Updated on 06.20.16

Car Insurance in Hawaii

Devon Rhodes

I found over $800 in savings in just 20 minutes.

Hawaii is home to some of the most breathtaking drives in the country, as well as some low average auto insurance premiums. With a statewide annual average of $1,114, you can comfortably enjoy protection over your vehicle without breaking the bank. And with a little attentive shopping, you can save even more.

I spent time searching for the ideal coverage for the average Hawaiian, covering the bases of minimum state required coverage with a few necessary add-ons. In only 20 minutes of research, I found over $400 in savings, ranging from Travellers’ extremely affordable quote of $696 to Progressive’s more pricey $1,508 offer. The thing is though, those were my rates, and I can’t promise that Travelers will be your cheapest option. Every quote comes down to an individual experience every time — and you won’t know what you’ll get until you try.

When shopping for your own policy, it’s key to remember that every little factor imaginable has an effect on the way your quote is calculated. Everything from your zip code, to your age, to your credit score can seriously affect the quote you receive. Not just that, but every company weighs those factors in their own unique way. That means it’s paramount to take the time and do the one extra quote tool. Because in the end, you’ll be much happier for having spent the extra time to find the extra savings that are just waiting for you.

In my research, I was completed all of my quotes using handy online tools. You can expect the big-name companies to have these types of quote calculators, and they’re certainly a time saver when you’re comparing multiple quotes. Even most of the smaller insurers are picking up on the trend and incorporating them into their websites. On average, the online forms only took around 5 minutes to complete. But still, our world revolves around people and human interactions; phone calls may well be necessary in your search for cheap car insurance. If so, prepare for about 20-30 minutes on the phone, and make sure you are ready with your personal information (driver’s license number, accident history, etc.).

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Our Top 5 Picks for the Best Car Insurance in Hawaii

I started my search by figuring out which major carriers actually offered coverage service in the Aloha Islands. Some insurer like Nationwide, Metlife, and Amica Mutual either don’t offer their services there, or refer you to a partner company who might. My five choices reflect those that I found to offer service, held consistently high ratings for customer service throughout all regions of the United States, and maintain an excellent score for financial stability. 

Insurer My quote
Travellers $696
Farmers $788
Allstate $812
Geico $1,176
Progressive $1,508 

Most of us know the heartbreak of a fender-bender or a mild accident, but If you happen to do what I did and total your car on an open highway, you definitely don’t want to be dealing with a hesitant insurance company on the other side. Knowing that your insurer has the resources to pay major claims without coming under financial duress brings a certain piece in the midst of calamity. Even more so, knowing that your insurance company won’t keep you in the dark or leave you to the sharks during your customer service experience is infinitely comforting.

It is wise to remember that cheaper isn’t always better, but savings over $800 sure makes Travellers a little irresistable from a consumer standpoint. My recommendation would be to stick with an affordable company and put your saved money to better use as higher coverage.

Because of Hawaii’s unique geographic situation, the state has an abundance of local insurance outfits on each island. It’s always worth exploring your local options when shopping for a policy, especially if you are new to car insurance or are unsure of the details regarding the policy that best for you. Sometimes a familiar voice and a friendly hand is all you need to find to navigate unfamiliar waters.

Even If You’re Happy, It’s Best to Shop for a New Policy Every Couple of Years

Unbenounced to most consumers, car insurance companies don’t calculate premiums on your level of risk alone. They have begun to stray from the traditional “risk profile”, and have begun to install new practice called price optimization. The idea is to test a consumer’s elasticity regarding the price of their policies. If the insurer feels that they have the leeway to squeeze a few more dollars per year out of an individual, then why not 

Price optimization uses the big data market to understand your habits as a consumer. A range of your personal data like credit scores, web shopping habits, and social media activity is transformed through grand algorithms into percentages that indicate your tendency to track down the best deals and if you’re averse to rising prices 

A study by data giant, Earnix, found 45 percent of large insurance companies were incorporating this controversial strategy into their pricing schemes. But when 68 percent of all participants state the main goal of any price changes as a “drive for more profitability”, than what can you really expect.

Shopping around for a shiny new policy every so often is an excellent way to keep insurers on their toes and less on their analytics. Price optimization is a touchy and controversial subject, and no company wants to lose your as their customer. Frequently keeping an eye out for a better policy is the best way to keep the competitive pricing coming from your insurer.

If you are concerned about you premiums being influenced by price optimization, your first recourse should be your agent. They should be able to explain whether or not your insurance company is using the tactic. If you’ve made that call, but still feel like there’s more to be done, then contact the Hawaii Department of Insurance. Request that your state follow the lead of a few of the main-landers. Places like Maryland and Florida have banned the use of such information in the quantification of insurance premiums because it was found to be unfairly discriminatory. Other states have put the practice under investigation, or forced into the public light.

As Hawaiians it is your duty to look out for your ohana and hoaloha. Don’t let a greedy insurer take advantage of your or your friends budget. Be sure to consistently compare quotes, and stay vigilant against the attack on your wallet.

Hawaii’s Minimum Coverage

The Bare Minimum

Hawaii is part of a small group of states who employ the no-fault system of automotive insurance. Therefore two coverage are required in order to drive legally on the islands: Liability and Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.

The quotes I shared earlier were for the most basic level of coverage required in the in Hawaii; $20,000 for bodily injury per person, $40,000 for total bodily injury for all involved, $10,000 for property damage, and the included $10,000 of required Personal Injury Protection. Colloquially known as 20/40/10.

If You Skip Coverage, It’ll Cost You

Like every state, it’s not enough to have coverage, you’ve got to be able to prove it too. In the state of Hawaii, you are required to carry your insurance identification card with you. If you are caught without your identification card, you will be subject to traffic tickets and fines.

Even though Hawaii has disbanded the points system (rack up enough of them and lose your license kind of deal) there are still consequences for your actions. Not only will you face the fines and penalties of the Hawaiian judiciary system, you could find yourself in trouble at work. Your driving record abstract is available to current and prospective employers. If they fear habitual problems are present, you may well find yourself struggling to find and keep a job.

The Best Car Insurance is Not Just Cheap Car Insurance

Speaking from experience, I know both the trials of filing a claim and the importance of paying for adequate coverage. In 2015, I totaled my car and walked away with a couple of scratches, one heck of a story, and fortunately, a feeling of comfort in my coverage.

Unfortunately, it’s likely that you will have to file a claim in your lifetime as well. Statistics show that the common driver averages an accident every 17.9 years. What’s even more frightening is that the average cost of an injury-inducing, but nonfatal, accident is a stupefying $80,700, and unless you’re much wealthier than than the average American, you would probably rather not pay the gap of $50K out of pocket.

In most cases, upgrading from cheap car insurance to a more substantial plan like a 50/100/50, isn’t as daunting of a leap as you might expect. For example, my quote for a 20/40/10 plan with Travellers was $696. To up my coverage to 50/100/50 the cost went up to $962, and while that’s a $266 worth of difference. Stack that up for the approximate 18 years we talked about and that’s an extra $4,700 over that period of time. It’s a drop in the bucket compared to shelling out a majority of the damages from your pocket — damages that can average $50,000 to $80,000. In my mind, it’s worth the peace of mind to have a level of coverage you can trust to protect you should the unexpected happen.

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Beat the Average Premium: 9 Ways to Snag Cheap Car Insurance Rates

There are tons of factors that affect your insurance premiums, for better or for worse. Living in Hawaii, your geography plays a huge role in the cost of your premiums and annual rates. Check out this chart of the average premiums in Hawaii’s inhabited islands and see where you fall. If you’re not making the cut, then check out our list below and see how you can slash and burn your rates.

Nine ways to lower your car insurance rates


Why are Hawaii’s Rates So Affordable?

As noted previously, Hawaii is a no-fault state when it comes to automobile insurance; words that are synonymous with high rates and steep fees. But it would be just like the laid back aloha spirit of the Hawaiian Islands to turn this sentiment on its head. Hawaii is one of the top 10 cheapest states to insure your vehicle, while many of its no-fault brethren fall into the top tier of most expensive places to drive insured.

What to Expect
Average Monthly Premiums
United States $139
Hawaii $92
Hilo $99
Kailua $95
Honolulu $92
Pearl City $92
Source Quadrant

This might be linked to Hawaii’s lower driving population percentage, which is around 20 percent lower than most of the nation, especially on the smaller islands. Hawaii also hosts a relatively high percentage of rural land mass. Rural driving situations create less frequent accidents and generally have a lower crime rate as a whole. These factors that notoriously influential in calculating average premiums across a state.

The Bottom Line

No matter which island you’re on, data suggests you are beating nearly every mainlander on car insurance rates. Then again, if you’re living on Hawaii, I’d say you’re just winning overall.  However, even though your average is lower, it’s still best to shop from as many companies as are available. Who doesn’t want the best car insurance premium possible?

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Enter your zip code to compare rates from some of my top recommendations.

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