Best and worst auto insurance companies
Thinking about shopping your auto insurance? A huge percent of people never shop their insurance needs — and that’s a bad idea considering that modern American business punishes loyalty, rather than rewarding it.
Car insurance ads on TV promise accident forgiveness, vanishing deductibles and other selling points. But those features are just a side show to the main act, which is a company’s reputation with satisfying customers after a claim is made.
Best and worst auto insurers
Money expert Clark Howard has long sung the praises of two insurers in particular — USAA and Amica Mutual.
USAA in particular recently was named the top pick for auto insurance in every single region of the country, according to the J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Auto Insurance Study.
But the downside with USAA, if there can be said to be one at all, is that its insurance coverage and other financial services are only available to those in the military or who are affiliated with the military through direct family ties. So that may eliminate it from consideration for a lot of people.
Amica Mutual, meanwhile, has no such barriers to entry. But the thing with Amica is that the first year tends to be very expensive because it is a mutual company. That simply means there are no shareholders and you become a part owner of Amica when you sign up for insurance. So that first year is basically you “buying into” the company. After that, customers typically get an annual premium rebate equal to about 20% of what they paid that year if they have no claims.
10 top-rated insurers
Consumer Reports took a look at the auto insurance industry by surveying nearly 24,000 readers in the winter of 2017 about their satisfaction on the claims process, the cost of premiums and the overall customer experience.
Here are the winners and losers, according to the magazine:
10 lowest-rated insurers
Best auto insurers by region
So much of the auto insurance industry is local. Sure, you have the national players you see advertising on TV. We’re talking about the GEICOs, Progressives, Allstates, State Farms and others of the world. But many smaller insurers are regional and they’re among the best in the business, according to J.D. Power.
J.D. Power’s 2018 U.S. Auto Insurance Study surveyed nearly 45,000 customers across the country — almost twice as many as the Consumer Reports survey — from February-April 2018.
Here are their top insurers by region:
- California: Ameriprise
- Central: Shelter
- Florida: MetLife
- Mid-Atlantic: Erie Insurance
- New England: Amica Mutual
- New York: New York Central Mutual
- North Central: Auto-Owners Insurance
- Northwest: PEMCO Insurance
- Southeast: Farm Bureau Insurance—Tennessee
- Southwest: CSAA Insurance Group
- Texas: Texas Farm Bureau
We’ve got a deeper dive with the Top 5 insurers in your region of the country right here.
How much should you expect to pay for an auto insurance policy?
According to an industry association analysis of data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average American paid $866 for a policy in 2014 — the latest year for which numbers are available.
Of course, that can vary greatly from state to state, where you’ll find everything from an average of $572 in Idaho to $1,264 in New Jersey!
Shopping your insurance every three years is a great way to save money. We’ll have more on that in a bit. But first, consider these factors on your current policy…
Your deductible is important
When it comes to car insurance, be sure the deductible you have isn’t too low. Take as high a deductible as you’re allowed to if you have a loan on your car. That’s usually $1,000.
Having a low deductible pushes premiums higher. It could also tempt you to make a claim for a small incident that will leave you in trouble with insurers going forward. More on that in a bit, too.
Pay attention to the level of coverage
State minimums for liability
If you have any assets in life to protect, you should think about going past the state minimums for liability.
If you own a home, have savings, etc., you do not want to do state minimums for liability. Why? Because that one time you hit a car in your blind spot or whatever the case may be, you can have serious exposure for liability.
The liability risk for fixing someone’s car is peanuts. The big money is when somebody is injured or says they’re injured. A lot of times people are able to dream up injuries from watching the ads on TV with the lawyers on who say they can get you big money when you’re involved in an accident.
You don’t want to fall into that trap if you have assets to protect.
Of course, if you have no assets and you rent a home rather than owning, then it’s acceptable if you want to just do state minimums.
Collision and comprehensive
Collision and comprehensive covers the damage to the car from a driving event or something else.
When do you need it and when should you drop it?
The general rule is when the cost of comp and collision exceeds 10% of your old vehicle’s value, that’s the time to dump it and just have liability coverage. You can determine your vehicle’s value at Edmunds.com, KBB.com or NADA.com.
So let’s take a simple example. Say your vehicle is worth $4,000. If you’re paying anything more than $400 annually (that’s 10% of $4,000) for comp and collision, it no longer makes any financial sense. One notable exception to this rule: If there’s no way you could financially cover the loss of your vehicle, forget the math and keep paying for comp and collision.
If you have a newer car, you need to have comprehensive and collision — along with that higher deductible of $1,000.
If you’re buying a new car and you can’t afford the $1,000 deductible, then you probably can’t afford the new car in the first place.
What you need to know about making a claim
You never want to make a claim on auto insurance for something small — like a cracked windshield or a broken side-view mirror — because the consequences are so ugly.
The insurer can surcharge you for a number of years; eliminate the discounts you would otherwise qualify for; or put a black mark on your C.L.U.E. report, a little-known industry database of claims. The latter effectively limits your ability to shop with the competition for 36 months.
The hidden dark side of roadside assistance
Auto insurers are great about offering add-ons to your policy that seem in theory like great conveniences at a great price. But using these seemingly benign “benefits” could marginalize you in the insurance marketplace and result in jacked-up rates!
Some auto insurers that offer roadside assistance treat your use of it as an at-fault claim and put that through on your C.L.U.E. report — even though you only needed a tow or the fix or a flat tire!
“It’s the Wild West with no rules on what insurers can decide to report on your C.L.U.E. report,” money expert Clark Howard says. “And you have no right of appeal either.”
So here’s the # 1 rule about roadside assistance: Never get it from your own insurer. Get it from AAA or elsewhere.
Shopping around is the best way to get a lower rate
If your auto insurance is costing you too much, you’ve got to look around at other insurers. Here’s how to start the process…
Begin by identifying solid companies
Clark has long talked about the merits of Amica Mutual and USAA. But those aren’t the only two companies you should look at. Consider buying a one-time subscription to Consumer Reports and checking their latest list of the best auto insurance companies to find others that should make it onto your shortlist.
Get your quotes
Once you have a list of candidates, you’ll want to start getting quotes. This typically takes around 15 minutes on the phone per insurer. Have your most recent policy in front of you in case any questions come up about the make and model of your vehicle(s).
Working with an insurance broker is another option. He or she will get multiple quotes for you and you’ll have access to all the insurers they do business with. It’s an easy one-stop shop that lets you still have the flexibility of comparison pricing.
Once you get the quotes back, it’s time to compare them. Each quote should be based on the same amount of coverage so you can do an apples-to-apples comparison. What if a poorly ranked company offers you a great quote? Clark says to avoid them! While the premium might be tempting, you want to be sure your insurer is there for you when the chips are down.
Don’t forget about discounts!
There are a ton of different discounts out there. Here are some you can ask about:
- Antitheft devices
- Multiple policies with the same company
- College students living away from home
- Defensive driving courses
- Drivers ed courses
- Low annual mileage
- Long-time customer
- More than one car
- No accidents in three years
- No moving violations in three years
- Student drivers with good grades
Car and Motorcycle Insurance in Thailand: A Complete Buying Guide
November 23, 2017 by Staff Writer
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.
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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.
A sample of CPTL issued by a private insurance company through an insurance broker
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.
- MedicalExpenses: 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.
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.
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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.
Individual garages normally show their insurance partners in front.
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.
- NearbyGarage: 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.
Due to the amount of traffic, road accident happens regularly in Bangkok
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.
Similar services to Mister Prakan is Roojai and gobear.
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!
What to Read Next
About Staff Writer
Thailand Starter Kit provides free guides for anyone looking to travel, move, live, work or retire in Thailand. Feel free to contact us with suggestions and article requests
We receive a lot of e-mails asking for recommendations for products, services, and companies. We can’t answer all of them individually, so we’ve put together a list of the most important ones below.
You can also check out Thailand Starter Kit for a complete solution to help you get setup as an expat in Thailand.
Moving companies: If you’re looking to move your belongings into or out of Thailand, use this form and get free quotes directly from moving companies.
Agent: I’ve met a ton of real estate agents in Bangkok over the years, and most haven’t really lived up to my expectations. If you want to avoid the trial-and-error of finding a qualified agent, you can use this form to get in touch with an agent who receives consistently great feedback.
It’s a quick way to find a place to live and completely free for you.
Bumrungrad hospital is considered to be one of the best and most expensive private hospitals in Thailand. But considering the quality of care they give, the hospital offers excellent value for the money. The hospital also comes highly recommended by Karsten’s US and German doctor friends.
You can check the quality of Bumrungrad yourself through their health check-up program.
Karsten, the founder of Thailand Starter Kit, uses the French insurance company ACS. They pay with no deductible for all inpatient and outpatient treatment. With a coverage limit of $500,000, their Silver Plan is one of the few plans in Asia with sufficient coverage.
Luma Health is a good alternative.
Xendpay is among the cheapest ways to send money to Thailand. The fees are some of the lowest, saving you about 1,500 baht on a 30,000 baht transfer. They’re also a cheap way to send money to other countries as well.
Flights and Hotels: Expedia offers good deals when it comes to flights and hotels. This is mostly due to them having lots of special promotions in the Thai market. You can easily save hundreds of dollars using Expedia.
Travel Insurance: If you want to travel to Thailand with peace of mind, then get travel insurance with World Nomads. It’ll costs less than $10 a day but come with a $300,000 limit on emergency evacuation and repatriation.
Car Rental: Renting a car is a great way to explore Thailand, especially when your destination is outside of Bangkok. You can do easily rent a car with HappyCar. The rate you get from them can even be cheaper than renting directly from a rental company.
Thaipod101 is a great way to learn Thai online, no matter where you are in the world. They have a full list of audio and video lessons to help you quickly get started in speaking Thai.
Legal: Finding an ethical, professional, and affordable lawyer is super hard. Fill out this form and we will put you in touch with someone that meets all three criteria.
Registering a Company: Feel free to contact us with questions if you need help with registering a company. We’ll assist you based on our experience with running a company in Thailand for over a decade.
Accounting: Our accountant used to work for the Revenue Department. She handles all accounting, tax, payroll, and social security issues for our companies. You can contact her here.
Office Space: It’s quick, easy, and affordable to use a serviced office for your business. Two reputable companies in the market are Regus and Spaces.
Digital and Content Marketing: My current and prior companies did exceptionally well thanks to an excellent digital marketing team that I had build up. My former marketing manager now went ahead and started an agency to provide that service to other companies. You can get in touch with her here.
Need help with something else for your business? Feel free to get in touch.
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