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Ask insurer for available discounts on auto policies

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    EDT ITO - 31 DECEMBER 2013- State Insurance Commissioner Gordon Ito. Name in the News. Honolulu Star-Advertiser photo by Cindy Ellen Russell

Question: A recent report by a personal finance site stated that Hawaii drivers enjoy the fifth-biggest auto insurance savings in the U.S. for low-mileage driving. It also says that more than 4 in 5 Americans fail to ask for car insurance discounts. So, what kinds of discounts should Hawaii drivers request?

>> Title: State of Hawaii insurance commissioner
>> Education: Bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Hawaii; law degree from the University of Hawaii’s William S. Richardson School of Law.
>> Career history: Appointed insurance commissioner by Gov. Linda Lingle in 2010, reappointed by Gov. Neil Abercrombie in 2011 and reappointed by Gov. David Ige in 2015.
>> Contact: 586-2790 or

Answer: Some basic discounts that Hawaii drivers may request or qualify for are antitheft (car alarm system), good driver discount (no claims) and passive restraint (automatic front seat belts and/or air bags).

Q: Are auto insurers doing business in Hawaii required by state law to offer certain types of discounts?

A: No, but auto insurers do offer discounts and consumers should check with their insurer or agent to see if they qualify for any discounts they may offer.

Q: Are auto insurers that do business in Hawaii required to offer the same kinds of discounts in the islands that are offered on the mainland?

A: No.

Q: What is the oddest auto insurance discount ever encountered by the state Insurance Division?

A: We have not seen odd discounts; however, a few companies are offering a unique discount to participate for a telematics program. Telematics is a usage-based auto insurance program that tracks your driving habits. Drivers don’t get penalized for poor driving habits but may receive additional discounts for good driving habits.

Q: It seems that a common auto insurance discount is based on whether a driver is married, while some insurance rates are based on age. Isn’t that discrimination and therefore illegal?

A: Yes, marital status and age are prohibited rating factors under Hawaii law.

Q: Is it legal for insurers to offer discounts based on occupations?

A: Yes, insurers may offer discounts based on occupations if it is justified with supporting data.

Q: Does the insurance division offer a printed or online guide for consumers wanting to carefully comparison-shop before purchasing an auto insurance policy?

A: Yes, we have an annual motor vehicle premium publication on our website. We encourage consumers to "shop and compare" at The Insurance Division also has homeowners and rental premium comparisons as well as Affordable Care Act health insurance premium comparisons publications. Consumers could potentially save significantly on their insurance by shopping and comparing.

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