If you’ve lived in Hawaii for a while, you get used to taking it slow on the highway. Traffic can get congested on Oahu, but the drivers are friendly, and there’s so much beauty on the horizon. Still, you want to make sure you have the proper insurance coverage before you set out.

If you’re looking for car insurance in Hawaii, you’ll be pleased to know that you can expect to pay below the national average on car insurance. But if you want to find the absolute best deal, take the time to compare car insurance rates from multiple insurance companies.

Just answer some basic questions about yourself and the motor vehicle you want to insure, and in no time at all, you’ll be able to compare car insurance quotes from a variety of companies serving your area. Peruse them all without the pressure of talking to an insurance agent. But you’ll need to answer the questionnaire accurately, as all of these factors are used to determine your rates.

But before you get started, you need to decide the level of coverage you’re looking for. So what are the legal minimums? What other policies should you consider? And how does your insurance agent determine you’re car insurance premiums?

Minimum Coverage in Hawaii

The state requires the following coverage to be legal to drive in Hawaii:

  • $10,000 Personal Injury Protection per person, per accident. This covers injuries you or your passengers sustain in an accident. Also known as no-fault insurance.
  • $20,000 Bodily Injury Liability per person injured in a collision. This covers the cost of injuries not covered by the other party’s personal injury protection.
  • $40,000 Bodily Injury Liability per accident. This means if multiple people are injured, this is the maximum amount your company will pay. However, they won’t pay more than your per-person limit for one person’s injury, even if you haven’t used your entire per-accident limit.
  • $10,000 Property Damage Liability per accident. This will cover damages you cause to another vehicle or a structure such as a fence or a house.

When you make a claim, you’ll need to meet your deductible before your insurance company pays out the damages. Anything you owe beyond that will come out of your pocket. None of these coverages will pay to repair your vehicle in the event of an accident.

Additional kinds of coverage

Even if you’ve got money in the bank to repair or replace your car, raising the minimums on your liability coverage can spare you huge expenses in the event of an accident. But if you stick with liability insurance only, you’re vulnerable to other types of loss unless you add more coverage.

If you lease your vehicle, your lienholder will require you to get collision and comprehensive insurance. Collision coverage will pay for damages to your vehicle if you’re at fault in an accident. It will also pay to fix your car if you hit a house or fence with your vehicle. But it won’t cover the damage you cause to your own home.

A comprehensive policy will protect you from things like theft, vandalism, storm damage, or damage from volcanic ash or lava. It can also cover damages caused by animals. Basically, if it happens outside of human control, comprehensive will cover it.

Uninsured and underinsured motorist policies will pay damages if an uninsured motorist hits your car. The policy can also be used to cover the difference between what another driver’s insurance pays and the total costs of your repairs or medical payments. It can combine with your injury protection policy to pay the medical costs your PIP coverage doesn’t cover, as well.

Study the different coverage types, and their deductibles, when comparing car insurance quotes. Deciding which ones you need and finding a deductible you’re comfortable paying is a key step in finding cheap car insurance. You may pay a lot less per month if you roll with the bare minimum - but you’ll pay a lot more out of pocket costs, and you could lose money in the long run.

Hawaii’s no-fault laws

Hawaii is a no-fault state. That means your insurance will always pay for your medical expenses, no matter who’s at fault in an accident. It may seem confusing that the state requires bodily injury liability policies if an individual’s insurance is responsible for their injuries. But there is a reason for this.

If you injure someone in a collision and their medical bills exceed the cost of their coverage, or they suffer permanent consequences, you’ll need it. The driver can step outside the no-fault system and sue for personal injury damages. In this instance, your bodily injury protection will cover the cost of legal fees as well as any damages you owe if the court rules in the other driver’s favor.

Once the case is in court, modified comparative fault laws come into play, which means the jury may assign partial blame to both drivers. If the person suing is more at fault than the other driver, then the driver being sued won’t have to pay for their injuries.

The no-fault or modified comparative fault system only applies to medical costs, loss of wages, or funeral expenses. For property damage, the at-fault driver will be financially responsible for any bills their property damage liability policy doesn’t cover. Fault is generally determined at the scene of the accident by law enforcement.

What to do if you get into an accident

If you’re involved in a collision, you are required to pull over and help anyone who may be injured so long as you are able to. You’ll need to give your name, address, phone number, and insurance information to other people involved in the accident, and show them your license if they request it. Failure to comply with any of these procedures in a serious car accident is a felony in Hawaii.

If it appears that there are over $3,000 worth of damages, you must notify the police within 24 hours. In addition, you must write a letter to the chief of police at your earliest convenience. It’s best to tell your insurance company as soon as possible and let them help you through the process.

Getting into a car accident may result in a hike in your insurance premiums, especially if you are cited for it. However, citations in Hawaii don’t affect your car insurance rates as much as they do in other states, except in the case of DUI. Driving under the influence can have you paying 80% more in car insurance - more than it affects insurance in any other state.

The bottom line

In order to find the best car insurance rates for you, you’ll need to explore which car insurance companies offer the best combination of discounts for you. If this is your first time purchasing insurance, you’ll want to make sure you understand your insurance policy.

Car insurance coverage is more than an obligation - it’s a protection. The right policy will keep you from getting caught in a financial sinkhole that could take decades to recover from. Even if you’re already covered, you should check periodically to see if you can save money. Generally speaking, you can cancel in the middle of a policy period easily, and it won’t cost you a thing as long as you aren’t caught between coverage.

Once you find a car insurance quote that suits you, you can buy online and print proof of insurance in a matter of minutes. So get started today and get back to exploring your home state with peace of mind.