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Carrying Optional Auto Coverages and High Enough Limits Is Worth the Price


Kaela Wasnich, Sr. Corporate Communications Specialist
First Insurance Co. of Hawaii
(808) 527-7388

First Insurance Company of Hawaii, Ltd. (FICOH) encourages Hawaii drivers to educate themselves on their auto insurance policy and assess if they would be adequately protected in the event of a serious accident.

To comply with Hawaii law, your car insurance policy must include:

  • Bodily Injury Liability: $20,000 per person and $40,000 per accident
  • Personal Injury Protection (PIP): $10,000
  • Property Damage Liability: $10,000 per occurrence

“These minimums don’t come close to covering the cost of a serious accident,” says Marie Weite, Claims Assistant Vice President at FICOH. “When people buy minimum policy limits, they’re potentially exposing their personal assets to pay for harms and losses in excess of their insurance policy limits.”

Hawaii has a no-fault system of car insurance when it comes to injury. This means that after a crash, your insurance will pay for the medical costs of you and your passengers, regardless of who caused the crash, up to your PIP limit.

For property damage, however, the at-fault driver will be responsible. Additionally, lawsuits against the at-fault driver may occur if the injuries are more severe.

According to a 2017 study by the Insurance Research Council, 10.6 percent of Hawaii motorists were uninsured in 2015. “While most drivers comply with the law and have auto insurance, a big portion of those drivers do not carry high enough limits,” says Weite, making optional coverages such as Uninsured Motorist (UM) and Underinsured Motorist (UIM) worth considering.

Here are suggestions for managing your financial exposure:

  • Consider upping your coverage limits and buying optional coverages (such as UM and UIM). It’s a relatively inexpensive way to limit your exposure.
  • Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage pays for bodily injury you and the occupants of your car sustain in an accident caused by a hit-and-run, unidentified or uninsured driver.
  • Underinsured Motorist (UIM) coverage pays for bodily injury you and the occupants of your car sustain in an accident caused by an at-fault driver whose Bodily Injury liability limits are less than what you are entitled to recover.
  • Consider raising your liability coverage further through an umbrella policy. Given everything that’s at stake, it’s one of the most reasonable and inexpensive hedges you can take against losing your personal assets.
  • Talk to your independent agent about what makes sense for you.

First Insurance Company of Hawaii
Founded in 1911, First Insurance Company of Hawaii, Ltd. is the oldest and largest property and casualty insurer domiciled in Hawaii, with assets of $675.8 million, liabilities of $385.3 million, and policyholders’ surplus of $290.5 million as of September 30, 2018.

First Insurance, a member of the Tokio Marine North America (TMNA) group of companies, enjoys an “A+” rating from A.M. Best Co.

Proud of its broadly experienced, service-oriented staff, First Insurance employs more than 350 insurance professionals and distributes its products through 26 independent general agencies. First Insurance was named 2018 Kupuna Advocate of the Year by Hawaii Meals on Wheels (HMOW) for its exemplary support of HMOW and other organizations that serve seniors. It was also awarded the American Heart Association’s Workplace Health Gold Achievement for 2018.
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