What do I need for my tiny house insurance in Hawaii?

Tiny house insurance in Hawaii is required for construction, towing, and parked tiny homes. Obtain RVIA certification to qualify for RV and auto insurance and receive collision, liability, and contents coverage.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jul 22, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Hawaii is one of the easiest states to legally live in a tiny house
  • You should have your house and your property covered if you’re going to be living in them full-time
  • Tiny houses fall under DMV rules instead of homeowner rules which can make it easier to insure them

Since Hawaii has codes and regulations in place for tiny houses, the state is already one step ahead of most states in the way they treat tiny houses.

The idea that people can live in a tiny house in Hawaii is something that continues to catch on as more people see the convenience and comfort that comes with tiny house living.

Instead of trying to work the tiny houses into some type of building regulations, Hawaii has chosen to include it under their motor vehicle regulations. Use our FREE quote tool to compare insurance today!

Insuring your Tiny Home one Wheels (THOW) in Hawaii

Tiny house insurance in Hawaii can be as easy as taking out an RV policy, but you also need to consider other types of insurance.

The insurance you get for your tiny house will depend on how it was built, where you are going to keep it and how often you plan to move your house.

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Coverage during Construction

While you are building your tiny house, you’ll need to cover it in case anything happens.

The coverage you have during construction is dependent on several factors including how you’re building the house and who is building the house.

The insurance coverage you have will be different if you are hiring someone to build the house and if you are going to build it yourself.

Builder for Your Tiny House

A builder for your tiny house will be able to provide you with professional work and a tiny house that has documentation to go with it.

Professional builders are licensed by the state of Hawaii and have to meet certain requirements.

Since tiny houses are not covered under building codes in Hawaii, you will need to find a builder who is RVIA certified.

A builder who has been certified by the recreational vehicle international association will be able to give you an RV that:

  • Meets Hawaii’s “house trailer” specifications
  • Has wiring done by a professional electrician
  • Can be covered by RV insurance

Builders who are licensed in Hawaii are required to carry an insurance policy while they are working on your tiny house. A reputable builder will always be willing to give you information on the coverage they have.

The DIY Route

Many tiny house hopefuls choose to DIY their tiny house to save money. Doing this can save a lot of money, but only if you know what you are doing.

If you do not have your materials insured, you don’t hire a professional electrician and you don’t build your tiny house to RV standards, you will probably end up spending more money to make your tiny house the right way.

Since electrical work can be a life or death situation, it is always a good idea to contract out the electrical work on your tiny house. It may cost more than doing it yourself, but an electrician can do it the right way.

You will also have documentation of the professional electric install that you can use in case you need to prove the integrity of your tiny house.

Material insurance is important during construction because it will cover you if the materials are stolen or damaged.

Shop around and compare prices to try and find an insurance agent who is also able to provide you with a liability policy you can use while you’re building your tiny house.

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Coverage during Towing

Even if you’re going to keep your tiny house in one location, it will need to have wheels. If it doesn’t have wheels in Hawaii, it will be considered a building and will not fall into the codes and regulations the state has up.

As long as it has wheels, Hawaii considers it a house trailer. You can use the wheels you’ve put on your tiny house to tow it, but you will need insurance coverage during towing.

Built As an RV

If you’ve hired someone to build your tiny house and they are RVIA certified, you will be able to insure your house like it is an RV and receive collision, liability, and contents coverage.

RV insurance can be added onto your auto insurance policy, but make sure you have the state minimum for your tow vehicle.

Hawaii requires you to have liability coverage for your vehicles including:

  • $20,000 per person
  • $10,000 personal injury
  • $10,000 property damage

Beyond these state minimums, you will not need to carry coverage, but it is a good idea to consider comprehensive and collision as they can protect you if you are in various types of accidents.

Having these things on your policy will also help protect you while you are towing your tiny house.

Built by You

If your house was not built by an RVIA builder, you still have a chance to cover it as an RV. You will just need to provide documentation proving you built it to RVIA standards.

Since Hawaii refers to all tiny houses as house trailers, getting an RV policy on any tiny house is easier than in most states.

Even if you are unable to get this coverage on your house in Hawaii, you can still get insurance to cover it. People who do not have RV coverage generally rely on a cargo endorsement added to their policy.

With a trip endorsement, you will have a document that is legally attached to your policy. Your insurance agent will write it and it will cover anything you are towing.

The one downside to a trip endorsement is that it is often more expensive than an RV policy.

Coverage while Parked in Hawaii

Since your home is technically a “house trailer” in Hawaii, it will not be covered by homeowners policies. The DMV has jurisdiction over these trailers, and you will need an auto, RV or trip policy to cover it.

A rental insurance policy can help protect your belongings and is relatively inexpensive. Talk to different insurance agents to get a quote on one that can be bundled together with your car insurance.

While a homeowner’s policy will not protect your tiny house in Hawaii, it can protect the property you’re living on. If you own the land you plan to keep your tiny house on, you may want to consider a homeowner’s policy on the land.

Just having a general liability policy on the property can help protect you if something catastrophic happens to someone or something on your property.

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Saving on Insurance

Since there is a chance you will only need an RV policy and an auto insurance policy for your tiny house in Hawaii, shopping around to get the best deal possible will help you save money.

Always talk to an insurance agent who is able to bundle your policies and keep the importance of staying within DMV regulations in mind when you are living in your tiny house.

Always get information on local tiny house laws in Hawaii before you park your home. Use our FREE quote tool to compare insurance today!

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