Hawaii No-Fault Car Insurance

If you're injured in a car accident in Hawaii, a claim under your own car insurance coverage may be your only option for getting compensation.

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's no-fault car insurance rules, and the minimum car insurance coverage requirements in the state.

No-Fault Car Insurance Basics in Hawaii

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.

Who Is Covered Under No-Fault/PIP in Hawaii?

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:

  • anyone who is injured while driving the policyholder's vehicle with permission
  • anyone injured as a passenger in the policyholder's vehicle, and
  • any pedestrian, bicyclist, or moped operator who is injured in an accident involving the policyholder's vehicle.

Note that in Hawaii, while it applies to injuries resulting from "moped" accidents, PIP will not cover injuries to a motorcyclist or a passenger riding on a motorcycle in Hawaii, unless that coverage is expressly provided for in the terms of the policy (Hawaii law differentiates between mopeds and motorcycles).

Stepping Outside of Hawaii's No-Fault System

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 two thresholds set by state law. Specifically, as a result of the accident:

  • your injuries must exceed the limits of your "personal injury protection" (PIP) insurance coverage, or
  • your injuries must include significant permanent loss of use of a body part or function, or permanent and serious disfigurement resulting in mental or emotional distress.

If your injuries meet either or both 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.

Minimum Car Insurance Coverage Requirements in Hawaii

Vehicle owners in Hawaii must maintain certain minimum levels of car insurance coverage throughout the period of the vehicle's registration:

  • $10,000 in PIP/no-fault coverage (explained above)
  • $20,000 liability coverage per person/$40,000 per accident (for injuries to others in an accident caused by the policyholder), and
  • $10,000 liability coverage per occurrence for property damage (resulting from an accident caused by the policyholder; does not cover damage to the policyholder's own vehicle).
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.

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