Kokua Line

By June Watanabe

Car insurance gives
visitor a headache

Question: Please help clarify an insurance issue for me. Every year, I come to Hawaii to spend five months here, shipping my vehicle from California. Every year, I encounter problems with the safety check. After my vehicle is received at the Matson terminal, I am given papers that state the requirements of either registering the car or obtaining a temporary "vehicle permit."

To get the permit, I need to get a safety check at an authorized station. These can only be issued, according to my station, if I hold a Hawaii state insurance card. I am insured with State Farm and have nationwide coverage. Evidently, the state of Hawaii does not recognize this coverage, although it far exceeds the coverage offered to Hawaii residents under the Hawaii No-Fault law. Isn't it time that Hawaii recognizes national insurance carriers such as State Farm and national coverages? The red tape I must go through each time I come to the state is simply overbearing and unnecessary.

Answer: The state Insurance Commissioner is being asked to clarify the issue, after we posed your complaint to the state Department of Transportation's Motor Vehicle Safety Office.

An official with the office acknowledged, "We don't have a clear understanding of what the requirements are" and will ask that the matter be "settled once and for all."

However, he said the issue is more complex than it seems and that resolving it may require getting a legal opinion.


Why do cars always have to block my mailboxes? I have talked to the local postmaster, and he said that there is no law prohibiting the cars from blocking any mailbox. He did say the mail carrier can refuse to deliver my mail. I think this is very unfair to anyone who has to pick up their mail at the main post office because of the inconsideration of others. -- No Name

(You should try appealing to your neighbors if you're not getting your mail delivered because of the way their car, or friend's car, is parked. The postal service has no jurisdiction over where vehicles are parked, and you should call police if a car is parked illegally, such as too close to a driveway. That said, the U.S. Postal Service's Domestic Mail Manual does address the question of blocked mailboxes, said Lynne Moore, manager of customer services in Hawaii.

("Customers must keep the approach to their mailboxes clear of obstruction to allow safe access for delivery," she said. "If USPS employees are impeded in reaching a mail receptacle, the postmaster may withdraw delivery service."

(In such cases, the carrier involved would make the determination. This would hold whether the carrier is on a "mounted route," in which delivery is made by driving, or by foot.

(In the case of a mounted route, the carrier "must be able to approach the mailbox in the normal way -- driving up to the mailbox," Moore said. However, even a carrier on foot could refuse to deliver mail if he or she were impeded in some other way. An obstruction could be trash piled around a mailbox, or even an aggressive dog, Moore said.)


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