What to do after a hit-and-run in Hawaii

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After a hit-and-run, figuring out what to do can feel a little complicated. Unlike most of the contiguous United States, Hawaii handles driving licensure, fees and more on a county-by-county basis. That can make Hawaii hit-and-run laws feel extra-complex, and it could leave you scrambling after this type of car accident.

Whether you watch another driver flee or you are the one who panicked and sped away, you need to know how to handle a hit-and-run — and the fallout you should expect. Insurance works a little differently for this type of car accident and knowing which coverages you can tap to cover expenses can help ease the process for you.

Hit-and-runs in Hawaii

First, it can be helpful to understand what, exactly, qualifies as a hit-and-run. Since Hawaii hit-and-run law requires all drivers to stop and do certain things after an accident (more details below), anytime anyone leaves the scene of an accident without at least stopping and checking on the other people involved, they could be convicted of a Hawaii hit-and-run.

Data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that these types of incidents are relatively common in Hawaii. In Figure 2 of that report, you can see that Hawaii ranked fairly high when AAA analyzed hit-and-run fatalities per 100,000 people.

That same report also shows a sharp uptick of Hawaii hit-and-run fatalities in 2016, the most recent year for which data has been published. While Hawaii saw four of these fatalities in 2014 and just one in 2015, the number jumped to 12 in 2016.

Hawaii hit-and-run laws

The Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 291C specifically requires that anytime you get involved in an accident and someone is injured or a vehicle or other property is damaged, all involved drivers need to stop and exchange information and give anyone who’s hurt aid. That Hawaii hit-and-run statute means that anytime any individual leaves the scene of an accident without doing those two things, they break the law. In other words, you could be convicted for a traffic violation, even if you were not the at-fault driver, if you fail to stick around after the crash.

As far as hit-and-run Hawaii insurance goes, paying for your and your passengers’ medical expenses is fairly straightforward because Hawaii is a no-fault state. The state requires you to carry at least $10,000 of personal injury protection (PIP), which kicks in for your injuries right away.

But getting your vehicle repaired will be another story. If you were the at-fault driver, you will need to use your collision coverage to pay for repairs, and that means paying your deductible. If you were not at-fault in the accident and law enforcement can track down the hit-and-run driver, their liability insurance will cover repairs to your vehicle. In that case, you do not need to worry about any hit-and-run deductible, so you should not have any out-of-pocket cost. If the other driver cannot be located, though, you will need to turn to either your uninsured motorist coverage or your own collision coverage for repairs.

Scenarios like this are why most insurance experts recommend purchasing full coverage car insurance, or at least more than the minimum amount of car insurance required by the state.

How hit-and-runs impact car insurance rates in Hawaii

All drivers should know one thing about Hawaii hit-and-run insurance: if you flee the scene and get caught, your insurance premiums will skyrocket. And your insurance company will most likely require you to get an SR-22, which is basically extra paperwork you have to pay for.

After a hit-and-run in Hawaii, you should expect to pay significantly more than the average driver for your car insurance. That type of driving conviction tells your insurance provider that you are a high-risk driver. If your insurance company agrees to continue insuring you if you’ve been convicted of a hit-and-run, it comes with a cost. Although Hawaii’s average costs for car insurance with a clean driving record are very low compared to the national average, that is not the case if convicted of a hit-and-run.

Average annual full coverage auto insurance premiums

Before a hit-and-run After a hit-and-run After a standard accident
Hawaii average $1,127 $5,695 $1,560
National average $1,674 $3,367 $2,405

5 things to do after a hit-and-run in Hawaii

Here, we are assuming that you are the victim of a hit-and-run in Hawaii and are left wondering how to handle things at the scene of the accident. If you were the hit-and-run driver, the best thing you can probably do is return to the accident site ASAP to try to make things right.

  • Don’t give chase. While it might be tempting to high-tail it after the fleeing driver, doing so would mean you also leave the scene of the accident, breaking Hawaii hit-and-run law. Plus, it could aggravate any injuries you or your passengers sustained. Instead of following, try to memorize their license plate number or other details about their vehicle as they drive away.
  • Get to safety. Prioritize moving your vehicle out of the flow of traffic and checking on yourself and any passengers. If any other damaged vehicles or injured people remain at the scene and you are well enough to do so, also help them move to safety. Call 911 if anyone is injured so they can dispatch emergency medical care.
  • Write down the details. Once everyone is safe, take the time to write down everything you can remember about the driver who fled. If you can recall it, make a note of their license plate number, vehicle make and model and anything else that could help the police identify them and their vehicle. While everything is still fresh, it can also be helpful to write down your account of the accident. Also, take pictures of any injuries and property damage, including damage to your car. This can help both the police and your insurance claim.
  • Call the police. If you have not already called 911 for medical care, do so now so they can send an officer to the scene of the accident. This law enforcement professional will gather evidence at the scene, along with your testimony and the testimonies of other witnesses. All of this information can help them find the hit-and-run driver. Plus, a police report can make your insurance claim go more smoothly.
  • Contact your insurance provider. Last up, call your insurance company or start a claim on their app or website. They will let you know how to move forward and which Hawaii hit-and-run insurance coverage types can help you with any expenses.

Will insurance cover a hit-and-run?

At the very least, after a hit-and-run, Hawaii car insurance will cover your and your passenger’s medical expenses (up to your policy limits) since all drivers in the Aloha State are required to have PIP coverage.

Repairing your vehicle may be more complex. You essentially have three options:

  • Liability insurance. If the hit-and-run driver can be found, their liability coverage will cover repairs to your vehicle (or a replacement, if your vehicle is totaled), up to their policy limits.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage. This optional coverage steps not just when the at-fault driver is illegally driving without insurance but also when they illegally flee the accident scene. This coverage usually does not require a deductible, which means you should have no out-of-pocket expense to fix or replace your car. In Hawaii, car insurance companies must offer you uninsured motorist coverage, but you can decline it in writing.
  • Collision coverage. If you opted not to carry uninsured motorist coverage, another optional coverage — collision coverage — can step in. This coverage is specifically designed to pay for vehicle repairs after an accident, but it does come with a deductible.

Frequently asked questions

How much does car insurance cost?

That depends. With a clean driving record, the average Hawaii driver pays $1,127 for their policy. But after a hit-and-run, Hawaii insurance costs a whole lot more. Our average driver paid nearly $5,700 for their policy after fleeing the scene of an accident. The national average for full coverage car insurance is $1,674 per year, but rates vary significantly by state and your actual rate may be higher or lower depending on your circumstances.

Will I be able to get insurance after a hit-and-run in Hawaii?

That depends. If you are convicted of a hit-and-run, there is always a chance your insurance provider will drop you after a serious conviction like this. In many cases, to maintain coverage, you will need an SR-22 and the budget for significantly higher-than-average car insurance premiums. If you were the victim of a hit-and-run, you should not have a problem getting car insurance, but your rates may be higher for a time if you had to file a claim with your insurance company as a result of the accident.

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2019 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.

Incident: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the following incidents applied: clean record (base), at-fault accident, single speeding ticket, single DUI conviction and lapse in coverage.

Written by
Kacie Goff
Personal Finance Contributor
Kacie Goff is a personal finance and insurance writer with over seven years of experience covering personal and commercial coverage options. She writes for Bankrate, The Simple Dollar, NextAdvisor, Varo Money, Coverage, Best Credit Cards and more. She's covered a broad range of policy types — including less-talked-about coverages like wrap insurance and E&O — and she specializes in auto, homeowners and life insurance.
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Insurance Editor