Cars are becoming increasingly important to a number of us, and without them our lives would be very different. Over the years we have come to depend on them not only in our social lives, but for a large number of people also in their business. But the increasing numbers of vehicles on the road also, unfortunately, increase the chances of drivers being involved in an accident. So, motor insurance is essential to ensure the safe and smooth running of our lives and businesses.
As is usual in most countries it is also compulsory to have Car insurance in Thailand. All vehicles must have, at the very least, third party liability insurance. This article will give you all the general information you need on the types of Thai vehicle insurance available and what the cover provides.
“Compulsory Third-Party Liability” Insurance (CPTL)
Prior to 2009 it was compulsory for everyone to have a ‘Government Insurance’ which is called “Compulsory Third-Party Liability” Insurance” (CPTL). However, for any driver that now holds Class 1 Voluntary Insurance (see below for more info), this is no longer required. To put it in simple terms, CPTL Insurance will only cover medical costs of third parties and passengers involved in a road accident and will not provide any kind of cover to a vehicle. It is not a requirement of Thai law to have additional cover to cover damage to a vehicle; however, should you desire not to purchase the optional insurance to cover this you will be liable for any damage to yours and other vehicles involved in an accident should you be proved negligent. Failure to have at least this insurance as the minimum type of cover for your vehicle will result in very heavy fines. It is also required to pay the tax for your vehicle. CPTL can be purchased from the local Department of Land Transport Office (DLT), from car insurance companies, and from some car dealerships. It is also worth noting that the level of cover provided by CPTL for medical costs is very limited and nowhere near what you would get from a Voluntary Insurance policy.
In my opinion, it is highly recommended that you get some form of voluntary car insurance cover. You don’t have to be driving, or even be here very long, to realise that the standard of driving, not only by Thais but often also by foreigners that have perhaps stayed here a little too long for their own good, is very poor. Road sense/common sense behind the wheel is a rarity and few people actually have voluntary insurance so it is quite sensible to have your own cover.
There usually four options of a Voluntary Insurance Plan, namely Class1, Class 2, Class3, and Class 3+. However some insurers, such as Bangkok insurance, do offer more.
Class 1 Voluntary Insurance provides cover for any eventuality no matter who the responsible party is. It will cover the vehicle, the life of the driver and any costs associated with regards to injury to the driver or passengers. It also covers third party property damage and liability.
Class 2 Voluntary Insurance, also known as collision coverage, pays out to the third party if you are at fault, or if your vehicle is lost through theft or fire.
Class 3 and Class 3+ Voluntary Insurance cover the life of the driver, costs of injury to the driver and passenger, and third party property damage and liability.
As is usual with any form of insurance, the premiums differ across the insurance companies and there are plenty of insurers to choose from, here are some of the better known ones: Tokio Marine, Bangkok Insurance, Chartis, Krungthai Panich Insurance, Muangthai, LMG, Allianz CP, Thaivivat, MSIG, Viriyah, Syn Mun Kong, KSK Insurance, Siam Commercial Samaggi, AXA, Mittare etc.
Thai insurance companies do offer a ‘no-claims bonus’ system on certain policies, whilst some even provide ‘protected no-claims’.
Before you buy a policy, be sure to do the right research to find the plan that meets your needs. It is very important to know and understand an insurance company’s accident procedures, particularly those pertaining to the scene of the accident itself.