The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs' Insurance Division and Office of Consumer Protection are advising Hawaii residents to be informed and exercise caution before participating in a car-sharing program.
If individuals live in Hawaii and are seeking to rent a vehicle through an online car-sharing program, they are advised to be aware that they may be responsible for damages and injuries stemming from accidents during the rental period. In addition, anyone renting his or her personal vehicle through a car-sharing program may be subject to Hawaii’s motor vehicle rental law (Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 437D).
The Insurance Division recommends that car owners check with their insurers before participating in a car-sharing program to determine if there is any impact on their own personal motor vehicle insurance policies. People in Hawaii who rent their own vehicles through car-sharing programs may have to pay out of their own pockets for damages and injuries stemming from any accidents that occur during the rental period, as they would in any rental car arrangement.
"Hawaii residents are urged to exercise caution before renting out their personal motor vehicles or when considering renting a personal motor vehicle from another individual," Office of Consumer Protection Executive Director Bruce Kim said. "Companies or individuals who are not in compliance with state motor vehicle insurance laws or with Hawaii's Motor Vehicle Rental Industry law may run significant risks if that vehicle is involved in an accident. They could suffer significant adverse financial consequences as a result."
"Vehicle owners who want to participate in car-sharing programs should contact their insurer to find out what they need to do to ensure that they do not violate their policy," Insurance Commissioner Gordon Ito said.
The public is advised to know the facts to protect themselves from financial exposure and keep their auto insurance intact. Individuals may be personally responsible for any damages and injuries that occur if their car is involved in an accident during the rental period.
This alert applies to car-sharing programs where people in Hawaii rent out their own vehicles, and not to subscription car rental services that rent out the companies' own fleets of cars.