If you live in beautiful Hawaii, you’re lucky for lots of reasons. One of them is that your average insurance rates are below the national average — $136 below, in fact, at $873 per year. It’s never a bad thing to save money, especially when you live in the state that, by some accounting, has the highest cost of living of any U.S. state.

And here’s some more good news: You may be able to get your premium even lower with a bit of effort. We’ve already done the leg work for you.

Hawaii Minimum Liability

Hawaii has fairly standard minimum liability amounts — these are the numbers that the state says you must meet with your insurance policy in order to drive legally. In addition to basic liability coverages for injury and property, Hawaii includes $10K personal injury protection (PIP) in their list of gotta-haves, because they are a no-fault state (we’ll get into what that means later).

  • $20,000 bodily injury coverage per person
  • $40,000 bodily injury coverage per accident
  • $10,000 property damage coverage per accident
  • $10,000 basic personal injury protection (PIP)

Just because the state says you need to have these coverages doesn’t mean you should stop there. We suggest that, if you can afford it, you want to go with coverage of at least $50,000 bodily injury per person/$100,000 per accident, and $50,000 property damage, usually written as 50/100/50.

Bumping up your coverage means you’ll be less likely to get caught short if you’re in an accident where there are serious injuries or lots of damage — like if you hit an expensive luxury car. It’s a good idea to be prepared for the worst — and hope you never need it.

In addition to the state-mandated coverage, you’ll also want to consider two additional kinds of coverage: collision, which covers damage to your car in an accident, and comprehensive, which covers non-accident-related mishaps, like theft or fire or the unlikely event of damage caused by volcanoes.

You should also consider what sort of supplemental coverage each company offers, like roadside emergency service or rental reimbursement — all these factors play into your final decision on which company can give you the best car insurance in Hawaii.

Hawaii Auto Insurance Reviews

State Farm

One of the things we like best about State Farm is the number of discounts, some of them specific to Hawaii, that can save you a considerable amount of money on your policy. And yes, it has all the usual discounts, like one for having multiple policies with the company and an accident-free discount.

State Farm’s website is nicely put together. In fact, we recommend that those who are new to car insurance check out State Farm’s Simple Insights blog even if they aren’t planning to insure with the company. There’s a wealth of information there on vehicle safety, the latest car tech, maintenance, insurance basics, and more. Of the companies we explored, State Farm, we felt, had the best and most educational website.

We were just as impressed by the company’s Drive Safe and Save program. You earn a five percent discount just for signing up. Then the State Farm monitors your driving using either your OnStar capabilities or a small beacon device that you keep in the car. If you’re a safe driver, obeying speed limits, slowing for turns, and generally handling your car like a boss, you can save up to 50 percent of your premium, according to the company.

State Farm’s quote tool is a bit clunky, but we ended up with three quotes for a range of costs in a matter of minutes. You can also edit the numbers the company suggests to customize your quote. With a bit of tweaking, our final quote came in at $426, which included $72 in discounts.

USAA

Hawaii has one of the largest concentrations of U.S. military bases and compounds in the country, staffed by more than 36,000 active duty military personnel. Why does this matter for car insurance? Because our third company, USAA, serves only active and retired military and their families. But if you qualify, USAA is the company to beat.

In both claims management and financial stability, USAA was number one on our list. Consumer Reports gives it a rocket-high reader score of 95, with “excellent” ratings for “simplicity of process” and “timely payment.” J.D. Power scores then at five out of five — you can’t get any better than that. Moody’s, A.M. Best, and S&P Global all give it a high “A” ranking, as well, indicating that the company manages its financial resources wisely.

USAA offers all the standard supplemental coverage: accident forgiveness, rental reimbursement, and a handful of average discounts. But it is also very aware of the particular needs of a military clientele. For example, you can earn a 15 percent discount if you store your vehicle on base, and you can pay your premiums based on the frequency of your military pay schedule.

All these perks, along with a reputation for excellent customer service, make USAA a favored contender for those affiliated with the military.

Allstate

Like our other contenders, Allstate’s quote tool was fairly simple to use, though we weren’t happy with the fact that you cannot complete a quote without giving it your phone number and email address — thus setting yourself up for pesky calls from agents before you’re ready to buy.

We opted to get a range of pricing options, and you can further edit these quotes to match your own needs. Our policy came in at $542 for six months, which included $499 in discounts, but was still our second highest quote by a good margin.

We’ll leave it up to you to decide if Allstate gives you your money’s worth, but we can tell you that the company scores well in multiple areas. Its Consumer Report reader score is 88, just one point less than our top company, State Farm. CR also rates it as very good for “simplicity of claims process” and excellent for “timely payment. J.D. Power likes the company as well, giving it a three out of five in both claims and overall satisfaction — which puts it in the middle range of our four contenders. Allstate’s financial solidity is good, according to Moody’s, A.M. Best, and S&P Global, who all rate it in the “A” range.

We like Allstate’s website, and, as with State Farm, we’d suggest that for newbies, it’s a good place to learn the ins and outs of the insurance world. There are a number of informative blog entries, as well as calculators to help you make financial decisions about your car purchase.

Farmers Insurance

Farmer’s quote tool took surprisingly little time, and we wondered if they were asking us enough questions to provide an accurate quote. We wondered even more when that quote came out to be our highest, at $573, just a bit more than Allstate — that’s after five discounts, for standard things like anti-lock brakes and airbags.

Farmer’s website has very little in the way of educational information. There are no blogs or calculators or other tools to enhance the customer experience. For example, we searched for the common term “no-fault insurance,” and found nothing. But having said that, the site is clearly laid out and allows you to pay your bill online, report and manage claims, and leave feedback.

If you do have a claim, Farmer’s offers some nice perks. Its instant claims payment process allows you to get an estimate for repairs at one of their locations on Oahu, Kauai, or Maui, and potentially receive a check on the spot.

Someone can even meet you at your home or work, if that’s more convenient. The company also offer a guaranteed repair program in connection with body shops on Oahu, the Big Island, Kauai, and Maui that feature a lifetime warranty on repairs.

More Tips for Hawaii Drivers

What’s the Deal with No-Fault?

Hawaii is one of a handful of states with “no-fault” insurance. This coverage means that your insurance company will pay the bills for your injuries and your passengers’ injuries up to the limit of your basic personal injury protection (PIP), regardless of who is at fault.

In return, you cannot sue or be sued unless there are serious injuries well beyond the scope of your PIP. No-fault deals only with injuries, not vehicles or property. This is why all Hawaii policies include $10K for PIP, in addition to the 20/40/10 that is the minimum amount your policy can cover and be legal. No-fault insurance has been around since the 1970s, and currently 12 states and Puerto Rico use it.

No-fault has a complex history that’s beyond the scope of this review, but it was created, basically, to limit the number of lawsuits being filed following accidents. When getting quotes for car insurance in Hawaii, either with an agent or via an online quote tool, you’ll see that the PIP is not an optional coverage — you can thank no-fault for that.

Handling Uninsured Motorists

A little over ten percent of Hawaii’s drivers are on the road without insurance. This probably doesn’t matter to you — until you’re in an accident with one of these drivers. Your no-fault insurance covers you to a certain extent, but you should also consider coverage for underinsured (UIM) and uninsured (UM) motorists.

This inexpensive supplement to your insurance can cover you more generously if you are one of the one-in-ten people whose accident involves someone with little or no insurance. And if you are one of those ten percent? We recommend that you visit an agent and ask about the Hawaii Joint Underwriting Plan (HJUP).

HJUP is a shared-risk, state-mandated plan that covers high-risk drivers who cannot get insurance through a regular company. It’s worth it to get yourself into legal compliance with insurance laws.

Protecting Our Teens

Teens have one of the highest rates of accidents of any age group in the U.S. In fact, the fatal crash rate per mile driven for 16-19 years old is nearly three times as high as the rate for drivers over 20. To combat this, the state of Hawaii has instituted a graduated licensing system.

When a teen is 15 years (plus six months) old, they may receive a learner’s permit, where they must be accompanied by a licensed driver over 21 at all times. Once they turn 16, the teen can apply for a provisional license.

This mid-level license limits teens to driving during daytime hours only, with no more than one passenger under the age of 18. Only when they are 17, and have met all the other conditions imposed by the Department of Motor Vehicles, are they eligible for a standard license.

Parents of teens should keep in mind that despite the fact that they are high-risk, some insurance companies offer discounts for drivers under 18 (State Farm) and for teen drivers who are good students (all of our contenders except Farmers).