Road accidents happen regularly in the Land of Smiles. With over 60,000 yearly accidents reported, the risk of encountering an accident no matter how carefully you drive is high. Motorcycles cut in front of you from unexpected angles. Taxi drivers suddenly change lanes without giving a signal. And buses drive speedily even during heavy traffic. Even while your car is parked in a public area, another car could crash into it, causing severe damage. This is what makes Thailand’s roads the second deadliest thruways in the world.
Thankfully, there are various choices of car insurance in Thailand from a dozen insurance companies. This article will guide you through everything you need to know about Thailand car insurance for both cars and motorcycles. You’ll learn about insurance options, coverage, insurance companies, claiming procedures, and going without insurance.
- 1 Insurance Options
- 2 Compulsory Third-Party Liability Insurance (CTPL)
- 3 Private Insurance
- 4 Motorcycle Insurance
- 5 Insurance Company
- 6 Claim
- 7 Applying the Insurance
- 8 Going Without Private Insurance
- 9 Final Thoughts
- 10 What to Read Next
There are two options of car insurance in Thailand: Compulsory Third-Party Liability Insurance and Private Insurance. Compulsory Third-Party Liability Insurance, known as Por Ror Bor, is required for all cars and motorcycles registered in Thailand. It needs to be renewed annually and provides basic coverage on death and injury caused from road accidents.
Because of the insufficient coverage and complicated claiming process on Compulsory Third-Party Liability Insurance, many people consider buying private insurance coming with extra coverage on the vehicle, deaths, and injuries. With private insurance, you can control car repair budgets caused by car accidents, which is very likely to happen here, and you can also get professional help when accidents happens. All you need to do is to call an insurance representative and they’ll come to the scene of the accident and deal with the opposing party, offer roadside assistance, and issue claims documents.
Compulsory Third-Party Liability Insurance (CTPL)
Compulsory Third-Party Liability Insurance or Por Ror Bor is basic insurance that all cars are required to get every year under the Road Protection Act. Being the minimum requirement, CTPL covers only medical expenses with limited coverage when you cause the accident. It is up to 80,000 baht for injury and 300,000 baht for death–if it’s not the driver’s fault. When the driver is the cause of the accident, the coverage decreases to 30,000 baht for injury and 35,000 baht for death.
Por Ror Bor costs around 650 baht a year for a normal car. It won’t break the bank but cannot cover full payouts from major accidents or breakdowns. CTPL is renewed annually through Department of Land Transport, car insurance companies, or a third party representative. It is usually purchased at the same time as paying an annual car tax.
When injuries happen from accidents, you can claim directly at the hospitals by informing hospital cashiers. Otherwise, it can be later reimbursed at the insurance company with the receipt of the medical expense, a copy of your passport, and a copy of the insurance policy. To obtain the maximum coverage, a copy of the report from the policemen is required to prove that you did not cause the accident.
Private car insurance provides far better coverage than CTPL. Even the cheapest plan comes with coverage of third party property. Private car insurance in Thailand can be categorized into five types using the numbers 1, 2+,2, 3+ and 3. Type 1 insurance is the most expensive type providing the best coverage, covering everything from accidents, theft, and third party property damage. Type 3 insurance is the cheapest choice but comes with the lowest coverage.
- One-party Accidents: Only Type 1 insurance covers accidents that happen without a third party involved. This includes hitting a wall or dog, scratching a structure, crashing into a tree, and so on. However, you may need to pay an excess fee of at least 1,000 baht. The fee differs based on your insurance plan.
- Collision: Type 1, 2+, and 3+ insurance normally comes with collision coverage. It covers the cost of repairing your car as long as it is caused by hitting another car. Pay attention to small details on the collision coverage policy since expensive plans allow you to have your car repaired at the official garage of your car’s brand, while cheaper plans send you to individual garages. If you caused the accident, an excess fee might be required. If the collision damage is beyond repair, you may receive 70%-100% of the insurance limit in return.
- Medical Expenses: All insurance types include medical expenses caused by car accidents. The coverage amount is likely to be similar no matter what insurance types you are using. And it is lower if you cause the accident. Insurance companies require a medical receipt for a reimbursement unless you go to their partner hospital.
- Theft: You may not be under theft protection coverage if your car is stolen because of your own carelessness including forgetting to lock it, parking it an unsafe place, or embezzling it. You may only receive 70-80% of the insurance limit based on your vehicle’s age.
- Fire/Flood: Similar to theft protection, you can claim from flood damage only when it’s not your fault. If you park a car and that area suddenly becomes flooded, you are under the coverage. On the other hand, if you intentionally drive through flooded areas, insurers may reject your claim. This type of coverage always come with Type 1 insurance and some Type 2 or 2+ insurance only.
- 3rd Party Property Damage: The whole idea of the 3rd Party Property Damage is similar to collision coverage but only covers the car of the opposing party. This is the selling point of Type 3 coverage because you’ll only need to fix your own car from the accident without having to worry on the opposing party.
- 3rd Party Personal Injury: All types of insurance, including Compulsory Third-Party Liability Insurance, or CTPL, comes with 3rd Party Personal Injury coverage as long as it is caused by a car accident. It means that if you get hit by a car while while walking down the street, you can at least get reimbursed from CTPL in addition to asking the driver for compensation.
Below are standard exclusions which every car insurance company can reject your claims for: not having a driver’s license, drunk driving, unauthorized driver, using your car as a taxi or moving vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident, and wars. The exclusion may be different between each insurer. Be sure to read fine print carefully.
- Driver’s License: Insurers do not cover drivers if the driver does not have a driver’s license.
- Drunk Driving: According to Thai law, a person who has blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, of more than 50mg is considered drunk. It does not only result in the denial of insurance claims, but there’s also a chance of getting fined and imprisoned.
- Unauthorized Driver: This is different based on the insurance package. Some packages might cover every driver as long as he/she has a license and isn’t drunk, while some only cover a specific person who can drive the car.
- Incorrect Purpose: Some insurance companies might not cover you if you use a car in an unsafe manner. This includes carrying more passengers than the vehicle should carry, using a personal car to transport goods or move, installing NGV or LPG gas systems without giving notification.
- Leaving the Scene of an Accident: If you cause the accident and leave the scene, the insurance company does not cover costs. This is considered a crime in Thailand and will result in court.
- War: Car insurance companies might reject claims caused by war and protest, no matter if you are living in a risk area or not. If the damaged is caused by these events, you are not under coverage.
There are a number of insurance types you can get for your vehicle or motorcycle. Below is a detailed outline of each type.
This is the most expensive and comprehensive type of insurance offered in Thailand. It should cover you from all accidents and problems. Also, it’s the only insurance type that covers an accident not involving a third party, such as hitting a wall, hitting a dog, getting a scratch, and so on. In some cases you need to pay an excess and in other cases you don’t have to pay for it.
1st class insurance is normally available to a vehicle that is less than seven years old. However, it is still possible to get Type 1 insurance for an older car as long as it has a good record and history without major accidents involved.
Type 2+ is the second most expensive car insurance option in Thailand. Its coverage is similar to Type 1 insurance but does not cover accidents where no third party was involved. In addition, Type 1 insurance tends to send your car for repairs at official garages while type 2+ insurance will be sent to 3rd party independent garages instead.
Type 2 insurance is similar to Type 2+, including price, but doesn’t have collision coverage. Because of this, a majority of people prefer Type 2+ over Type 2 insurance. And only a few insurance companies are now offering it.
Type 3+ insurance comes with necessary road accident protection, collision coverage, and third party property damage. The main difference between 2+ and 3+ is that Type 3+ does not have theft, fire, flood, and terrorism protection.
This is a basic private insurance and covers only medical expenses and third-party liability. It is popular for old or low-valued cars for many Thais.
Below is a table comparing normal coverage and prices for all insurance types. It should give you a rough idea on how much you’ll pay and what should be covered. Please note that coverage varies based on several factors.
|3rd Party Property Damage||O||O||O||O||O||X|
|3rd Party Personal Injury||O||O||O||O||O||O|
|Avg. Annual Price||฿18,000||฿6,500||N/A||฿5,000||฿2,700||฿650|
Each insurance package has differences causing the price to vary. For example, if the insurance company sends the car to an official garage for repairs, the insurance package will cost higher than sending it to an independent garage. Some offer deductibles–often confused with an excess–making the insurance plan lower. But you need to pay for the fixed fee when making claims. There are also no-claim bonuses, pay-per-use insurance, and driver specification choices.
Excess is a fixed amount you agree to pay in order to make a claim. It normally starts at 1,000 baht per time and can be waived if the car is damaged by something that isn’t a car, such as hitting a wall, poles, trees, animals, and stones. If damaged by another car, the excess can still be waived if you didn’t cause the accident.
The insured needs to pay an excess when the damage or scratch occurs without a clear cause or any third party isn’t involved, such as a nail piercing a tire while driving, a windshield suddenly braking without reason, parts damaged by animals, and so on.
However, each insurance company has a different policy to waive an excess. And even some insurance representatives can give you the wrong answer. Read the fine print in detail and recheck everything whenever you are unsure whether the excess can be waived or not.
Deductible, on the other hand, is a fixed amount you agree to the insurer whenever you would like to make a claim. It cannot be waived, but the total insurance price will be decreased. For example, the cost of Type 1 insurance plans at 15,000 baht a year might decrease to only 7,999 baht for the same coverage with deductible. If the deductible amount is 3,000 baht, it means that you need to pay extra 3,000 baht whenever you want to make a claim, in addition to an excess fee.
Deductibles can significantly reduce the car insurance cost and they’re suitable for major accidents. But you can’t make a claim for small damages or scratches.
Normally, the deductible amount ranges from 1,000 to 5,000 baht. Similar to an excess, its amount and policy is different between each insurance company.
Note that excess and deductible is commonly misused in Thailand, even with insurance representatives. They share the same word in Thai. So carefully read the fine print.
Many insurance companies in Thailand offer no-claim bonuses, giving discounts on renewal rates for those who have not made any claims, or who’ve made only a few small claims, in that year. This is only available with some insurance plans, mostly on the Type 1 class insurance. On the other hand, the renewal rate will be increased if claims are made several times within the same year.
Official and Individual Garage
When choosing car insurance, especially for Type 1, 2+, and 3+, you will be asked whether you want to have your car repaired at an official garage or individual garage. The official garage is the garage from your car’s manufacturer. For example, if your car is Toyota, it will be sent to an official Toyota garage for repair.
Pros of the official garage are that your car will be repaired by certified car mechanics using genuine replacement parts. The garage may replace a new part instead of fixing the old part. This results in the car having no problems after repair. However, repairing at official garage tends to take a lot of time because of long queues. Garage locations, especially in the countryside provinces, are also quite limited, and the insurance package is more expensive.
There are a lot more individual garages than official garages. They are easier to find, faster, and cheaper. However, you need to carefully pick the garage. It is common to hear stories from people sending their cars to the individual garage resulting in more problems.
Some individual garages may use fake parts and carelessly fix your car causing more problems in the future. It is also common to hear that paint jobs by individual garages do not match the original car color. There are, of course, individual garages with good standards. But this would require further research.
It is also different when making a claim on an individual garage who is a partner with the insurance company and who is not. You can find out more in the claiming procedure section below.
Car insurance prices can be decreased by 5% to 20% per year when specifying the driver, at a maximum of two persons per car. The percent of discount is mainly based on the driver’s age. The older the driver the higher the discount. Normally, there’s a 5% discount for a driver who’s eighteen to twenty-four years old, and a 20% discount for drivers who are older than fifty. The discount is only given on the premium price, not the excess fees.
Pay Per Use
Thaivivat introduced a new pay-per-use insurance option. The idea is similar to a prepaid cell phone package. The vehicle will be under coverage for the amount of given hours per period. For example, 144 hours for thirty days, 600 hours for one hundred and eight days, and 960 hours for three hundred and sixty days. The package price is lower than normal insurance plans, but you are limited to use your car for three to five hours per day on average. When running out of hours, you can top up just like you’d top up your mobile phone.
The main weakness of pay-per-use insurance is the complexity. The prepaid Thaivivat application needs to be turned on before driving to be under coverage, and turned off after that. If driving in an area with a low internet signal, you’d have to call the insurance company notifying which time they want to drive.
There are also car insurance add-ons providing extra coverage that may not be included in the insurance package. This ranges from getting compensated on your belongings getting stolen from your car, paying for travel, receiving medical care, paying for temporary transportation, paying consolation money, or getting towed or loaner cars.
Motorcycle Insurance, on the other hand, has limited options when compared to car insurance. There are only a handful companies such as Viriyah, Asia Insurance, and Thaivivat offering motorcycle insurance. In addition, only three types are available: Type 1, 2+, and 3+.
Type 1 insurance focuses on Big Bikes. It has a similar premium but less coverage and high excess fees. Type 2+ and 3+ are for normal motorcycles with less than 249cc’s. They come with sufficient coverage with acceptable insurance fee. For example, yearly Type 3+ insurance for a motorcycle less than 110cc’s normally comes with:
- collision: 10,000 baht
- medical expenses: 50,000 baht
- medical expenses for third party personal injury: 300,000 baht
- third party property damage: 600,000 baht
- annual fee: 1,499 baht
Theft Protection Insurance
With many motorcycle theft gangs in Thailand, there is a specific theft protection insurance for registered motorcycles. It costs 1,000 baht to 2,000 baht per year for a new motorcycle, covering 80% of the motorcycle’s market price. The coverage amount decreases 10% every year together with the insurance fee. However, the theft protection insurance usually has 50,000 limit.
For a motorcycle older than four years, theft protection insurance can be even lower than 500 baht a year, but the overall limit decreases to 6,000 baht to 10,000 baht.
In case the motorcycle is stolen, it is important to first report to the police and insurance company. After that, the insurance company will try to find the stolen vehicle and summarize your claim. This process normally takes thirty days.
To receive the compensation, the motorcycle owner needs to transfer the vehicle ownership to the insurance company.
There are only a few insurance companies providing an insurance for big bikes, or bikes over 250cc’s. The cost for big bike Type 1 insurance is not different than car insurance. It normally starts at 15,000 baht a year. Sometimes it can be more expensive but provide lower coverage. This is due to the higher chances of road accidents and expensive repair costs. The most popular Type 1 insurance for big bikes is offered by Viriyah.
In addition to insurance companies, an insurance broker such as Mister Prakan, also offers the Type 1 insurance for big bikes. The insurance fee is lower than major insurance companies with similar coverage. Here’s an example of Type 1 insurance for big bikes offered by Mister Prakan.
- collision: 150,000 baht
- medical expenses: 50,000 baht
- theft protection: 150,000 baht
- public liability: 1,000,000 baht
- annual fee: 12,666 baht
One major point for the big bike insurance is that most companies require an excess fee of 5,000 baht on average for any claim regardless if the damage is caused by the insurer or not.
Type 2+ and 3+ are also available for big bikes. The insurance fee and coverage are slightly higher than normal motorcycle insurances.
Over twenty companies provide car insurance in Thailand. Each has their pros and cons, making it is hard to indicate which one is the best car insurance company out there. Some may say Viriyah is the best while others say Bangkok Insurance is better.
From what we gather, people have different experiences even with the same insurance provider. Instead of finding out the best insurance, it is better to choose a creditable company with a plan that is most suitable for you.
Here are a few things you should consider:
- Reputation: Apply with an insurance company that has been in this industry for a long time. With insurance companies you never heard of before, it is better to check their financial background.
- Staff Knowledge and Service: Since you need to deal with insurance company’s staff in the long run, find out in advance whether they can provide satisfied service or not. You can check this by calling them and explaining your needs. If staff just redirect your call without providing professional service, just ignore them and choose a new company.
- Additional Features: Because of the competitiveness of this industry, insurance companies have been regularly introducing new features and services. This ranges from providing a substitute vehicle or compensation when your car is under repair to discount on loyal customers.
- Nearby Garage: Dealing with a garage that’s not a partner with the insurance company is quite complicated. Therefore, you can talk with a reputable garage near you and ask which insurance company they partner with. This way you will know in advance where to repair if an accident happens.
One of the most famous car insurance companies on the local market is Viriyah. Despite being more expensive than other insurance, they have the highest amount of partner garages. Other major players in this industry are Bangkok Insurance, Muang Thai, Tokio Marine, and Asia Insurance. These insurance companies have their own representatives and partner garages all over the country, making road accident happens easier to deal with. However, their packages cost more than others.
There are also smaller car insurances companies include Chao Phaya, Dhipaya, Deves, and Allianz. These small companies offer cheaper packages but only have representatives and partner garages in major cities. In addition, recently many banks such as Thanachart , SCB, Kasikorn, Krungsri, and TMB have also launched their own car insurance. Main targeted customers from these financial institutes are those who make a financial car loan with them.
Car insurance companies in Thailand still have limited English speaking support. A good option for expats in this case is to apply an insurance with brokers having good English support, such as Mister Prakan and let them deal with the insurance company instead. The price you pay them for car insurance is relatively the same that you’d pay directly to the insurance company.
As with health insurance, life insurance, or the like, in order to file a claim with your car insurance company you have to follow certain procedures.
Dealing with Road Accidents
When road accidents happens, the first thing you need to do is call your insurance rep, take photos from as many angles as possible, showing your car’s license plate from both sides, and then wait. You should not move the car unless asked by policemen or if deaths are involved. It is the insurance rep’s duty to help you find out which party is the cause of the accident–if it is unclear. A lot of people decide to get car insurance for this specific reason because they do not want to argue with the other party when a road accident occurs.
If either party admits the fault, you can move the car to the side of the road to prevent a traffic jam. However, you still need to wait for the insurance rep. After the insurance rep arrives at the scene and decides the at-fault party, you will receive a claim form which can be later handed into the insurance company.
The only condition that you can move the car and leave the scene right away without having to wait the insurance rep is through the knock-for-knock agreement. In this scenario, both parties should be under first class insurance coverage, can agree who’s fault it it, and there are no deaths. Then, they need to exchange a claim form with all information filled in and state directly which party is at fault. The claim form can be submitted later to the insurance company.
The best way to prove the fault of the opposing party is through having a dash cam. Make sure it is working properly and choose the one that can produce good quality even in low-light situations.
In case you already have the claim form from the insurance rep, you can immediately submit it to the insurance company’s partner garage. The form can also be obtained at the garage. After submitting, you should receive a claim number for tracking purpose.
Many insurance companies offer online claims. You can add all related information such as car details, accident details, photos, and the at-fault party. Then, the system should issue a claim number in which you can later use to contact the insurance company’s partner garage.
But not all garages are good, including those who partner with insurance companies. Before sending your car for repair, you should read reviews first. And you may need a help with locals since information is likely to be in Thai. Also, feel free to visit a few garages first and choose the most creditable one. If any garage asks you for a deposit, check with an insurance rep first before giving them money.
Here is a list of documents that are normally required for claiming.
- a copy of car registration
- a copy of the first page of a passport
- a copy of driver license
- a copy of insurance policy
- a copy of the first page of a bank account book, if there’s any compensation
The process of repairing a car at the insurance company’s partner garage is quite smooth and straightforward. After submitting the claim, the partner garage will have everything taken car of and appoint you the date to get your car back.
You can still repair a car with the garage that is not a partner with the insurance company, but this requires additional work. The first thing you need to do is to contact the insurer and ask for the budget for repairing your car. Each insurer has different methods to do this. Some may need you to have the car checked with them while some only require a few pictures. Also, some insurers can give you the budget a day after all information is sent, while others may take a week.
You also need to pay the repair cost yourself first, and the reimbursement will be sent around a month later. If the actual cost is higher than the insurer’s budget, you need to pay it yourself. Also, some garages might charge an additional processing fee for 1,000 baht. It is counted as their extra work and cost to deal with the insurance company.
Applying the Insurance
In Thailand, people tend to purchase car insurance from insurance brokers. The price you get from them are the same as buying from insurance companies directly. Because of the competitiveness in this industry, some brokers provide additional benefits to their customer. The common benefits include helping with the buying process to dealing with claims. Some even offer a loaner car when you car is under maintenance.
To apply the car insurance, you need:
- a copy of the car’s registration
- a copy of the first page of your passport
- a copy of your driver’s license
- a copy of your previous insurance policy might be required
For Type 1 insurance, pictures of your car including the front, back, left, and right are required. Some insurance companies might even send their agents to inspect your car directly. It is mostly a case-by-case basis.
In the past, brokers were recommended by word of mouth and friends. But everything now is moving online. There are various insurance broker websites providing both insurance comparison services and allowing you to buy the insurance at the same time. The one we recommend is Mister Prakan. The website is functional, easy to use, and has English speaking customer support with an online form to find out the cheapest and most suitable plan based on your needs.
Going Without Private Insurance
Some people decide not to buy a car insurance for various reasons. Type 1 insurance does not accept any car that is older than seven years, unless it is their existing customer with good records. Type 2+ and 3+ might be expensive for a car that is rarely used. Some even do not purchase Type 3 insurance since they strongly believe in their driving skills. Buying private insurance is totally optional. However, even the cheapest package has hidden cons providing you peace of mind while driving as follows:
- Helping with Argument: When a car accident happens, it’s common case in which drivers–and maybe motorcycle taxis around–blame one another trying to find the guilty side so they won’t have to pay for the damage caused by an accident. With car insurance, insurance reps will argue for you and try to win the conversation because they don’t want to lose money as well.
- Prevent Overcharged Repair Price: Without car insurance, the third party may take this opportunity to overcharge the cost of repairing a vehicle. The price can double from 50,000 baht to 100,000 baht. Worse, you may even need to go to court if you disagree to pay.
- Road Assistant: Since a car insurance rep needs to regularly deal with road accidents, they have contact details in hand and help you solve the situation from calling a towing truck, talking to traffic police, and dealing with opposing parties.
Please bear in mind that car accidents happen regularly, especially since Thailand has the second worst accident rate in the world. Having car insurance can at least assure you will not lose a lot of money from a road accident, while being able to control the budget of your vehicle’s repair expenses.
Please note that we are not an insurance representative or a broker. All information provided here is based on heavy research and fact checking with brokers. However, mistakes and misunderstandings may happen. Car insurance companies have different policies and regularly update them. Please use this article as a reference and recheck all information with an insurance rep, broker, or a professional provider again on your own before deciding to buy your own car insurance.
What is your experience with car insurance in Thailand? What plan did you decide to buy? Do you have any other tips and tricks on the car insurance in Thailand? Have you been in a car accident before? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments!