Planning a trip to Hawaii? Make sure you understand the state’s rental car insurance laws before arriving. This guide covers Hawaii’s requirements, liability policies, options for additional coverage and more.
Overview of Hawaii Rental Car Insurance Laws
Here are the key facts about insurance for rental cars in Hawaii:
Minimum liability coverage required – Hawaii requires minimum liability limits of $20,000 bodily injury per person, $40,000 bodily injury per accident and $10,000 property damage per accident.
Liability included automatically – Rental car companies include the minimum liability coverage in the base rental rate for all renters.
Other coverage optional – Collision, comprehensive, uninsured motorist and additional liability limits can be purchased optionally from rental companies.
Personal policy may apply – Your own car insurance policy may extend collision, comprehensive and additional liability to rentals.
Credit cards may include coverage – Many cards include collision/damage coverage when renting.
Let’s take a deeper look at Hawaii’s rental car insurance requirements and options for coverage.
Liability Insurance Requirements in Hawaii
Hawaii requires all motor vehicles operated in the state to be covered by a minimum level of liability insurance. This state-mandated coverage applies to rental cars as well:
- Bodily injury liability: $20,000 per injured person, $40,000 per accident
- Property damage liability: $10,000 per accident
Rental car companies automatically include this minimum liability protection in their base rental rates for all renters. You cannot legally drive a rental car in Hawaii without liability insurance.
Liability coverage pays for damage you cause to other parties in an accident. However, the state-minimum limits provide relatively low coverage that may not be enough in a serious accident.
Purchasing supplementary liability insurance when renting is highly recommended. This additional coverage increases the liability limits above Hawaii’s minimums for more complete protection.
What Does Hawaii’s “No-Fault” Law Mean?
Hawaii is a “no-fault” state when it comes to auto insurance. This means your own insurer pays medical bills and lost wages after an accident, regardless of who was at fault.
However, no-fault does not completely ban lawsuits. Injured parties can still take legal action and pursue compensation if:
- Death occurred
- Disfigurement or loss of bodily function resulted
- Medical expenses exceed $10,000
No-fault insurance aims to streamline smaller claims without lawsuits. However, major accidents can still lead to liability claims. Having adequate liability coverage on rental cars is important in Hawaii.
Does My Personal Car Insurance Cover Rentals in Hawaii?
If you have a personal auto insurance policy, it may extend collision, comprehensive and additional liability coverage to rental cars in Hawaii. However, this is not guaranteed.
Check your personal policy or call your insurer before renting to see what exactly transfers. Common scenarios:
Collision – Typically extends if you have this on your personal policy.
Comprehensive – Usually transfers if included on your personal policy.
Liability – May provide additional limits beyond state minimums required in Hawaii.
Medical payments – Transfers unless you reject this coverage on your personal policy.
Uninsured motorist – Typically transfers but read your policy language.
If you want full coverage, purchasing a collision damage waiver from the rental company is recommended. Never assume your personal policy transfers everything.
Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) in Hawaii
Collision damage waiver, or CDW, is the most important optional coverage you can buy from rental car companies in Hawaii.
This protects against financial responsibility if the rental vehicle is damaged or stolen. CDW covers situations including:
- You cause an accident that’s your fault
- The car is vandalized or stolen while in your possession
- An act of nature like hail or floods damages the vehicle
CDW acts similarly to collision and comprehensive insurance on your personal car. It typically costs $15-30 extra per day. Without CDW, you would owe the full value of the vehicle if any covered incident occurs.
Note that many credit cards include CDW-style rental coverage when renting. Check your card’s policy first before purchasing this directly.
Other Optional Rental Car Insurance in Hawaii
In addition to CDW collision coverage, other add-on policies are available when renting a car in Hawaii:
Liability insurance – Raises state-minimum liability limits for more protection.
Personal accident insurance – Covers medical costs for injuries to you and your passengers.
Personal effects coverage – Protects against loss or theft of items from the rental car.
Uninsured motorist insurance – Covers bodily injury costs if an uninsured driver hits your rental car.
Emergency roadside assistance – Provides help for lockouts, flat tires, battery jumps, etc.
If you already haveample coverage through your personal policy or credit card,these extra products may not be necessary. Consider costs vs. level of protection needed.
Penalties for Driving Without Insurance in Hawaii
Driving a rental car in Hawaii without proper insurance can lead to serious consequences. Penalties include:
- Up to $500 fine for first offense
- Up to $1,500 for subsequent offenses
- Driver’s license suspended
- Car impounded until proof of insurance provided
- Required to file SR-22 high-risk proof of insurance for 3 years
Jail time is also possible for repeat offenses. Having adequate coverage is crucial.
How to Get Cheap Rental Car Insurance in Hawaii
Renting a car in Hawaii doesn’t have to mean paying exorbitant insurance fees. Here are money-saving tips:
- Compare rental company quotes and look for discounts.
- Pay with a premium credit card that includes CDW-style coverage.
- Check your personal auto policy to see what transfers.
- Only purchase additional coverage you truly need.
- Consider third-party rental car insurance as an alternative.
Booking well in advance and joining rental company loyalty programs can also help you save. Don’t overpay for insurance and diminish your Hawaii vacation budget.
Frequently Asked Questions About Hawaii Rental Car Insurance
Do I have to buy insurance from rental car companies in Hawaii?
No, purchasing add-on policies is optional, but you must maintain the state-required minimum liability coverage included in the base rental rate.
If I get in an accident, can my personal car insurance deny coverage?
It depends on your policy terms. If you violate rental agreements, coverage may be denied. Check with your insurer about rental policies.
Is loss damage waiver (LDW) required in Hawaii?
LDW is optional in Hawaii. It’s similar to collision coverage but pays the rental company for damage. Your personal policy or credit card may include similar protection.
What is the grace period for rental insurance after landing in Hawaii?
There is no grace period for insurance on rental cars in Hawaii. You must have active coverage meeting the minimum liability limits before driving away.
Can I use my health insurance instead of buying personal accident insurance?
Likely not. Health plans may reject accident claims arising from risky activities like driving rental cars. Read your health policy’s fine print first.
The Bottom Line on Hawaii Rental Car Insurance
Driving legally in Hawaii requires rental car companies to include basic liability coverage in the rental rate. Purchasing additional policies like CDW collision coverage is optional. Check your personal auto policy and credit card protections first to avoid overpaying.
By understanding Hawaii’s minimum requirements and smartly buying only the coverage you need, you can save money and drive with confidence. Have a wonderful trip to Hawaii!
Should I Buy Additional Insurance From a Rental Car Company?
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