Hawaii is unique because it is the only American state that is completely surrounded by water. Naturally, it’s a mecca of boats and ships of all sizes, as well as Jet Skis, paddleboards, and seaplanes. Nevertheless, the islands are still large enough where a passenger vehicle is usually required to travel outside of the cities and away from the beaches. So that means that the people who live and drive in Hawaii are required by law to buy auto insurance and remain in good standing with their insurers — just like all of the states with land borders.
How Hawaii Ranks
The typical Hawaii driver pays an auto insurance premium that is in the middle third when ranked against all of the other U.S. states. More specifically, the average auto insurance premium for a Hawaiian driver is $1,594, which is the 17th most expensive rate in the nation and about 10.8% higher than the national average. As in other states, premiums vary by city in Hawaii. For instance, Honolulu residents (on the island off Oahu) tend to pay more for car insurance than those who live in Kahului (on Maui).
State rankings of auto premiums, 2012
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Hawaii Auto Insurance Laws
Hawaii law calls for every driver to purchase a minimum amount of coverage; fairly typical of those levels set in most American states. Hawaiian drivers must purchase at least $20,000 in bodily injury coverage (per person), $40,000 in bodily injury coverage (per accident), and $10,000 in property damage coverage (per accident). The state does not mandate drivers to purchase comprehensive and collision coverage or uninsured motorist coverage.
However, Hawaii is one of only 13 U.S. states that do require drivers to buy what is called personal injury protection coverage (or PIP), which is normally optional in the continental U.S. This insurance is designed to pay the policyholder if he or she is injured in an auto accident, regardless of whose fault it was. A minimum coverage level of $10,000 in PIP is mandated by Hawaii law.
Though Hawaii is referred to as a “no-fault” state, there are certain caveats. The no-fault concept generally only applies to bodily injury, which is covered under every driver’s PIP coverage up to the policy limits. However, if victims’ incur medical bills which exceed their policy limits, they may be able to file suit against another driver who was at fault in the accident. Plus, drivers who are found to be at fault can also be sued by victims for property damage.
Almost all states have laws which are designed to crack down on impaired driving, and Hawaii is no different. If a Hawaiian driver is convicted of driving under the influence, he or she may have to forfeit all auto insurance coverage for one year, making the person ineligible to drive on the state’s roads. However, this provision can often be waived if the offender agrees to install an ignition interlock system in his or her vehicle. This device makes drivers blow into a tube to determine whether or not they have been drinking or consuming drugs; if alcohol or drugs are detected, the vehicle will not start.
Hawaii has a well-earned reputation for its laid-back, carefree lifestyle. However, the state is strict when it comes to drivers buying auto insurance. So if you plan to vacation or live in Hawaii, be sure that you policy is up to date and your coverage meets the state-mandated requirements.