This article is intended to serve as a brief introduction to car insurance laws and regulations in Hawaii. We'll look at how a personal injury protection (PIP) claim works under Hawaii's "no-fault" car insurance scheme, and the kinds of car insurance coverage that are required for vehicles registered in the state. If you're looking for more general information on the legal rules related to auto accidents in Hawaii, you'll find it in our companion article Car Accident Laws in Hawaii.
Hawaii is one of about a dozen states that follow a "no-fault" car insurance sytem. After a car accident in a no-fault state, the "personal injury protection" (PIP) coverage in each driver's own insurance policy will pay for his or her injuries, up to the PIP limits, regardless of who was responsible for causing the accident.
Besides the policyholder him/herself, PIP coverage in Hawaii applies to:
Note that PIP won't cover injuries to a motorcyclist or a passenger riding on a motorcycle in Hawaii, unless that coverage is expressly provided for in the insurance policy.
Finally, remember that vehicle damage claims don't fall under Hawaii's no-fault system. You're free to file a third party liability claim or even a lawsuit against the at-fault driver for any property damage caused by a car accident, or make a claim under your own collision coverage.
Stepping Outside of No-Fault in Hawaii
You can't pursue a liability claim or personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver in Hawaii unless your case meets certain thresholds. Specifically, you can step outside of the no-fault rules if:
For more information on no-fault, see No-Fault Car Insurance and State Laws: The Basics.
Hawaii requires that any owner of a motor vehicle maintain certain amounts of insurance on that vehicle. In addition to the required PIP coverage, lliability insurance is also mandatory, in order to compensate any person who suffers personal injury or property damage in a car accident involving the insured vehicle, when PIP coverage is exceeded or circumvented.
These minimum coverage amounts in Hawaii are:
Note: While these are the minimum amounts of coverage that Hawaii requires you to carry, you can purchase a policy with greater limits. More coverage equals a higher premium, of course, but if you are found liable for an accident where other people's losses exceed your coverage, you will be on the hook to make up the difference.
Hawaii does not require that an automobile insurance policy include uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, although insurers are required to offer it. For more information on UIM coverage, see Uninsured Motorist Coverage: The Basics and Underinsured Motorist Coverage: How It Works.
For more information on Hawaii's motor vehicle insurance requirements straight from the government, see the Motor Vehicle Insurance Information web page from the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.