There are more than 117,000 businesses based in Hawaii. These businesses encompass many different industries and have varying commercial auto insurance coverage needs. If your business has company-owned cars or trucks, the law mandates that you carry commercial auto insurance. Whether you own a manufacturing company like Silkwood Wholesale, Inc. or a transportation-based company like Royal Star Hawaii Motorcoach Tours & Destination Services, if you have company-owned vehicles, you can benefit from the extra liability protection that these policies can provide. Make sure you compare a variety of commercial auto insurance quotes before obtaining a policy.
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What Constitutes a Commercial Vehicle in Hawaii?
When it comes to insurance, any company-owned vehicle is a commercial vehicle for purposes of registration and credentialing in HI. The following characteristics define a commercial vehicle:
- Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of at least 10,000 pounds
- Passenger vehicles with a carrying capacity of 16 or more (including the driver)
Commercial Vehicle Credentials Issued in Hawaii
- PUC license number: This is available from the Hawaii Department of Budget and Finance, Public Utilities Commission. This license is required of all motor carriers prior to providing commercial vehicle service to the public. You must have a PUC license number when paying the Heavy Vehicle Use Tax and when applying for a Vehicle Identification Card.
- Vehicle identification card: This is available from the Hawaii Department of Transportation. This license is required before a commercial vehicle can go into service. The card includes information about the vehicle’s gross weight, VIN, PUC license number, USDOT number and carrier contact information.
- Commercial vehicle registration: This is available from the Department of Finance for the counties of Hawaii, Kauai and Maui and the Department of Customer Services for the City and County of Honolulu. All state-defined commercial vehicles must have this registration.
- Oversize/Overweight permits: The HDOT’s Highways Division District Offices issue this required permit for any commercial vehicles that exceed 80,000 pounds in weight, 9 feet in width, 65 feet in length or 14 feet in height.
- Heavy vehicle use tax: All heavy vehicles must have this registration. You must have proof of payment of this tax in order to register your vehicle.
What Is Commercial Auto Insurance?
As far as insurance goes, commercial vehicles come in all sizes and types. They can range from small cars to construction vehicles to tractor-trailers. It doesn’t matter whether your business uses cars, vans, trucks, taxis, buses or limousines. If a vehicle is company-owned, you must cover it with commercial auto insurance.
Different vehicle types will have different insurance coverage requirements as mandated by the state of Hawaii. For example, company-owned cars must meet the same liability minimums as passenger cars. These are the requirements:
- $20,000 for bodily injury per person
- $40,000 for bodily injury per accident involving two more injured parties
- $10,000 in property damage coverage per accident
In addition, Hawaii is a no-fault state, so vehicle owners must also carry a minimum of $10,000 in personal injury protection to cover medical costs for injuries sustained in an accident.
Commercial trucks such as construction vehicles and tractor-trailers generally have much higher liability insurance requirements. The minimum amounts you must carry are determined by the following:
- The vehicle’s size, weight and purpose
- The type of cargo the vehicle will be transporting (vehicles carrying hazardous materials will have higher liability insurance requirements.)
- What the vehicle is used for (i.e., deliveries, construction, transportation)
- The vehicle's passenger capacity if it will be used to transport passengers
How Costly Can Motor Vehicle Collisions Be?
The National Safety Council recently issued a report in which they revealed the average costs associated with traffic accidents across the country. These figures may give you a general idea of how much your company stands to lose in the event that one of your drivers is responsible for a major vehicular accident:
- Fatal collisions resulted in an average of $1,420,000 in liability costs.
- Collisions involving incapacitating injuries resulted in an average of $70,500 in liability costs.
- Collisions involving non-incapacitating injuries resulted in an average of $22,700 in liability costs.
- Collisions involving only property damage resulted in an average of $9,100 in liability costs.
Keep in mind, however, that these figures represent averages. Your actual liability costs are likely to be higher. This is because the likelihood of injury and damage increase when the vehicle involved is a large, heavy truck. Also, injured parties and attorneys have a tendency to pursue higher liability awards when a company, rather than an individual, is responsible for the payments.
What Does Commercial Auto Insurance Cover in Hawaii?
Commercial auto insurance provides consumers with a variety of coverage options. That way, business owners can create a policy that is appropriate for their vehicle or fleet of vehicles. Because a collision involving your company-owned vehicle has the potential to result in significant financial losses for your company, it is a good idea to purchase high levels of coverage.
Coverage options you can expect to find include the following:
- Liability insurance (required coverage)
- Personal injury protection (required coverage)
- Collision insurance
- Comprehensive insurance
- Bobtail coverage
- Loading and unloading coverage
- Uninsured/Underinsured motorist insurance
- Towing and labor coverage
Start Comparing Commercial Auto Insurance Quotes in Hawaii
You can customize your commercial car or truck insurance policy to meet your specific business needs. When shopping for quotes, you may find it beneficial to enlist the help of an insurance agent in the Trusted Choice® network. These independent agents are available to answer your insurance-related questions and help you assess your coverage needs. They can also obtain a variety of competitively priced commercial vehicle policies for your review.
Contact an agent near you to get more information and to start comparing commercial auto insurance quotes in Hawaii.