bond is only valid after it is approved by the Hawaii Commissioner of Insurance.
Certificate of Deposit: $25,000 deposit in cash or bonds with the Director of Finance of your county of residence. You must also provide proof, along with your deposit, that you do not have any unsatisfied charges against you from previous accidents in your county. This deposit will be used to satisfy future judgments against you in case you cause an accident.