If you own and want to register a motor vehicle in Hawaii, you must maintain certain minimum amounts of car insurance coverage throughout the period of registration. Hawaii is also one of around a dozen "no-fault" car insurance states, which means that when you're injured in a car accident, your options for compensation may be limited. Read on for a summary of:
Hawaii is one of around a dozen states that adheres to a "no-fault" car insurance system. After a car accident in Hawaii, your "personal injury protection" (PIP) coverage pays your medical bills and certain other financial losses (up to policy limits), regardless of who was at fault for the accident. No-fault/PIP claims have limits when it comes to the kinds of losses that are covered, though. Most importantly, you can't get compensation for your "pain and suffering" and other non-monetary damages stemming from the accident.
In order to step outside of the no-fault system and file a third-party insurance claim or lawsuit against the driver who caused the accident—and so that "pain and suffering" and all other available non-economic losses are on the table—your injuries must meet the thresholds set by state law (we'll look at Hawaii's statutory thresholds a little later in this article).
It's important to note that Hawaii's no-fault system does not apply to vehicle damage claims after a car accident. A liability claim for damage to (or total loss of) a vehicle can be made against the at-fault driver in Hawaii, with no limitations.
In Hawaii, the PIP benefits of a car insurance policy kick in regardless of who was at fault for the car accident. And, besides the policyholder, these protections are available to:
Note that in Hawaii, while it applies to injuries resulting from "moped" accidents, PIP will not cover injuries to an operator or passenger of a motorcycle or motor scooter in Hawaii, unless that coverage is expressly provided for in the terms of the policy (Hawaii law differentiates between mopeds, motorcycles, and motor scooters).
As mentioned above, in order to pursue a liability claim against the person who caused your car accident (and shed the limitations of no-fault) in Hawaii, your car accident injuries must meet one of three thresholds set by state law. Specifically, as a result of the accident:
If your injuries meet any or all of these thresholds, you're not limited to making a PIP claim under your own policy. You can hold the at-fault driver responsible for the accident via a third-party car insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit, and you can pursue compensation for all categories of non-economic losses, like pain and suffering (which, again, aren't available in a no-fault claim).
Now that you understand how no-fault car insurance works in Hawaii, let's look at the state's requirements for car insurance coverage.
Vehicle owners in Hawaii must maintain certain minimum levels of car insurance coverage throughout the period of the vehicle's registration:
Keep in mind that, if you are found responsible for causing a car accident, and the injured person is able to step outside of no-fault and file a lawsuit against you, without enough liability coverage you could find yourself personally responsible for that person's losses.
For more details on Hawaii's car insurance coverage requirements and options, check out the Motor Vehicle Insurance Information web page from the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.