Do You Need Rental Car Insurance in Hawaii?

Depending on what your personal auto policy already includes, you may not need additional rental car insurance in Hawaii. Here are the details!
Written by Brittni Brinn
Reviewed by Pat Roache
You will not be required to buy
rental car insurance
in Hawaii, but you should have auto coverage that will satisfy the state’s minimum insurance requirements. You can find rental car insurance coverage through your rental company, your current provider, or other services like your credit card!
If a visit to Hawaii is coming up, you may be wondering if you’ll need to add rental car insurance to your list of expenses. However, if you already have an auto policy in place, you may not need to worry. You might even already have rental car insurance through your credit card!
But will your
car insurance
policy provide enough coverage? We’ll go through all of the rental car insurance options in Hawaii, from how much coverage you need to where you can get it. 

Do you need rental car insurance in Hawaii?

Although you are not required to purchase rental car insurance in Hawaii, you cannot drive in the state uninsured. Rental car insurance is usually a convenient option to ensure you are fulfilling Hawaii’s minimum car insurance requirements if you don’t have a personal auto insurance policy already in place.
Before landing in Hawaii, you should take some time to review your auto insurance coverage and see if there are any gaps that rental insurance would cover. Car rental companies in Hawaii will often include auto insurance for visitors outside of North America, but not for visitors from the U.S. and Canada—and there’s no point in paying more for coverage you may already have!
Another consideration is if other drivers in your party will be covered by your auto insurance. Rental insurance may be an easy way to make sure all drivers are covered if they are not listed on your regular car insurance policy.
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What rental car coverage is required?

As in most states, Hawaii requires all drivers to have minimum
liability coverage
before hitting the road. To fulfill Hawaii's Compulsory Liability Insurance law you should have at least:
Since Hawaii is a
no-fault state
, drivers file a claim with their own insurance company in an accident, with PIP covering medical expenses. If your expenses following an accident exceed your insurance limits, you can pursue legal action against the at-fault driver. 
The insurance offered by your rental car company should include at least these liability limits to keep you legal on the road. If your auto insurance does not fulfill these requirements, you’ll have to either increase your auto policy’s limits or opt for rental car insurance. And you can always request higher limits if you want extra peace of mind on the road.
Failure to fulfill the minimum liability coverage and PIP requirements could result in a major fine, a license suspension, and even jail time if you’ve been caught
driving without car insurance
before. Plus, if you get in an accident without properly insuring your rental car, you could be on the hook for thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages.

What rental car insurance is optional?

There are four main offerings provided by rental car companies. Technically, all of them are optional so long as you have a regular auto policy or rental car coverage through another source that satisfies the state’s minimum liability limits.
Here are the kinds of rental insurance you can choose from:
  • Loss damage waiver (LDW) and collision damage waiver (SDW)
  • Personal effects coverage (PEC)
  • Personal accident insurance (PAI)
  • Liability insurance 
Your car rental company may also offer coverage for injured persons,
roadside assistance
, and more. If you’re not sure which insurance options are right for you, talk to the car rental agency ahead of time so you can avoid the stress of having to choose on the spot. 
Consider where you’ll be driving and what kind of coverage you already have through your auto policy to narrow down which rental car coverages are best for you. For example, if you already have
comprehensive coverage
through your auto insurance policy, you likely do not need to purchase a collision damage waiver from your rental car provider.

How much does Hawaii rental car insurance cost?

As with any insurance, the cost of rental car coverage will depend on a variety of factors including the car rental company you use, the type of car you rent, the length of your rental, and the time of year.
If you are renting a car during a particularly busy time of year, for example, you’ll likely have to pay more for all costs associated with your rental. This is partly because high season draws more drivers to the area, increasing the risk of collisions. Where you rent a car has an impact on how much you’ll pay as well—airports and resorts may have higher rates and fees attached to renting and insuring a car.
According to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA), car rental companies are not allowed to ask for a deposit or advance charge to cover potential damage. It’s best to compare a few car rental companies to make sure you’re getting a good deal on your rental car insurance and dealing with a legitimate company. 
If you have questions about rental car company practices or your rental agreement, you can call the DCCA Consumer Resource Center at 587-4272.

Where to buy rental car insurance coverage in Hawaii

The most convenient place to buy rental car insurance is the company providing the rental car. If you’ve gone over your regular auto insurance policy and decided that you need more protection, signing up for rental car coverage when you pick up your rental has some benefits. For one thing, the coverage will only last as long as you are driving the rental car—once you return it, you won’t have to worry about canceling an extra insurance policy.
You can also look to your auto insurance provider for rental car insurance. Your collision and comprehensive policies may already cover your rental car, but if you want some extra protection, you can add a rental car rider or travel coverage to your insurance plan. Talking with your insurance agent about your options is the best way to prepare for your trip!
Finally, some third-party companies will offer rental car insurance if certain conditions are met. For example, it’s pretty common for major credit card companies to offer rental car coverage if you use your credit card to pay for your rental vehicle. It’s probably worth a look at what your current credit card terms are to see if this is an option!
However, you should be wary of any insurance company that advertises
temporary car insurance
. One-day or one-week insurance plans are usually a scam, so make sure you do your research before paying for insurance that might not even exist!
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Car rental insurance should at least cover the state minimum liability insurance limits to keep you legal on the road. Most companies will also offer loss of use, collision damage, and personal effects coverage. You can also ask about roadside assistance and other additional coverage types to make sure you get the protection you need.
Hawaii law requires all drivers to carry at least $20,000 bodily injury coverage per person, $40,000 bodily injury coverage per accident, $10,000 property damage coverage per accident, and $10,000 personal injury protection (PIP). All protections beyond these liability limits are optional.
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