Why should I buy car insurance in Thailand?
As more and more people in the country are becoming car owners the demand for car insurance in Thailand is increasing. Like anywhere else in the world it is certainly advisable, if not compulsory to have some form of insurance and indeed Thailand is no different especially when you consider that driving standards are perhaps not the same as what we are used to in the west.
In Thailand a form of insurance is provided by the Government with your tax disc. This is called Compulsory Third Party Liability (CTPL) as and the name suggests is compulsory. If, as you should do, have a valid tax disc you will automatically be covered. Again, as the name suggests this covers only the third part and only to a value of THB50,000 meaning that any costs that that the third part incurs that are over this figure you are liable for and obviously you are responsible for your own costs. This form of insurance is better than nothing but in reality offers you very little in the way of cover.
One thing that is important to remember in Thailand that is very different from many other countries with regards to insurance is that it is the car that is insured and not the individual. No information will be required about the individual although full information on the car will be required including photographs. Most vehicles will be insured by make, model and year unless any alterations have been made by the owner.
First Class car insurance is what every driver of a vehicle should be looking to purchase. First Class car insurance offers full cover both to you and any third party up to an agreed amount. There may also be an excess (or deductible) that would need to be paid if a claim was to be made but this and the amount payable varies from company to company. You will be offered 2 options, these will be dealership cover and authorised garage cover, basically meaning that should the vehicle need to be repaired it will either be done by the dealership or an authorised (by the insurance company) garaged. The authorised garage is obviously cheaper but perhaps not to the same standard as the dealership. Rates are generally very reasonable when compared to the rates that you would pay in the west.
If you use a reputable company and a reputable broker you will have nothing to worry about should you need to make a claim. Insurance companies are very good in Thailand in terms of coming to the scene of an accident. If you are involved in an accident the insurance company will send a representative along who will deal with everything on your behalf. This can be very advantageous if Thai is not your first language and you are not fully aware of the rules and regulations. One point that is important to stress, on NO ACCOUNT move your vehicle AT ALL even if it is blocking the road. If you do move your vehicle this will be seen as accepting blame and may invalidate your insurance leaving you personally liable.
The downside of having First Class insurance is the time it takes to get vehicles repaired. Insurance companies are always looking to reduce their costs and will certainly shop around looking for the best price. This will take time and they will have no qualms in waiting several months in order to achieve this lower price whilst at the same time you will be continuing to pay the insurance and your vehicle will be off the road. If the damage is minor it may be worth not using the insurance company and footing the cost yourself in order to save time.
If you are considering renting a vehicle it is important to check that the vehicle has First Class RENTAL Insurance. It is illegal in Thailand the rent a vehicle without this and should you be involved in an accident it is unlikely that you will be covered. Again this is likely to leave you with a heavy bill both to the third party but also to the disreputable owner from whom you hired the vehicle!
All information provided here is correct at the time of writing but are subject to change without prior warning. It is important to speak with an expert to ensure that this information is correct at the time of your application.